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Everything posted by fongovea715

  1. This scene would have been so different if it was made today. There would have been close-ups aplenty to emphasize the ACTING that is going on. There would have been swells in the music to underscore the emotional beats. Instead, the scene is sparse, without a score, and with very few cuts and absolutely no closeups. In a way, the medium shots help to emphasize the acting in a more holistic way than close-ups, as we get the whole body - Eliza's prone, defeated posture speaks volumes.
  2. 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? Between the two clips, masculinity softened quite a bit. Harold Hill is loud, bombastic, in your face. Toddy is similarly the center of attention, but everything is simply much softer, from the actual volume of his singing but also in reference to his movements and language. Toddy's movements are smoother, more fluid, significantly less aggressive. Similarly, though his interactions with the guests are quite confrontational, hi
  3. 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? It looks backwards by being in the tried and true form of the backstage musical - like so many of the films we've discussed previously, the scene involves a rehearsal of a show. Nothing new here. However, basically everything else is a disruption. We catch glimpses of the seemy underbelly of the business - the whole thing is fixed, they've already determined the winner before the competition. Then you have the strong female figu
  4. 2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? It's really Jerry's interactions with Milo that keep him from just seeming like an ugly American in this scene. Part of it is Milo's reaction to him: If she had, like the student, been put off and disgusted by him, we would have followed suite. But she is instantly charmed, and we react in kind. Additionally, we see Jerry cowed a little bit by Milo, especially when she offers to buy his paintings, which adds some humanity to him and takes off the edge. A truly smug guy would'v
  5. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The dancing in the scene wouldn't have been any less impressive without the professor, but the straight man is essential to making the scene funny. He's the setup for the gags and provides a baseline by which to gauge the outlandish activity by Kelly and O'Connor - you can't tell dark unless you have some light, right? The straight man often goes un-thanked in comedies. He (or she) provides the base off which the star can play and, therefore, shine.
  6. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. Doris Day's bright and sunny persona is perfect for the role of Calamity Jane. Bright and sunny = enthusiastic, all-in, confident, all of which are adjectives that describe Calamity Jane. A more demure persona or a darker persona or a more introverted persona would have been at odds with Calamity Jane, but this role required the enthusiasm and vivacity that Doris Day exuded as a person.
  7. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific The costumes are all complementary to each other. The men seem to be wearing variations of the same suit. Of all of them, I suppose Buchanan's stands out the most for being the lightest color, but the palette is nonetheless limited to blues, whites, and blacks. Fabray's dress stands out for, well, being a dress, but even this remains in the aforementioned color spectrum (gray, after all, is a mixture of white and black).
  8. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? I had not considered this as a potential interpretation of the song until seeing this question, but especially after looking at the lyrics, it is completely possibly to interpret the song this way. Context is everything. Even the scene that appears in the film could easily have been transferred from a husband to a child, given the characterization of Petunia as a matronly caregiver vs. a sensual lover. A child could easily have been in the bed and later staring adoringly at Petunia
  9. 2.It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? It's a little harder to tell with the clip being isolated from what came before it, but it's a rather subtle segue. When Sinatra enters the scene, there is non-diegetic sound. You assume it's just standard background music, the kind that normally fades away once the dialogue picks up again, but then the music "reacts" to Garrett's movements onscreen, and then we're suddenly in a song.
  10. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? Like so many people, Wizard of Oz was my first experience of Judy Garland. My first impression was that this is a master at work. What is there to say about Judy Garland that hasn't already been said? Her ability to wring every bit of emotion out of a song, her charisma - she made me fall in love with musicals.
  11. 3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. Opening the film with Cohan's visit to the Oval Office sets expectations for the film/Cohan's life. Audiences in 1942 likely didn't need an introduction to who George Cohan was, but luckily for modern audiences, who probably never realized the cheesy flag-waving songs we hear every Fourth of July and Memorial Day were once totally-not-ironically p
  12. What is striking to me about the dancing in this clip is the narrative function it serves. I contrast it with Broadway Melody of 1929, which I finally caught up on last night. Both films feature singing and dancing "as part of the narrative." But BM is your typical backstage musical; they're singing and dancing because it's part of the literal show they are putting on as part of the movie. Every song is motivated as a performance within the narrative as well as without. In contrast, most of the musical bits - particularly the dancing - in Top Hat are not framed as performances, but as expressi
  13. 2. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. What is striking about the scene's use of sound is how unnecessary it seems at first. You could easily imagine this scene done silently. The majority of the dialogue is in French, which the average American can't understand, and certainly not at the rapid-fire pace of the scene. Similarly, Chevalier's direct addresses in English to the camera could have easily been intertitles. Yet whi
  14. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. What is striking about the interactions between the two leads in these clips is how little they actually interact. The second clip does not involve any direct interactions at all, merely significant looks from across the room. Obviously in the first clip the two share more of a physical space, yet their interactions remain distanced because of their body language. Eddy sings basically an entire love song to his beloved's back. MacDonald turns around to face him a few times,
  15. 3. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples. A pre-Code version of this scene would have likely featured Louise Rainer in some state of undress while she was backstage. Her performance would also likely have been more playful and physical: a more revealing or suggestive outfit, a song filled with double-entendres, winks and nudges a la Mae West vs. the prim and proper buttoned up song we saw.
