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

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This forum is to discuss Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelley as they perform in "Moses Supposes" from Singin' in the Rain. 

 

Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own):

 

  1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?
     
  2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.
     
  3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

 

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1) To me they seem to sync up well hardly noticed a difference.

2) The professor in the beginning is smiling because he thinks they are liking what he is saying as the song begins and all the way through he is looking shocked this adds to the humor of the dancing.

3) They all seem very masculine through the whole scene. I really cannot see where they contrast against each other.

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1.  I think the beginning movements are quieter, shorter, clipped which does sync up with their singing.  As they go along, the singing and movements become bigger, louder, more grandiose.  He holds the big pose when he sings "Moooooooo--ses".  

2. The professor is a great straight man.  Watch him in the beginning- he's so pleased with himself, thinking" Yes, excellent phonetics, I'm an excellent teacher".  As they go on, it's like "yes, yes, this is still phonetics."  And by the end he's like "is this still phonetics? Is this thing off rails?"  It's as if he thinks he's a wonderful teacher, even though his students are already masters of elocution.  To the point where the students can improvise a song about the excerise they just heard.  

3.  The professor plays the typical straight man, academic type.  Which has a type of masculinity.  Donald O'Connor always seemed willing to play more "feminine" movements, batting the eyelashes, almost flipping the "hair", etc.. Both O'Connor and Kelly seem to be willing to play with gender ideas or roles, like when they play with the curtains and their facial expressions and body language.  But again, they're playing off the stereotypical absent minded professor type who keeps thinking "yes, yes these are my students and I taught them excellent elocution" even though the students are clearly better with the rhythm of words than he is.

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Gosh. I must have seen this scene two dozen times since I first viewed the film in a high school course on the history of cinema. It is never old or boring. I always get sucked right in to the multi faceted satire of the film. The song and dance reflect the slapstick of the silent era from which Kelly and O'Connor are emerging to the sound era in which the studios thought that their stars had to have weirdly cultured imitations of upper class speech. (Listen to Joan Crawford in some of her early sound films, the audience is challenged to divine from what country she hails). While Jean Hagen struggles to lower her voice and round out her tones with Kathleen Freeman, Comden and Green give Kelly and O'Connor the chance to shine by dancing their way through a wild slapstick dance. The two approaches to vocal coaching demonstrate the necessity for some stars to work on their speech, (think Clara Bow who had a thick New York accent she couldn't lose) and the ridiculousness for others to try to adopt such posh accents (Cary Grant didn't need to work on his speech). Comden's and Green's talent is stratospheric. 

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

From the start, O'Connor makes it clear that he is not taking his lesson seriously. He darts his eyes back and forth across the pages of the instructor's text, moves his rubbery lips in mock imitation of the teacher, and folds his arms in a defiant position - the audience is ready for him to be outrageous. By the time the poor instructor catches O'Connor mocking him, Kelly is ready to join in the fun. He and O'Connor say the twister in cadence, and begin to use their arms in unison. When the music begins the audience is expecting the two to start singing and dancing.

O'Connor and Kelly have such different styles of dance, yet they manage to give the impression that they are in sync. O'Connor dances high and is from the arm waving school of tap. Kelly dances low, and only uses his arms  when the choreography calls for it. Kelly is full of athleticism, and has a muscular control over his movements, while O'Connor dances with abandon and is as fluid and relaxed as a rag doll. They are both highly entertaining.
 
2.Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.

A straight man's role is described as "when a comedian misbehaves with eccentricity, the straight man is expected to maintain his composure. The ability to maintain a serious demeanor in the face of even the most preposterous comedy is crucial to a successful straight man. Whatever direct contribution to the comedy a straight man provides usually comes in the form of deadpan." Our vocal coach serves as the straight man, but also becomes a source of amusement for the audience himself, so he is a little more than an straight man..

In the beginning of the scene, the coach takes his job seriously and has the expectation that his students will also pay respectful attention. For a while he thinks they do. O'Connor mocks him by pretending to pay rapt attention, leading the teacher to preen a bit with his success. As such the straight man himself becomes a figure of fun since the audience is laughing at him just like O'Connor is. As the two dancers engage in musical hi jinx, all the coach can do is watch and be used as a prop for the end of the scene when O'Connor and Kelly sing "AAAAA!"
 
3.How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?

The vocal coach is the prissy teacher (sometimes a type of character that was a sort of code signaling the audience that the character is gay; I don't think that is necessarily the message here). The coach is a silly, prissy, pedant who is the natural object of ridicule.

