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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #14 (From TWO ROBERT PRESTON FILMS)

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Today's forum is on Robert Preston and two roles he has played. If you recall, you saw clips from The Music Man and Victor Victoria. Please post your comments here.

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

  1. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable?
     
  2. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?
     
  3. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work?

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1) I would say the most noticeable is that men do not have to be an alpha male in these movies. They can take charge but they also can take more wide ranged roles such as playing gay where as before this would not have happened.

2)I notice he is versatile and can play many different kinds of roles he pulls you into the scene with him.

3) I have not seen any other of his movies

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Meredith Willson called "The Music Man" a Valentine to Iowa, and "An Iowan's attempt to pay tribute to his home state." He revealed all of the rivalries, small mindedness, pettiness, meddling, and family interconnectedness of small town, midwestern life in the early part of the last century. It is clear Willson remembered all of his childhood lovingly.

This is a very different musical concept from "Victor/Victoria in which Julie Andrews asks: "So, I'm a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman?" The gender bending concept also contains a lead gay male character portrayed by Preston, who also plays the Music Man in the earlier film.

1.As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable?

To compare and contrast both roles, Preston is essentially a con artist in each movie, who cheats and tricks others persuading them to believe things that are not true. Based on the time period in which each story was released to the public, and in which each story is set, ("The Music Man" 1962, set in 1912) ("Victor/Victoria" 1982, set in 1934) is determinative of the type of characters which were available for the American public to see. In 1962, a con man could be many things, but not out and out gay, and 20 years later, he could be many things including openly gay.
 
2.What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?

As the "Music Man" Preston sees the character as a cross between a hustler and a revival preacher. In many ways his performance is akin to Burt Lancaster's portrayals of "The Rainmaker" (1956) and "Elmer Gantry" (1960). In both Lancaster performances he dances around gracefully, with well defined movements and speech, invading other characters' personal spaces, while trying to ensnare them in his web of lies. Preston's movements are in the same well-defined mode, his diction is also precise and understandable even though he is speaking rapidly, and he also uses his hands quite gracefully for a man. It makes me wonder if one didn't study the other's performance while crafting each character. Since "The Rainmaker" is the first production, we will have to give the credit to Lancaster.

While the Music Man is not a nasty, insulting individual, Preston's character in V/V is. He is particularly disparaging to members of his audience after he delivers his song. Although Preston gives a more subdued performance of his song in our clip, as befits his cabaret singer, he is still Preston and utilizes the same well defined physical movements as in the "Music Man." In fact, I found him to be a bit limp wristed in both portrayals, which might have simply been the manner in which Preston used his hand to express himself. His diction and enunciation, however, is not quite as precise as in "Trouble."


 3.Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? 

Personally, I always find Preston to be rather charming and seductive. In "Marion," he is very tempting and provocative. Other films in which I have seen him are "Union Pacific" (1939), "Beau Geste" (1939), and "Reap the Wild Wind" (1942). In most of his films, Preston was a secondary leading man, and in two of the films mentioned he is a sort of charmer who goes wrong, betraying the leading man each time. As far as his acting technique, Preston  could obviously play a wide variety of parts, including roles requiring triple threat duties. He was a well rounded versatile actor whose greatest success was in the legitimate theater.

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I feel in love with Robert Preston when I first saw him in The Music Man.  It's my second favorite musical, the first being My Fair Lady.  I think he does a good job portraying a gay man.

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1.  As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable?

Going into this new era, films are moving away from the male dominated movie characters.  Female leads are more prominent (The Unsinkable Molly Brown) with Debbie Reynolds. Debbie's previous characters, were always the young girl in love. With her presence in Hollywood, she can carry a movie on her own.

 

2.  What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?

In both clips, it shows how he captures his audience, with his performance. In the Music Man, he brings this town into a frenzy over a pool hall opening up. How the children were endanger of becoming degenerates. Telling the parents to watch the kids closely. Victor/Victoria presents Toddy as a performer, who is liked and disliked by some. Toddy is not afraid to be honest even if it is crude.
 

3.  Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work?

After looking over Mr Preston filmography, I did see the move "The Last Starfighter" It was so long ago, I vaguely remember his character Centauri. I believe in that movie, it was just his voice. I do not remember seeing him in character.

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1. What I notice is that the alpha male steps aside & becomes a beta male to the leading lady in many cases. In the case of "Victor/Victoria" in which he plays an openly gay man which was not heard of in the previous decades.

