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DMAN

Daily Dose of Delight #2: The Popular Charm of High Art Singers

8 posts in this topic

1.Mountie Sergeant Bruce and Marie seem to have a natural romantic interaction, in the first seen Bruce tries to make Marie admit she likes him and in their interactions it's easy to see that she does have romantic feelings for him to.

2. I have never seen either actor in anything else

3. The clips tell me that the main man and woman must be romantically involved, and that if their not the woman must eventually fall for the man.  

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Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald made a number of films together, but Rose-Marie was pretty much their signature film. The visual of Eddy in his mountie uniform was so iconic that the film itself inspired a musical, "Little Mary Sunshine", in which the mounties are replaced by Forest Rangers.
Rose-Marie also falls under the general category of "Northerns", movies that deal with the northwest territories of Canada and Alaska, and which frequently feature mounties as main characters.

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  1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. The 1st scene seems to be the beginning of a possible love interest between the 2 of them. He is enamored with her but she goes from no interest to some interest to not sure.  The 2nd scene is a comparison from a mild personality to flamboyant one.  The morals of the two are quite different.
  2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.  I have not seen any of the actresses or actors before.  I look forward to watching the movies.
  3. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code?  I like how love interactions are much more innocent in other times.  The feelings are still there but without the rated "R" scenes.  I think the Hollywood Code tries to keep a standard for content.   Which allows the story to change without fear of language or visual violence and more.

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What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Give specific examples.

       The first word that comes to mind concerning the interaction between Eddy and Macdonald is “bantering”. The two banter back and forth, in a fun way, throughout the first clip. He jibes her about helping her get to another man. He quotes poetry to help show he is equal to any competition. He jibes again with the lyrics singing “there is an angel’s breath beneath your sigh” and then there is a “devil in your eye”. In this he is calling it as he sees it. Her facial expression shows he is right. The attraction between the two is obvious to the viewer even though she keeps her back to him. Also obvious is the lyrics reach her heart.  Initially I thought MacDonald was just being coy…as in pretending to be a bit shy or pretending to be overtly modest. As I continued to watch I felt rather than being coy she was, instead, giving every effort to stay focused on her personal mission regardless of her personal feelings. After all, she did participate and play along within specific parameters…like when she helps give other women’s names that would fit into the song “Rose Marie”. Especially funny is her expression when she gives the name Annabelle as an option!

 

In the second clip, the interaction was SHOWN to us more than SPOKEN. I feel the acting was great. We can hear MacDonald’s fright in the fact she sings slightly off tempo and controls her vibrato to quiver with fear. (Not an easy task when one is trained to sing perfectly) She is visibly upset and finds it hard to concentrate when the piano player is trying to advise her. She is distraught when she sees Eddy…obviously embarrassed that no one is listening but him. He is not tuning her out…he is feeling everything SHE is feeling…he recognized (as we do when we watch) that she is a real trooper and does not give up easily…she turns the performance of the “regular” that steps in to take her place in to a harmonized medley…she attempts to adapt to the situation and then finds she must rise above it all…it seems to me she recognizes she is fitted for different and better things and there must be another way. As she departs you can see Eddy is right there with her.

 

 

If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.

       I know I’ve seen “I Married An Angel”, “Balalaika” and “Maytime”. Of these, “Balalaika” had the most influence on me. In “Balalaika” Nelson Eddy co-stars with Ilona Massey, rather than with Jeanette MacDonald. In the scene where Eddy Meets Massey’s father for the first time, Eddy is hiding his true identity, (he is the prince), by pretending to be a poor music student.  Because Massey is a revolutionist and works side by side with her father, brother, and other revolutionists, they are gathered together to work for the cause and are  suspicious of Eddy. They relentlessly and somewhat covertly, encourage him to prove he is a music student. Eddy sings “The Volga Boatman”. This is a traditional Russian folk song. Eddy, of course, performs beautifully. What stood out to me was the overwhelming influence it had on the group of men as a whole.  The movie shows they are moved to raw emotion. I could see passion and patriotism. I could see admiration for, not just the man’s ability to sing, but also the man himself. The group of men seemed to be transported to another time…one in which they related fully to the Burlaks (boatmen).  After his performance Eddy is trusted and respected.

