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About Margo60

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    Milwaukee, WI
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    Art, film, writing, military history.

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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 lyrics to the song is not one to belt out, it is sung by Streisand as an emotional conversation through song to Sharif. The setting is like a theatrical stage but the mood of the song is more somber. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? It starts with dialogue between them, and moves into song by Streisand while she walks towards the staircase. She sings to him and he gazes at her. You can sense the emotional connection between them. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. The movements of Streisand within the scene where she slowly walks away, and he follows but stops creates a bit of tension, and then she pauses at the balcony looking his way. As she sings, he becomes interested in her song, and you begin to sense tenderness between them.
  2. 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 are more different types of masculinity represented, and more expressive with feelings. You see changes within roles between men and women. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? He has a distinctive presence. 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 other work or that familiar with him in musicals or film.
  3. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) Common theme in both is the dominating male character over the woman. His film techniques are very stylistic in architecture, elegant costumes for men and women . You also, see this in the Star is Born, and Les Girls. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. They are both able to communicate with each other on a more equal level. She is able to let him know her oppressed feelings. He is realizing at this point she is free to make her own choices. Focus of the camera is made on each one to show different emotions. He maintains his composure, and she breaks down. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? They have come to a point in their relationship that something was going to have to change. She was either going to stay or move on in her life. You can clearly see the anger and frustration between the characters. Also, Cukor was very connected to characters that didn't feel accepted in society, and Eliza's struggle to fit in Higgins societal norms.
  4. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical? It has the feel of a theatrical vaudeville stage act. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. Rosalind Russell gives a strong, powerful performance with the presence of a domineering stage mother. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). The lyrics had a cynical edge to them for a child's performance.
  5. Does a movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris’ ending ballet need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film? No, it is a way to show fantasy within that scene. The stylistic approach has that Parisian effect throughout the film. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? He didn't seem unlikable to me but I can see why someone could think that. He has the personality of a confident artist, and doesn't waste time with small talk. Trying to find someone who appreciates his work, and making a living.
  6. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Their dance steps are synchronized, and both are mirroring one another. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. He is very serious while the others are ridiculing him by imitation, and throughout the dance with use of props which are thrown at him towards the end of the scene. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? They both seem to compete with one another but during dancing are mirroring one another. The professor doesn't seem to react to being ridiculed by the other two, and O'Connor was the more humorous character of the two. Kelly was more like the alpha male.
  7. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Doris is not the traditional sort of gal in this film character. She does however, follow the great musical arrangements that she sings so beautifully. Doris Day is wholesome but not feminine, and her character is being like the guys naturally without really trying. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? Doris Day is naturally talented in singing and dancing. She progresses into more films with comedy and romance as well as more serious roles. She is feminine and has that natural persona that works well with other performances. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. She definitely has that persona that suits her in this role. She carries the comedic performance quite naturally, and her singing works well with the story.
  8. As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed? They are all coming together as a group to unite in a show - theme for 1950s musicals. Earlier musicals were concerned with economic disparities, and war. In the 50s, the economy was improving after the war, and people were able to live a good life. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. They are unified in more of a dress casual ensemble with 50s dress style. Subdued coordinating colors in suits, and dress. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? The delightful light dancing style, use of props, comedic gestures making for a light hearted energetic stagey feel for the audience. At one point they joined together in a fan style resembling unification. The world is a stage of entertainment - "The American Way" theme.
  9. What do you notice about the way the scene is directed as Petunia goes to Joe’s bedside and as we cut to her outside hanging laundry? What does this tell us about her relationship, and the connection to the song? You see the love and devotion to her husband. She is happy with a simple life as long as she has his love. She caresses his shirt from the laundry. Even the song has very simple lyrics of love. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? She would have sang it reflecting a different kind of love for her child. The cultural meaning would be one of nurturing not one of a love for a man. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? Society was becoming more diversified at this time. Many black Americans served in the war even though they were still segregated within the military units. It was a time for racial awareness, and having films which included minority actors and actresses. The film industry wanted to create films that personified their cultures for entertainment. Return to top
  10. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. Right from the start of the scene the two are shifting back and forth to create the chase, and music takes flight. Suddenly and abruptly the music stops, and she goes right into the song of his fate. When he throws the ball, she throws it away, and sings that it will happen sooner or later. She uses many hand and body gestures to make her point. A woman going after what she wants. He slides down the banister into her arms. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The pauses and rhythms in the dance scenes introduce the music. Also, the chase scenes create the acceleration of music, and singing. Using props for added effects in harmony with the music. Fate is in the stars, and goes into singing about destiny and astrology.
