Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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

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  1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.  Frank Sinatra bounds out of the locker room with Betty Garrett waiting for him.  To escape, he has no place to go but to the bleachers.  This leaves many places for Betty to "trap" Frank and have him squirm away.  Each place of "entrapment" gives Betty another chance to get physically and sexually flirtatious with Frank.  The music is very light-hearted and playful and underscores the lyrics beautifully.  I also enjoyed the chase up the bleachers as the music reflected the upward movement and the downward movement as he slides down the railing. 
  2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?  As Frank enters the scene, Betty is there waiting for him.  The music reflects the movement as Frank moves one way and another only to be met by Betty at each point.  Frank has no where to go but to the bleachers, which then leads to the chase.  The music becomes increasingly frantic (to reflect Frank's feelings) until Betty stops it by saying, "Wait!"  This sets up the perfect segue to allow her to say what she wants to in song.  It is a segue that is well-thought out and wonderfully orchestrated in music, action, and words.

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  1.   The movie uses the ballpark and bleachers to create a fun way parallel the baseball "game" with the relationship "game."  For example, when Sinatra tries to jump over the fence to avoid Garrett, it reminded me of how a baseball player jumps over the fence to catch a ball.  
  2.    The sequence prepares us for singing by transitioning indoors to outdoors, by building up the music, the music getting grander and louder and ascending notes to the singer's entrance, and by the running the actors do.   

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From the beginning of the clip, Betty is on the offense with Frank on the defense.  Every push forward from her receives a push back from him.  She continues to work the movement back to her having the upper hand and it's wonderful!

Loved the music and the way it pumps you up while they are running up into the stands.  It has your feet tapping and you just NEED a song to begin and thankfully, it does.  Great acting in this clip....loved the way it looked like it was an everyday thing running up and down bleachers.

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Betty  IS going to catch her man by whatever mean and she will make him listen to her she will capture him, the music and the songs follow. in sinc.

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1. Whenever the music speeds up Frank runs and Betty chases him and they let them run away from the camera, but when the singing starts the shot is closer so you can see Betty’s face. Each time we see them go from running to singing needs to be edited so the picture flows instead of jumping. So the cut from one angle to another has to be exact so the movements and the music match up. I feel they let the characters run away from the camera to show us how far Betty would go to get her man. And also how far Frank would go to not be caught.

2. The music starts when Betty blocks Frank, which lets you know there is going to be a song soon. Betty and Franks actions clue you into what the song is about. Frank walks out holding a baseball, which means he’s a player. And Betty is leaning against the wall waiting for him. Then she blocks him from passing her and he runs away and she chases. The song is about how she is going to get him and it’s too late for him to run.

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1.  He's totally unaware coming out playing with a baseball, she's planning to see him by waiting for him to come out.  She's not letting him get away so she blocks him, he gets scared and starts running away, she persists by following him with that predatory look.  As she runs after him the music helps make this scene more exciting.  She takes control by stoping him "Hey!" then she begins the song asking him to stop stalling and playing with her then the ball is used for the metaphor.  And the sound effects are very precise with the music and the sound of ball landing (all this awesome job done by Blanche Sewell) Then she begins her convincing argument that no matter where he goes somehow they'll end up together because is their fate.  He uses body language to show he doesn't agree and walks away backwards to get away from her but she's aggressive and he's trapped between her and the wall.  The sounds effects help again with the knocking sounds.  He gets away and she grabs his arm.  He begins to listen and then she forces a hug.  Looks like he's falling for it but then he says no.  He pushes, she grabs him by the ear.  The chase begins again up the stairs and the music adds to the excitement.  He's so desperate to get away he's willing to jump over the wall.  She grabs him, makes him seat, he gets away, then she grabs his coat and now he finally gets to "speak" saying doesn't matter what sign while she teases him.  Again makes him seat and quickly seats on his lap.  (She's aggressive!) Looks like he's falling for it again, he's dancing along.  She shakes his hand so hard then he's getting away again, she's not letting him go! she grabs his hat.  Finally picks him up and carries him over her shoulders while dancing a little with the song.  He gets away and slides down the rail.  She runs down the stairs to catch him.  He can't get away!     

