Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #16 (From FUNNY GIRL)

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1.    How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

She would have seemed more worldly, less unsure of herself. When you belt a song you don’t have the luxury of adding all the emotion that Barbara was able to add to the soulful rendition she gave in the movie. I was lucky enough to see her perform this on stage and it was wonderful. And I was younge enough, my teens, to think that was the way to sing it. But in later years, hearing the soulful rendition on LP, the verdict falls to the movie version. The emotion and feeling she pumps into that song is memorable.

2.    Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

She seems unsure in the beginning. Walking away from him rather than with him. She faces him partially and then turns away again. As she reveals more about her feelings, she turns her back to him or looks down while he stares at her drinking it all in. As she continues, she can look at him and even smile. While he continues to calmly look. She looks conflicted throughout the song. He looks serene.

3.    How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

Barbara stays well lit thru the whole scene while Omar stays sort of in the shadows like his profession. He is almost always in profile except when the camera goes to him to get his reaction to the words and then it is full front but he is still positioned below her and away while she is higher up, bigger and brighter lit. She’s trying to explain her feelings to a man she doesn’t think will understand. She knows he’s weak and has hopes she can make him stronger. Her being bigger and brighter is meant to draw him to her and convince him to be with her.

 

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Striesand really puts her self into this song we see her shyness and how reflective she is the camera follows her and captures all the emotion putting Omar Sherif in the background. In doing that it let's her shine.

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I think that if she had belted out the song People that it would have spoiled the whole theme of the movie.  She is showing that she is human and has a love for people.

She and him are interacting because the have the same feeling about things.  She is saying that everyone needs to have people and that poeple that have someone with them they are happy.

You see her in almlost every part of the scene.  From the beginning when she starts to talk the him and when she moves to the steps to when she is huging the lamp post.

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This is a beautiful song and I think Streisand does it so well here. If it was "belted out" I'd say it would lose a lot of what you see. The intimacy, the vulnerability would be gone and so would the softness of her character. And I like how there's a distance between them here as she sings the song as well. You see the chasm that is widening between them, that they both want different things. The fact that Fanny is off on her own, on the stairs, seems to say that she knows she could lose him. Yet the song still has her yearning to be w/him and to be close to him. It's a very interesting dynamic. 

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The song "People" starts out with a puzzling generality: "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world." Isn't needing people kind of a mainstream way of feeling rather than lucky? As the song switches from generalities, we see that its real subject is people who are afraid to show their feelings. Finally the song conjures up a hopeful vision of lovers who find the person who makes them whole. These lyrics and their music in no way suggests a number that should be belted or boffo. We are not in "Hello, Dolly" territory here. (Dolly, of course, has her own wistful song about the parade passing by.) Instead we go deeper and deeper into the emotional world of Fanny/Barbra.

The scene comes after Fanny and Nick have left the party and are alone together. Nick stays on the fringes, intently looking at Fanny, but she is not looking at him. As she climbs the stairs, we get a closeup that shows her deeply within herself. If these people are ever going to be real lovers, they have a great distance to bridge. Or maybe the issue is that Streisand is more in love with the idea of love than she is with the real person Nick.Though this scene is in a film, the lighting and blocking seems more to suggest a stage star under a spotlight than a woman finally alone with the man she is falling in love with. 

But it's a beautiful song and Streisand's voice is wonderful and she spins out golden threads of sound. I am finally not sure whether the structure of this scene is intended as a comment on the relationship between  the two characters or the glorification of a performer who is becoming an icon before our eyes. 

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I think what's key in the actual performance of 'People' is that Fanny is not delivering a performance per se - it's a song as part of the film story. She's sharing her feelings with Nick, rather than performing a number to the audience at Ziegfeld's, and as a result, she's sharing her heartfelt emotions. Those emotions aren't being belted out to the back row; they're being shared to the man in front of her, and for the first time she understands how she might need someone to care for, and someone to to care for her, rather than just applause, in her life. 

