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Posts posted by Ihopetheresice

  1. Would it seem ridiculous to request sharing information to access the course? I don't know what harm it could cause other than someone perhaps sabotaging later film class which I would hope sounds ridiculous. I would love to comb through the material almost as if auditing the class. I love film noir and of course I've been able to take every class but the noir one. I would be willing to swap info through direct message for someone who perhaps missed one of the other classes but was able to take the noir one. 

  2. I feel like it has already been established within the curator's notes on this scene, but if Streisand were to belt out this performance it would lose the emotionally vulnerability her character should be displaying. If she were to go "full Barbara" on this song, it would seem less a confession and instead would seem as if her character was acting a part as in her stage performances. 


    One thing I did notice, for a song that is about one character's desire for another character (or any person for that matter) Streisand spends a great amount of time not even addressing Sharif's character. It's a little off-putting and almost makes me believe that she might as well have "belted" the song out for the world, or at least Sharif given his not so close proximity, to hear. Perhaps, Wyler could have achieved even greater results had she addressed Sharif with the emotion the song's lyrics suggest, but he's William Wyler so what do I know? :)

  3. One of the most prominent changes in male representation and performance has to be the evolution of method acting/workshopping. Prior to this time, when a person is watching a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly film they are watching Astaire and Kelly playing the character as Astaire and Kelly with the same wonderful characteristics. Here we have an actor who inhabits the character completely so as to lose himself in the role. Also of note is the delivery of the song in The Music Man. Preston delivers the song as a sermon to the townspeople, rattling off the lines as if they are an Americana version of slam poetry. It is a far cry from the melody of the 30's. Furthermore, Preston's mannerisms and facial expressions are those of an inhabited character. They do not reflect the over the top flair of classical musicals, but instead bring story and song seamlessly together.

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  4. This scene from Gypsy harkens back to the the backstage musicals of the 1930's in that it shows the inner workings of a show and one can already tell it will be the tale of a star and a stage of some sort. Although after reading the lecture notes (stripper character and double entendres), it is clear that this film will contain a subject that will skirt the confines of the production code.

    I should preface this statement by noting that I have neither seen Merman's portrayal of Mama Rose or Russell's (outside of this small scene). In my opinion, Rosalind Russell here seems to be playing the character as Mame, if I am remembering correctly. While Mame is free spirited and Mama Rose seems overbearing, both have over the top characteristics that demand attention on all fronts.


    I can't make an insightful comment on Sondheim's lyrics here, because the girl's performance is rather short and lacks a great amount of lyrical content and what one can hear is overshadowed by Mama Rose's demands and arguments.

  5. A movie is not required to maintain a similar approach throughout the entirety of the film and in An American in Paris I believe the stylized scene does well to portray the fantasy as it is intended. The break in style and form allows the audience to identify it as just that...a break in reality. 


    Jerry Mulligan's character rises above being loathsome partly because he is simply played by Gene Kelly. Although, I would also have to argue that he doesn't seem unlikeable due to the everyman quality of Mulligan (at least in this scene). He is cordial, but not overly friendly to his fellow artists and seems irritated when a younger person criticizes his work, both relatable instances. I even read his response to Milo's request to buy his paintings not as suspicion, but rather giddy amazement that someone finally appreciates his art beyond stopping to analyze it, which is how most starving artists would respond.

  6. Gene Kelly's movements and mannerisms have been previously covered in the lectures and videos before this point and I think his pre-dance movements in this iconic scene are no different. He has an athletically musical mannerism in and out of dance that I think is equally highlighted in this scene without being over the top. On the other hand, O'Connor's mannerisms are indeed over the top and work to establish him as the more flamboyant of the two. Because of this, the segue into the song and dance seems fluid and not out of the ordinary and the viewer doesn't feel any sense of disruption present in other musicals where the songs do not fit as fluidly into the storyline of the film.

