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About dittietwin

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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? The scene would have felt different if Streisand’s performance had her belting it out by putting her character in a loud and pushy character where it could have scared off Arnstein. Brice had to keep in her quiet naive role so we could eventually feel for her success on the stage in contrast with her (Brice’s) personality. The portrayal kept her sensual and passionate about people rather than have the scene be all about Brice herself. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? I think Arnstein’s character backing off away from the camera and Brice in the forefront set us up for what was to come of these two characters. His eventual failure to obtain success versus Brice’s success over his. 3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. Again, I think the positioning of the characters says a lot of what the future of these two characters was going to be. The direction pulled Brice towards the camera and away from Arnstein. Streisand’s performance was deliberate, passionate, and brought her high on the steps; just like the Brice character ended up to be.
  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) I love the movie Gaslight. The Cukor direction in that movie was superb. He seemed to give Bergman freedom to put herself in a constant state of confusion, but to portray it subtly; little by little where we don’t really see her reaching her limit of possibly going insane until, we, as the audience, and Bergman's character can’t take her confusion any more. I think Cukor let Hepburn act the same way in this film. He let her gradually show the audience her impatience and struggle to get perfection and love in a slow step-by-step manner. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. Again, I see that Cukor let Hepburn show her struggles to the limit and express her frustration so we can actually feel what Eliza is going through. 3. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? I think Cukor keeps Higgins in a patronizing character and keeps Eliza in a hysterical position. He seems to keep Higgins arrogant and unfeeling yet Eliza is still expressing her torment.
  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? The most noticeable changes in I see are in the strong male actors that were being placed in musicals. I don’t think the typical charismatic actors were being put in the typical musical roles anymore. In addition to Robert Preston’s Musical Man role, I also thought Omar Sharif was not the typical co-star to portray a musical number alongside Barbra Streisand. 2. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? The qualities Preston has in both clips is that he is bold and forthright telling an audience of patrons and community members something they don’t know. It’s like he is instructing them in both roles. He also show us how confident he is and shows a little bit of arrogance and manipulation. 3. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? I’ve seen Robert Preston in several movies. I’m a fan of his work. I’ve seen him in How the West Was Won and Dark at the Top of the Stairs where he played a non-musical role. These roles were strong male character roles where he knew what he wanted. In How the West Was Won he knew he wanted to settle down with a wife so he strongly pursued Debbie Reynolds. In Dark at the Top of the Stairs he had to struggle with an unaffectionate wife and yet still be a strong patriarch for his family.
  4. 1. This scene looks backwards in the way it has a vaudeville-ish performance when the two girls dance so animated and that they are performing individually like the 1940’s performers did. It seems to look ahead when Russell begins to put demands on the director and lighting crew. She, as a female, is being in charge which is the attitude of female performers to come. 2. I feel Russell’s entrance was very theatrical with lots of drama and quick talking. Her appearance was set up so she would look very important, with the brief case and dog in hand, which allowed her to be a bit intimidating to the director. 3. I noticed that the lyrics were a bit suggestive at the words, “let me make you smile” and “I’ll tell you a story”…what kind of story makes you smile, right??
  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? I like the less-than-realistic approach throughout the film. It provides a nice contrast to allow the viewer to focus on the story while the characters can act out their dreams and fantasy. This approach helps keep the story in perspective. 2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? The only thing that keeps Jerry from being completely unlikeable is when he is finally sees that the woman has money and when the car and chauffer pull up, Jerry finally acts a little humble towards her.
  6. 1. The pre-dance movements seem to set us up for a kind of comical scene where O’Connor is not taking the lesson seriously. Kelly’s reading keeps the cadence going and then they both start breaking into a two-part song. 2. A straight man has got to have a lot of self-confidence and be willing to step back and let the others get all the attention. Still this scene would not be nearly as affective without a straight man. The focus is on the wonderful dancing, but the professor is needed to give the dancers a reason to use the props and finish the scene. 3. I think the professor does not show much masculinity because his biggest strength is in his head; his brain. Gene and Donald show their masculinity by the strength in their dance moves.
  7. 1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? The film represents a strong reflection of how a female performer can really take hold as a leading actor and how more women were becoming the focal point of the musical themes. Why? Woman were becoming more independent and were eager for stronger character roles and could hold their own against the male performers. The economy was doing well and woman could choose their career rather than have it be assigned to them like what happened during WWII. 2. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? Doris Day is one of my favorite actresses. In her early films she portrayed womanly, helpless characters; always acting how society expected her to act. Later years she would appear as a strong woman. Even in The Man Who Knew Too Much she was a very smart and talented wife and mother who had her own singing career. 3. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Doris’ persona definitely adds to this role. She is so animated and tight with her movements and shows a strong physical side during her scenes. Her strong voice matches her bright confident attitude, especially during her scene with Howard Keel in “I Can Do Without You”.
