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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #7 (From TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME)

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. 

The whole sequence is a reversal of a man stalking a woman he is obsessed with. She confronts him in the hallway, chases him up te stairs that lead to the bleachers - so we go from a confined area to a more open yet constricted area (lined the seating) so Sinatra only has one clear direction to go until she corners him at an opposite stairway exit. The music has been building to this moment when she speaks her mine quite plainly and challenges him to play ball with her because its fate, baby - she even begins to carry him away like a caveman! Garret is the male predator and Sinatra the female prey in this entire piece which is funny considering Sinatra's reputation. MGM set Sinatra up as the innocent guy shy around the ladies in Anchors Aweigh as well. Such irony.

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?  The choreography, and I mean the way the characters are moving and interacting not dancing, builds to the beginning of the song. Cat and mouse then confrontation.

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       This is a courtship "dance" of the hunter and the hunted, with the traditional gender roles reversed.  Dennis innocently steps into range in the narrow hallway, and Shirley blocks his path. She checks his every move to get around her and keeps him trapped. He backs up to try to get away, but she won't relent. Every time he tries to open the ground between them, she moves to close it. With mounting fear, he bolts for the stairs and heads for the bleachers. But, she is in hot pursuit, and he finds he has no place to run or hide. He must surrender; he is the victim of "fate."

      The scene prepares us for the singing by using musical accompaniments to punctuate the action as the pursuit begins. The musical sounds correlate directly with the physical movements, and the musical tempo increases as the pursuit picks up speed. The music acts as an overture to the singing. It goes faster and faster, only to stop when Shirley says,"Hey!"  The pause of silence that follows signals that the singing will begin.

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1) If I were an editor or director, I could see that key actions were highlighted in "It's Fate Baby, It's Fate" clip. For example, the beginning of the clip shows Frank Sinatra trying to make it past the hallway but Betty Garrett slides to mimic his moves to prevent him from going past her. As we see them "dance" there is musical synchronizing to create comedy. Another example is when Sinatra throws her the ball and raises his hands in hopes Garrett will throw it back, but she doesn't. Their actions are in medium-shot and accompanied with music again. The camera then pans to Garrett chasing Sinatra until he hits a wall. The camera then goes on close-up of their faces and shoulders, and we can see and hear Garret signing, pointing and knocking.

The next shot spotlights their physical courtship and their facial expressions. Then is the panning shot of Sinatra being chased up the bleachers as the music plays quickly. Once they reach the top we can see more physical comedy as Garrett grabs him and sits him down. She is about to rest on his lap but Sinatra stands up and misses. Sinatra begins to sing while Garrett plays around with him by touching and hugging. Then she pushes his shoulders down to sit him down and she jumps on his lap. The next key action is when Garrett shakes Sinatra's hand and takes his hat while he tries to retrieve it, but she holds it behind her back and waves her hand as she says, "got you coming and going". The actors' movements and actions, the director's framing with the camera and the music all synchronize and they highlight specific moments that make them key to moving the story forward.

2) This sequence prepares us for the signing from the beginning. As I mentioned, Garrett and Sinatra meet in the hallway and they "dance" because he tries to get by but she blocks his way. There is also music that accompanies the scene. There is a specific sound that seems to make each moment stand out best. Then the music speed up as we see them running up to the bleachers. The music stops when Garret yells "hey!" so we can expect she will break into song as the music starts up again.

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I love Frank Sinatra. I'm not a huge fan of Garrett, but I don't mind her.

1. The sounds match up really nicely. They hit every musical note that went with an action (the ball toss, wall slam, railing slide). For every advance she makes, he counters. Despite being the mafia, tough guy, Frank Sinatra (being a slim man) is easily manhandled by this petite lady. It's interesting how things like this were allowed, since it's a female to male combination and not a man being so aggressive with a woman (there are films with that in there). 

2. This segued easily with the music leading up to it. When she corners him and forces him backwards, the music has already begun, playful and light with their steps. As he continues to run away, he almost forces her to speak, and in doing so, she begins the song.

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1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

The entire song is choreographed as a chase: Betty Garrett is pursuing Frank Sinatra. For every lyric that Garrett sings, Sinatra is attempting to get away. Garrett is persistent, however, and at the end she literally "catches" the object of her desire.

2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

Frank is walking along with a jaunty gait, and tossing a baseball back and forth. Garrett is leaning against the wall, waiting for his arrival. One knows at once that a musical number is likely to occur.

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

Firstly, it’s interesting to note that, despite being set in turn-of-the-century, Shirley Delwyn (Betty Garrett) is very much the aggressor in this relationship (something she also does in On the Town). Both films were released in 1949 and reflect the greater independence of women after World War II.

Shirley is waiting outside the locker room for Dennis Ryan (Sinatra) and immediately seeks to block his path before chasing him outside into the stadium. We go from close-up action to wider shots to show that, no matter how large the space, he is not going to be able to get away from her.

