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Everything posted by Whipsnade

  1. I have to admit that I previously disliked this film. I think it was an issue with my mood when I had first seen it. I remembered the story as kind of a downer and I dreaded watching it for this course. The story still doesn't really grab me, but the dance numbers and songs are great. They more than make up for the narrative shortcomings. It is a reminder for me to not judge a movie on a single viewing. My first impression was negative, and I never re-evaluated it until now.
  2. I think the problem with "Jailhouse Rock" is that they tried to make it a serious movie with serious acting, and that was just not his strength. I don't dislike it, but I think the later films were better. Elvis was a great personality and performer, not a great actor. Ridiculous bit of fluff that it is, I still prefer "Viva Las Vegas" to "Jailhouse Rock." That said, the title numbers in both are great.
  3. Which makes it like just about every college course I took. Though the testing is not comprehensive, the presentation needs to connect the current material with what we have studied earlier. Too much material to cover in the time allotted leads to a head spinning last week!
  4. Agreed, even if it is in a non-interactive auditing format. I found out about Film Noir too late and signed up for Hitchcock but had to drop it. While the communal experience is important, this course allows for students who do not engage in it to participate at a minimal level. This would be a reasonable default setting for accessing the course after it is over.
  5. While it was covered in the "Slapstick" course, the format meant that it was not covered in detail. A more comprehensive study would be great. In that course, "Screwball" comedies, like IHON and BUB, were considered examples of "Verbal Slapstick. " I agree that Screwball, by itself, would likely be too narrow a topic for this format, but GeezerNoir has it figured out: So do I!
  6. After "Slapstick" ended, I felt the same way. I found it by going onto the Canvas site and clicking "Courses.' This gave me a list of all the courses Canvas was offering. I scrolled down and found "Made in America: Exploring the Hollywood Western." And the rest, as they say, is history.
  7. A nice overview of radio performers who were in our movie musicals. One minor correction relating to Alice Faye and Phil Harris. They started their own duo work on radio while Phil was still on the Jack Benny Show. They had two shows. First was the "Fitch Bandwagon," from 1946 to 1948, then "The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show," from 1948 to 1954. Harris remained the band leader on the Benny show until the start of the 1952-1953 season, when he was replaced by Bob Crosby, the younger brother of Bing. We saw Bob Crosby in a cameo in "Road to Bali." More radio connections to our m
  8. Of the musicals from before 1960, I enjoyed them all. I had seen all but two: "Hallelujah" (1929) and "That Midnight Kiss" (1949). I still haven't seen "Hallelujah," due to a recording error. I dreaded watching "That Midnight Kiss," because I didn't think I liked Mario Lanza. Actually, I enjoyed the story and thought Lanza was good. Now, I have to reassess all of his movies. Of the musicals after 1960, I found them less enjoyable. I'd seen about three-quarters of the musicals from the 1960's (mostly the earlier ones). Of the eight musicals from the 1970's, I had only seen two. I find these lat
  9. A great movie with loads of laughs, good songs, and a wonderful cast. Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, Beatrice Lillie, Carol Channing, John Gavin, and James Fox. Also the running gag of the elevator dance, but I never have understood what the Jewish wedding scene added.
  10. I do think it would have been more successful with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. As someone who grew up listening to the Broadway "soundtrack" album of Burton and Andrews, the singing in the movie version suffers by comparison. I have the same problem with the movie version of "My Fair Lady." When the singing doesn't sound the way you think it should, the viewing experience is compromised. "Camelot" also needed a disciplined editor to prune it down to a reasonable length! One of the weaknesses of the Road Show presentation was the need to justify the title by lengthening the film. Some ve
  11. I also took the course taught by Sue Matheson: "Made in America: Exploring the Hollywood Western." It was offered on Canvas in the Fall of 2016. When the "Slapstick!" course ended, I found it and signed up. It was a relatively narrow study of westerns from the "golden age." As I recall, we focused on eight westerns, starting with "Stagecoach" (1939) and ending with "High Noon" (1952). The course was good, though the scope of it left much on the table. There were some technical problems that were a mild irritation, but I stuck with it. A more general and comprehensive history of the western gen
  12. It is definitely time. I've only been there once and that was 20 years ago. I long to return and sample more of the cuisine.
  13. We have seen Cagney dance in two important musicals during this course, "Footlight Parade" (1933) and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" (1942). He played George M. Cohan in "Yankee Doodle Dandy." What hasn't been mentioned is that he played Cohan again in a famous scene in the biopic "The Seven Little Foys" (1955). It was the story of vaudevillian Eddie Foy and his seven performing children and starred Bob Hope as Foy. Recall that in YDD, Cohan (Cagney) had an exchange outside a theatre with Eddie Foy (played by Eddie Foy, Jr.). In SLF, Cohan (Cagney) and Foy (Hope) perform an energetic table-top dance du
  14. Another one I've always enjoyed is the song and dance interlude in "Citizen Kane" (1941). For lack of a better name, I'll call it the "Charlie Kane Song," performed during a testimonial thrown for the owner and editor of the Enquirer, Charles Foster Kane. In the excitement, Kane (Orson Welles) joins the dance line and leads the song.
