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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #11 (From Singin' in the Rain

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This is one of my all-time favorite musicals. I love Donald O'Connor. I don't think he got the praise and attention he deserves. When people talk about tappers they usually mention Fred and Gene but never Donald. He is every bit as good in this number as Gene Kelly and he has awesome comedic timing, just look at the Make Them Laugh number. I like Gene's dancing but every now and then he has the strangest expressions on his face like he's trying to smile naturally but missed the mark. Anyway, I love every movie Donald O'Connor is in. This scene leads up to the dance number slowly in order to set the mood. You know they are going to dance and sing about tongue twisters because that's what you see before the music starts--especially when they recite the tongue twisters to a beat. It's such a clever number. 

It's not easy playing the straight man and this actor does it well. You could tell that the professor is used to being in control of his students and is surprised by the actions of Don and Cosmo. His facial expressions add to the comedy of the scene.

Don, of course, is the alpha male, the masculine, playboy, take-charge kinda guy. Cosmo is the happy-go-lucky sidekick who isn't looking for love and just enjoys life and being there for his best friend. He doesn't take anything seriously. He lives in the moment. The professor is the beta male who is mild-mannered and dedicated to his work. Because he takes his work so seriously, the guys poke fun at him, trying to loosen him up and get him to enjoy life. I guess it was all in good fun when this movie was made but today, it might be called bullying. They just dumped a bunch of junk on the poor guy and left him there. The professor must have done something right because Don and Cosmo both recited the tongue twisters accurately, maybe they should have thanked their teacher.

 

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The role of the straight man in this number? A playwright I know said "Humor is based on misplaced dignity", and the Professor epitomizes that. The fun of the number, as we watch the dancing, is in watching his lesson slip through his fingers in spite of his best efforts. Don and Cosmo take off dancing on their own, but it's important that they come back to the Professor to finish the number, as it is his class they've disrupted, after all. But I have to say, the final "AAAAA" always comes unexpectedly.

Of course, many years later we see the same dynamic beautifully rendered in The Animaniacs cartoon show. Misplaced dignity all over the place.

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13 hours ago, Heather Redfern said:

Kelly and O’Connor are in sync in their dialogue and movements before and while dancing. There’s a rhythm to their speaking that moves perfectly into the song and dance. They play off of each other in the pre-dance and then during the dance. 

The professor is an egghead- he does not have a sense of humor and is not as masculine as Kelly and O’Connor. They completely take over the lesson and make fun of him and the tongue twisters he teaches them. They make him sit down and watch how they do it. 

The professor’s character is the stereotypical “intellectual cannot be athletic or strong man. He’s stiff and does not know how to be fun. Kelly’s character is athletic, handsome, strong- the type any woman would want. O'Connor is between the two- more appealing than the soft professor, but not as desirable as Kelly’s handsome actor. He balances the extremes between the others’ masculinity. 

Heather, your comment  - the stereotypical “intellectual cannot be athletic or strong man - prompted me to recall something I have not thought about for many years. When I was young, I saw an episode of "Mr. Peepers." starring Wally Cox, in which Wally won a challenge from a circus strongman. The strongman had squeezed all the juice (or so he thought) from a grapefruit, and he defied any man in the audience to squeeze even one more drop from it. Wally, whose character was a Science teacher, as I recall, used his intellect to determine exactly where to squeeze, and he amazed everyone when he won. That made a strong impression on me! Ironically, I read years later that in real life, Wally had huge biceps, but he was always cast as a meek, unathletic guy. The younger students in this course may remember Wally as the voice of the cartoon character Underdog. 

wallycox.jpg

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1) Honestly the only actor in this movie who really needs help with her diction is Jean Hagen who does a great job as the leading lady who swears that Gene really loves her and not Debbie Reynolds.  Donald thinks this whole thing is ridiculous because he does not act and is ony there to support his friend. He ends up making a joke about the whole lesson and before you know it, Gene hops on board. One they start their cadence on “Moses supposes”the singing and dancing kick in. 