O'Connor is literally the class clown who starts the merriment and leads Kelly astray.

Kelly is the virile leading man who knows how to join in the fun and reject a ridiculous proposition such as speech lessons.

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

While in pre-dance mode, O'Connor continues to play the comic sidekick to Kelly's more serious, alpha male leading man. O'Connor mocks the elocution teacher while Kelly plays it straight and recites the phrases as they are presented to him. It's obvious Kelly's character does not really require speech lessons so off they go into their magnificent dance number. The elocution book is tossed and they literally take control by manhandling the teacher.  They move him into position and transition into the dance once the stage is set. In some fashion, they are working together up to this point, but with some slight variations. Once the number starts it's fast pace and high level dynamics at work.

For the most part, both Kelly's character and O'Connor's are on equal footing throughout the entire dance number. Kelly always appears just a bit stronger in movement and O'Connor a bit more flexible, but for all intents and purposes this is a mirror dance with two brilliant tap dancers performing at their peak.

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

Poor Bobby Watson, I really feel for him here. After all, the guy's just trying to do his job! (Think Margaret Dumont.) In the early part of the clip, Watson is strictly the foil for O'Connor and eventually Kelly as well once the dance setup begins. Watson does a really swell job in this scene. He's not to get irate but to serve as another prop for Kelly and O'Connor to shuffle around while they make full use of the room. He not only has to take abuse from the other two, but at a couple of points actually has to step in time and movement with the dancers when he is being escorted across the room to set up the next part of the number. Note how they place him in a chair facing the desk so that the dancing done on the desk is actually being seen by the audience from a similar angle as the teacher. Watson's acceptance of all the abuse leaves the audience feeling like he didn't really mind what was done to him, allowing the playfulness of the number to come through with no sense of guilt to bring the mood down.

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

We are dealing with a trio of personalities in this scene. The dilettante teacher, the Alpha male and the Beta male. On the surface, it is clear Kelly is the Alpha and more masculine male character while O'Connor is the Beta male and loyal sidekick to his Alpha male pal. While we have little to go on regarding the elocution teacher, he is clearly cast and written to be a neutral male character at best and more likely a shy and bookish type.

There is one notable place in the number when the Alpha and Beta males are clearly recognizable. This occurs when Kelly gets up on a chair and drapes himself with a curtain like Julius Caesar addressing the Roman Senate. A very masculine and confident pose. O'Connor, on the other hand, is on bent knee with the other side of the curtain wrapped around his head like a woman's scarf and nearly crying.

 

moses supposes.jpg

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

Their pre-dance movements match their dancing movements in both style and cadence. They match one another’s movements as effortlessly as they match their dance moves. It is uncanny and the movements are quite dance-like as shown with their synced hand poundings on the desk so similar to actual tap dancing moves. Also, in the beginning of the segue to dance when they untie the professor’s bow tie and spin him round with O’Connor going under the tie as a dance partner would with their arms.


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

He stares at them in disbelief not uttering a word paying close attention to their feet. He moves only through their propulsion of him. His stillness is in stark contrast to their energetic movement. It mimics the straight man’s role in comedic routines e.g., static vs dynamic = silent vs talkative.


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

The professor is purposely shown as more of a milquetoast, even slightly effeminate in his dandyish dress, his high-pitched voice, proper elocution and attention to detail. O’Connor and Kelly are more masculine with Kelly overwhelmingly the alpha male and O’Connor the beta male. Kelly is more physically imposing than the slim and boyish O’Connor. Kelly is the more aggressive of the two being the one who wraps the poor professor in the drapes, including his head then physically propelling him across the dance floor. O’Connor is more youthful in his actions, making faces and imitating the professor behind his back. Though they dress alike even the color of their sweaters makes a point with O’Connor wearing the youngish light “green” and Kelly the more robust dark maroon.

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

I took this as roughly their actions before about a minute in. O'Connor clearly is the one doing the most mirroring and mocking of the two (esp. the close ups of him and the professor and the exagerrated facials), though he doesn't go into humor territory with Kelly as much, which I think signals how in sync they're meant to be for their dance number, but they're each going to have their own style and movements within the core framework. Kelly's pre-dance movements aren't as noticeable as O'Connors before the dance, but he's driving the conversation and he also seems bemused. (To me this seems like some sleight of hand as Kelly seems to take up more of the space once they start dancing, though he does seem to follow along and possibly be led once the dancing starts.) 