2.  This sequence prepare us for the musical number by letting us see that she's chasing him.

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1. Each shot in the "It's Fate, Baby" number contributes to the feeling of inevitability and pursuit as Betty Garrett's character pursues Frank Sinatra's. The song starts out in a confined corridor, expanding out into the baseball stadium as Betty backs Frank onto the wall and chases him up the bleachers. The shots are tight on the actors, which enhances the tense, claustrophobic atmosphere, and allows us to see every action and reaction of the hunter (Betty) and the hunted (Frank).

2. The segue from action and dialogue into song is much smoother than many musicals from the 40s. Rather than simply just burst into song, Betty's character starts a choreographed prowl after Frank's before the music begins. Eventually, the orchestra enters, synched to her movements. In the midst of the chase, she cries "Stop!" which halts the orchestra before starting the song.

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1. The shots are syncopated to the music. Like an exclamation mark for Betty’s actions trying to corner Frank. It was wonderful! It really showcases Garrett in this role reversal with Frank acting as the ingenue. The number pops!

2. It starts up immediately as Frank exits the locker room and you see sly Betty at the end of the short hallway looking like the cat about to eat the canary as the musical strains scream here comes the number you’ve been expecting! Terrific! Classic! Quite a surprise for the 40s.

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Each shot spotlights key actions as with Garrett's aggressive actions while singing at Sinatra. From the moment she won't let him pass her by, the camera follows her determined advances.  When the music begins with her after him and then the singing lets the audience know exactly what the story is about. The camera follows her advances and then retreats with him. The song is there to progress the action and tell you exactly what the relationship between these two people will be.

The beat of the music, while she advances, is the segue to the songs. As she chases him up the bleachers, the music quickens with each step until it is at a racing pitch.  When he has nowhere to run, the music then leads her into singing to the cornered Sinatra.

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1. The camera follows them when they dance through the bleachers, the chasing up the stairs.

2. She leans up against the wall and he comes out of the room, it sets the scene up for a musical number.

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1) This one is a tricky one for me, I want to say how the shadows play in the different scenes, and how the music plays to their actions, like how she knocked on the wooden frame the music play to that, or how they run or the different shots when we get up close to their faces, This one was a toughie to figure out but that is my opinion.

2) This sets it up perfect by how he walks out of the room throwing the ball in the air, then out of nowhere leaning against the wall is the women who loves him. He sees her as you start to hear the music start to pick up, they run up the stair till she corners him up in the stands as she start to sings and the music starts to play. Its well organized and orchestrated and fits perfectly with the scene, especially with the different movements they are doing and the music playing perfectly off of it in tune.   

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On 6/13/2018 at 1:28 AM, chillyfillyinak said:

Hmmm...this is the kind of musical sequence I do not care for. In my view, Garrett is not an appealing performer. She is the focus of this song and dance, and I find her voice grating, and her appearance unattractive. Perhaps that works for her here and in her duet with Sinatra in "On the Town"  ("Come Up to My Place"). In both songs, Garrett is the aggressor, and Sinatra just can't see her for dust. She is so mismatched with him physically that she can sling him over her shoulders!

It should be noted that Garrett was married to the uber talented Larry Parks who played Al Jolson brilliantly in two biopics about him. It will be too bad if "The Jolson Story" is ignored in this course. If it is, everyone should just watch it. Parks is a better Jolson than Jolson ever thought of being. At any rate, it was Parks' communism that got poor Betty Garrett in trouble, not her own political activities. She was loyal to him until his death.

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

After Sinatra enters the scene from the "Players Locker Room," (Sinatra is not much of a "player " here) Garrett is lying in wait for him, and corners him at the turn of the corridor. The hall is narrow, enhancing Sinatra's sense of being hunted. When he turns to run from her, Sinatra enters the bleachers which act like a sort of maze for Sinatra to negotiate in order to flee Garrett's unwanted attentions. This maze-like setting heightens the tension for the audience. The baseball theme is noted in the playful use of the ball, as Garrett encourages Sinatra to "play ball" with her. The stands at the ball field provide lots of places in which Garrett can trap Sinatra and try to convince him that he is attracted to her.

The set could have used the ads at the top of the bleachers to feature products that would have highlighted the "fate" or being "trapped" themes of the song. The failure to do so was surprisingly sloppy for an MGM musical. This is a lesser effort from the leading studio of movie musicals. 