2) The professor is in his element working with a leading man who, supposedly, needs help with his diction. Once he catches a Donald making faces behind him, he realizes that they are not taking this seriously. You can see that as they sing using the drapes as props he tries to vacate the premises only to be stopped again and again by the two men. He figures out that there is no way he is going to get away from these guys, and becomes their captive audience.

3) Gene plays to perfection the heartthrob who girls swoon over and basically try to tear his clothes off. That is when He lands in Debbie’s little sports car and scares her to death.  He is running away from his fans. Debbie is not overly impressed with him, as she tells him while they are together. Since she is not falling at his feet, she becomes the object of his conquest. Don on the other hand is happy-go-lucky and uncomplicated. He is a great dancer and singer but does a lot of the music for the silent pictures behind the scenes. Debbie is the ingenue who is trying to break into show business with little success.  Gene becomes her ticket to fame and as a plus, they just say happen to fall in love. Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy comes close to losing her and in the end love triumphs over all.

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6 hours ago, ESei said:

COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES (and hoping for feedback)

I was excited when I saw this week's attention to male and female gender roles in 50's musicals. Especially on account of the current cultural concern with gender fluidity, I expected more discussion (and maybe it is scheduled for future discussions) of coded behavior and of questioning of stereotypical roles. I think we were getting there with the discussion of Calamity Jane, but I don't see the Road pictures as  good vehicle for examining masculine roles. Moses Supposes in Singin' in the Rain clearly does allow for examinations of the buddy trope with its competitive companionship, but it skirts as many gender issues as it raises.  The film that does take this critique seriously is It's Always Fair Weather, not always a successful film but a brave attempt at looking at the public and inner lives of WWII veterans that often defies alpha and beta categories. I was glad to see the stills of the famous garbage lid dance, but I think the whole film deserves extended consideration in any discussion of gender roles. 

Two other issues: Why is Marilyn Monroe so often teamed with men who would fit this course's category of Beta Males? She is opposite Donald O'Connor in There's No Business Like Show Business and Tommy Noonan in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Any ideas on the dynamic here? 

Finally, Elvis and the emergence of black performers like Little Richard in rock and roll films that appeal to teens: This has got to be a challenge to the whole Alpha and Beta categorization of men. Right? I look forward to the discussion. 

Insightful comment, ESei! You wrote "Why is Marilyn Monroe so often teamed with men who would fit this course's category of Beta Males? She is opposite Donald O'Connor in There's No Business Like Show Business and Tommy Noonan in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Any ideas on the dynamic here?" Another example that comes to mind is her pairing with Tom Ewell in the Seven Year Itch. The only exception that comes to mind is her pairing with Tony Curtis in Some Like it Hot, and even in that movie Tony was a female impersonator, ha ha. Now you have me wondering what the dynamic was . . . if you figure it out, please let me know.

   

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  1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?
    They use only their hands (fingers) and a book for a prop.  In the dance they use everything, especially the Professor.  It's very presentational.
  2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.
    His movement was to turn his head and look at one of the dancers.   He seemed helpless in all the activity.
  3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?
  4. O'Connor and Kelly try to outdo each other in saying the tongue twisters.  The professor is proficient at it but starts to realize O'Connor is making fun of him.  I noticed in the first half of the dance Kelly kept his mouth closed.  I'm amazed that dancers can actually smile while doing difficult dances like this.  I imagine it's part of the training to learn how to breathe without appearing to pant.

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This is a riveting clip, and I always enjoy watching it. The song is catchy, and the synchronized dancing of Donald and Gene is impressive, but for some reason I am most impressed by Donald's ability to change his facial expressions so completely and swiftly and in perfect synch with when the elocution coach can and cannot see him. For me, that would be more difficult than saying tongue twisters or doing a complicated dance routine (oh wait, I could not do that either).    

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1. I have always thought Donald O'Connor was underrated. His gifts as a dancer are really apparent in this sequence where he matches the lauded Gene Kelly step for step. Not that I'm knocking Gene Kelly, but in this movie he plays a character pretty full of himself and a little of that comes out in this number. Gene's arm motions may be slightly smoother, but I like the energy and genuineness of Donald O'Connor. Donald is the lead in some movie with Vera Ellen playing a princess he meets in the catacombs and he does a stunning number where he dances with balloons. Maybe someone can help remind me of the movie's title - Ah, it is Call Me Madam.