Nick watches Fanny as she sings, and if you're a background watcher, like I am (I like to see how the overall scene is put together), at this point in the movie it's as if he's still trying to figure out how he wants to play Fanny. Does he use her, since she so naive? Does he continue on his path? Either way, does he stay completely detached? Meanwhile, Fanny tries not to, but she emotes her heart out in this song. I was interested in the comments about "People" during the daily reviews; Barbra Streisand in interviews has said that "People" has been one of her greatest hits, but "My Man" was Fanny's signature song so she tends to hold that one back, just as Judy Garland held "Over the Rainbow" in reserve for emergencies.

I'm not surprised at all about the staging; it's focused on Barbra and she looks perfect, while (whether this was intentional) Omar is really a quiet prop in the background. I read a book by Bob Mackie describing Barbra snatching a pair of shoes out of his hands mid process to dye them herself - she's that level of perfectionist - and in this scene, her (presumably home selected, after Ziegfeld show) makeup, hands, clothing, not to mention lighting and blocking show it. I'm sure she must have been difficult to work with, but what talent. The closeups as her awareness of her potential loneliness, and the staging as she walks up the stairs bring her talents to the fore, and highlight her skills. Excellent scene.

 

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I think Streisand's performance is more intimate because of it not being theatrical. It felt like she was singing to Nicky and not an audience. She wasn't putting on a show but expressing her feelings to Nicky.

Nicky seems to lose some of his coldness from the beginning of the scene. He appears to be paying attention to the words Fanny is singing.

The direction of Fanny moving away from Nicky when he expresses something she didn't want to hear and then as she begins to sing about needing people.  As she moves away from him, Nicky follows behind her until he stops to apparently listen to what she is expressing. He seems to change, his expression softens as he attentively listens

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1. She wouldn't of come across as with such strong emotion and vulnerability. 

2. Nick has been enchanted by Fanny's presence he seems to staring at her with reverence. 

3.  Her walk down the street and away from Nick, is showing how the eventual outcome of their relationship. Foreshadowing their future.

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How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

  • It would be been off-putting since the song is presented as an extension of the conversation she is having with Nicky Arnstein. It would have been like shouting in his face. The conversational tone she uses is essential to making the scene work. 

Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

  • He is listening, but she is moving away from him. As presented, it remains to be seen whether her point has gotten through to him. 

How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

  • "Arnstein" is almost always in view, which makes sense. Otherwise, it would appear she is "talking" to herself, which of course does happen in musicals. But in this case, the song is used to further the story, so the positioning of the characters makes perfect sense.

 
 

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If the song were belted out, I feel that the pace of the song would be much faster too.  With the pace being slower, you think as to what is being sung.

 

 

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I don't think the scene would be as effective if Barbra sang it the way she did on stage. It would lose that nice, intimate, personal moment.

There is a lot of distance between Barbra and Omar as she sings. You can tell that they aren't on the same wavelength in their relationship, too much space between them.

The lighting is darker in this scene. When the camera slowly zoomed in on Barbra near the end of the song, you get a feeling that she feels lonely in the relationship. She is still far away from him, he makes no attempt to walk closer to her and she is on a step up higher them him, alone in the spotlight. There's something very sad about this scene and the way she sings the song. It's as if she is wishing she was in a better relationship with a man who was more caring, unselfish and thoughtful. 

I've really enjoyed this online class, thanks for creating it. I have a new appreciation for musicals now.

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The staging of the song compliments her quieter rendition.  She walks away from Shariff and sings the song.  She is being reflective of her feelings. Although Shariff is there, she is singing more for herself than for him.  This calmer version emphasizes the change in a character who we have seen as brash and comedic.

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I agree with the others that "People" is conversational.  If she belted it out, it would have lost all of it's effect.  

She starts the scene together talking.  As she starts to sing she starts to move away but he follows her as if he's starting to get interested and maybe so is she.  Finally she stops and the camera stops as she finally states her true feelings about love.

