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About 500efr

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    Grew up in an old-fashioned, neighborhood movie theater that my mom worked in. Learned to load the projectors and manually switch-over, rewind reels, etc. Professional IT person.

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  1. 1. This is a song with weighty meaning. Streisand sings it with introspection. We're looking at a basic human need that impacts our emotional happiness, safety and sense of belonging. You can't drop an emotional weight like this in the form of a show-stopping, theatrical number. What would be lost is the emotional impact of what is emanating from within. 2. The walking together, separating and and the adoring and sometimes the look of admiration come through. I think their acting expresses each character's desires to have what the other person has but may seem out of reach given their current situation. The words acknowledge this as a basic need. 3. I like the walking. It's slow and they separate. Nick stops and sits on the railing and Fanny continues down the street until she is on the steps. The camera follows her until she is on the steps where it moves from left to right. The entire scene is shot so that she is exposed on all sides. No tricks, not strings. It's just her and the softness in the delivery of the words allow her deepest soul to be revealed. I know this clip doesn't show the end of the scene where she is humming the song and the lyrics are in her head as she walks back to the bar but that scene allows us to see that all of this truly resonates inside of her. Wonderful performance. My only problem with all of Streisand's films (except perhaps Yentl) is that she needs to lose the long fingernails. In this case they made no sense when she was a girl on Henry Street. They would be believable once she was a famous Zigfield girl.
  2. 1. In both films we are drawn into a very staid setting. Everything elegant and in it's place. Eliza and Paula (Gaslight) seem to fall into the shadows even though they are elegantly attired. They seem to belong there and yet seem out of place. Both women collapse down in emotional distress while the men stand over them making an appraisal of the situation. In both cases the men seem to believe that their appraisal is the correct one and anything that is wrong is due to the women's inability to see the situation as it is. 2. Henry has a real problem seeing anything from Eliza's point of view. He looks at the outcome of the "experiment" from a man's perspective as if no harm was done and the rules of life simply continue. He fails to understand anything from a woman's point of view. He sees his victory as a springboard where Eliza can do anything. The reality of life at that time is the opposite where women couldn't just go out and take the world by storm. She knows this charade has real life ramifications for her. 3. Cuckor initially has them separated. She's behind the piano, near the wall in the shadows. She comes out of the shadows to confront Henry and throws his slippers at him. Slowly they are drawn closer to each other even though Eliza is kneeling and sobbing and Henry is standing over her in a dominant position. But once she stands up and raises her "claws" we see them on equal footing. She's not a man but in that moment of self-preservation she is unafraid to take him on. And yet we can see a person who is conflicted. Her inner expectations don't match the outer result. What Higgins doesn't realize is that he is going to be just as conflicted when she decides that she doesn't need him.
  3. 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!
  4. 1. I don't think that the whole movie needs to be a stylized extravaganza but it is. If we look back at The Wizard of Oz, the transition from sepia to color and back to sepia at the end of the movie makes Oz seem more magical. A lot of this movie could have been less stylized but I feel like we are being prepped for something bigger - the ballet sequence. It's the "Oz" of the film and it ties together what this artist secretly longs for - recognition & appreciation of the work and perhaps even a legacy. We are stepping in and out of some of the greatest art and most iconic art in a 3 dimensional way. Gene Kelly is a dancer even though here he plays a painter yet the simple art of walking seems like choreography. That too feels like I'm being prepped for the big dance sequence. The film is "An American..." so although everything is shrouded in French culture - cafes, croissants, etc. the music that drives the movie is purely American - big, brash and bold...similar to Jerry Mulligan. 2. We can tell a lot about Jerry in this scene. Just the name "Jerry Mulligan" should tell us that he is just a regular guy. It's "Jerry" and not Jerome (perhaps). A Mulligan is a stew - a mixed bag of sorts that is blended together. In golf a Mulligan is an extra shot allowed after a really poor one. It's designed to give the golfer a chance. On name alone I could figure him out. Don't know if this was intentional. He walks up to Montmartre to sell his paintings. Along the way he acknowledges other artists but with appraising looks as if to judge their work. He shrugs his shoulders, raises his eyebrows and just keeps bouncing along. At a point where someone comes along, in this case the "3rd year girl who grites my liver," he is openly hostile and closed to any attempts at talking about his work. Is his the only one who can judge what he does? Is his hostile to someone he knows he can frighten off? When Milo saunters over - tall and dressed to the 9s - he knows he's out of her league. He has to take a step back and defend himself when she makes a comment about having her head bit off. The language of the college coed ("I can understand disregarding perspective...) vs Milo ("You know, these paintings are good...) is a real contrast of how women are presented to him. His ego makes his decisions. He comes off as the bold, brash, egotistical, American alpha male who thinks he is owed something more that he has. He sees himself full of charm. He's the best looking guy around. He's "An American in Paris" and thinks in that American way that Paris should come to him.