2. Preston captivates audiences in both movies. He convinces the town in "The Music Man" that the kids are in trouble & could become delinquents & he was there to save the day. In "Victor/Victoria" as an openly gay man, he extends that openness to the song he sings & by extension the rude comments he makes to the 3 persons who hide behind their own facade & brings their true nature to the forefront.

3. The few movies I've seen with Preston, I've always found him to be a charming character. Somehow I feel he put a lot of himself into the characters he portrayed. Besides "The Music Man" & "Victor/Victoria", I've seen him in the 1970s version of "Mame" with Lucille Ball & "The Last Starfighter" where he plays a charming alien named "Centauri" who is out recruiting pilots for the "Star League" (galaxy fighter pilots) by devising tests in the form of video games for the planet Earth & other planets in the system.

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  1. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable?

 

The male character are more willing to show emotion.  They are less stoic and contained. 

  1. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?

Both of these guys are manipulative.  Maybe in slightly different ways but it's still there.

  1. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work?

I haven't seen a lot of Robert Preston's work.  Last Starfighter is one that comes to mind first.  In a lot of ways that character is like the professor in Music Man.  As he is trying to sell an idea to someone.

 

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Daily Dose #14  Robert Preston as actor in "Music Man" 1962 & "Victor Victoria" 1982

About seeing Preston in other movies...i have probably watched a lot of those he was in after I checked the list but cannot remember  a specific character ...I do remember him in Victor Victoria...hard to forget that one!!! The reason being that I was younger then & the movie was so different than any other I had watched. I'll start my comments for this DD w/ Victor Victoria b/c I remember it so well.

A sad little luv story w/a happy ending...I was glad it ended the way it did...it was so sweet James Garner & Julile Andrews were very popular then & everybody knows who they are

Blake Edwards was married to Julie  Andrews then...wonder if she really had to audition for that part? She was so good in "The Sound of Music" by the way & such good songs

NOTE:  I had Glee Club in high school (long time ago) ? & I want to mention that we sang  many, many of these songs I'm hearing in these musicals...boo hoo...bittersweet memories for me

Anyway, back to the subject/topic...Julie Andrews said she watched a 1935 movie: "First A Girl" to prepare for  her role as Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinski & the movie is a re-make from the German film:  Vikor und Vikoria (Wiki)...also, Peter Sellers who died in 1980 was the first choice to play "Toddy" Todd but Preston stepped in

Luv triumphs over everything else in this sweet charming movie musical

The clip chosen for the DD has Preston/Todd ducking punches... so some people want to hit him but they miss every time (in the clip) he continues along his merry way & the film ends happily

"Music Man" 

Here Preston as the Flim Flam Man...he is good in this one

A note about what he wears...the same belted style suit coat as Jack Buchanan/Jeffrey Cordova in "The Band Wagon" ...same designer maybe or just the style of that era...looks very British to my eye

Preston through song "Ya Got Trouble" provides a dire parental warning to his audience on the streets of River City Iowa...trouble, trouble, trouble is on its way through pool playing...the kids might start using phrases like 'swell' & 'so's your ol' man'...terrible!!! They would die to hear what kids say now days!!! & their parents too ?

The "Think System" comes into play in the movie where by one only has to think repeatedly of musical notes & just know how to instantly play it...if only that were true

I won't comment about the movie in a summary that is going outside of the clip & I have already done that a bit

The scary words 'Devil's Tool' is mentioned in the song Preston sings in the clip...yes trouble X3 is on its way in the pool hall in River City Iowa...it must be true..the parents almost hit a child in the audience...this provides humor as everything he sings about is shown in the audience watching him sing about the evils there...this is a good way to quickly illustrate what he sings about...I like that about this clip

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I think that there are more different male roles as musicals develop. They don’t have to be the lead in the show within a show but can play more nuanced characters like Teddy and also Henry Higgins or Fagin.

Preston is great at drawing his audience in as he does in both clips but with different results. He is always deep into whatever role he plays and inhabits the part.

i can’t recall seeing him in roles other than the musicals.

 

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1. I feel like Robert Preston is a new kind of huckster. He comes with the fast talking lines one expects from a travelling salesman but he's not the aggressive, overly masculine (alpha male) type who wants to tell you all about what you've been missing because you don't have his products. He's more of a cajoler who can appeal to the people he is with and win them over with charm. If you look at the opening scene on the train, the other salesman seem angrier and more aggressive. They don't like the breezy, devil-may-care charm of Harold Hill because it flies in the face of the personae they've created. 