  11. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? The very first Judy Garland film I watched was the "Wizard of Oz". As a child, I was fascinated by her, and looking at it now, it is a film that is still magical for both adults and children. Who cannot forget how she looked wearing that gingham dress, ponytails, and "red shiny shoes" clicking her heels to a fairytale place. Her voice was amazing, and had that star quality. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? We discover her talents in dancing, and comedy roles. Maturing into more dramatic acting roles. She was the definition of a "Star". What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience’s imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric?
  12. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. References made to the celebration of the flag and parades. Entrance to the staircase, historical framed photos on the walls, encased memoirs of ships, the camera only showing the back of the President's back during the vocal interchange of conversation. Antique like props on the President's desk indicative of the decor in the White House. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. Cagney's line, "I was a cocky kid back then always carrying a flag, attending a parade or following one" (symbolism of American patriotism). The President's response, "I hope that you didn't outgrow the habit. That's one thing I admired about you Irish Americans. You carry love of country like a flag, right in the open. It's a great quality." (reference made to the patriotism of immigrants in the country - the fabric of America). Cagney spoke of inheriting this from his father. His father ran away at the young age to join the Civil War. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. It wouldn't have the reminiscent effect as Cagney is going back in time to where it began with his father, and his roots. His father performing at the time of the parade, and leads to why he suddenly had to leave - introducing the story with a musical theme. He is dressed in Irish attire, and proud of his heritage but also proud of being an American.
  13. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? They are both in sync with their dancing and finding common ground. Gingers Rogers plays a female role that is strong, no nonsense, and independent. She relates to being as an equal to a man. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? It is captured through the way of dress, more casual, the scenes are more natural. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? The Depression era and the war brought women in the forefront. They wanted to become more involved supporting men and the war effort. They had to survive while their men were away at war. It goes back to the escapism through comedy, and relatable characters, and situations. In the earlier musicals, it was a lot about social class, and the expectations of men and women roles, suppression and inequality.
  14. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? The use of various props (the guns in the drawer) suggests Alfred's sly conquests of women. Taken from the silent film, the focus of the object or objects of a dramatic scene. Witty dialogue interchanged between characters with playful sexual undertones. Alfred's sophisticated European style and flair, and his indiscretions reveal a double standard, and flawed character. His elegant charm and wit captured in a single scene when he flawlessly undoes the button on the woman's dress with Freudian overtones. Alfred speaks in dual languages of French and American, and it is revealed that he is of a prominent position making the situation even more humorous. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. There is dramatic music at the beginning of the shots being fired, and the knocking on the doors when there is an entrance creating anticipation, dramatic effect and escapism with humor. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? Playful adult themes, witty lines, sophistication and style, focused camera on objects, use of sound and music. - "No one should try to play comedy unless they have a circus going on inside". ~Ernest Lubitsch
  15. 1. The interaction in the first scene is about "the courtship". Nelson Eddy being the perfect gentleman trying to impress Jeannette McDonald. Both playful and humoring one another in a suggestive way. The boat and just the two of them makes for a romantic setting. The second scene Nelson Eddy walks in with two ladies by his side, within a crowd while he sees Jeannette singing. One of the ladies is dressed very risque and her movements which Jeannette mimics as to point out her contempt and dislike without saying anything. it could only be for good/bad contrast of how a woman is depicted. The gentleman that he is, walks out of the room to go after her. 2. Never have seen them in film/TV but have heard their names before. I may have seen "The Merry Widow". 3. Mostly that men did the pursuing, and the women played hard to get. Women shouldn't outwardly be sexually suggestive or speak profanities.
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