When Ryan tosses the ball to her (on the line “start playing ball with me”) and immediately puts his hands in a catcher’s position showing that he just wants to get along. The cutting back and forth from long shots to closer shots creates a kind of cat-and-mouse game between the two characters.

Every action of Shirley’s that’s more aggressive (blocking him in, grabbing his hands or even picking him up like she is a cavewoman trapping her man), the shots are more close-up whereas the camera pulls away to show the distance between them.

 

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

The scene begins with a lively tune – a kind of walking off tune, light-hearted and gay – as Ryan is leaving the locker room and tossing the game ball. The tune comes to an abrupt halt as Shirley blocks his way and, with each block the music becomes staccato until it segues into an almost ominous phrase (the beginning of her stalking him). Then it changes to chase music, coming to an abrupt halt when she shouts, “Hey!” before she begins singing.

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This is a great clip. Betty Garrett was amazing . She was a triple threat. I didn’t really know how to answer either question.

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1. Each shot definitely highlights key actions. In the beginning of the scene, the camera is in the center, and catches everything between Betty and Frank. Later on though, the camera follows them up the stairs and zooms in on them when Betty corners him or sits on his lap. This keeps things very fresh instead of staying at the same angle the entire time. 

2. This sequence does a marvelous job of preparing us for the singing. Frankie comes into the room bouncing a ball from one hand to the other very rhythmically, and the music starts. Betty corners him perfectly in time with the set-up backround music. Then once they leave the room and head towards the bleachers, it gives us a new setting that’s very ideal for a musical number.

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  1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.
    • The shots are set up in which Garrett and Sinatra are almost always moving away from the camera.  This, to me, spotlights how Sinatra is trying to get away.  Each shot, it appears as if they go further and further away form the camera, demonstrating Sinatra's desire to get further and further away from the ever persistent Garrett.  It was all very well "choreographed," or edited, so the shots blend well together to keep the story moving smoothly.
  2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?
    • This segue is reminiscent of cartoons where the music really tells you what is happening, or what is ABOUT to happen.  Here, you have a happy, whistling tune to show Sinatra leaving the locker room, showing he is unaware of what is to come, however there is a minor key about it, making it somewhat ominous.  Once Garrett steps in front of him, the music becomes short chords, which give the sense of sneakiness and urgency, which are seen in Garrett's ploy to trap Sinatra, and Sinatra's confusion and desire to leave, respectively.  The music then speeds up as Sinatra runs up the stairs, and continues to gain speed, with a crescendo, only furthering the urgency to escape.  With the final rise in pitch of the violins, it makes the viewer aware that something IS about to happen.  In a cartoon, say Tom & Jerry, Jerry would then be trapped somewhere and need to figure out a new strategy to escape.  Here, Sinatra is Jerry as he runs away from Garrett, and the trap is her starting to sing. 

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Instead of boy chases girl, this scene is girl chases boy.  Each shot focus on the girl trying to get Frank's attention and keeping it.  

The scene transitions into the singing by showing the characters doing a dance by Frank trying to avoid Betty.

 

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Oh I found this clip to be hilarious! I noticed right away how they set it up for Betty to have enough space to give her man Frank some chase. Having the wall to push him against so she can show him she means business, the wood nearby so she can knock on it as she goes along singing the coordinating lyrics, and the bleachers are added to continue the chase. I loved it. I also loved learning that she was on the 70s shows I watched as a kid. Thanks for that added tidbit!

You can tell a musical number is on its way with the slow approach Betty makes to Frank in the hallway. Its a tease to the fun and hilarity that would ensue a few moments later.

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  1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.
  2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? Just before the song Garrett has picked Sinatra up off the field and followed him to locker room. Coming out she follows him to the bleachers hashing him through the stands. The singing seems to flow out of the setting. 

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1. Although he is trying to get away from her you have to think it took timing from both of them to pull off that scene so that every funny moment between them matched. I can definitely see where the editor would come into play in the scene, especially the stunt man switch with Sinatra sliding down the railing.

2. It prepares us by the background setting of the scene and Sinatra trying to get by Garret while she keeps blocking his way which then leads into the chase and then the song.

 

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

Right from the start of the scene the two are shifting back and forth to create the chase, and music takes flight.  Suddenly and abruptly the music stops, and she goes right into the song of his fate.  When he throws the ball, she throws it away, and sings that it will happen sooner or later.  She uses many hand and body gestures to make her point.  A woman going after what she wants.  He slides down the banister into her arms.

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

The pauses and rhythms in the dance scenes introduce the music.  Also, the chase scenes create the acceleration of music, and singing.  Using props for added effects in harmony with the music.  Fate is in the stars, and goes into singing about destiny and astrology.  

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  1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.  I think they show the "cat and mouse" game going on between the two.  Every time Betty takes 1 step forward, Frank takes 2 back. Until she finally catches him at the end of the bannister. 
  2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?  The music itself and the actors actions.