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

He is a straight man for this number, but he's also very hammy, especially with his facials. He gradually becomes the straight man more and more as the dance goes on, and I guess he gets emasculated by being shown up so hard.

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

I'll have to chew on this some. I guess the professor is supposed to seem more of the intellectual, aggressive with the knowledge he wants to impart type. O'Connor is a bit like the boyish student, class clown type, who seemingly adores the intellectual, but really is mocking him just as much as appreciating him. O'Connor also acts with the drape like it's a head scarf, which maybe is meant to show he's playfulness gender-wise. Kelly seems more like smart jock pupil who gets what's the teacher is sayin, but he enjoys the class clown more and joking around. Plus, he's going to really show off and demonstrate that he's got it totally down. 

 

Interestingly, I think O'Connor actually starts more of the key transitions in the dance. 

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

What's noticeable about how they set up their dance is that their actions are synchronised in the way that they are playing off of one another and sort of following the other's lead - although O'Connor comes across as more of the "gag man" with his starting off the whole thing and making funny faces behind the back of the professor. Even so, from the way they step in time to the way they move their hands and speak, it's clear they are in on it together. This synchronisation sets us up nicely for the tap routine, which is essentially much of the same type of thing. We have two very talented dancers playing off of one another, mirroring each other, and delivering one of the most entertaining and choreographically complex numbers in this musical.


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

The professor plays a peripheral role throughout as the somewhat confused and helpless spectator who O'Connor and Kelly decide to have some fun with in the moment. The straight man in this sense appears to us as the stoic, constant, and somewhat square figure. Perhaps not one to break into song and dance, but one who is intrigued enough by the whole process to stick it out, even if they are the running joke of the matter. This ability to maintain a serious, upright demeanour and battle through whatever silly circumstance one finds themselves in is something the typical "straight man" would have been associated with doing.
 

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

We can view the professor in the role of the square and stoic older man, "just trying to do their job", with O'Connor and Kelly representing what can be a bit more vibrant and youthful and off the cuff about masculine self expression - albeit in a "we're the crazy artists" type of way. O'Connor represents the gag man - a class clown, friendly type. He is the other beta male in this situation, with Kelly taking the alpha spot as the sturdy leader which really comes through in his dancing - a typical trait of Kelly's manly style. And thus we have 3 different men (the oldie, the class clown, and the man's-man) and 3 different lenses through which we can view the same subject matter.

As an interesting aside - their behaviour in this number can be interpreted as matching their respective real-life ages when the picture was filmed; O'Connor is only about 27 years old here, with Kelly in the middle at around age 40. Their personas on screen are therefore somewhat appropriately hierarchical.

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

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

OK, Let’s start with the Professor/Straight Man.  He is what I would call a pseudo alpha male.  Pseudo, because his alpha status is not achieved by any innate characteristics but, rather, is assigned to him via the social convention that one defers to an expert instructor.  When that convention is ignored, as it is throughout much of this clip, then he must needs revert to his more natural status of timid little man.  Now, as a straight man he’s great, because we can see him running an emotional gauntlet as the clip progresses.  He begins with an air of affable superiority (befitting his role as expert instructor).  Then we see him run the gauntlet passing from indignation (when he catches O’Connor making faces behind his back) thru shock to confusion and, finally, stunned resignation.

So that’s the Professor as pseudo alpha male and straight man.  Now, Kelly and O’Connor are males of very nearly equal status in this clip, but not quite; because it is clear that Kelly is the alpha male here when we consider that he is the one important enough to be tutored by the expert instructor.  O'Connor is present simply because he is Kelly's buddy.  And although O’Connor initiates the flaunting of classroom convention, the sequence would not continue without Kelly’s buy-in.  So what we have here is a strong alpha male, a nearly equally strong beta male buddy and a pseudo alpha male demoted to timid little man.

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

They are already bouncing to a rhythm before the music ever begins.  That bouncing is what turns into the dance steps.  Their actions and movements mirror one another.  Steps and arm motions are almost totally in sync.  

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

Poor man thinks he's in control of this learning session.  At which point he seems to enjoy the encounter with O'Connor and Kelly because he thinks they are really interested in learning what he has to teach them.  He quickly realizes that he is being mocked and made fun of.  As he realizes that these two don't really care about his lesson, he then becomes the straight man to their antics. 

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

What I see here are the Jock (Kelly) and the class clown (O'Connor), The professor seems to be the stereotypical academic, he would have been the bookworm when he was in school.  He probably would have been the kid teased and tormented.  