    The role of the straight man is to maintain serious composure amidst at times ridiculous and over the top comedy. The professor in this scene does not find any humor in the subject of elocution, while his pupils are intent on ridiculing it. His character must continue this line of behavior in order to allow the two leads to portray the humor of the scene, but it is his seriousness that ultimately heightens the comedy of the scene whether it's a simple glance at O'Connor (catching his mock interest) or the absurdity of having the entire room piled on him.

    As in most of his films, Kelly is the Alpha male of the group, maintaining his strength, athleticism, and confidence. His movements are concise and powerful. On the other hand, O'Connor can be seen as the Beta of the two in that he does not exude the masculinity of Kelly's character. This can be seen in their movements in that, while dancing in sync, Kelly's form seems to be tight and controlled, while O'Connor's seems to have a more feminine flair. To me, the professor falls somewhere in between although a true definition of him seems hard to place.

  7. The viewer notices the interplay of the characters, each offering their own insight into what makes "entertainment." They play off one another's ideas as well as movements. This scene differs from earlier musicals in that, instead of featuring a solo dance number or a duo either dancing in-step or step-for-step, the characters dance cohesively, weaving in and out of each other or all in line as an ensemble. 


    I would say that their costuming, albeit different from one another, does not help one stand out from the rest of the ensemble. Even Astaire suit, while fashionable, is not flashy. I find it interesting that, instead of clothing them in similar fashions, the characters are dressed individually, but that it doesn't create a sense of separation. Instead, it reinforces the idea that, although each character is of a different background/profession, each character is a critical component in creating.


    Again, one has to acknowledge the interplay between the characters. At times, they are literally weaving in and out of one another and even when one character seems to be doing something it affects another character. As previously stated in the lecture and almost certainly in most of the previous posts in this thread, this helps to reinforce the idea of collaboration and community above the individual. 

  8. To me, the transition from Petunia being at Joe's bedside to her at the clothesline shows her happiness in domesticity. All she longs for is a happy home with a trustworthy and respectable husband. To her, this is of the utmost importance to her self-worth. Happiness is not only Joe, but what a life with a faithful husband represents to Petunia. 

    If this number were to have been about a child I believe it would've been more relatable or perhaps would have held up a little better with today's sensibilities. Instead, it seems a bit dated in its portrayal of a woman needing a man in order to be happy. Petunia's life is entirely focused around a husband unworthy of her devotion. Even when Petunia turns away from Joe and seems to be through with his wanton ways, it is simply a ploy to draw Joe back to her. I would imagine the reviews for this film if it were to be released in today's world would have a few things to say about this. 


    I enjoyed this film and wish we had more documents of African American performances from this time. Unfortunately, I don't think I can add anything more on the subject beyond what has already been written/said during the lectures. Incredibly poignant and important film for its time.

  9. Admittedly, I am a bit of a novice when it comes to the musical genre. Like almost everyone else, my first experience with Judy Garland was The Wizard of Oz as a child and as one can imagine it would be years before I experienced anything else with her in it. Sadly, the number of years is almost embarrassing, but when I did finally see her in something other than Oz it was her triumphant return in A Star is Born. I was decently oblivious to the tumultuous happenings in her life and career and was taken aback by how old she appeared at only 32 years old. As a result, I fell down the rabbit hole of learning about Garland's heartbreaking life and early demise. My first impressions were initially wrapped in the wonder that The Wizard of Oz offered me as a child and continues to offer children even to this day (my wife and I watched in for the first time with our four year old daughter this past Thursday and she was enrapt). Outside of the two aforementioned films, I remember seeing her in Babes in Arms with Mickey Rooney and marveling at her talent evident outside of Oz in the same year. 