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You know that a song is coming because Frank and Betty are alone in the scene. This number seems so obvious. Not sure why they have Frank as such a weak guy character. Perhaps his off screen persona is so large that it is hard to imagine him in this role. Betty Garrett is so talented and the physical movements between the two characters well choreographed but it is nota number that you would leave the theater humming.

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1. I think action is the key word here. There aren't many still shots, and when there are they don't feel stagnant. There's so much movement, all telling a story. It utilizes all the space available to it, especially with the bleachers. Each new shot helps progress the plot line. From the resistance, to possibility, to mostly giving up and giving in. It's able to stay lighthearted and fun throughout

2. From the instant he steps out, the two characters are playing a game. And since we already know we're watching a musical, it's certainly inevitable to have singing. Earlier in the movie they show her having a caring attitude towards him so it makes sense she would want to explore that further. And singing to a stranger is a really great ice breaker. I think it also helps that there wasn't any dialogue leading up to it, just dancing.

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1. Combining editing and directing it was interesting to note the cuts from one shot and angle to another in this segment. A shot could involve on angle, stop and then pick up from a different angle. Not only does it segment the shots to coincide with the songs it segments the camera locations as well. An unskilled editor would cut this together improperly so that the segments themselves don’t line up in order or perfection.

 

2. The segment prepares us for the singing with a small comedic moment of Sinatra being pursued by Garrett, something used again in ON THE TOWN.  It establishes early on what is happening between the two, his flight and her pursuit, before the song even kicks in to tell us vocally what is taking place.

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

Very comical clip, Sinatra being cornered. In a stadium no less. Each spot has huge exits and he still is not able to find a way around her as the camera closes in on intimacy. It’s brilliant. 

 

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

The segue speaks volumes with the action taking place. It does this amazing work of allowing the viewer to actually know with a feeling of hearing the actors in a conversation before the singing even takes place. The conversation has already begun with music. Excellent!! 

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. Betty is lying in wait for Frank to come out of the locker room and chases him into the stadium. Definitely not like Bull Durham. Frank cannot escape and the movements along with the music and the lyrics of the song are quite seamless.

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The segue is obvious once they leave the hallway with the locker room and move into the stadium or the "playing field".

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  1. There's a really nice mix of shots that the director considered, with wide shots at the beginning of the number to closer shots for the chorus around "fate" where you really see their faces and the growing connection between the two actors. The cuts between scenes always seem to be in the right places to, just the right time to make the most of the action, or show the desired movement and reactions. 
  2. This may be one of the best examples of going from a visual/spoken scene to singing. The movement increases in pace, the music goes along with, and the actors are delightfully choreographed to run, well, right into a song. 

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I would like to start off by saying this was a fun clip to watch !!! Sinatra comes out of the locker room so confident flipping the baseball, until Garrett sets her sights on what she wants, Sinatra!!! .. she is quite playful, and he is quite taken aback trying to get out of this situation. The shots are on her and her advances, most of the time Sinatra is definitely second fiddle to her. The camera catching her running up the bleacher stairs in that dress, how she didn't miss a step. (Wonder how many takes it took to get it right) ... Sinatra sliding down the banister and her catching him. I'm sure it wasn't as much fun as they made it look... 

with Garrett waiting for Sinatra you get the feeling the dialogue was going to be in song... it is wonderful how these musicals all have that music score that prepare you for the music dialogue... I Love it !!!!  

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1.  From the perspective of a director, the motions of the camera are following exactly, the same motions as the actors...so this gives us an idea of the type of musical number we're going to see.  Also from the perspective of the editor, it's amazing how each motion was carefully put together to show what the director wanted to show the audience on the screen.  The key actions of the actor's Sinatra and Garret are helping sell what both the editor and director want.

2.  Like most movie musicals it stars with simple talking dialogue.  Than, it continues to with slight orchestral music in the background.  Nothing too heavy, and not too light either.  When the actions for the preparations for the lyrics happen, the music is fully conduced by the band leader.  

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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #7 (FROM TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME)

"Whatever Betty wants, Frankie gets." (from Damn Yankees)

1. There's no dancing in this scene but it is well choreographed. Staccato actions match staccato orchestra chords, they hop up and down on the bleachers in time to glissandos and arpeggios, and even the arc of the tossed ball is matched to a rising and falling scale.

2. What starts as incidental running music turns out to serve as the intro to the song.  This intro is recapitulated to match their running up the bleachers but this time it's clearly a part of the number serving as an instrumental bridge.

 

 

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Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.

With so many wonder moments in this clip, I'll just focus one of my favorite parts.  When Frank's character tosses Betty the ball in response to her line about playing ball with her, her look of frustration and her impatient throwing away of the ball really show her character's emotions.  You know that she has tried and tried to get him to commit, and she is reaching the breaking point.  She has chosen his "turf" to give him her pitch for why they should be together.

It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?

As many people have already mentioned, the segue from closed off hallway to wide open baseball stadium is a key visual clue to a change in momentum.  The plucky strings that build to a crescendo are the perfect way to begin the new dynamic in the interaction between the characters.

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