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ameliajc

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About ameliajc

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  1. It's too simple to say that all films reflect their time. There is another factor, and that is the patterns in the way new technology is adopted. It's pretty typical that, at first, people don't quite know what the potentials and capabilities of the new technology might be, so they work with it in the way that they have worked in other mediums. A classic example is in photography. The first photographs tried to imitate oil paintings, including posing people in historical type scenarios to take the picture. Many early photographs really reflect more accurately a time that has already had its he
  2. I'm loving this discussion - thank you. I think the histories of film genres are at least loosely parallel. The Production Code would cut across many types of film, for example. Protesting against authority or focus on youth culture in the 1960s would show up in dramas, noir, romantic comedies, musicals, what have you. I think one theme for a course might be to take one of these periods and examine what's happening across several genres. A little bit harder, perhaps, for TCM programming, especially in the later decades where TCM doesn't own so many of the relevant titles.
  3. I think of a "remake" as comparable to the situation in the theater where they are constantly putting on the same plays over again -- because people want to see them again, or different major actors want to take on the role of Hamlet, or Sally Bowles. I think the current state of the media allows us to own copies of or constantly access already-made movie versions, but it didn't used to be that way. And why not see how a different person interprets the role? I like the idea of seeing a new interpretation of a production that still speaks to our time. Now, the question of whether A Star is
  4. I would like to define “musicals” as broadly as possible, but I agree that it cannot simply be a film that uses music to help tell the story. As already observed, most films have background music in some form. So I would define a musical as a film that has music sung by the characters. This does not specify how much, or whether it’s diegetic, or whether it forwards the plot or explains the characters. It would therefore include animation (and I do regret that we didn’t look more seriously at that sub-genre) and would include filmed version of operas. So, upon reflection, that seems perhaps ov
  5. Saw the in-theater screening today of West Side Story and LOVED it. The use of the wide screen, the sound (no problems in this theater), the beauty of it. The choreography is mesmerizing, the music and lyrics are works of art in themselves. Plus, I love Ben's introductions -- I think you're expecting too much of these, maybe. How could only a couple of minutes capture the entire musical, anyway. I think emphasizing Rita Morena made a lot of sense. What bothered me consistently, however, was Natalie Wood. Sure she's a good actress and pretty, but the put-on Latina accent plus the dubbing of her
  6. In previous courses they have always made sure that one or two of the featured films every week is available in some sort of public access format. I agree -- couldn't do this without the Tivo / DVR, and even then, there's not enough space to keep them all. ...let's face it, TCM is hoping we'll buy a few of our favorites from their shop. And maybe I will!
  7. There's only one DONE button per day / module, and you have to mark it yourself.
  8. My understanding is that those voice-over scenes are attempts at reconstructing the original version. It had been cut, and they lost the visual but had the audio track, so they laid in the still photos they had from elsewhere. (I know I heard that on TCM at some point.) Whenever I watch A Star is Born, I keep trying to "unsee" those additions. I agree a little bit of cutting might have been helpful to that one. Sorry about the aside, we're supposed to be talking about My Fair Lady. I appreciated this scene, in which Audrey goes through such emotional transitions, but nothing can beat In
  9. Like others, I grew up with the cast album of The Music Man, so it's that precise, mellifluous voice that comes to mind with Robert Preston. This question is interesting in making me reconsider his personality in terms of gender codes. It strikes me that Preston is a throwback to that gentler, suave, intelligent leading man we saw earlier -- the consummately trained Fred Astaire - Dick Powell type. The performance is delicate enough that it can read as gay when necessary, but yes, deliberately not "flaming". Preston is a man who also has total control of his body, as a dancer would, in precis
  10. The answer to your first question is, unfortunately, it was quite common in the past to kidnap wives. The women coming to love and marry their abductors is EXACTLY the Roman story of the Sabine women. In the end, for just the reasons given in the movie, the Sabine women end up making peace between Roman husbands and Sabine fathers. It's called Marriage Diplomacy.
  11. Thanks for this post -- agreed, this is a troubling story. But the primary trouble with this musical is that it is a "remake" of the "Rape of the Sabine Women" story, which is very much with us still. It is the founding history of Rome and deeply embedded in our marriage culture ever since. I don't teach this film, but I have examined that subject in other courses I teach, and it's really complicated and needs to be contextualized... you could spend way more time on it than Prof. Ament does. To give her credit, she does actually use the word "rape" to describe what's happening, and points out
  12. Yes, but I agree with the point that Harriet was trying to make, also. It's a bit of a problem for orchestra audiences, in fact -- how do you maintain your focus on music only, without any, or limited visuals. I don't blame the movie director for trying to enliven the long piece. I also think that the fantasy element adds to character development -- one of the sub messages of this film is that (perhaps) artists need to be arrogant and self-centered to succeed in this world. As such, that runs counter to the theme of Cooperation that is being put forth as a characteristic of the musicals, and t
  13. I haven't rewatched this film for the course yet, so I'm not sure what I think about this (Hollywood) realism vs the fantasy ballet. Good as the fantasy ballets are, I've never much liked them -- fantasy, but also more reliant upon stereotypes than characters. But watching this clip as a set-up for the Paris art scene is really insightful. The walk up the hill is a catalogue of all the art types you'll see on the streets, and requires an amazing amount of knowledge just to create the 15 second scenario. The first artist is probably the most progressive -- doing the modernist stuff; the second
  14. I appreciated the opportunity to consider the professorial straight man in this clip. Full disclosure: I am myself a professor, so I have a slight bias toward the profession. In the family, my dad was often the one who delivered the joke (okay, Dad Jokes), but he had some finesse and liked to wait until the timing was perfect. As such, he appreciated a good set-up, and I was often the one who would deliver. And he always said to me-- there's no shame in being a good straight man (or second banana); it's necessary to the act. So the Professor was really excellent at setting it up, letting himse
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