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Even before O' Connor and Kelly start dancing, they are already moving with a certain musicality, as in the do not move as people who do not or cannot dance do. Their posture and movements are unlike those of "normal" people especially O' Connor who makes many exaggerated body gestures. They also circle the professor, whilst singing, in a way that is in perfect synchronisation and has real intent of movement. 

 

The straight man provides a contrast to the funny and exuberant dancing of O' Connor and Kelly. He also represents audience scepticism, as in he is as confused by the sudden singing and dancing as a person who does not dwell in the world of movie musicals would be. He also represents the undermining of authority, in that O' Connor and Kelly are poking fun at the authoritative figure of a teacher, as well as the early beliefs about sound actors having to speak in a diction that was not seen as natural or like that of movie goers, who spoke in a multitude of accents and regional dialects. He also provides humour in his own way by being the helpless observer and object of O'Connor and Kelly's good natured ribbing. 

 

Kelly is quite obviously the alpha male: he is cool and calm, finds the situation to be humorous and joins in the fun, but is not as comedic or silly as O'Connor. He also leads the dancing. Although he and O'Connor and are in sync with one another, he never looks at O'Connor during the dance but straight ahead, whilst O'Connor looks at Kelly once or twice as if to make sure that he is following Kelly's lead. O'Connor, therefore, is quite obviously the secondary or beta male who follows his more assertive and less comedic friend. The diction teacher represents the old fashioned, uptight, out of sight male, who is overwhelmed by Kelly's brand of masculinity and confused by O'Connor's humorous banter. 

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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #11 (FROM SINGIN' IN THE RAIN:

“You say laughter and I say larfter.”  (from Shall We Dance)

1. The classmates initiate gesticulates as they enunciate which punctuates what they articulate, then they graduate and matriculate into animated syncopated gyrates which dominate their educator into emasculation.

2. The professor is the lessor and his learners are the master of the lesson so they press on some more upon the lesson by digressing while the professor looks on like a moron. 

3. The Diction Teacher is a constricted creature.  O’Conners’ Cosmo is comical. 

Don Lockwood is cocksure--not awkward.  Gene Kelly is an alpha-male only in classes on musicals. 

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1. The pre-dance movements prepare the audience for their actual dance movements. They set the tone for the playful dance to come when they're poking fun at the teacher and with each other--it's going to be light-hearted and fun. Their "buddy" relationship seen prior to the dance also prepares the audience for the actual dance and how they're going to perform together.
 

2. The Professor adds to the humor of the scene by being "straight" all the way through it. He's a balance, almost a prop, between the two dancers and the audience as well. It's amazing that he can keep it together with those two performers spectacularly dancing around him!
 

3. All three men represent masculinity differently. O'Connor is the "Beta" male, the best friend, the class clown. He's smiling in a goofy way and batting his eyes while he looks at Kelly from time to time like he's seeking his approval. Kelly is the "Alpha" male--he's smooth, confident, and holding the center when he's dancing. The professor is the straight man, adding to the humor of the scene. All three of these men accurately reflect the gender roles in American culture at the time--O'Connor is the best friend, Kelly is the Leading Man, and the professor is "the old guard." 

 

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

The two main characters are in constant movement throughout the singing. The excitement of their movements builds until they break out into their wonderful energetic dance.

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

The professor starts the scene excited to impart his knowledge of phonetics. He is put off by Donald making fun him. While they dance, he seems to really like their performance. They pull him into the dance when they walk him over to another chair. His little bouncy step as he’s walking makes you think he will join in on the dance, but they quickly push him down.
 

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

Gene is definitely the alpha male. Donald is the comic relief. The professor role is effeminate. When the guy start  dancing together they are on equal footing. I get the feeling that even though Gene Kelly dances in way that seems to take very little effort, but Donald’s dancing seems even more effortless. I feel like Gene is tring to out dance Donald, but Donald matches him step for step with a goofy expression on his face. The steps in this dance are so innovative and in sync with music. Every time I watch it I see something new.

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Daily Dose #11 "Singin' in the Rain" 1952 

MGM Arthur Freed (Freed unit)?

Pre-dance moves...um...never heard of that...it is clear here what it means &  the routine is funny...the poor professor is the joke in this clip "Moses Supposes"

The big red over sized mouth & lips stressing the A ...E...I...O...U vowels  sounds on the wall...luv it!!!

