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Toni Boger

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About Toni Boger

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    Detroit, MI
  1. You make a really excellent point about how the silent film created this need for these comedic pioneers (Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, etc.) to really sell their slapstick comedy. In their minds, as they were trying to plan how they gag would play out, they had to think, Okay, you (my audience) can't hear what's going on, so you have to see what's going on. So, what you see has to be exaggerated and over-the-top enough to get the point across to your audience. And there was no technology to fake any of the physical comedy -- it was all very real and often very dangerous. I can't help but think of the fabulous line from Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard when William Holden's character says she used to be big in silent movies: "I am big -- it's the pictures that got small!"
  2. I agree with your assertion that all slapstick isn't violent. I Love Lucy also came to mind for me. Slapstick is often physical and most certainly over the top, but it isn't always violent, and Lucille Ball is the perfect example of it. I'm thinking not only of the conveyer belt scene, but also her ballet class: exaggerated and physical, sure, but not really violent.
  3. I love Buster Keaton as well! And I definitely can't mention Keaton without at least mentioning another great favorite of mine, Harold Lloyd. You make a really excellent point about part of the fun being the uncertainty about when the tables will turn between the victim and the victor. This shifting balance of (for lack of a better term) power is always so fascinating to watch, whether it's in a 45 second clip, like the one we saw today between a gardener and a tricky youngster, or the never-ending yet always entertaining antics between Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. You never know what's going to happen next -- but you know it will be entertaining to watch! On a side note, I took TCM's Film Noir class last summer as a way to keep my sanity while recovering from an injury, and I loved it so much that I signed up for this course immediately after seeing a post about it on TCM's Facebook page. This is going to be an excellent course, and I can't wait to dive into the material and the movies!
  4. The Daily Doses have been incredibly helpful in introducing me important points in the course without doing it in an overwhelming way. Plus, I absolutely appreciated the suggestions Dr. Edwards provided for the different angles and approaches I could take with each film clip. I've thoroughly enjoyed this film noir class over the summer, and I find it quite hard to believe it's nearly over.
  5. You're so right about how this scene highlight's Burr's brutality. How fantastic is he in this scene? The way he stands motionless while watching Steve get beaten to a pulp, all the while with that light swinging above, is absolutely terrifying. I'm not sure which is scarier -- the swinging light or Burr's motionlessness. And we believe him when he uses the broken bottle as a threat to Steve's wife. We see no hint or trace of Perry Mason here. Also, what a great point about the light being like a metronome! I thought something similar.
  6. The desolation you mention is what really struck me about this clip. Other than Dix Handley and the police car playing a game of hide-and-seek, we see no other people until the 1:30 mark. And the city is clearly unforgiving with its bland landscapes and no signs of real life or joy to speak of. That kind of desolation and isolation really reminds me about our discussions on existentialism and that we are alone. But the clip makes some interesting turns and leaves me with more questions than answers, specifically, who is this guy and what kind of power does he actually hold?
  7. I felt that pang, too. It was a pang of loneliness and aching to be with that person you love. Jazz is such a great communicator of that feeling, and I think the major reason for that is because it embraces improvisation. You can "go" whichever way you're feeling with the song. If you're feeling that aching pang, you go with it. If you're feeling happy, you go with it. You don't have the same rigidness you do with other genres of music, especially with the scores we've heard in the other Daily Doses.
  8. I was thinking very similarly to you with this clip. What made him feel like the most reasonable response to finding this body was running away from town as fast as possible? Finding a dead body is terrifying and shocking, but why was it enough for him to leave without telling anyone what happened? What's his backstory? I have more questions than answers with this scene.
