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Everything posted by Earthshine

  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? Having seen a few videos of Streisand performing “People” live, I do not see how she could possible belt this number more than she does in the film. However, her rendition here is more “muted,” as it needs to be within the context of the larger film, I think. Once, again I am at a disadvantage because I have not seen the entire film as of this posting. But based on what I have seen, it seems that Fanny sings the
  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 have not seen Gaslight. However, I have seen The Wizard of Oz several times, a film that Cukor also contributed to, as I am assuming no one taking this course needs for me to mention. I discovered that Cukor was hired as a “stopgap” director at one point after Richard Thorpe was fired? According to o
  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? These two clips seem to focus more on the singing as a means of establishing/developing Preston’s characters, and of advancing the plot in The Music Man, since the song about pool in integral in “selling” the town on buying instruments to keep their children out of “trouble in River City.” True, the songs in earlier musicals often did the same thing as well; however, some songs in earlier musicals—as noted earlier in th
  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? As a backwards glance to earlier musicals, this scene shows the hallmarks of the “behind-the-scenes” or “backstage” musical as we watch the auditions for Uncle Jocko’s Kiddie Kapers and the politics and pressures surrounding signing the “balloon girl.” The song being part of an audition at this point in the film, it does not necessarily advance the plot, as songs in musicals from the 40s and 50s might have. However, ind
  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 must admit that I have not seen the entire film as of this posting. In fact, all I have seen so far are this clip, the scene where they try to describe Caron’s character, and the final ballet scene, so my response is largely speculative and may end up missing the mark a bit. However, as Dr. Ament, Dr. Ghering, and Gary Rydstrom have all noted, this musical is a “luscious love letter to Paris.” That being said, it seems that
  6. 1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? O’Connor’s rubbery facial expressions reflect how his dance style differs slightly from Kelly’s: O’Connor seems to be a bit looser and more elastic than Kelly. Also, there is a definite rhythm and “poetry” to O’Connor’s and Kelly’s words and movements—after their initial “stiffness”—as they repeat the tongue twisters more quickly, which prepares them and the audience for the song and dance that this leads into. This rhythm carries over into the beginning of the dance, which quickens just
  7. 1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Out of necessity during WWII, women needed to enter the workforce to fill the roles vacated by men who were serving. However, when men returned after the war, women returned to their more traditional roles within the home. As noted on the Khan Academy website, “The norms of consumer culture and domesticity were disseminated via new and popular forms of entertainment – not just the television, which became a fixture in middle-class American households during
  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? Right away, when they begin dancing, I noticed that each character uses the same choreographed moves in the dance, unlike the “competitive” dance between Rogers and Astaire in “Isn’t it a Lovely Day?” from Top Hat. Perhaps as a sign of equality and stronger roles for women, at one point, Lily steps out from the line to sing, and each man in turn does a brief dance step w
  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? First, as a side note, I find it interesting that King Vidor first wanted to cast Ethel Waters as Chick—the temptress—in Hallelujah! It’s a bit ironic that she is now the dutiful housewife who is trying to keep Joe from the clutches of Georgia Brown in Cabin in the Sky. And as the dutiful housewife, she remains loyal to her husband, a known gambler who has left a church
  10. 1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. At the risk of imposing an unintended baseball metaphor on this clip, one could argue that Garrett is simulating the role of a catcher blocking the plate and getting Sinatra in a “run down,” keeping him from getting past her. I saw this as soon as he leaves the locker room and tries to walk down the hall and around the corner. Even though there is no actual dance in this scene, their slide steps come close as she keeps stepping in front of him. As they come out into the stadium, the camera remain
  11. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? To be honest, prior to this course, the only Judy Garland film I was familiar with was The Wizard of Oz, which I have been watching since my childhood (too many times to count and more years that I want to mention). In fact, this is one of the reasons I took the TCM course this summer. I was more “well-versed” in the films of Alfred Hitchcock for last year’s course, but I wanted to learn more about the history of musicals, which is why I took this course as well. But when I saw Garla
  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. The opening scene being set in the White House as Cohan is preparing to meet Roosevelt and the flashback to the July 4th celebration the year Cohan was born not only establishes the framing story that outlines Cohan’s (auto)biography but also establishes both the American values prevalent at that time and the values that the nation tried to promote during the war. Roosevelt’s presence in th
  13. I love the graceful fluidity of the choreography in this scene. 1. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? One aspect of the battle of the sexes that I detect at the beginning of the scene is Rogers’ reaction to the storm. Astair compares aspects of the storm to parts of a courting ritual. And it is assumed to be a man’s role to comfort a woman during a storm. The lightning is the spark; their kiss, the thunder. He makes the latter comparison after seeing how Rogers reacts somewhat negatively to that suggestion, show