    More so than realizing it after the two clips in our Daily Dose, I have to say I'm stunned to learn Garland did not have a dancing background. It is not an understatement when you said she held her own with Gene Kelly in For Me and My Gal and the same can be said in the scene from Easter Parade, as well. She commands the stage, not only working up to the level of the incredible dancers she co-starred with but I would argue that she elevated them to a whole new level, as well. I just watched For Me and My Gal for the first time tonight and I have to say it is easily one of my favorites, so far. I'm gushing at this point, but the singing, the dancing, and the comedic sensibility all wrapped up in an image that made people think she was the quintessential girl next door makes it hard for me to offer up anyone that could be described in the same fashion. 


    I'm enjoying my time in this course and the films it has opened me up to seeing.

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  10. From the few comments I read it would seem that a strong number of people argue that this scene doesn't present a battle of the sexes. While I am not ready to agree with that point, the battle is very subtle and miniscule. To me, it appears as mimicry on Rogers' part in the early stages of the dance and progresses to even the slightest of tap additions on Ginger's as they are walking away from the camera. Also, if you look at Roger's eyes they are sizing Astaire's character up for size and the battle is engaged by the fact that he appears to be sizing up not only her beauty but her talent. 


    I would have to argue that it begins to distinguish itself from other musicals of the period in just the portrayal of Rogers' character in men's dress. I mean, this is same type of wardrobe that caused an uproar in Katherine Hepburn's case and would later be so chic when Diane Keaton participates in the fashion years later in Annie Hall. And while we have seen women play hard to get before in such films, I think the major difference here is that it presents itself as a one-upsmanship (sic?) between the two sexes, not as a situation where the woman needs saving or even needs affection from the male counterpart. The possible reasons for these changes can be attributed to the ever-changing need for women to have credibility and strength inside and outside of the movies. The movie is released 15 years after women are allowed the right to vote and the dynamic continues to shift although the issues is still relevant today. 

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  11. The props do well to give insight into Count Renard's character. For instance, upon discovering that the gun the woman has used to "kill herself" is a fake, Renard quickly stashes it in a drawer containing a multitude of other guns, alluding to the fact that this has happened to him a number of times. Furthermore, when discussing how the government cannot continue to support his sexual behavior, Renard argues that he is not a lothario at all while brandishing a woman's garter in his hand. The staging further enhances this by showing how easily Renard can zip/unzip a woman's dress, while the husband of said woman struggles. 


    As for sound, the scene has very little examples of it. Outside of the diegetic sounds of the husband as he comes into the room, the dialogue between characters, and the gunshots, we have very little sound. Instead, we hear the white noise familiar of the early sound era until the suspenseful music plays as the spurned husband approaches Renard with intent to kill. Afterwards, we return to a scene without music once the gunshot has been fired and discover through comedic means that Renard is alive and this isn't his first foray into similar circumstances. 


    Again, we find ourselves immersed in lavish hotel rooms with equally lavishly dressed characters furthering the escapism of the era. Also, we see the emergence of the screwball comedy that would come to dominate the theaters for years to come (as stated by Gehring in his exploration of Top Hat). 

  12. The interaction between Sgt. Bruce and Marie seems to flip in the two scenes. In the canoe scene, Marie is initially seen as disinterested in Bruce's advances, but seems to soften towards him when he is serenading her before realizing how interchangeable her name is with any number of other girls. Later, in the saloon while Marie is singing, she is embarrassed by the fact that she has "cheapened" herself by singing for money in such a place, but Sgt. Bruce seems to be embarrassed for her much like one would be embarrassed if the object of their affection found themselves in such a embarrassing situation. Again, their stances seem to flip and, while Bruce still seems interested in her, Marie does not hold the power or confidence she held in the first scene. 


    This type of romantic staging is typical for the era and seems to be the staging of any number of romantic comedies to this day. However, it is important to note how the man maintains his masculinity and confidence while the woman seems to be floundering in a public situation. This sets her up to be "rescued" by Sgt. Bruce it would seem (I'm basing this solely on the clips as I have not seen the movie in its entirety, yet). It is also important to note that post-code it is clear how the other female performer should be seen by the audience. She exists in direct and bawdy contrast to the morally staunch character of Marie to the extent  that she is used as an immoral figure of the post-code era. 