  15. I remember with the course on Slapstick, the page with the badge had a direct link allowing it to be posted on Facebook. I don't see anything like that in this course. It probably can be done easily enough, if you know how - but I don't. I needed an "idiot button" to be able to do it. When I posted my Slapstick badges, I got lots of questions about the course. I talked up and "advertised" the course more on that forum than by any other means. It would be smart for Canvas to return to making it really easy for idiots like me to post these badges.
  16. Location noted. No regional disrespect intended. I must confess that the one New England boiled dinner I've had was lobster (when I was in Boston), and it was delicious. But as I understand it, there is a regional penchant for boiling more than lobster, resulting in an historical characterization of New England cooking tending to be bland. And, of course, what is bland is a matter of personal and/or regional taste (Note my location!!!). No matter how I choose to express it, we do both agree on the superiority of "The Philadelphia Story," when compared to "High Society."
  17. I must confess that I have never been a fan of Audrey Hepburn and find her irritating as Eliza. Actually, the whole movie suffers by comparison to the Broadway original with Julie Andrews as Eliza. Though I was too young to have seen the play, I grew up with the Broadway soundtrack recording. The way Andrews sings the song is the way I know them; the songs in the movie version don't quite sound right. I realize I can't blame Hepburn for this, as her "singing" is voiced-over. I just can't make it through this film without thinking how much better it would have been with Julie Andrews. The only
  18. Hands down, "The Philadelphia Story" wins any competition against "High Society." It is so well cast and so well directed and acted that, even though it is shot in black and white, it is the more colorful film. That said, I still enjoy "High Society," primarily for Bing Crosby's interplay with Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra. Even so, Cary Grant makes a better Dexter and Jimmy Stewart a better Mike. Also, Katherine Hepburn is a great "ice princess," and she thaws more convincingly than Grace Kelly. The psychological subtext about Tracy and her relationships with Dexter and her father is thor
  19. I think the biggest revelation has been to look at the collective evolution of the musical through the historical and cultural eras the instructors have defined. While I was quite familiar with many of the individual musicals that we have studied, I have never really studied the common themes in the musicals of a given era or the different themes that motivated musicals of different eras. Before this course, I would determine the era of a musical by who was in the cast; now I can pinpoint it through the cultural themes that we have learned. Coming into the course, I knew a lot about musicals;
  20. While I would still find it hard to call "Victory at Sea" a musical, it is certainly an example of a film where music plays a critical role. Because it is a documentary and not a scripted story, it can't be claimed that the music "advances" the story. But the music highlights the action and reinforces the mood of the narrative. I remember seeing it in reruns in the 1960's when I was a kid, and the musical score was stirring. Like so many of their generation, my parents also had the soundtrack album and enjoyed listening to it. The fact that Richard Rogers composed the score shows that the impo
  21. I agree that the good Doctor is engaging in some alliterative fun, but it is still possible to parse some meaning out of it. What the hell, I'll try (with tongue in cheek). The use of the word "transcendental" creates the biggest problem, yet without it, the poetic flow of the phrase is diminished. "Transcendental" is a loaded term that has a specific meaning in the discipline of philosophy and a vague (even ethereal) meaning in pop-culture "philo-babble." Philo-babble, it should be noted, is the lesser-known (though equally pernicious) cousin of "psycho-babble." In epistemology, tr
  22. I got both images and audio, but they were intermittent. When they did both work, they were out of sync. Several times, the question and answer were playing simultaneously, resulting in the audios talking over each other. I stuck with it through the whole thing and never did get a complete question and answer. Sounded like others were hearing and seeing everything, so I'm not sure how much of the problem was on my end. Some of the comments sounded interesting, at least what I could hear of them.
  23. When Fanny (Barbra Streisand) sings "People" to Nicky (Omar Sharif), she does so in a relatively subdued way and underplays the scene effectively. The quiet start reflects her nervousness and shyness; the song builds, as her confidence grows. All this subtlety would have been lost in a more theatrical presentation, where she would be expected to "belt the song out." It would have been inconsistent with the portrayal of her off-stage character, as it had been presented up to this point in the movie. Her self-consciousness about her looks and her general shyness are the distinguishing features o
  24. How about Peter Boyle and Gene Wilder doing "Puttin' on the Ritz," in "Young Frankenstein" (1974). Actually, Clark Gable does an acceptable version of this song in "Idiot's Delight" (1939).
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