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1. It would have pulled the viewer out of the moment, for one thing. The pace and tone of the scene, set by the rhythm of dialogue and even how slowly Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif are walking as they give their lines, is very mellow and contemplative. To suddenly start belting out a song in an over-the-top Broadway style would have felt very out of place and have likely ruined the mood the song is meant to evoke. I always prefer Barbra when she sings softer and more legato, so I like how she decided to reinterpret "People" to better suit a movie screen versus a Broadway stage. I also think it makes the song more powerful when she switches from singing softly to belting in the final refrain, rather than belting almost all the way through.

2. Sharif starts out as her conversational partner, but as the dialogue segues into the song and Barbra sings on her own, he becomes a listener and observer. They don't always make eye contact, but it is clear through the subtext that they are uppermost in each other's minds throughout the scene, even though Sharif doesn't say a word and the lyrics of Streisand's song don't directly address him.

3. The scene starts with Fanny (Streisand) and Nicky (Sharif) walking together. As she sings, she moves so she is on her own, with Nicky watching at a distance. This visually represents the emotional distance and uncertainty between them, and gives Fanny more freedom to express her feelings for Nicky than if she were standing right beside him.

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1452902484_Week4_Thursday_SongsHaveAlwaysBeenDisruptive(1960sandBeyond)_TCMPresents_MADABOUTMUSICALS!-GoogleChrome6_28_20185_17_43PM.thumb.png.fac0ab7f0d9e8db5415cdf970260cfc8.pngThe last dose -  😢  Funny Girl -

1.How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

If she had belted the song out it would have taken us "out of the movie" and out of the moment.  The 'softness' in the tone is what makes it personal, a moment of realization for Fanny, and a moment for Fanny and Nick.

 

2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

It starts out as conversation as Fanny sings the intro, Nick and her are smiling and sharing honesty about themselves, she walks away, Nick follows behind, they both stop as the song truly begins, right after the line about their true selves (0:43) - "I guess we're both happy, but maybe we ain't."

As Fanny is singing the first verse, she can hardly look at Nick, a sly glance, then she turns away, while Nick is silent and watching. She coyly smiles and looks at him while admitting about pride, and they are both "more like children, than children". Nick doesn't smile, but keeps a neutral face showing. His eyes are watching, though. When Fanny is singing about lovers, she becomes embarrassed, having turned away from Nick, it is here, with the phrase "you were half now you're whole", that the song becomes not about both of them, but Fanny herself. After all, "People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world."

 

  1. 3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

The camera favors Streisand throughout. She is downstage while Nick is upstage. They begin on the same plane but then Fanny walks towards the camera. When Nicks walks towards her, Fanny is in Medium Close-up, while Nick is in a medium shot. Once they are on the same plane and both in Medium Close up , note that Fanny is up the curb, while Nick is still in the street, making Fanny taller.  As Fanny moves away, the camera follows. The next time we see Nick, it is from the back while he is following her, and barely in the frame.  He is in Shadows, she reaches the light, even though Nick is now closer (and larger) to the camera.  From there it concentrates on Streisand, with one brief (3.5 secs) of a neutral shot of Nick.  Then we have another shot of the two of them, where Fanny is taller than nick, closer to the camera, and the camera then closes in on Fanny for the final lines, giving us the famous Streisand profile to fade out to...

 

 

 

Week 4_ Thursday_ Songs Have Always Been Disruptive (1960s and Beyond)_ TCM Presents_ MAD ABOUT MUSICALS! - Google Chrome 6_28_2018 5_26_08 PM.png

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How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

The way it is set up on film we have two lovers Nick and Fanny in a private moment. This works because the audience feels that Fanny is sharing through song how fortunate they are.  Thus the line 'people who need people are the luckiest people in the world'. Stage performances usually were done with more animation and with more force. This singing is more like a night club song. Streisand already had experience with this type of singing. 
 

Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

Fanny leads out first pursued by Nick and she lead him along. As she begins her song Nick listens from a distance. The emotional focus is shifted to her. The camera moves to the right and a little further inward. The background lighting dims and a spotlight shines on her. We close with this sweet heartfelt rendition of 'People' with a final closeup. 
 

How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

Aside from some cuts to Nick much of this number looks like it was done in long takes. The camera moves and we don't get a lot of shot changes. I think the longer shots added to her strengths. 

 

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  1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?
    I think it would have come off as too over-the-top if she’d added any more expression to the song. Her character’s motivation in this song was to try to subtly flirt with Nick. She’s awkwardly trying to get him to fall for her, but she doesn’t know how to since she doesn’t have the experience. She knows she can’t come right out and say what she wants, but she’s attempting to let him know anyway. Any more expression wouldn’t have been believable for Fanny. She’s not that type of girl. It would have been akin to throwing herself at him. 
  2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?
     During the set up for the song he’s being extremely flirtatious, invading her personal space - much to Fanny’s delight. However, during the song itself Nick keeps his distance, physically and emotionally. You can tell that she intrigues him, this is shown by the fact that he follows her down the street; but he doesn’t want to be tied down, he says this. 

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1. Streisand's performance of the song "People" might have felt very different is she'd been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more. The song itself wouldn't have felt so intimate and tender if she were "belting it out;" and that kind of performance wouldn't have matched the sensitive emotions her character is feeling in the scene.
 

2. As the lyrics are sung, the two characters relate to each other in a very sweet way. At first, Fanny turns her back to the camera when she hears what Nicky has to say about relationships. But then, when she starts singing, she's shy and unsure and he looks at her adoringly. He can't take his eyes off of her during the entire song and you can't help hoping they get together!

3. The direction and editing of this scene support Streisand's performance. There is soft, beautiful light. She's wearing a gorgeous costume and she looks lovely. She's front and center in the scene on the steps. The reaction shots of Nicky encourage her and inspire her, and she becomes more confident as she sings. Streisand's performance is stellar, and all of the direction and editing of this scene add up to support her.

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  1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?  The scene would have lost a lot of its tender/growing up feeling if the song had been "belted out." Still a show-stopper without being "in your face." At this point in the film, Fanny was still a fairly innocent young girl. Living with her mother, unmarried, just getting her start in "show biz." If "People" had been belted out, it would have given Fanny a harder edge too early in the movie.
     
  2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?       There are a lot of long looks between the characters but little to no physical contact. It works with the softer tone of the song as it's sung in the scene, and helps to underscore Fanny's innocence as it contrasts with Nicky's harder, more experienced edge.
     
  3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.       Aside from the kiss at the end of the scene, there isn't much (any) physical contact. The characters are lit so their eyes show every expression, with the background of the working-class area where Fanny lives mostly in shadows behind them. Also interesting are Fanny's long shadows as she walks back home after Nicky leaves. It's interesting that Fanny and Nicky are shown more individually rather than together (not quite a couple, not sure where they're headed at this point, with one party very worldly and the other still quite innocent).

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1. The performance would be different if she made it more expressive and theatrical because it wouldn't have the same feeling of emotions and softness of her expressing her inner-most desires. 

2. They relate to each other by her singing and he is watching and listening. She is emotional and wishing she could have someone she loved and they loved her back. She has feelings for him, he might have feelings for her. 

3. The camera shots supports Streisand's performance by focusing only on her and following her around when she moves. 

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   How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?

It would have felt that she was channeling Ethel Merman.

    Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?

Nicky is not overtly coming on to her--but letting her lead the way. Fanny was showing him her feelings by turning to him at times and singing directly to him but at other times sharing her feelings by singing but not directly to him.