  13. I would have to say that this film, or at least the clip shown in Monday's lesson, does present a brighter perspective considering it was during the Depression era. For instance, money does not seem to be on the mind of many of the performers, even despite the running subject of Ziegfeld constantly needing financiers to back his projects. Instead when the doorman informs Ziegfeld that he handed him a greater amount of currency than the doorman expected, there is the pun about weight but also the frivolity with which Ziegfeld handles his money despite the times. 


    As for overarching themes/approaches of other Depression era musicals, I anticipate the focus being on escapism for the American viewing audience instead of focusing on the hardship running rampant during that time. It seems like many of the musicals of this era center around the staging of productions (Broadway Melody series, The Great Ziegfeld, Footlight Parade, etc.). 


    Had The Great Ziegfeld been made prior to the implementation of the Production Code, the viewer would see a greater number of costume changes being shown on screen and the dresses would be much more revealing as opposed to the knee-length (or longer) gowns throughout the post-code movies. 

  14. 1. I counted three visual examples of "criss crossing" in the scene. I counted the intercutting shots of the two men exited the cab and walking towards the train as one, because they appear to be heading in opposite directions towards one another. I also noticed the crossing of the legs, first by Bruno and then by Guy, which causes the third "criss cross" when their toes bump into one another. 


    2. Hitch contrasts the two men, at first, by their style. Bruno exits the cab wearing flashy pinstripes and wingtip (I believe that's the term) dress shoes, while Guy is seen in a much more traditional solid black cover with "normal" dress shoes. Bruno also wears a tie clip with his name, which seems par for the course considering his "loud" tie and shoes. 


    3. Tiomkin's score is played with a full orchestra and seems quite loud during the credits, but seems to calm down for a bit until the two men are walking towards the train. It is during this sequence, that the score seems to pick up a bit, building suspense, until we get the full flourish again during the train tracks shot. It then returns to a calmer tune with a sudden burst when the two characters' toes touch. Then, the music stops abruptly to enable the dialogue between the two men. All of this adds to the suspense of the scene and creates a mood of foreboding.

  15. 1. The opening scene of Rear Window moves the audience towards the outside world, but stopping us just short (to remain in the what will become Jeffries' POV) to remind us of Jeff's restraints, but also ours within the film. The camera then tilts and pans over the courtyard to establish the setting and characters. Again, the vantage point is ours as we discover this new environment that is about to become as interesting to Jeffries as it is to us in this opening scene. 


    2. We learn that he is a photographer and that he has been hurt and laid up (by the obvious presence of his leg cast). We see a smashed camera and numerous action shots showing the danger L.B. seems to have faced in his profession. This leads us to believe he may have been hurt on the job (full disclosure: I've already seen the movie many times, but am anxious to view it again). We also see a fashion magazine with Grace Kelly's character on the front, hinting at how they two characters might have met. 


    3. I don't feel like any more a voyeur than I am in any other film where I am the spectator. I just think I am made more aware of my role as voyeur in this film. I guess it is more pronounced that we are the audience especially in the first pan of the courtyard, because we see it before Jeffries in this instance.


    4. Yes, I believe Hitch has incorporated most, if not all, of his "touches" in this film marking it as his "most cinematic." For example (I am listing here for brevity), background of secondary characters, background of lead protagonists through mise en scene, completely constructed set on single location (i.e. Lifeboat), the particular scene between Thorwald and Jeffries and its use of flash bulbs, themes of marriage and relationships, staircases (or, at least, fire escapes), Hitch's use of stars and their personas, etc.

  16. 1. Some Hitchcock touches I noticed initially were the skewed camera angle and shadow that Grant seems to step out of as he walks closer to Bergman until he is seen upside down from Bergman's POV.

