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Laura Sasaran

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About Laura Sasaran

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    San Diego, California
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    Walking, swimming, photography, film

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  1. Thank you for another fabulous TCM course! The historical context you provided for musicals from 1929 to today showed them to be the mirror of our civilization that they are. I will never take them lightly again! Laura Sasaran
  2. Mama Rose's entrance is a Sherman tank coming down the aisle as she abruptly takes over the entire stage. She quickly disarms the director, takes over his job and instructs the conductor on what to play for her performing daughters. Her hat sits atop her head like the lid of the tank as she adroitly pops the balloons of the competing girl. She is the mother of all stage mothers disrupting the performance which is about to put burlesque onstage, a revolution for musicals that harks back to the sexuality of the pre-code era. We leap from the Vaudeville era to the sexual revolution of the 1960s before we can catch our breath. Even Mama Rose isn't ready for this one. Natalie Wood single-handedly liberates women long before the Women's Movement with a lot more charm than the bra-burners had.
  3. Based on "Faust" The "Band Wagon" includes the song "That's Entertainment" which makes a community with the classics, everything from "Oedipus Rex" to "Hamlet". My favorite lines: A swain Getting slain For the love of a queen Some great Shakespearean scene Where a ghost and a prince meet And everyone ends in mincemeat The gag Might be waving the flag That began With a Mr. Cohan Hip hooray The American way! The world is a stage The stage is a world Of entertainment! Here we see Shakespeare and George Cohan in close proximity, musical comedy shakes hands with classical tragedy because our lives are tragi-comedy. Are we just entertaining the gods? Notice the stairway at the beginning goes to the heavens.
  4. The African American butler chats with George Cohan up the stairs to FDR's room commenting on Teddy Roosevelt's singing a patriotic song in the bathtub. This man's loyalty to the White House presidents' spans generations. FDR comments on the patriotism of the Irish. George reveals his grandfather volunteered for Massachusetts in the Civil War when he was thirteen. Massachusetts taught the rest of the country. Now there is a pressing need for the Cohans to rally the country once again.
  5. It is important that Ginger Rogers is wearing an English riding habit. Class is certainly overt. The sexual symbolism is overt. This gal does not ride side-saddle. Like a knight, she is in command of a 1000 pound horse. I remember once my mother got advice from the police about how to handle vicious dogs on her walk when she was a senior. "Carry a quirt," they said. A quirt is a steel rod covered in leather with a few loops of leather at the tip to whip the horse's flank to speed up the pace. You can crack a skull with it rather easily. She matches Fred's "pacing." It is a dance of coordinated pace, like a fine trotter. If you can command the pace, you win the race with grace. But make no mistake about it, this is an archetypal goddess, a "virgin" goddess, like Athena, independent of man. She needs no man to defend her. She is a warrior goddess.
  6. 1933 is the height of the Great Depression and the year Hitler rose to power. Like Art Spielberg's Maus I and Maus II, the cats are the Nazi's and the mice are the Jews and ultimately, all of us. Too far out? Edward G. Robinson doesn't think so, he's packin'.
  7. From watching the Ziegfeld clip, we can expect the spark of love to be a recurring theme in musicals. Anna Held's mirror was an ingenious theatrical device. It broke the fourth wall and involved the audience in the flashes of seduction as an illusion. Suddenly we are all involved in the darting eye contact between Anna, Billings and Ziegfeld, the eternal triangle. We are made participants in the pursuit and the pursuer. Pre-code films may have shortened the skirts, intensified the seductive dancing with tap or jazz, but nothing could have worked better than the contrasting elegance of an Edwardian hourglass female figure flashing mirrored signals to hundreds of potential lovers. Sometimes covering up is far more suggestive than exposing flesh.
  8. Kathy Moffat is in control of Jeff in the cantina scene. He is smitten as soon as she is silhouetted at the threshold. She is a delicate beauty, smart, rude, sarcastic and appealing all at the same time, a dangerous combination. She has stolen $40,000 from someone and is running for her life. Jeff is smart. He waits in Alcapulco to intercept her flight from Mexico city and the United States because he deduces since she is headed south, she has to catch the boat south from Alcapulco. I don't know how he picked the right cantina, La Mare Azul( the Blue Sea), she could have gone to Pablos's. Jeff buys her jade earrings, she refuses them, and they become his. Jade symbolizes life, death and transition through corn, water and snakes in Mexico. Jeff is about to be bitten and transition to the dark side, death. Like deadly Annie Laurie Starr in Gun Crazy, Kathy will get Jeff to kill for her and betray him. We get an inkling of her control of him when she seductively invites him to Pablo's where he can hear "American music for a dollar". Then he will be on her turf. Jeff's problem is he has fallen in love with her already, and she is no Mrs. Vivian Sternwood Rutledge (The Big Sleep) or Laura. He thinks he is following her until she catches him. Once he accepts the bait, he is lost. Jeff makes a deadly mistake. He has misjudged character. Philip Marlowe would not have made the same mistake.
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