  16. The opening of Frenzy is much less avant garde, though in a way no less experimental, than The Lodger. The Lodger took its cues from German Expressionism, and as such had much darker cinematography, strange angles, expressive closeups, and more cutting. The fact that The Lodger actually has more cuts in its first few minutes is highly unusual, as many silent films tend to be more static and less edited, but of course our director is highly unusual. The first shot of Frenzy, however, is an unbroken crane shot over and into the city of London that lasts a good 2 minutes. While it features the fo
  17. I am frankly a little disappointed that both of the lectures on Hitchcock's films with Tippi Hedren completely avoided any mention of the horrible "relationship," to put it gently, between the director and the star, particularly since other lectures didn't shy away from mentioning gossip or things that happened behind the scenes. Perhaps it was because the theme of stars happened last week, or because it would've required the lectures to say anything negative about Hitchcock. But I find it a travesty that we could even try to discuss The Birds and Marnie in the context of Hitchcock and his rel
  18. This opening scene certainly feels more like a romantic comedy or screwball comedy opening than a horror film opening. We have a meet-cute between our two conventionally attractive leading actors. There's a classic case of mistaken identity that often leads to hilarity and romance. Other than the obnoxious bird chirping, there's nothing in this scene to indicate it won't be a lighthearted tale of the hijinks of falling in love.
  19. The hotel scene establishes Marion Crane as a character by characterizing her as a version of the hooker with a heart of gold. Not that Sam is paying her for the sex, but in the sense that she is a "bad" girl who really wants to be good. There's no ambiguity in this scene: Sam and Mario are an unmarried couple fornicating in a cheap motel. The scandal is nearly unimaginable. Yet Marion talks about legitimizing the affair - or, at least, stopping the illicit part of it - indicating there is hope for the post soul yet. Her struggle with doing the right thing is at the heart of her plot in the fi
  20. I had initially intended to answer the second prompt (about the matchbook), but I honestly was so entranced by Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint that I really have nothing to say about the matchbook, as I barely registered it. My experience speaks more to the first prompt, as the captivation in this scene has a lot to do with the chemistry of these two stars. Cary Grant's reputation is as a handsome, debonair, sophisticated guy whom we expect to be popular with the ladies. The man fulfills on all accounts. Our pre-existing knowledge of Eva Marie Saint's star persona likely informs us much dif
  21. The title sequence establishes a sinister, unsettling tone for the film to come. Bass's graphics do a great job in visualizing the feeling of vertigo that is, of course, central to the film. It also established subconsciously to the reader that this spiral shape is going to be important. The score is discordant and puts me on edge just remembering it. Though a little too early for the psychedelic movement, the title sequence could easily be mistaken for coming from that era, it is that trippy and unsettling. A more whimsical score would have definitely softened the impact of the images and set
  22. The way the camera moves in this scene makes you the voyeur. Jeff's back is to the camera, so clearly this is supposed to be the perspective of the audience. When "spying" on the neighbors across the eay, it's from the outside looking in - we never go inside the window frames - thus putting us in the perspective of the peeping tom. The view flits from window to window but from a seemingly fixed height, craning up to view the higher apartments and looking down at the lower ones, like any nosy neighbor's eyes would be (and as Jeff would indeed do). But the voyeurism is enhanced in the one ap
  23. Visually, Bruno and Guy are quite distinct. Bruno is as "colorful" as one can get in black and white: His shoes have sharply contrasting black and white, his suit has stripes, and his wildly patterned tie even manages to be loud. He also has the ostentatious "Bruno" tie clip and a mass of curly hair. Guy, meanwhie, has nondescript dark shoes and a nondescript dark suit (sans accessories) with nondescript dark hair and features. Personality-wise, Bruno is outgoing, striking up a conversation with a total stranger, while Guy is reserved and clearly would have been just as happy not to speak
  24. The scene initially seems to challenge Ingrid Bergman's star persona as an elegant, glamorous, European "good gurl." She's still European, of course, but her introduction in this scene is anything but glamorous. Her hair is a mess, and though her gown is glamorous, she'd obviously been sleeping in it - nothing elegant about that. Good girls don't get drunk or refuse to cooperate with the law. Ultimately, though, the scene and then the film overall come back to Bergman's established persona. It turns out she's European AND loves America! She risks everything, including her life, for love of
  25. Hitchcock conveys quite a lot about this couple visually in this scene. A "Hitchcock touch" that we've seen in all the other daily doses starts the scene: A roving camera that shows the perspective disconnected from anyone in the scene moves over a collections of dirty dishes and other mess in the room. The mess is indicative that this couple has been cooped up in the room for some time. My initial assumption was that they were in there for more tawdry purposes. But other visual cues quickly demonstrate this is not the case. While Mrs. Smith is curled up under the covers in an unknown stat
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