  9. This is such a great point. I can't think of one heist film where everything goes off exactly as planned and those involved get exactly what they want and live happily ever after. A parody of a heist film does, though -- Tower Heist from a few years ago -- how ironic! It really just goes to show that one of the major themes in film noir continued to resonate in films well after it was considered to have ended. No matter how carefully the characters plan, even down to the last second, fate and some unseen forces always have a way to step in and mess up even the most carefully detailed plans. Why that is is less certain. Is it a subconscious need for us to see that justice is carried out? Is it just so instilled in us as an audience that the bad guys can never win in the film universe? That's a much more difficult question to answer.
  10. I also couldn't help but think of WWII when watching this scene. Men were glorified for fighting not that long ago in this film's universe, and at this point when the film is made, fighting is something from the past and that glory is far gone, much like Ernie's boxing glory being a relic of the past. It definitely makes the audience think about society's changing expectations for men at that point in time (and yes, also now). What should their role be now? And how do these changing roles affect a person's confidence and perception of himself or herself? It's a question both men and women face, and the woman's changing role is briefly touched upon in this scene as well.
  11. There were two things that struck me in today's film clip. The first was the arch casting the long shadow on the characters coming in to the train station. They're quite literally enveloped in darkness, which gives us an uneasy feeling as Hitchcock foreshadows that something will happen. The second thing was the train tracks and the numerous, different ways the train could go. Hitchcock uses trains in many of his films (The Lady Vanishes and North by Northwest, for example), but I took the view of the train going down the tracks as a symbol. Much like any human being's life, each track is a different path and a different choice. Where can the train go? What's different about each track and where each track leads? I can't help but hark back to last week's discussions on Existentialism, particularly about randomness and how one choice can have extraordinary and almost extreme consequences for the characters involved. This, plus the earlier foreshadowing, tells us as an audience that whatever is coming in the story won't lead to anything good.
  12. The major thing that stuck out to me in this clip is that Frank Bigelow's walk is long, slow, and with purpose. There's no quick way to get where he's going, a thinly veiled metaphor for life. He's a man on a solo mission, but when we see his face after meeting the detective to report his own murder (which is itself a riveting moment), this man's mission isn't a happy or would lead him toward anything resembling happiness. He looks defeated, and he's alone in every sense of the word. It definitely plays into this week's Existential themes of loneliness and dread. Whatever happened to lead him to this point of him declaring his own murder has been tough, it's likely been violent, and it ends with us seeing a tired man who's beginning to grasp how he perceives life -- absurd and meaningless.
  13. You make a really excellent point about how much different Hammer is when compared to someone else like Nick Charles. It's clear that this "tough guy" type of detective/private investigator has evolved so much in just the matter of a few years. Charles is so funny and is clearly written (in the films, at least) to be someone who's there to provide some comic relief. There's nothing funny about Hammer. He's all business and serious, much in the same way that Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade are, but there's something almost more sinister about him than those two.
  14. I completely agree with you in how Reed chose to introduce Harry Lime to the audience. Having him lurk in the shadows with a cat and then have a spotlight shine on him, quite literally, is genius. The cat is also a nice touch as well; I can't help but think of that comedic stereotype of "villains" in certain films in that they have cats. But Lime's entrance actually reminds me a bit of Gene Tierney's entrance in Laura in that both characters are supposed to be dead but are, in fact, very much alive. This really is a fantastic scene in a fantastic movie. I'm a huge Joseph Cotten fan and think this film is his finest performance, other than in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt.
  15. There's definitely a major element of foreshadowing in this clip. The first is when Frank speaks with the cop and the cop mentions that he pulled over the district attorney. The district attorney telling Frank he may see him again takes on a whole new meaning after we receive that piece of information; by the time his story is over, this isn't going to be the only run-in Frank has with the law. The second is the intense attraction between Cora and Frank. There's no doubt that there's an instant connection between the two, but that burnt hamburger! Such a beautiful metaphor with it sizzling and burning to a crisp, just as there's a "sizzle" between both characters. We know that a character in lust in film noir almost never ends up happily ever after. This, paired with Frank's earlier encounter with the law, tells us that this story isn't going to end well for Frank or Cora.
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