  5. I never heard anyone say that about this poster but I think you are right. Subliminal salaciousness? Hmmmm
  6. 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."
  7. I have a harsh time dealing with female representation in many 1950's musicals because they almost feel false to me. The change in women's roles is more perceived than real especially in postwar America where women were pushed back into more traditional roles. I often wonder if these were made as "feel good" movies for women as they gave back a bit of what they gained (out of necessity) in the 1940s. That being said I love Doris Day as a singer and comedienne but not always in the same film. 1. Calamity Jane does bring some changes to the female role. Jane is less concerned with looks. She dresses in clothes that suit what she is doing which in this case in non-traditional. She give a breezy "I don't care" attitude along with optimism about waking up each day. The easy acceptance of her looks and interactions don't always sit well with men (bar scene) so there is still a feeling that traditional roles and relationships will have to win out at some point. She will have to change a bit if she is going to find love. 2. Doris Day got type-casted into the quintessential optimistic, breezy, comedic female lead. She was the blond, blue-eyed, all American type of woman. She has appeal to men because she not the threatening, dangerous, sultry, cosmopolitan woman of the world. She appeals to women because she could be your sister, best friend or next door neighbor. There is a genuine goodness to her. By the time she gets weighty dramatic roles in "Love Me or Leave Me" and eventually to "The Man Who Knew Too Much," she already has a body of work that she needs to fight off to show the dramatic side of her talent. I don't think she is every accepted as a dramatic actress. She ends up retreating back into that type-casted woman by the time we get to the end of the 1950s and into 1960s. She is perhaps one of the few performers for whom type-casting actually kept her working and where she belonged. These light-hearted films showed off her fortes as a musical and comedic actress with a great singing voice and fabulous impecable timing. 3. There is an exaggeration in her performance that always annoyed me: The big deep breaths where we see the chest rise and fall; the stance with legs apart and hands on hips - almost in defiance to tradition. However, I felt like I was looking at someone who was acting out a character rather than having the character internalized. It didn't feel real. I felt she was trying to prove something. Betty Hutton did that too. But maybe that was the point.
  8. 1. This number and the corresponding lyrics allow each person to jump in and out of the song with equal weight. The number is set up so that no one is shown as a better dancer, better singer, better comedian, etc. Each takes a turn to carry each role as you would find in a play. They work in circles around each other as they sing to Fred. Each line of the song is passed on to the next person who then passes it back. The same is true with the gags. Earlier musicals has featured numbers that showed off specific talent whether it was Fred and Ginger in a signature number or Eleanor Powell spinning and tapping. This time we have more of an ensemble feel where we know each person might be more talented in one area or another but by themselves they could never pull off a show. They need to draw on each person's talent to make the show a success. 2. With the exception of Nanette's red rose, the costuming is toned down. Even though the suits are different, the men are wearing all shades of blue and gray. That ties in with Nanette's blouse and dress. It's a very cohesive palette that adds to the ensemble feel. 3. As mentioned above, each character gets a play every role...the singer, dancer, comedian, gag artist, etc. They play these roles regardless of their strengths and weaknesses. Oscar Levant is no singer but he takes his turn without hesitation. They can make fun at each other, work as a team and draw each other out. This number is all about convincing Fred to join in and it is obvious that they convince him that "the sum is greater than the parts."