    Upon seeing Bergman peek out from her disheveled hair, I was reminded of the the previous Daily Dose where Lombard similarly peeks out from her bed covers. 


    2. Again, Hitch uses shadows effectively with Grant, at first covering him in them until he reveals his intentions and purpose of his visit. Upon seeing the top half of Bergman's outfit as she is lying in bed, I couldn't help but imagine prison stripes, which would be fitting considering she is about to be coerced into an imprisonment of sorts while spying on Rains' character. 


    3. I believe that Cary Grant both conforms and challenges his persona in that, while retaining the charm we have come to associate with Grant, he is blackmailing Bergman's Alicia into helping him, after all. As for Bergman, her haggard and hungover state plays against the elegant type for which she was so well-known.

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  17. 1. Some examples of the Hitchcock touch are the panning shot leading to Montgomery's character, as well as the close up of Lombard's eye flashing from beneath the covers. We also learn that this couple seems to be in the midst of a legitimate fight, in which neither is willing to back down. The audience can deduce this based upon the large display of used dishes, Mr. Smith sitting on the floor playing solitaire (as opposed to sharing a game with his wife), the blankets on the couch while Mrs. Smith can be seen in bed on the far side of the room, and how Mr. Smith takes his portion of breakfast as he leaves the rest for his wife (who, at this point, has yet to say anything).


    2. I would argue that we don't get the setup of secondary characters as we do in The Lady Vanishes, but we do get the panning shot of the hotel room much like the one in Shadow of a Doubt as it pans the street, moving up into the boarding room, to Uncle Charlie. 


    3. There seems to be an adequate chemistry as far as one can see in such a small showcase of the two performers. I would assume Lombard is a good fit because this film is in her wheelhouse and Hitchcock has a reputation of bringing out the best in his cast. I have yet to see the film in its entirety, because I started the course late and am playing catch up. But I received my copy today and plan on watching it soon. 

  18. 1. In the film's New Jersey prelude, we learn that Uncle Charlie has a stash of cash by the bedside and he's lying in bed in a dark suit, rolling a cigar between his fingers. We learn from the lady running the boarding house that two men have been asking for him and are waiting just outside for him. In a manner so calm that it is sinister, Charlie informs her the men are not his friends and replies "that he may go out and meet them." After the woman leaves, he smashed his glass and leaves, but makes sure to walk right by the waiting men, instead of avoiding them, perhaps tempting fate or daring the men to make a move. 


    2. Obviously, the shadows of the room and the mystery behind the cash gives us an idea that the film is a noir, as well as the seedy nature of Charlie. I also noticed that, in contrast to Charlie's black suit (representing his dark nature), the lady from the boarding house is dressed in a white dress with gray stripes, perhaps representing the fact that she is caught between her normal life and the criminal activity of her boarder.


    3. The movie's score starts off as peaceful while panning over the boys playing in the street as it moves to the window where we meet Uncle Charlie. It is after we learn that Charlie is being followed and we see him react that the music loudly jolts us out of this peace and then ramps up as Charlie decided to take his money and walk by the two men waiting outside for him. The music's jarring nature is what pulls us out of any sense of calm into a feeling of suspense.

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  19. 1. Hitch uses sound design to put the viewer into the mind of Alice by using another character's dialogue to show Alice's response. Initially, the woman with the basket's dialogue is specific and audible when she is explaining how she would have used a brick to hit someone over the head, but never a knife. Eventually, her words become an inaudible mumble where only the word "knife" is the only discernible word. 


    2. Again, only "knife" can be heard in the woman's dialogue, but it is important to note that Hitchcock does not even put the camera on this person as she is speaking, instead giving us the facial reaction (i.e. the jumping eyebrows) of Alice. Eventually, it seems as if the woman speaking yells the word "knife," but it only appears that way because of Alice's mounting nervousness. 