    How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

Nicky is following Fanny but we are seeing the front of Fanny as she is singing to him. She is being highlighted by the way he is in the background, and she is leading the movement. He shows his interest by watching her and balancing her by being lower downstage. The lighting, Fanny's costume, the setting were sort of a sepia color. Soft. Reflective. Nicky in mostly black was not overtly standing out. This is to give Fanny the focus of this scene. The sepia-like colors also help show the times of that era. Not actually black and white, but channeling the idea of the history.

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1.  I feel her performance of the song "People" is exactly the way it should be - perfect. She does not look or sound like a beginner to films.  Anything more theatrical or expressive including belting out this song would have been wrong and fake.  Her emotion shows in her eyes, her mannerism and her voice.  More is not always better.

2.    You know that Streisand is enthralled with Sharif.  He is the man of the world and her mother runs a saloon.  She is a lot prettier than the real Fanny was but while staying in character she wants him but knows from her past that there is no hope about that and has been used to rejection.  Sharif's eyes do not stop looking at her and he is thinking there is something real here and overlooks everything else.

3. The direction and editing of the scene does support her performance.  For blocking It is in the wee hours of the morning or almost dawn with residue of wet sidewalks.  There is no interference or distraction of anyone else on the street, no cars, no people, only the two of them.   She is shy and ends up walking in front of him and singing very shyly crouching slightly and nervous.  He posture is upright and following her like a predator and very sure of himself.  She uses her hands to steady her nerves, touching the fence, waving them at some places.  He remains constant.  There is a good reaction shot when she is standing on the stairs looking towards the street when the climax of the song happens and you see him in the proximity off to the left leaning slightly forward with his full attention at her and the audience sees his reaction and connection to her.

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1. If Streistand had been more expressive and theatrical in this scene if would have taken away fro the scene. To give it over expression would have made no sense for this scene. Her performance would have been way out of context if she had belted the song "People" out. It would have made her voice unbearable to hear if she had belted it out. I will admitt I am not a fan of hers at all but she did fit this part to a tee and she used just the right amount of exprssion, theatrics and kept her song in pitch and octave where it needed to be.

2. The two exchange the glances and smiles to show the growing fondness and interest in each other. As she sings and he walks closer to her you can see the fondness and truth to the lyrics. 

3. Streisand's performance is excentuated so well by the lighting and the close up shots of her. You can see the use of almost Noir in the lighting which shows the emotion on her face and his as they go through the song. William Wyler always used lighting as a key to his shots as he directed. 

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22 hours ago, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:
  • How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more?
     
  • Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung?
     
  • How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.

1.Streisand's rendition feels very tender and sensitive. She is being vulnerable in singing about love and companionship. It feels very honest ans human, with a touch of sentimentality. If she sang the song more theatrically, the tenderness and vulnerability would be lost. Streisand expresses the song's meaning  with softer singer which is much more effective emotionally to the audience  than if she were singing the song more expressively. 

2. At first the characters are close together around the lamppost. This is before the singing. They have clear romantic chemistry and attraction. The bit of dialogue about feeling lonesome whether because you are busy with work speaks to this and sets up for the song and Streisand's performance. Throughout the song, Streisand moves further away from Sharif (walking up the street and up the stairs) but he is still looking at her with affection and interest even as she sings and is facing away from him. This reflects their relationship to each other and their feelings 

3. The fact that Streisand walks away from Sharif but he does walk after her when she sings "we travel single".She turns to look at him while continuing to sing. The stop walking right when she starts to sing the chorus. It feels significant because she is now expressing her emotions and by stopping, he can fully pay attention to what she is saying ("people who need people are the luckiest people in the world"). By her stopping and standing there but not facing him, you can feel her sense of longing much more sharper. Then when she walks up the stairs singing to him, it reflects the emotional honesty of the song.

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If she had been more theatrical and expressivecin the film, it would've been more like a performance. Omar's character is mesmerized by Barbra's performance. The way he looks at her is natural. "People" is a beautiful song and performance in the film. The direction and editing fits well indeed.

 

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