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About MrDougLong

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  1. 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? It’s an introspective song, which Fanny (Barbra Streisand) is only sharing with Nicky (Omar Sharif) and herself. If she were proclaiming to the world (as Streisand’s Fanny does in “Let’s Hear It for Me” from Funny Lady, 1975), belting and more broad and theatrical gestures would be appropriate. Here, there’s a sense of needing some space a few steps away from Nicky to consider their relationship. Adding to the private fee
  2. 1. 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) In both Gaslight (1944) and My Fair Lady (1964), a man attempts to control a woman for selfish reasons. In Gaslight, it’s for money, and in My Fair Lady, it’s for professional pride. In both cases, the woman’s well being is a price he’s willing to pay, and in both cases, the woman is worn down and angry at the
  3. 1. 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? That’s a huge question and there’s not one simple answer. I would say that Robert Preston’s performance in The Music Man (1962) follows a tradition of alpha male musical performance in film that include James Cagney in Footlight Parade (1933) and Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942); Nelson Eddy in the Jeanette MacDonald operettas; Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949), and others; Howard Keel in Kiss Me Kate (1953), S
  4. 1. 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? Many of its backstage musical elements hearken to the entire history of film musicals: a vaudeville setting, musical numbers performed on a stage to “us” in the audience, someone interrupting the proceedings (so many of the early Warners musicals). The story and acting style, though, reflect the intense 1950s dramatic style of Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando. Karl Malden’s frustration at his work and life situation is as intense a
  5. 1. 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? Not necessarily since the end ballet is clearly in Jerry’s imagination. As an artist who has chosen to try his luck in Paris, he has studied the great French artists whose work shows up in the ballet. It does make sense, though, that the mise-en-scene has a painterly feeling throughout the film and that music interweaves with action and dialogue as it does at the beginning of this opening scene. 2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan fro
  6. 1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Starting with Donald O’Connor aping the Professor during the “Moses” tongue twister, they let that rhythm inform their dance to come. Once Gene Kelly holds the elocution book, their gestures match the beats of the poetry’s rhythm. Once O’Connor tosses the book, they start dancing in time to the beat. 2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. It’s actually hard to focus on the Professor because we’re so captivated by the dancing and shenanigans
  7. 1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Films followed the post-war focus on re-establishing gender roles within the nuclear family (husbands at work, wives at home). Bringing back characters like Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun (1950) and Jane in Calamity Jane (1953) showed women who were agents controlling their own lives, even if the outcome is a return to the nuclear family with the woman converting to a more “wifely” existence. 2. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her vario
  8. 1. 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? During the first minute, Nanette Fabray, Oscar Levant & Jack Buchanan pull Fred Astaire to a seated position to “audition” their ideas (clowns, sex, divorcees) for him; Vincente Minnelli keeps adjusting the mis-en-scene, often with whoever has the lyric moving so we’ll watch them. Once Astaire agrees to participate (at :56, “It could be Oedipus Rex”), they work together to
  9. 1. 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? The lighting by Joe's bed is arranged so a key light catches Ethel Waters’ face when she looks up to talk to God, which we see as the strongest relationship throughout the film. The blocking is arranged so the relationship between Petunia and Joe (Eddie “Rochester” Anderson) at first seems to be more mother-child than wife-husband, especially the way Ethel Waters grins and po
  10. 1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. Here are the shots: The scene opens with a pan from right to left as Frank Sinatra exits the locker room, only to be trapped by Betty Garrett. In a continual shot, it pans back right and then left again as she chases him toward the dressing room and up the bleacher stairs. At :13, we cut to a long shot of the two running out on the baseball field, panning left to catch them running away from the camera. At :20, we cut to a medium two-shot so she c
  11. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? Like most here, my first Judy Garland film was The Wizard of Oz, every year on TV in the late 1960s & early ‘70s. My impression was that she was a very natural performer, believing in Oz, and possessing a deeply beautiful and emotive voice. 2. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? These clips show Judy’s famous sense of humor. In “A Couple of Swells,” she and Fred Astaire make a fully choreographed dance look like play
  12. 1. 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. FDR’s office includes an American flag and a model and paintings of war ships. Even the President’s desk clock is designed as a ship’s steering wheel. The Rhode Island Fourth of July parade scene bends the truth (Cohan was born on July 3) to allow for stars and stripes bunting and the kind of small town that Americans were told they were fighting for, filled with flag-waving Americans. This leads
  13. They dance together to "It Only Happens When I Dance with You" in Easter Parade (1948).
  14. This pretty much sums up their styles. Ruby Keeler as Peggy Sawyer is endearingly clunky as she taps her heart out in her sudden opportunity to play the lead. Eleanor Powell is almost other-worldly as she dances - part ballerina, part gynmast, all smiles and confidence.
  15. 1. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? Often when Ginger Rogers executes a step that equals or tops Fred Astaire’s, her body and expression suggest, “Top that.” Thunder is used creatively in the number, always pushing the relationship forward. Ginger only consents to the traditional physical connection dancing (3:58) after the final thunder (3:36) bumps up the music’s tempo as well as (presumably) the characters’ hearts. 2. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or
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