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

As Sinatra leaves the locker room his gait is jaunty, and he is also bouncing a baseball back and forth in his hands as he enters the scene.  He actions are done in time to some upbeat background music. The music turns menacing as we see Garrett bow her head, and simultaneously look up at Sinatra through hooded eyelids at the end of the short hallway. It is definitely a predatory gaze. By the time she yells "hey" after the chase music into the bleachers ends, the mood is set for Garrett's sexually aggressive solo. 

I adore Betty Garrett and one reason is because she's more like me; not a raving beauty, not a terrific singer, but an enthusiastic person who has a lot of joie de vivre. She is a bright light in every film she's done and one of my favorites. Sure her voice is not on the level of Kathryn Grayson but it's clearly HER voice we hear in On The Town and Take Me Out to the Ball game. 

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1.  Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.  A synonym for fate is inescapableness.  All of the shots illustrate there is no escape from fate or ardent fan Shirley.  From the very onset of the song Denny is the fox while Shirley is the hound, chasing him through a narrow maze-like hall.  And even when the action opens up as he tries to escape by running outside to the stadium she's there dogging his steps up and down the bleachers.  At one point she has him pinned up against a wooden railing; as she sings fate is "knocking at our door", she punctuates the rhythm of the musical phrase with a knock, knock, knock, on the railing.  There is a close-up as Shirley coaxes him with, "Don't wait baby to do next season what you can do right now," all the while she's insinuating herself into further closeness by placing his arms on her shoulders, and as her arms snake around his waist he appears to weaken and their lips almost meet, then he shakes himself and pushes her away, accented by a musical glissando.   He turns to run all the way to the top of the bleachers but still finds himself cornered as she pulls him down while he tries climbing over a wall.  Women have made the comment about a man who has more arms than an octopus; Shirley exemplifies that as her hands and arms roam continuously over his shoulders, finger-walking up over his ears, caressing his face, pinching his lips.  Then like a "primitive man" she picks him up and slings him over her shoulders, when she puts him back on his feet he tries to flee once more by sliding down the bleacher railing only to slide right into her arms as the song ends on a descending scale. 

It occurred to me there is some interesting baseball symbolism in that Denny is the pitcher but Shirley is pitching woo and trying to make a catch through the whole number.

2.  It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?  As Denny leaves the locker room with a carefree spring in his step he's playing catch with himself, tossing a ball in the air, likewise the music is playful and light.  Shirley is lying in wait, he tips his hat seemingly unaware who she is until she blocks his way, there is a pause, then the music punctuates each step they take, back and forth, to the left to the right.  The music is a bit darker, underscoring her advancing and his retreating, with the tempo quickening as the chase and the song begins.

I found the whole premise of Take Me Out To the Ballgame thought-provoking in that there was some role reversals; with a woman ball club owner; showing her players how to improve their pitching, catching and batting skills, and a female fan turning the tables by pursuing the male.  During the war women were stepping into jobs that had previously been dominated by men; this was further illustrated by Betty Garrett's taxi cab driver character Hildy in On the Town. 

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

This scene starts off small and grows to use this entire section of the ballpark. To me, this highlights how Betty is willing to go to any lengths to get what she wants. Frank literally running away from her and her chasing him up those wide bleachers turn the tables on traditional male/female roles and put her in the driver’s seat. She is aggressive and has no qualms about going after her man. Frank is submissive and eventually caves to her advances.

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

  1. This scene starts with a lighthearted toss of the baseball, and then the dance begins. The way that Garrett and Sinatra dance with each other as she is backing him up starts to set the rhythm of the piece, and then he speeds up and begins running. This foreshadows the subject of the song and how she will chase him around the ballpark. Once she finally backs him into a corner, then she can begin singing and stating her case.

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

The scene was shot in classic cat and mouse chase. One can even compare to the famous Pepé Le Pew cartoon. In terms of editing and directing this was an easygoing scene with simple takes and edits.  

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

The waiting outside the room, corridor trap sequence that takes us to the ballpark benches sets up the mood for both performance and subject within the singing.

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The playfulness in the beginning of the scene cues us into the musical number.  I did enjoy how the dancing was connected to the music. 