    3. Not to be a film hipster, but I believe a great deal of "art" is sacrificed in the cash grab of blockbusters and their sequels. As we learned in our lecture notes, Hitchcock was a great at successfully bridging the gap between the commercial and artistic. A great deal of films seem to be framed in a similar fashion as that of television, instead of the subjective manner in this film. 

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  20. 1. The POV shots cause a feeling of anxiety for the viewers. As the viewer looks upon Mabel as she seems to float toward the two boys (and us), it is evident that something important is on the horizon and a feeling of uncertainty weighs upon us and creates tension in us, much like the boys in the scene.


    2. Hitch uses this technique to create suspense in viewers by making us feel as if we are a character within the scene. It places the viewer in the story, instead of simply being an idle bystander in someone else's tale. 


    3. Perhaps, the most obvious visual connection is that of the record player and dancing which ties this film and Roddy's actions with the debauchery of the dance sequence in The Ring. Furthermore, both sets of visuals are provided in the similar fashion of montage. The themes of the magnitude of errors and their impact on a life, as that of the wrongfully accused are present here in Hitch's early films for the first of many times. 

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  21. 1.Hitch adds vitality and rhythm in this scene by speeding up the rate of cuts as the music speeds up until the whole room in dancing. 


    Also, did anyone else think of a drugged out version of Renee Zellwegger and Catherine Zeta Jones in Chicago when watching the two girls dance?


    2. Hitch is able to create a feeling of subjectivity by administering close-ups to focus on the eyes of the boxer, intermixed with distorted images of the piano and record player in effect showing his mounting anxiety of leaving behind his wife to the debauchery of the neighboring crowd. 


    3. Hitch's use of the mirror between the couple in adjoining rooms, as well as the superimposition of the wife in another's arms to show the boxer's fear of what leaving his wife might entail.

  22. 1. Some of the similarities between The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger clips can be found in the close-ups highlighting the faces of certain characters. Both clips also include frenzied cuts from one image to another. But instead of the excited nature of the characters in The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger quick and frenzied cuts add a far more ominous tone to this film than the previous example. 


    2. It doesn't really have to do with Hithcock's style or perhaps it is the early establishment of what would become that style, but I noticed the way in which Hitch gives us information that would have normally been presented on simple title cards. For instance, the flashing lights of "To-night" or the information of a killer on the loose presented through the typewriter. One could argue that Hitch's background in advertising influenced the various ways he was able to incorporate title card info without using the same look as most other silent films. 


    As far as the Hitchcock style goes, I found myself thinking of the shower scene in Psycho upon seeing the opening shot of the murdered girl in The Lodger. Also, one can see the influence of German Expressionism in Hitch's use of shadows throughout the film. Seeing the titular character for the first time, I was reminded of the dark, pit-like eyes of Cesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Furthermore, the influence of Soviet montage was instantly evident in the cuts between various images of a city in panic.


    3. The face of the murdered woman conveys plenty of emotion making sound/dialogue unnecessary. Again, I'm reminded of the shower scene from Psycho by the way in which both screaming faces leave an emotional impact on the viewer. 

  23. 1. Yes, as I'm sure it has already been noted, the eyeglass sequence foreshadows the use of point of view that Hitchcock would give James Stewart's L.B. Jeffries in Rear Window


    2. Again, some of the techniques will be apparent in Rear Window, but we can also see the leering sorts of characters Hitchcock would continue to use throughout the next 50 years. 


    3. I believe the scene is still successful, despite the lack of synchronized dialogue. Characters and their intentions, motivations, etc. are still evident, while the plot continue to be established and pushed forward towards a cohesive story.

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  24. I know this is a shot in the dark, but is there anyone on here that would be willing to give me access to the class. I missed the enrollment date and didn't even know this was being offered until now. I just want to audit the class, if you will, and see all the class has to offer. I thoroughly enjoyed the slapstick course and would love to take part in this class. Again, I know it's a long shot.

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