2. It seems to me that in both performances he doesn't take himself too seriously. He is confident in who he is...with all of the shortcomings and I think his expectations for himself fall within certain boundaries.  He doesn't seem to have any long-term plans. He's just moving through life, experiencing it along the way, and grabbing what he can so that he has some satisfaction. 

3. I recently saw "Wake Island" which is a war picture set in WWII where marines are trying to stay alive and prevent the Japanese from taking their little outpost. When I watched the film I didn't know he was in it but it was Preston's voice that caught my attention. It's so distinct. I must admit that initially I had a hard time  seeing him as a dramatic actor but I stuck with the film and was able to put that musical persona aside. My experience with him was through two things both of which that came out in 1962 and were both written by Meredith Wilson:

  • "The Music Man"
  • The "Chicken Fat" song. That song was part of my daily elementary school life. It was the official song of JFK's Presidential Council on Physical Fitness program. I actually have that song on my iPhone and still use it to exercise...56 years later!  
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I don't recall seeing Robert Preston in anything but musicals so I really can't say anything about his approach to acting.

In musicals of the past, men didn't really show emotion and were not in touch with their "feminine" side.  As movies changed over the years, men still play the tough guy, but they also show more of their feelings and are willing to shed a tear or two.

What I notice most is Robert Preston's style of singing, it is like he is more or less talking in rhythm.  Also his characters manipulate people to get what they want. 

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The past ideas that men were tough and aggressive were often shown and now we are seeing a more softer side a less threatening side. I don’t know if it’s the main focus or goal of the industry but it’s a definite cultural swing. Sexuality was/is a large factor as to base masculinity on and these films definitely allow better representation to be heard and seen.  

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DIFFERENCE HE PLAYING A CON MAN TO WHICH HE IS EXCELLENT DIFFERENCE IS HE COULD PLAY BEING GAY IS OPENLY WITH DIGNITY. HOW THE WEST WAS WON AS THE WAGON LEADER FALLING IN LOVE WITH DEBBIE REYNOLDS WITH THE SAME EMOTION AND THE SAME DIGNITY. GREAT ACTOR SHOULD BE REMEMBER.

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1.    As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? That’s a huge question and there’s not one simple answer. I would say that Robert Preston’s performance in The Music Man (1962) follows a tradition of alpha male musical performance in film that include James Cagney in Footlight Parade (1933) and Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942); Nelson Eddy in the Jeanette MacDonald operettas; Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), and others; Howard Keel in Kiss Me Kate (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), and others; and Yul Brynner in The King and I (1956). A bigger departure from tradition came two years later with The Beatles in A Hard Day’s Night (1964). There was no attempt to make these men dominant over the women in their lives or even the other men. They were more akin to beta males, perhaps, but quite unlike Dick Powell (during his “juvenile” years in Warners musicals) or Donald O’Connor, whose screen personas goofed around but worked hard with others to make the show at hand work. John, Paul, George & Ringo were grown boys more interested in their own famous lives than in the cares of a central plot. Their concert performances are more related to Elvis Presley’s swagger in Jailhouse Rock (1957) than to men in traditional musicals of the time.

2.    What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? There is a wry confidence in both performances that he can win over the audience at hand through singing clever lyrics and moving toward and among them. In “Trouble,” he holds himself sturdily the whole time without the dips and bends that highlighted the dancing of Fred Astaire and others. When he describes “Sittin’ on Dan Patch,” he moves like a muscular athlete. Harold Hill’s frequent gesturing to the crowd of parents is done with the command of a master charlatan. In the Victor/Victoria (1982) clip, Toddy provokes the (comic) violence that occurs in response to his droll insults. Preston moves with characteristic physical confidence.

3.    Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? Preston was in two films at Paramount in 1939 that anticipate the gleeful masculine confidence he projects in his musicals. In Beau Geste, he is Digby, the energetic younger brother of Gary Cooper and Ray Milland, whose adoration of his brothers and the Foreign Legion leads to sacrificing for them. In Union Pacific, he is the charming bad guy (pre-dating Harold Hill) who is the losing part of a love triangle with Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea in the Old West. Preston fits in easily in the “masculine” worlds of these stories and his energy and humor suggest the success he would later find in stage and screen musicals.

The Music Man Trouble1.jpg

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During the Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals men were depicted on screen as strong and in control of situations, protecting their loved ones. They were romantic and respectful of women. There was courtship between men and women. This was part of a code of conduct clearly defined in the movies.

As we reached the 1960s things started to become more liberal. There were not as many boundaries in relation to the way violence, race, language and sexuality was played out on film. We were exposed to more options; bisexuality and homosexuality for example. Hence, there were new characters in film and a wider array of mannerisms and expressions that actors could explore in their work.