  14. 1. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? First, I noticed a carryover of some silent film techniques in this clip. More specifically, I noticed the close-ups on the garter, the handbag and gun, and the contents of the drawer. Granted, more contemporary films also include similar close-ups. But too often, today’s “innovative” directors create a more frenetic pace, by not focusing on any image for more than 2-3 seconds. In earlier films, more specifically silent fi
  15. 1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the first clip, Eddy seems to view women as conquests, perhaps, as is suggested with his comment about using his song more than once, as long as a woman’s name fits the tune. This seems to be reinforced with his comment about Maude—merely one of his past women—when he says nothing worked with Maude. His comments about MacDonald’s current love interest also suggest that he perceives her as yet another conquest, showing that he doesn’t like to lose, and usually doe
  16. 1. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? Gary Rydstrom noted in today’s video discussion that films, especially musicals, were a means of escape for people during the Great Depression, a more positive perspective than what they normally saw in their own lives perhaps. This 3+ minute clip seems to verify this notion, as it focuses on the lavish theater, sets, and performers singing light-hearted numbers. It also includes the patrons and influential people who could afford to attend the theater, which is illustrat
  17. I don't know if there is much to add to what DC SURFERGIRL has already said, but I will try. I was also very excited when I heard about a course dedicated solely to the works of the master, Alfred Hitchcock. Perhaps like many others, I was mostly familiar with Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window, and even Frenzy and Family Plot. However, I gained so much more knowledge and so many more incredible insights into Hitchcock's work while taking this course, especially his earlier periods and the strong Germanic influences, which are very noticeable in films such as The Ring (if you compare it to The Ca
  18. In response to this question, I could go with an "obvious" answer, such as Stephen King as a writing collaborator. At least then one of King's novels would finally translate well into film in the hands of a master such as Hitchcock. I realize King's texts are hard to convey on screen, given the nature of his ideas. However, if anyone could make it work, it would be Hitchcock. Not to say that all films based on King's novels are bad, it's just that so many fall so short of the mark. I could also be very self-centered and say that a dream come true for me would be for any director, let alon
  19. I apologize if other people have already noted this, but I thought I would mention it anyway. It seems to me that the film director M. Night Shyamalan tries to make a cameo in many of his films (The Sixth Sense and The Village for certain). In both of these films, he took the cameo appearance a bit farther than Hitchcock by giving his character dialogue. For me, the verdict is still out on how I feel about his roles in his films because generally speaking I am not a big fan of his style (aside from The Sixth Sense, which I thought was brilliant and still his best film). This may or may not
  20. One more question from me, if you don't mind. This one is for Alexandre Philippe. I love the idea behind your film 78/52 and how it focuses on the number of camera shots and edits for the shower scene in Psycho. In a few of my earlier posts for this course, I have been critical of certain contemporary film techniques. More specifically, I am bothered by any film maker who chooses to stay on any one camera shot for no more than 1-3 seconds before moving on to the next shot. I see that as a response to a shorter attention span. Usually the film I use as an example to illustrate this is the
  21. One other question, which of course is merely speculation: If Hitchcock were still alive and making films today, do you think he would remain true to himself as a film maker, or do you think he would feel pressured to resort to the cliched and bad film techniques that audiences expect today because of a shorter attention span and a need for non-stop action and violence? I realize that Hitchcock would always "reinvent" himself his entire career, always pushing the envelope while still including his signature touches in each of his films. Personally, I would like to think that Hitchcock wo
  22. I was wondering if you would be willing to share your thoughts on what seems to be a recurring Hitchcock theme of the dynamic of male/female relationships, roles, and expectations in his films. Is there a hint of misogyny in his films (as was noted in our class discussion of the noir genre), is it a reflection on how Hitchcock himself felt about marriage and women (which does not seem logical considering his long marriage to Alma), or do these recurring situations in his films simply reflect societal beliefs and expectations from each of the time periods when the films were released (with wom
  23. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. I really like the opening tracking shot in Frenzy. I noticed in today's discussion, I believe, that Hitchcock wanted to do a similar shot as the opening for Psycho, but the shots needed to be scrapped because of inadequate technology. Personally, I liked the opening that Hitchcock had to "settle" on for the opening to Psycho, and I could not picture it any other way. Of course, if he had used the alternate tracking shot that he wanted, I mi
  24. I will admit that I have not seen Marnie yet, so my responses will probably be more brief today, perhaps much to the delight of the other members of this course who have been gracious enough to read and reply to my posts. Thank you, by the way. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects. From the opening sequence, we learn that Marnie is a thief who has needed to change her appearance and identity several times, as indicated by t
  25. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene? Please pardon this horrific pun here, but as is the case in almost any romantic comedy, the male and female interests play a "cat-and-mouse" game involving witty banter and innuendo. I believe we see exactly that happening in the opening scene between Mitch and Melanie (which means "black" or "dark," I believe?) When Mitch enters the pet shop--already knowing who Melanie is and joking
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