  9. 1. Petunia has always had unwavering faith and a deep down belief in Little Joe. From bedside to laundry...it's all a metaphor for dedication to their marriage, their home and all that it entails. This is unconditional love scene at its best. She sings about what makes her happy even if the chores behind it entail toiling and hard work. She wants to "give" and in return all she wants is for Joe to simply "accept"...without complications and distractions. Everything that has taken place in their lives is stripped away so that we see her view of the essence of their relationship. 2. Wife...mother...the role of women has always been one of care giving. I can easily see how this song can be sung to a child (oddly her husband is called "Little Joe"). Children are helpless and all of their needs must be taken care of and provided by a caring adult. Joe lies there dependent on Petunia who "gives" unconditionally. I could easily envision a child who says nothing, just looks into the face of the mother and whose mother looks back at the child and absorbs the connection with joy and unwavering and unconditional love. Little Joe is silent in this scene but we see everything in Petunia's face. I think she can envision a Little Joe Jr. 3. As a child of the 1960's and looking back through a 21st century lens, I sometimes feel ashamed at all of the stereotypes that films portrayed about black Americans, Asians, etc. I try to imagine what it must have felt like to live in a country at war where much of life surrounded war efforts and sacrifices. Add to that the compounding factors of overt racism. What a weight to carry. It is no accident that the film is laden with top black American performers many of whom had "crossover" appeal. Were they assembled in one film to show off how talented black Americans were/are? This film focuses in on the same values that wartime American focused on...the importance of home, the issues of luck and second chances, the fragile nature of relationships and family, faith in God and strength to resist temptations that can cloud our view of what is important.
  10. Today's reflection questions seemed to me to be 1 item that can't be separated so I've rolled my reply into one reflection. If the musical numbers are intended to further the story then there has to be a setup for them. Characters need to lead us into the purpose of the number. Sometimes the song is to profess the obvious like the love that two people recognize. In other numbers it's done with comedic relief that seeks to lift the veil between two people as in the "Fate" number in "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The camera has to lead us into the number because musicals feature an interplay between dialogue, singing and dancing. We need some long establishing shots that show off the dancing while moving the story along even if there is a minimal amount of singing. There camera and dance numbers can convey to attraction, the chase, the push away and the eventual giving in without saying a word. The words of song will mirror those actions. Over the course of the number the shots change to medium and eventually closeup so that the song's connections between the characters in the numbers can be established. Pacing for a song can be reflecting in the editing if things are to evolve quickly between two characters. Sequences with up temp numbers tend to make these connections pretty quickly and fast paced editing with multiple shots makes the number itself move even more quickly for the viewer and consequently moves the story along be resolving something, establishing something etc. The director, editor, musical team, actors need to be on the same page if the number is going to work. In cases where numbers are introduced that don't move the story along (i.e., variety musicals) then the coordination feels very different.
  11. 1. Like many people, my first view of Judy was in The Wizard of Oz. I didn't initially like her because in her opening scenes she seemed to whine all of the time. Once the film got rolling I realized she had no parents or siblings, was constantly surrounded by only adults, lived from "hand-to-mouth" and could only relate to a dog that gave her outward unconditional love. She grabbed and clung to Toto in desperation. She couldn't be heard by those around her because they were busy trying to survive a harsh world. I understood why she ran away but it was obvious that once the twister was coming that she needed to be with the people who she knew deep down inside loved and protected her. I felt very different about her as she raced back to the farm in an attempt to be with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry at a desperate time. I was heartbroken when the storm cellar door didn't open and when no one could hear her calling. I was just a kid when I saw this film and it made me afraid. That impression has stayed with me for almost 60 years! 2. Judy was one of the few child actresses who transitioned into adulthood. The biggest box office draw, Shirley Temple, didn't fare as well. These film clips show her talents in singing, dancing, relating to her co-star partners, interpreting lyrics as well as dance steps, using props etc. She was a triple threat...she could sing, dance and act. In the Daily Dose #6 film clips she is working opposite a seasoned veteran (Fred Astaire) and a new-comer (Gene Kelly). When she is opposite Fred ("We're A Couple of Swells") she performs like she has had as many years in show business as he has had. She is a mature performer with great timing. When she plays opposite Gene Kelly she brings a youngish flair to the singing, dancing and piano playing. We feel the newness and vitality of youth. 3. "Get Happy" from Summer Stock sticks out in my mind because it is a fully formed, adult Judy. She's sexy and plays to that as she sings opposite these dancing men. The scene opens with Judy hidden from view. She is unveiled and presented to us in sexy attire...tuxedo jacket, no pants and a hat that she freely tilts in suggestive ways. She doesn't "belt out" the song but delivers it gently and lets it build. The song's lyrics are a stark contrast to the disarray in her personal life that began in the late 1940's. This film came out in 1950 and sadly, it was just around this time that MGM ended Judy's 15 year run.