Both clips are centred on the idea of an individual voicing his view and opinions to a group of people. He has an agenda and does not hesitate to communicate it to the public. He is almost like a public speaker on a soapbox.

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1. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation and performance would you say are most noticeable?

Male characters tend to be less aggressive and rely more on charisma to achieve their goals.

2. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?

In the clip from "The Music Man", Harold Hill is basically inventing a social problem for the sole reason of selling products. At first, he's interacting with only one person before a crowd starts to form. In a smooth, fast-paced delivery, he convinces the crowd that playing pool is causing their kids to become troublemakers. The clip takes place in a large outdoor area, allowing him to be more energetic in his movement.

In the clip from "Victor/Victoria", Toddy is performing in a Paris nightclub singing a song about how wonderful Paris is. His demeanor and singing style in the clip appears to be very casual. The clip takes place in a crowded indoor area, limiting his movement to wandering through the audience while singing.

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As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable?

There seems to be less of an effort by male characters to take control in an overt, aggressive way. There is less bullying/strong arming which served to put women in their cultural place especially through song. Preston is a great example of this change as he smoothly, cleverly takes control of the scene (and situation) with both of these characters. One might argue it then may be construed as manipulative but I find it to be more an effort towards individual expression and an invitation for discussion and conversation.

What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?

He remains very present to his character at all times whereas I found in previous musicals we have watched there is a slight shift in the performer from character to singer - they take you away from the story with their singing. With Preston - I stay present.

Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work?

I haven't seen him in other films so I cannot comment on his dramatic work although I would imagine he was equally wonderful. I did however see him (and met him after) on Broadway in the 70s in the production of BEN FRANKLIN IN PARIS. He was an amazing Ben Franklin and highly believable. And he had the MOST amazing, intense eyes ever.

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Response to #1.

As we marched through the decades from the 20s onward, we definitely saw the rise of the "alpha-male." Leading men in musicals of the 20s/30s could as easily be depicted as lone wolfs or betas instead of the alpha roles that they inhabited during the late 1940s and 1950s. Conformity played a huge part in the male characters depicted in the musicals post-war. Preston's performances in these two musicals seem to indicate a shift from that conformity to something a little looser, less stringent, more free-wheeling, definitely more of its time. But, I've never thought of his character in Victor/Victoria as anything less than "alpha." He takes charge. 

Response to #2.

Preston is ALL about every small gesture having a meaning of its own. He does nothing superfluously. Each action is intentional and makes sense within the workings of the scene, the song, whatever he is doing on screen. I love to watch his hands. They are so expressive! 

Response to #3. 

Yes. His father-figure opposite Steve McQueen in Junior Bonner is one for the ages. Again, his actions are so intentional, and particularly in Junior Bonner, you have to watch what he is doing, because there isn't a lot of excessive speech in that film. So much of the story is told via eyes, facial expression, and body language. 

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Robert Preston was a consummate actor..witness his performances in the two clips we are shown. In "The Music Man" he is a con man who has a come to Jesus moment at the end of the movie and can actually do what he has been intimating he can do all through the movie. In "Victor/Victoria" his every gesture is tuned to the character he is playing...I loved how he got everyone riled up in that clip! I also saw him in "S. O. B." by Blake Edwards in which he played a doctor.  His doctor is a hypochondriac and is constantly griping that he needs to take a nap, he has a hangover, he needs a B12 shot, etc.  In each of these movies, Robert Preston can tell the story with just a gesture.

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/1198482/S-O-B-Movie-Clip-Thank-God-I-m-Not-A-Surgeon.html

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l enjoyed both of the Robert Preston films but l enjoyed  Victor/Victoria the best to me he did his best work in that movie musical he really showed what and actor can do with the right training that they were now getting and he had it all, he really show us what gay people were like and not to fear them so much l think at least that is what l thought l real think he was so good in the part that he stole the movie from Julie and just made it his l looked forward to seeing him in the movie and what he was going to do not so much what character was going to do. .

L know l have seen him in other movie that were not musical but l cannot think of the names right now. L just know l enjoy him he the musical l have seen him in. l am so involved listen to the music l forget to think about the question so l have to go back several times to get the answer so my answers or not always on the right questions sorry.

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1. There is much more variety in the types of males portrayed in the films. In the first clip the Preston character seems like an alpha type male, but he is using his skills to fool the townspeople, who are awed by his confidence. In the second clip you have the realistic (as opposed to stereotypical) portrayal of a gay man.