I'll watch this again & again...the clip ... & it makes me want to re-watch the movie

I like Gene Kelly although I have read in various places that when Gene was good he was very very good & when Gene was bad he was very very bad...as in if he liked YOU it was great & if he did not like YOU it was not so great

:)  I do luv to watch him dance & his partner Donald O'Conner was right in step w/Kelly as he should be... I like the way Kelly rolls his "Rs" while O'Connor makes funny faces behind the poor professors face & after the dance is over... they trash out  the poor professor & wreck the room..bad boys who can dance & sing & dream &  if they want to they can ...sing in the rain 

 

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  1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements?
    they are keeping a rhythm (hands smacking the desk) that is similar to the one that they will be keeping when tapping around.  
  2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man.
    he is appalled by their antics at first, but then keeps straight faced and observes their movements never trying to stop them even as they place trash and all kinds of stuff on top of him.  He is treated and becomes a prop in the scene between Kelly and O'Connor
  3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?
    they are all dressed like men, but what O'Connor and Kelly are wearing is more relax and a guys guy wear for that time, while the professor is in a suit to make him seem more uptight. The dancing that Kelly and O'Connor perform is masculine and wide armed and acrobatic showing off their manly physiques.  While the professor is timid and withdrawn to their behavior he is being moved around like a chess piece by two men that are stronger than him.  It is showing that he's not the same type of man as the two friends but rather a "square" that they can push around.  

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The pre-dance movement is more of O'Connor playing the funny guy behind the professor while Kelly feeds off of what O'Connor is doing behind the elocution teacher. As the song & dance start & progress both men seem to mirror each other, dragging the poor milquetoast teacher along with them as if he were only a prop in the beginning & middle of the dance. They eventually let go of him & continue the dance, mirroring each other until the finish. As we look at the entire number & the elocution teacher, in the beginning he is the teacher. It eventually gets turned on him by first O'Connor & then Kelly. They become the teacher, schooling the straight guy how they really feel about these lessons. It's like 2 class clowns bored with the class & their shenanigans takes over that part of the class & the teacher losing control. As far as all three men, we have a wannabe-Alpha male in the teacher aka straight man who loses his status once the fin begins. O'Connor initiates the fun probably like most class clowns (or beta-male buddy) he's bored just being there while Kelly is going thru the elocution exercises. Kelly catches on & starts making fun of the lesson he's getting & the two start to dance around & often using the teacher as a prop for their fun. The teacher is forced to relinquish his role as teacher & gets schooled by Kelly & O'Connor in the art of dancing & elocution. I see both alpha male & beta male (buddy) as having equally strong characters in this scene whole the straight while they teach their version of the lesson to the teacher.

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This scene is reminiscent of a Martin and Lewis routine.  On the one hand, you have the comic relief (Donald O'Connor/Jerry Lewis).  Then you have the smooth masculine type (Gene Kelly/Dean Martin).  The straight man (the stuffy, out-of-touch professor) provides the opportunity for O'Connor/Lewis and Kelly/Martin to showcase their individual talents.  In this case, O'Connor provides the humor with his facial contortions and frenetic movements.  Kelly  remains smooth during the conversational portions of the scene but displays his athleticism and grace during the dance sequence.  Each character compliments each other and blends humor, song, dance, and sex appeal into one cohesive scene. 

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1. I actually just directed this show in  my middle school! Cosmo is such a classic comedic sidekick. His moves mimic/make fun of the professor. Both dance moves happen with the "beat" of the statement. THey are both so talented and their dance moves are genius!

2. He seemed very straightlaced, a character that is very serious and does not mess around. He also does not like the fact that Don and Cosmo are not taking the lesson seriously.

3. Al three are very different masculine characters. Cosmo is the comedic relief, Don is the heartthrob, and the professor is the stoic, quiet male.

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1. In the pre-dance sequence we see Gene getting what he considers a necessary diction lesson. He tries to repeat what the professor says with earnestness. Donald on the other hand mocks the professor, what is being said and the whole idea of diction lessons. Once they move into the dance sequence everything is in sync. The movements, dance steps, taps, etc. Each one gets a turn to show off a bit but for the most part they are dancing in unison.

2. The straight man is supposed to take what he is doing in a serious manner. The mockery of Donald goes right by him as Donald says, "Say another." The professor picks his "Chester Chewy Chives" piece and says it with all seriousness. He starts out with enthusiasm as he thinks he is really helping Gene with his dictation. He frowns a bit when he catches Donald making faces and realizes that Donald and Gene are making a mockery of the whole situation. 