       Eddy sings “The Volga Boatman” in Russian.  I was curious if any part of the lyrics would evoke such an overwhelming response from the revolutionists. My research led me to Revolvy.com (an EXCELLENT resource when searching for music/songs)… the site provided lyrics, publications, noteable recordings and arrangements, modern popular culture, references, and transliteration of the lyrics (I was so pleased with the wealth of information)… while this resource revealed nothing in the lyrics to show the response I was looking for…  The site provided another answer to my question. As with many folk songs, people can, through their own experiences, relate to “unremitting toil” and “devotion to duty”, things the boatmen experienced... Thanks to the researchers and writers at Revolvy.com.

Also in “Balalaika” there is a scene where Massey visits the grave site of her mother. She wants her mother to be “the first to know” she will be performing in her first opera AND that she has met and is in love with a wonderful man (Eddy). My own, personal relatability to missing my mother and wishing to speak with her about life’s joys and concerns became poignant.

There is SO much more detail to this movie that could be discussed.

I find it interesting that as far as preferences go, I actually prefer the operatic voice of Jeanette Macdonald. I feel MacDonald’s voice

stays true to the musical notes (singing in perfect key) and provides a better clarity to the lyrics than does Massey’s. I didn’t let this preference cause me to turn off the movie!  Stepping outside of the proverbial “preference” box took me on an interesting, and educational journey. This is proof for me that there is always value in viewing movies that, at first glance, might not be of interest.  

 

What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationship as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect one supported under the Hollywood Film Code?

        The clips shown provide an insight to the light and fun side of courting. There is also an insight to the differences between men and women. At the risk of making too broad a generalization, the first clip actually shows that men usually TELL the woman everything they need to know right away…at the first date, so to speak…in comparison women SHOW where their minds and hearts are…often through facial expression or body language. A woman reveals herself over time and as she builds trust in the man. Eddy directly tells her she needs look no further and that he is equal to all competition. He is watching her face to see her reactions and she reveals what is going on in the inside whether she realizes it or not.  There is a sweetness and innocence to the relationship and I believe it is a norm that can be expected in other films. The beautiful musical arrangements, extraordinary vocals, fantastic scenery, and interesting, romantic story line are other things I think we can expect from other movies of the era.

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  1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples.
    Nelson Eddy Woods and Jeanette MacDonald have a great chemistry in both clips. In the first clip, Woods sings to Macdonald in an attempt to pursue her. Macdonalds isn't completely giving in but you can see in the second clip when she's singing and makes eye contact towards Woods and his two lady friends she seems a bit jealous or upset. 
     
  2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.

     
  3. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code?
    A lot of the films seem to depict men as very masculine and of some type of high status whether military men, socialite or very wealthy. A lot of the women are not as wealthy and in need of some type of help or being courted.

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1.  The relationship between them is more personal, cordial, a little teasing, but proper during the Hollywood era code change.

2.   I don't recall seeing a previous film with the actor

3.   Due to the type of setting the actress was performing in, was not suitable for what the kind of music was needed to entertain

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1.  They are obviously attracted to each other, but the woman holds back a little more with her feelings. 

2.  Though I've heard of these actors and am very aware of their legendary status as an acting duo, I don't believe I've actually ever seen any of their films. 

3.  The men in the movies are very strong masculine men, while the women are often in the "damsel in distress" mode (especially in the second clip)

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What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific example

  • They are playful, attracted to each other but restrained. In both clips he looks at her longingly but doesn't make a move. In the first clip especially, Eddy is kind of "messing" with her, and she "plays" along." They have a connection, but it is a chaste one ... for now.

If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them.

  • I have not seen much of Eddy''s work without MacDonald, with the notable exception of "Dancing Lady," his film debut. He has an upbeat, less operatic number in that film, and is a little looser ... a LITTLE looser. I have seen MacDonald's films with Maurice Chevalier, and of course "San Francisco" and her dynamic with her leading men is obviously different than with Eddy ... as it should be ...  but still playful and operatic.  

What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code?

  • Look ... be playful .. but keep your distance.  What norms? The illusion of propriety. 

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