2. He plays both characters so well, displaying how versatile his acting is. His attention to detail and precision in his character's gestures is amazing.

3. I have only seen the Music Man, but after studying these clips, I will definitely be seeking out more of his films.

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So the first thing I need to write is that I never before noticed how this clip from Music Man inspired the song sequence from Monorail episode of The Simpsons, with Phil Hartman voicing the huckster.  

My opinion on question 1 varies from some of the other posters.  I feel that the move away from Astaire or Kelly like dancing and operatic singing was done to make the male performers more masculine.  I don't know when, but I feel that song and dance became coded as gay and/or feminine. Men can still perform, but they can't be too showy (or flamboyant, to use a term laden with connotations). In these two clips, Preston doesn't do anything that makes his character come across as a Julliard School graduate. But he is obviously well trained in such arts, which makes the clips and his performance effective.  

This model of male acting appears to influence other musicals that cast male leads who lacked song and dance training.  Think of Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood in Paint Your Wagon.  Or Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd.  Those actors are asked to sing along (not really sing) and essentially be their sexy, swaggering selves.  

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Robert Prestons roles in his earlier non-musical films were strictly masculine and asexual. He personified the cowboy who gets the girl or the grittiest of bad guys who do anything for money by betraying friends and women yet still even with his first movie showed how a quality, professional actor can do more than just read lines or sing songs. He makes you actually enjoy or root for his character and the bad guys. 

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  1. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable?
     
  2. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?
     
  3. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work?

1-Some of the most noticeable changes in the role of male musical performers play in films is the fact that the leading man does not have to be necessarily handsome, suave, or even a good person anymore. He does not need to be dressed in full tuxedo and tails, he does not have to be so good looking that all women swoon, and he does not have to be a hero or a "good guy", he can be some of these, but does not have to be all, or any, but can still be the lead. The lead also does not have to be a perfect singer/crooner or dancer, he can be an "average guy" who happens to break into song, not a Sinatra or Crosby, just a joe who happens to be singing.

2- Preston is not, what I would say, traditionally handsome or chiselled, but there is a quality about him, you don't want to like his characters, but you like him, so he wins you over, this is also due to his great acting ability, to find the good in the bad. He has an honesty about him, even when he's a cad, you see him intentionally misleading people but he does it so well that you almost root for him to succeed, that is a certain kind of charm that you don't come by easily. He is a bit gravelly voiced, has a harder face, he's not a young 20-something handsome, but yet he is appealing and attractive.

3-In the few films I have seen him in, he has always seemed like one of those actors who was old, even when he was young, and I don't mean that as a negative, but he always played more mature to me. "How The West Was Won" and "Mame" are two films I have seen him in where I confess I didn't give him the credit he is well due until I thought about his brilliance in "Music Man" I can't think of him without associating "Harold Hill" On reflection, I feel like I always have empathy for his character, no matter what the film, which leads me to understand it was his wonderful work as an actor as the parts he plays are as varied as can be. He always seemed "stagey" to me, despite his amazing filmic resume, he just leaps up a little bigger off the screen than some, "he's a music man, mighty proud to say it!"

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As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable?

In general, the masculine performances changed with the styles of music--relaxed jazz (Bing Crosby in Going Hollywood), stalwart operetta (Nelson Eddy in Naughty Marietta), charming standards (Fred Astaire in Easter Parade), rebellious rock and roll (Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock), and rough-edged rock (Kris Kristofferson in A Star is Born).  I'd put Robert Preston's performance in The Music Man in a category of consummate professionals from musical theatre, which could include Yul Brynner The King and I, Rex Harrison My Fair Lady, and Joel Grey Cabaret.

What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips?

Preston is in complete command during "Ya Got Trouble", verbally, visually, and physically.  By speaking loudly and confidently to one man first, he has confidence others will listen and gather around (they do).  He knows his effect on the citizens of River City, and he plays them like an orchestra conductor.  Preston's Toddy in Victor/Victoria works his audience there much the same way.  There's a tradition among some gay cabaret performers to comically "insult" the patrons, and when he calls out the pretentious patrons (probably his friends) at that table he knows he's giving the rest of the room exactly what they want.

Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work?

Preston was very good in Beau Geste, Reap the Wild Wind, How the West Was Won, Semi-Tough, and S.O.B.  However, none of those seem to present everything he has to give as much as Victor/Victoria and (especially) The Music Man do.  His warm, textured baritone singing voice shows him at his best in fully capturing a character's essence.  Listening to the original cast recordings of I Do!  I Do! and Mack and Mabel further demonstrate Preston's charm as an actor/singer.

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