  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? For this, I turned the sound down on the video clip. So first, I noticed how close they stand, sing, and dance next to each other and how often they touch each other. Then I noticed how animated they are; their hand movements and facial expressions are so exaggerated. But in the end they are keeping each other positive and smiling. How is it different from early musicals we have discussed? The early musicals were of individuals and not focused on a group of performers. 2. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. I noticed that the men, if not their full attire, has the color blue on, but also that Astaire was the most formally dressed, Levant was less formal, and Cordova was very casual. Astaire’s suit was highlighted with a white shirt, white cuffs, and a white hanky that pulled the white from Nanette’s outfit. 3. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? I noticed that the color scheme of the staging matched the costumes; the white chair, the red wall props, the red matching the red rose on Nanette’s costume. I also thought the interplay was physical enough to show that the characters had trust in each other, but I also felt that the touching looked like it helped keep them in balance and in line with each other.
  9. 1. I noticed that the scene was directed to keep Ethel on a close up shot while she sang with a huge smile on her face. Although the song is poignant because of her love for Joe, her smile is infectious. Cutting into the laundry scene shows another day has passed and we see Joe sitting up in his chair on the way to recovery. 2. I don’t think the song would change even if Ethel was singing to a child. Singing to Joe is like singing to a child. The lyrics talk about angels, Christmas, and love; lyrics that can relate to anyone. 3. I can see in this scene that besides Joe’s gambling behavior, Ethel is a happy woman. She seems appreciative of the things she has. They seem to have nice things; the items on the cloths line are plenty and are of a variety like shirts, sheets, undergarments. I think it is important to show this because it presents good standing amongst black Americans in a well to do community. The neighborhood looks nice with the picket fence and all showing that they, too, were keeping things up during the war.
  10. 1. The key actions highlighted were the running up the stairs, the the knocking on the wall, and the running up the bleachers, in that dress, in addition to Betty lifting and swinging Frank on the bleachers no less! This scene really made Betty look like an aggressive woman and made Frank look like a little boy. 2. This sequence prepares us for the singing as each key action pauses and the music also follows a swell and then calms so the actors can start their singing.
  11. 1. The Wizard of Oz was the first film I watched with Judy Garland. I thought her singing was wonderful and that her crying was so moving. 2. I view Judy as being so professional because she makes the routines look so easy. Her body movements are natural and fluent. She’s dancing with two of the best technical dancers in musical history. You can tell she loves music and all it has to offer with singing and dancing. I’m surprised the scene actually shot Judy’s hands on the piano keys; they didn’t do that very often. It’s like placing Judy in Dancing with the Stars…she, too, had a large learning curve! 3. I was always impressed with her performance in A Star is Born; especially when she sang “The Man That Got Away”. There was a small orchestra in the scene and I could feel she was really in her element with the music and the lyrics; dramatic, loud and strong. It all looks like it was done in one take. Amazing!
  12. 1. This scene promoted American values by the making the long staircase a focus of the scene so it can highlight the huge paintings on the wall of past presidents and by the conversation between the two characters about George’s dance number about the flag. I also noticed the flag pin on George’s lapel. Just the fact that George was visiting the President of the United States showed a huge American value; that the President was accessible to those people who put America first. 2. I thought when George started talking to the president and the president said how George “was his double” and commented on how he admired that the Irish Americans “carry your love of the country like a flag; right out in the open.” Then George responded by telling the President how his father “ran away to the civil war”. The President surmised George’s attitude toward this country by saying “you spent your life telling the other 47 states wheat a great country this is”. 3. I feel this film would be have definitely been different if it did not open in the Oval Office because who would George have been talking to at the Fourth of July parade? I don’t think he would have had been meeting with the President. Who else but the President would have made George so proud that he would talk about his life and the love of his country? The opening worked very well using the Oval Office.
  13. 1. The Lubitsch touch allows the audience to see how dramatic these characters can be without it being a musical scene. Alfred is very amused by the woman being disinterested in her husband and prefers Alfred instead. 2. The sound in this film is very quiet except for the sounds that made a difference in the scene, the dialogue, the prop gun, and a door shutting. There’s no background noise like music, or noise from the outside in the streets, or noises from the characters’ movements. 3. I can see where the glamourous dress of these characters were used and repeated in future musicals.
  14. 1. I noticed that Sgt. Bruce has a huge liking for Marie but she does not seem to return his flirtatious persona. 2. I’ve only grown up seeing film clips and remember how they were the classic romantic musical couple of the silver screen. Many early cartoons and television shows would imitate them. 3. These clips tell me that the male/female relationships were very different than they are today and that during that era it was very common to see women dancing as one of the main sources for a man’s entertainment.
  15. Daily Dose #1 1. Yes. I think the brighter perspective is shown here vs. how things were in the nation as people were coming out of the depression. The audience was filled with high society people dressed in expensive clothing in an expensive theatre and probably prior to that, out for dinner and drinks. 2. I see a theme where life was carefree and money was not a concern. 3. If this was pre-code, I think the language and costumes would have been more provocative.
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