2. The straight man is always hard to play, but he has priceless facial expressions reacting to Gene and Donald, particularly when he catches Donald mimicking him.

3. Gene - the handsome, hammy leading man. Even when he just reads the first part of "Moses Supposes", he does it with that melodramatic inflection from the silent era. Donald - the clown. Second lead because he is less handsome, not less talented. As the best-friend sidekick, he brings the comic relief, but I am glad he is included as part of the threesome in the "Good Morning" number. The Professor - an object of scorn and ridicule (emasculated) because of his fussy mannerisms and because of the ridiculous tongue twisters he is trying to teach.

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How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?

I find the pre-dance movements of O'Connor and Kelly to perfectly illustrate their dancing styles--O'Connor's is exaggerated while Kelly's is more precise.  Even as the dance progresses, Kelly's is still more controlled an particular while O'Connor is less restrained, but no less on point. 

 

Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man

Funny men aren't funny if they don't have a straight man.  Now, I'm not referring to solo comedians, or saying comedians need to have a partner.  But, in a scene such as this, O'Connor's antics would not be nearly as funny if there was no straight man.  Too often, I think the straight man is over looked when compared to the "comedic genius".  The straight man can't, in essence, be funny in the same way as the comic.  I think Martin and Lewis are prime examples of this, in some cases more so than other comedy duos (but I'm biased).  In this clip, the professor has to take the torture doled out by O'Connor and Kelly and can not react.  If he joined in, there would be a different feel and result to the scene.      

 

How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

Kelly is without a doubt the typical representation of a physically dominating male.  He is broader and stockier in stature than the professor and O'Connor.  O'Connor is almost stick-like physically compared to Kelly.  His personality may be more dominating in order to compensate for his lack of physicality.  The professor is the typical intellectual/nerdy type who can't compete with looks or personality and is overpowered in this scene by the physical force and the charm of the other two characters.

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  1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?
    Since Kelly is the alpha male in the sequence, it is he who begins to taunt the Professor through the readings of the tongue twisters to have O'Connor follow.  Once the dance begins, Kelly starts the dance off with O'Connor, who mimics Kelly's movements all the way to the conclusion of the clip.
  2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.

I'm quite certain the professor's expressions mirror that of "awed amazement" from the rest of the audience watching Kelly and O'Connor dance with each other.  The sequence doesn't really advance the narrative any. It's not there to bring in alternate character development.  Moses Supposes by itself, is just there to showcase the immeasurable talents of both men.  The Professor is just there to be our reactions.

How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

It looks like the whole pyramid of masculine stereotype are fully represented:  Kelly, the athletic, grinning, Alpha Male, O'Conner, the slightly goofy second-in-command, and The Professor, the older establishment man, confused by the happenings in front of him.  

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Great synchronicity singing, acting, dancing while making a challenging dance number look natural and easy and like they are having fun.  Straight guy professor has a tough job essentially not reacting to their shenanigans and dance kicks aimed in his direction.  He keeps a stiff upper lip in accordance with his professional dignity.  Dancers display their A and B male types (leader and buddy).  Kelly and O'Connor's dancing energy and dancing on the furniture  reminded me of the similar energy and style they exhibited in the  "Good Mornin'" number in Singing in the Rain dancing with Debbie Reynolds.

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1. Even before they start the actual dance, Kelly and O'Connor are incredibly rhythmic in their motions. They bounce up and down in time with the music wherever they walk, and whenever they use their arms, they move them with rhythmic precision. It almost seems like they're mocking the vocal coach with every move they make. Notably, they seem a lot looser when they begin the tap portion of the number, as if they broke free of the coach's restrictive teaching environment - as well as the restrictions that the Talkie movement brought both of them in the film.