3. We see 3 male types: 

  • The Professor - an earnest, straight-laced conservative type, all bow-tied up, standing and demonstrating proper diction.  He is an older man, perhaps representational of another time period.
  • Cosmo Brown (Donald O'Connor) - Here we see a man who is supposed to be the same age as Don Lockwood yet he seems younger with a more playful, youthful exuberance. I almost feel like he looks up to Don and wants to be just like him...when he grows up.
  • Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is the consummate alpha male persona. He presents himself as the strong, athletic, confident hero who always get the girl. What he learns is that his alpha male roles are not always attractive to women especially one woman, Debbie Reynolds, who initially dismisses him as a "shadow on film."
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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. 

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I definitely see Kelly as the dominant dancer in the beginning but it all evens out very quickly and then no difference is seen at all. My attention was on the Professor as I always find the straight man to be quite clever and full of wit. He came off so genuine and capable that I was captavated by him. His frustration at O’Connor was so fabulously portrayed I didn’t want it to end. I always thought those playing the straight stole the scenes. 

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1. The pre-dance movements act as a musical opening to the song, allowing the song to flow smoothly.

2. The professor is very serious and very uptight.  He wants everything done his own way.

3. The professor is the straight man, Don is the serious man who has no problem showing a certain level of emotion, and Cosmo is the clown. Each character has differing levels of masculinity.  The professor tries to be the most masculine by wearing a suit and behaving in a serious manner, but his inability to keep Cosmo and Don under control and being reduced to a prop makes him the least masculine person in the scene.  Don is the alpha male and proves that he can be both serious and funny at the same time.  Cosmo is the beta male, he is fairly masculine, but he does not take himself seriously enough to worry about his masculinity.

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4 hours ago, Jon Severino said:

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #11 (FROM SINGIN' IN THE RAIN:

“You say laughter and I say larfter.”  (from Shall We Dance)

1. The classmates initiate gesticulates as they enunciate which punctuates what they articulate, then they graduate and matriculate into animated syncopated gyrates which dominate their educator into emasculation.

2. The professor is the lessor and his learners are the master of the lesson so they press on some more upon the lesson by digressing while the professor looks on like a moron. 

3. The Diction Teacher is a constricted creature.  O’Conners’ Cosmo is comical. 

Don Lockwood is cocksure--not awkward.  Gene Kelly is an alpha-male only in classes on musicals. 

Insightful point, Jon. You wrote: "Gene Kelly is an alpha-male only in classes on musicals."

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Let's just get out of the way that Donald O'Connor is a delight.  He's absolute mischief in human form in this film, but he's self-effacing that it isn't destructive or counter-productive. Again, the clown, as traditional character plays his part perfectly to deflate positions of power. Gene Kelly is a hunk a hunk a burning greatness in taps, but for my money Donald O'Connor, although not the lead, almost steals the show from Gene. 

 

Now, to the three gents.   The direction of movement is seamless into the dance number. Breaking into song almost seems the most natural thing to do the way it lead into it. At least, that's the excuse I give when I break into song or dance in daily life.  At least here, it's in the script. 

 

I'd like to address the anti-intellectual streak in America that we see play in the treatment of the professor.  It is highly traditional in Western culture to undercut the intellectual. That is the manly thing done here by O' Connor and Kelly.  As much as I love the number -- and, boy, do I -- it depends upon undermining and making a buffoon of the professor.  The lead and support are manly in their making fun of the intellectual. As the support, O'Connor is the sillier and more colorful of the two males while Kelly is smoothly dismissive of the same. He is in more subdued color.  His dance is just a tick under the animated facial and physical gestures of O'Connor -- making him "the cool guy" alpha.  Hearing that Levant was Freed's preference over O' Connor, I am glad they went with O'Connor as this is a masterful performance. Levant was an intellectual himself and would be hard pressed to fit into the character of as we know it. One of my frustrations with Hollywood (and the ticket purchasers) is the inability to embrace a Levant as the male lead type. 

The anti-intellectual bent we are seeing at a fevered pitch in our current decade can look to the history of its depiction here. It is all in good fun, but it feeds the view of intelligence as buffoonish and out of touch. As I go for the brainy type (which Kelly and O'Connor most certainly were but played the character of the causal average Joe), I really hate this trope and how it feeds culture's embrace or rejection of intellect in politics, business -- in everything. I know we have geek chic going on, but present-day America is most assuredly anti-intellectual, so the depictions of the three male characters here, as funny as it is, depresses me this week. 

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