  12. 1. Patriotism is literally and figuratively on parade. We see flags flying; we hear patriotic songs; There are paintings of former presidents; soldiers are marching to supportive and cheering crowds. We're in this together. The movie is pushing a sense of unity. 2. George Cohan refers to the "Grand Old Flag." He mentions that his family committed to this nation during the Civil War. He reflects the immigrant journey to a better life in American. His Irish heritage and allegiance to the USA is evident in the words of FDR. We hear FDR mention "Horatio Alger" - the classic "rags to riches" story reflecting the possibilities that American presents to its citizens. The fact that FDR is meeting Cohan 1:1 symbolizes the connection and bond between the government and the citizens who are on the same page as we move into war. 3. The flashback allows the patriotic story to build. A parade almost seems like the culmination or end. We need to get to the point in the journey where we want to be part of the parade...where we believe in what decision are made regarding war...where we back our soldiers and support the decisions that will effect us all. If we started with the parade we would be denied the patriotic journey.
  13. This is one of my favorite Fred and Ginger numbers. 1. Although more than a decade apart, this number foreshadows the coming of the song "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" from Annie Get Your Gun. The competition/battle of the sexes plays out ****-for-tat in dance steps what what they don't realize is that their doing it on common ground...they're both dancers. That lets the battle take place on a level playing field. I think the fact that he extends his hand first at the very end when they shake hands is a sign that he acknowledges her equality. 2. Ginger is her own woman...successful and making her own way. She has a career when she meets Fred. She's not like Eleanor Powell (Born to Dance) or Ruby Keeler (42nd Street) looking for someone to give them a break so that they can build a career. That makes her a very modern woman. I think that many women in the depression era sought ways to earn money but were in competition with men who were out of work. They options were limited and Ginger presented hope and possibility. 3. The whole concept of a screwball comedy involves gender role changes, a redefinition of masculinity, changes in courtship and marriage, witty repartee and playful and funny battles of the sexes. This added a gentle reflective lens to view the reality that the depression was really creating a different world for men and women. Couples both taking employment outside of the home, single parent households, communal living (a la "The Grapes of Wrath") are taking root as the new normal.
  14. I actually laughed out loud during this scene. 1. The Lubitsch touch is evident by the suggestive props - the garter, the guns (love the whole plethora of guns our Lothario has collected in the desk), the dress that is still unclasped at the back...all very sexy and dangerous on the surface. 2. I love the loud dialogue we can't quite understand before the door opens with the couple and the husband and butler. A whirlwind of something is about to burst through the door...but what? The first opening is the couple and the 2nd represents the discovery of the wife's affair! It's funny that the everyone is speaking French for most of the scene except for the few words in English that Maurice speaks directly to the audience. It shows that with just a word and their actions we know what is going on. We don't need to understand French to get the idea! I absolutely love the gun scene. She shoots herself as penance. It upsets her husband and surprises our Lothario. In an act of revenge, the husband shoots Maurice but nothing happens. He lightly checks himself for bullet wounds and we realize that the gun has blanks. Both men look towards the wife who they realize is not dead. She's lying on the floor smirking at both men. The desk drawer with all of the various pistols that our Lothario has taken away from his liaisons is also very funny. And lastly, his explanation to the ambassador while holding a garter defies all logic. Love it! 3. Escapism in opulent sets, an affair with a foreign Lothario, dialogue in French - perhaps in a foreign location, beautiful costumes, handsome men and women...all meant to take us away from the day-to-day living that will be waiting for everyone when they exit the theater.
  15. My parents named me after this musical so it has special personal meaning! 1. The attraction is obvious if you watch their eyes, the tilt of their heads and their facial expressions. There is a feeling that they are both fighting this attraction but can't help but connect anyway. In the scene in the canoe, he cannot see her facial expressions as he sings "Rose Marie." We see her reactions which show interest, amusement and even agreement. Her objections to his singing other names confirms that the song feels right for both of them. In the bar room scene, it is obvious that she is a fish out of water. Her distress and embarrassment is clear in her facial reactions and body language. She can't do this. The close up of our brave Canadian Mounty is one of distress on her behalf. We see subtle shakes of his head and movements of his eyes as if he is feeling her pain. There is a definite connection between them. 2. In their "Maytime" I see the elements of falling for someone you never expected to and having other forces intervene that prevents a portion of their lives from being fulfilled for a number of years. Other commitments and priorities conspire against them and yet they know they should be together. 3. It's clear from their roles that he is the good guy - the Mounty out to get his man. She is a woman who is hiding motives, perhaps a past, and shielding a criminal. He wonders why and who she wants to help. He is conflicted. She doesn't want her brother to be captured and feels conflicted as well. Even though they are attracted to each other, their motives have to keep them apart until these conflicts are resolved. In the production code era moral order has to be maintained. Good has to triumph and all characters must make amends before we can have a happy ending. No different here. She suffers as she should under the production code.
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