2. In any good comedy duo (or trio, in this case), there must always be a straight man. He sets up the jokes that the funny guy delivers. He contrasts the screwball comedy of his partner with dry deadpan. He acts as the audience surrogate to the shenanigans that he experiences. He's underappreciated and overshadowed, but without him, the act falls flat. Usually in this film, Gene Kelly plays the straight man to Donald O'Connor's clown, but since the two are both acting silly for this number, they needed a more serious individual to bounce the humor off of. The vocal coach is the most extreme example of a straight man; he does not respond to Kelly and O'Connor's goofiness with anything but befuddled speechlessness. No wry remarks or Moe Howard-style head bonks; he's content to just watch his student tear up the office with some nut that just walked in. He is the audience surrogate. A pair of eyes beyond the fourth wall that brings us right into the action.

3. All three men exhibit some level of masculinity. Kelly is the most masculine - he has the deepest voice, as well as a gentlemanly gait. Watson is the least masculine - his voice is highest out of the three, and he has more of a whimsicality about him that would've been considered unmanly at the time. O'Connor is somewhere in the middle - he doesn't have as deep a voice as Kelly, but he still has the mischievous nature typically associated with rowdy schoolboys. These different types of masculinity serve to separate the characters and make them more distinct and memorable.

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The pre dance movements by Gene and Donald are musical pantomime.  Donald mocks the Speech Coach with his facial expressions, while Gene over-enunciates each word, rolling his r's, and letting his voice tones move up and down the scale.  They mock him, tease him, and are mildly disrespectful.  

However, as the scene goes on, it would be hard not to dance with Gene and Donald as they danced around the professor in his straight man role.   When Gene moves him from the desk to the chair as Donald dances, you see the professor's walk/shuffle almost starts to follow the beat, but then he is thrust into the chair and Donald sits on his lap.    No dancing for him.  

As male representations, the professor is the restrained, rule follower.  Donald and Gene are the rule breakers, but comically, with a little bit of poking that comedy at the Professor's restraints.   

 

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Daily Dose - Singing in The Rain.

 

To begin.  Anyone else catch the editing mistake in the film?  Bad cut from Professor's reaction in Close-Up to Wide shot.  (roughly 50 - 52 seconds into the clip)

1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?

They begin the number with their hands. Donald begins, Gene mimicks.  And so on, when the tap dance begins.  They mirror each other.

2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.
  

The number works because the straight man makes the dance sequence funny.  He allows the other actors to look good.  "You know the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred."  Without Hardy, how good was Laurel? Without Abbott, Costello never finds out Who's on First.... 

  1. 3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

They each have a place. The professor represents authority, ripe for ridicule, and finds himself made fun of and ends up with a lampshade over his head.    Gene is the Alpha Male, Donald the best friend who team up in the dance, making fun of the Professor's role.  

 

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1.  How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?

     Just by O’Connor’s facial gags alone, you know that we’re about to head into a dance number; this is even further established by the rhythmic tempo of the elecution exercises Kelly is engaged in reciting.
 

2.  Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.

     Here, the Professor is seen as the “straight man” but he has plenty of off-beat comedic elements as well, mainly by the manner he speaks in and his spirited reaction to Kelly’s progress with the exercises. He comes across as more of a “victim” of O’Connor and Kelly’s ruse but the creative brilliance of the scene makes you easily forgive and forget what a mockery they make of the poor man.

3.  How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

     Kelly comes across as the alpha male with his self confidence in both his recitation of the speech exercise and in his brilliant dancing. O’Connor is more the beta male due to his being Kelly’s sidekick all throughout the film but he matches him with every step of the choreography in this sequence. The professor has somewhat less masculinity in comparison to the other two but it’s interesting to point out that he doesn’t have that semi-effeminate quality that so many professorial /academic characters were portrayed as having in those days,which comes across as rather refreshing.

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Wishing more attention had been paid to "Fit As a Fiddle and Ready for Love."  No Beta males here.  O'Connor is fully the equal of Kelly.   What amazing talent! !! ! 

 

 

 

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Wishing more attention had been paid to "Fit As a Fiddle and Ready for Love."  No Beta males here.  O'Connor is fully the equal of Kelly.   What amazing talent these two men had. 

 

 

 

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The pre-dance movements of O'Connor and Kelly are a precursor to what will continue on the seamless and intricate dance scene that we see next.

The role of the straight man must be a tough one because one could be tempted to laugh at the silliness around him/her. I know I would!