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

What I saw was the manner in which the shots were framed.  How the camera would go to close ups to promote a feeling of intimacy and wide shot to create distance.  It moved along like a river or a dance number having the camera being the lead.  Garrett is given a fabulous set to work her prowl on Sinatra.  She, like the ballpark bleachers area is cornering Sinatra, a ploy which she will be revisited in their next film together, On the Town.

  1. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?
  2. The music informs us a song is about to commence.  As Sinatra leaves the locker room, carefree, tossing a baseball with happy bouncy music and then we see Garrett, the music changes tempo as she start the dance.  

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1.  In my opinion, the music was made then pre-recorded based on the screenplay which had already been Choreographed.  Thus, you do see these two characters' movements and the song, both the lyrics and the musical arrangements, along with the Sound Effects, Matched Perfectly!  Of course, in this clip and also this film, Garrett's character is the Aggressor and Sinatra's character is the Passive one.  He even did NOT get the chance to SING much.  It's all her movements to initiate, such as to "Play" the Ball, to Chase him everywhere to Corner him, to pick him up on her shoulders, and even to catch him after his sliding down.  No matter which Camera Angle, you mostly can see HER Facial Expression(s) clearly!

2.  Well, mostly, musical films prompt us the singing will start by character(s) entering the scene with music, which is the case in this clip:  Sinatra came into the scene with Music to be blocked by Garrett, then turned to another direction trying to escape from Garrett with music going along with this segment.  Another way to hint us singing will start is by haveing the characters engage in some kind of conversation, e.g. Arguing.  But NOT in this clip.

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1.  I didn't think the scene was a dance number per se, but the combination of choreography, directing and editing was flat out amazing.  Each move was carefully planned, perfectly executed and superbly filmed.  One example (out of many) was when Sinatra was backed into a wall, allowing Garrett to capture him while conveniently having  a wooden rail behind Sinatra so she could knock on it in sync with the lyric of the song.

2.  Not much of  a segue into the song here, in my opinion.

As an aside, when I saw Garrett chasing Sinatra, I was reminded of the Looney Toons scenes when Pepe LePew would chase some poor black cat who had been painted with a white stripe.  The cat moves out of fear, while Pepe jaunts along merrily.

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  1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions.  
    In this tight spot she has domination over him and he really can't avoid her.  She dominates him in her strength and her knowledge that he will be coming out of that door and she corners him in an instant.  She backs him into the wall; catches him at the end of the stairs; swings him up over her shoulders; etc.  He seems kowtowed into "falling" for her - I personally am put off by this scene and am not too keen on Garrett and how she is portrayed. 
  2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?
    Well, it seems to wind up like the pitch - we can hear the first few notes that are leading up to the song.  The actors positioning helps as well and we understand that the song and dance number are going to happen!

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This scene may not be considered a proper dance by some measures, but this is a comic courtship dance nonetheless (albeit an unnatural one for a 1940s audience because the woman relentlessly pursues the man). She advances, he retreats; she thrusts, he parries.  Every move is synchronized and mirrored to building music, which leads into Shirley's song where she pleads her case for Denny's attention.

 

Motomom, at that point in Sinatra's career, he often played the skinny, weak guy who went far beyond naive when it came to women.  He was downright dense--lol.  In the three movies he starred in with Gene Kelly, he and Kelly essentially played the same parts:  he was always the poor virginal **** who didn't have a clue about women, while Kelly was always the older, far more experienced horn dog.  Garrett starred in two of the three, playing essentially the same role:  an aggressive woman who won't take no for an answer.

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The scene opens and we see the walls on each side of a stadium corridor. Dennis walks out of a side room and is witnessed to Shirley at the end of the corridor acting like a third wall. There is limited space and Dennis cannot avoid meeting her and so he is somewhat trapped. We see Dennis running the other way, out of the corridor, into the open and through the stadium benches to try and escape the clutches of Shirley. Shirley calls out “hey” to grab his attention and then begins singing. The musical number fits perfectly into this scene as a way exaggerate the opposing feelings of the characters. There is contrast between space and intimacy - you see large landscape shots with the stadium benches in view and you see close up shots like when Shirley is “knocking at our door”.

 

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I think setting up this scene the director/editor was thinking like a conductor.  Overall, what is the piece about and how do I use the "instruments" to bring about my vision?  The music not only punctuates the characters' actions, but I think it dictates those actions.  

  

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