Kelly is obliviously the Alpha male but I don't think he could help himself. He had such a strong build and that a dazzling smile that I don't think anyone would be able to say no to. O'Connor on the other hand can be considered the Beta but when it comes to his talent to me, they were both Alphas. Watson is the straight man who is almost a prop himself in this sequence which adds more to humor of the scene.

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1) Gene Kelly's moments are almost nonexistent until he launches into the song; Donald O'Connor is aping the professors behind his back, reminding us of the junior partner status of his Cosmo character. He is acting like the little brother but once the dancing starts he is the equal to big brother Don Lockwood.

2) The professor's initial role is to be a supercilious vocal coach; his job is to get the laughs by going over the top with his overly strict insistence that Don follow his tongue twisters to the letter. Cosmo's faces put the twist in tongue twister!

   The duo quickly take over and it is now the time for the actor playing the professor to have the thankless job of staying out of the way and allow the boys to create their brand of bedlam.

3) The professor is intelligent, fussy and persnickety. This is 1950's movie code for stating that the professor is most likely a homosexual and that it is fine for all to laugh at him. Cosmo is the immature little brother type of pal to Alpha Male Don; the two dominant males pick on the older homosexual gentleman. Fortunately, no blood is shed but a stereotype is allowed to continue unabated for another few decades. 

   

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1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?

In the pre-dance movements, it's obvious that neither of the characters are really interested in the elocution lesson and are mainly there just to poke some fun. You can see how O'Connell's character clearly mocks the professor with his silly facial expressions without any qualms whatsoever. Of course, Kelly's character tries to pay attention to the lesson, but ends up getting swept up into O'Connell's jeering and jesting. Once they join forces together transitioning into the dance everything is perfectly in sync. Despite their different dance styles, Kelly and O'Connell work really well together in this sequence and it's truly special to watch them collaborate here.

2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.

The role of the Professor is quintessential straight man. With the serious undertone and deadpan expressions, clearly makes him the crux of the whole scene and essentially ties everything together. It also makes him the most vital part of the sequence in order to highlight the comedic points of the scene itself. After all, the essential role of the straight man is so he provide the humorous interpoint for the comedian to play off his absurdity in order to get a laugh. The way the Professor is willingly manipulated purely for Kelly and O'Connell's amusement illustrates this sentiment perfectly.

3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? 

Here we have the archetypes of how masculinity was portrayed in the fifties. The alpha male, as displayed by Kelly with his athleticism and agility. The beta male, as portrayed by O'Connell with his more demure and gentle nature. And, the egghead, who is depicted as a foppish kind of fellow with no purpose other than to be used as a prop for the other's amusement.

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1.  How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?

The prior to, the dance sequence Kelly and O'Connor are very laid back. They were bored, and really trying to pay attention to the professor. Once they have a rhythm going with, they decide to cut loose and make the training fun. They start off sort stiff and begin to play with the different ways to say the rhyme. When there was a change in how they said the verse, their moves coincided with the change.
 

2.  Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.

The Professor kept a straight face thru out the routine. Watching I really was not thinking whether he was straight or gay. His attitude was of a very well educated man, who in a way do not like singers/dancers. Possibly to the point of thinking this is not a respectable profession.
 

3.  How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

Kelly is for sure the leader of the pack. He can be funny but serious. O'Conner is the funny man, but can fall in line when needed. The Professor is the outsider, his demeanor is constant. Never relaxing and always stiff. The gag to make fun of the whole situation of tutoring someone on speech.

 

 

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1. For the "Moses Supposes" number in "Singin' In the Rain" (1952), the lead-off/warm-up into the dance number where Gene Kelly's characterization of Don Lockwood and Donald O'Connor's characterization of Cosmo Brown is beneficial; especially O'Connor's facial mannerisms when Bobby Watson's characterization of the instructor isn't looking.

2. Compared to Kelly and O'Connor's easy and carefree attitudes, Watson's characterization of the instructor seems a little uptight and serious when it comes to their diction lessons for sound pictures, yet the instructor is blown away by Kelly and O'Connor's "Moses Supposes" singing and dance number.

3. O'Connor/Brown would have a goofy persona; Kelly/Lockwood would be the romantic love interest and Watson/Instructor would be the strict/serious instructor.

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1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?

The pre-dance movements at the start of the clip are still indicative of the capacity to accentuate the cadence of the rhythmic enunciation of the words. They already find the music within the alliteration of the words. You can especially tell with O’Connor’s nodding of his head on the counts as the Professor speaks in rhythm.

2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.

The straight man is just as important as the pitcher to the batter…a definite symbiotic relationship. The straight man must also have an understanding for comedic timing and the capacity to play off of the pauses or beats.

3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

You have the wisecracking youngster, the uptight, studious intellectual and the alpha male in control. The dynamic of the personas within one scene, especially one as whimsical as this, not only provide for a great creative landscape, but also present the male identification and relateability on display for the moviegoers the way Bob Hope and Bing Crosby did in “The Road to…” films. At the time of redefining the cultural norms, we notice that the youth, vitality and confidence of O’Connor’s and Kelly’s characters simply dominate the scene.

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Moses Supposes is one of my favorite tap numbers and is definitely on my dance bucket list to learn one day. The way Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor turn a simple phrase into a raucous routine, also appeals to me, because it reminds me of urban rappers, like Ice Cube, Eazy E and Snoop Dog, who created rap songs out of street slang and vernacular. Visually it strongly features the strength of both dancers, and shows how complimentary they are as a duo too, making it a timeless piece.

1) How do the pre-dance movements of O'Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?

Prior to dancing, both dancers have very stiff and formal body language as they listen to and try to absorb what the Professor is teaching them about elocution. Since they're comedic performers, prone to cracking wise and making a joke out of any situation, they can't hold this pose for long so the contrast of the loose and playful routine is a way for them to relieve the tension of the situation.

2) Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.

In this scene, the Professor provides an effective backdrop for O'Connor and Kelly to perform against. He's like the viewer/audience who's watching the action unfold before him. Like him, we don't anticipate the ensuing action, and are surprised and stunned when it happens. 

3) How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

Initially, all of the characters appear to be equally serious as they work together on the required lesson of elocution for the impending introduction of sound into the movies. Their dress is similar, and although O'Connor and Kelly are younger than the Professor, they're still dressed conservatively enough for the classroom setting. When they start to make fun of him, by making faces behind his back, taking his book out of his hand to joke about the text, and turning him around by his bow tie he becomes emasculated and goes from being a superior male to an inferior one. They, in turn, become more dominant and assume the power by turning his lesson into a vaudeville routine.

 

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1.  The professor thinks the two men are truly interested in these mouthful of words, and reels off more.  This is his life’s work and it’s important to him.  Gene has managed to keep a somewhat serious look on his face, while the professor continues to read.  The prof doesn’t realize, until he comes face to face with Donald’s mocking expression, that he is the butt of a joke.  As Donald and Gene start repeating the tongue twister, they move their heads and hands in unison with the rhythm of the words.  They are in tune with each other.  Thus begins the dance.

2.  As the straight man, the professor is used as the object to produce reactions from Donald and Gene.  As the two move to the window and adorn themselves like Moses with the draperies, Gene covers the professor with the drapes and moves him like a stiff to the desk.  That is the role of a straight man – to be the stiff object that props up and propels the routine.  They put him in a chair and make him watch as they “desecrate” his desk by dancing on it.  This is the roost from which he rules.  Then they drag him to another chair and Donald sits in his lap, and points to draw his attention to Gene’s dancing.  Then Donald joins Gene in the dance, and they feign a kick in the face to the professor.  They’ve moved beyond making fun of him to intimidating him.  The final coup is when they sit the professor on his desk and pile everything on top of him.  He has truly become an object as he’s crowned with the lampshade.

3.  Gene is the alpha male, seeming more serious in the beginning, even taking the book of twisters and reading them with interest.  Then when he cuts his eyes to Donald, the jokester emerges.  He seems to take charge of moving the professor around, keeping him at the drapes, and though Donald keeps a smile on his face, Gene’s expression is somewhat intimidating.  The professor seems very wary of him.  Donald is the beta male who tries to instigate situations, but it’s up to Gene to give the go ahead.  The professor is nothing more than something to toy with.

 

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