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About dweigum

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  • Birthday 04/14/1956

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    Movies of course, reading, photography, golf, knitting.

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  1. 1. This song reflects the character"s consideration of what is important in life. Is she even singing about herself? Maybe having an inner conversation about what she wants or needs. It is subdued and controlled to have sung it any other way would have lost its impact. 2. It is a very quiet setting and the mood and or emotional changes occur in the song. At the beginning we see Nicky's reaction from behind, the slight tilt of his head. From a distance he doesn't take is eyes off her, indicating his interest in her feelings. The emotional high points come in the perfromance of the song. It is all very intimate though they never touch and move further away from each other. As the song builds so does the emotional energy. 3. The blocking of this scene is interesting in that the characters slowly move away from each other even when Streisand is singing the song people needing people, is she singing about others or herself. Towards the beginning of the scene she has grabbed the street light pole, she moves slowly away towards the stairs, he approaches and then stands backs and listens, watching intently. She is holding the railing at first, perhaps a bit insecure, then moves away, free to express herself. This blocking allows Streisand to become lost in the moment. Nicky sees another side of her character. Fanny Brice the person rather than the performer. I think if the director had her standing closer to Sharif with little movement there would have been much less freedom in the performance.
  2. In comparing this scene to those in Gaslight I see the similarities. Charles Boyer is deliberately deceiving his wife into believing what is real isn't and visa versa, she in turn becomes confused, agitated and doubts her own reality. In My Fair Lady, it is not clear that Professor Higgins is as oblivious to Eliza's feeling as it appears but more a consequence of class and upbringing. He dismisses her value compares her to an insect, a cat when she is seeking validation, respect and love; to be seen as more than an experiment. The common theme here is that the women are being exploited are pawns in a sense, to satisfy a whim in one case and more nefarious intentions in the other. In My Fair Lady, we first see Eliza quietly enter the room, moving slowly to the light, turns it off, all very deliberate and then suddenly she drops to her knees weeping uncontrollably. The contrast from the beginning of the action here makes the scene all the more effective. Enter Higgins, unplussed, oblivious to her pain, asking/demanding his slippers. When she physically confronts him he becomes all the more staid and proper, straightening his jacket which emphasizes the difference in their worlds. He appears arrogant and lacks empathy; a product of his class perhaps, or a personal character flaw. The staging, the lighting, the costumes, the red dress symbolizing Eliza's anguish and frustration, and Higgins looking so proper in his dinner jacket and his posture/body language further illustrates the barriers between them. All created by George Cukor and his fine actors.
  3. It has been interesting to observe the evolution of the maasculine roles in movie musicals. In the early years many of the films' focus seemed to be more towards the female leads or at least on a equal basis with the males. The roles often reflected relationships that didnt depend on a dominant male figure and often in the end, the resolution of the male and female characters' relationship varied i.e. found love and both continued in the busisness, got married and assume more tradional roles. I am thinking of Broadway Melody, The Goldiggers of 1933, Born to Dance for example. Fred Astaire was a popular male lead, suave and elegant, Mickey Rooney, youthful, small were not examples of the stereotypical masculine male. In the late 40s and then inot the 50s, Gene Kelly is the popular male lead and he balances athleticism, a harder persona with elegance. Howard Keel also emerges in more masculine type performances. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers really epitomizes that transition as does his roles in Annie Get Your Gun and Calamity. In those movies the females almost become a caricature in comparison to the male lead. These two clips are an excellent contrast in the masculine versus femine aspects of the male performer. In the Music Man Robert Preston is more of the alpha male, he breezes into town and uses his saleman talents to manulpulate the townspeople into believing they needed something they hadn't considered before. He is dominant, assertive, tall etc. He is interested in women and uses his charms to win over a cautious Shirly Jones in the role of the librarian, what is more traditional than that? In Victor/Victoria he plays a gay man and I expect it took allot of courage for him to play that role in the 80s given the societal norms at the time. His performance is a testament to his skill as an actor. Julie Andrews is great but I think he steals the show. Comic timing, playing against type and creating a depth and empathy for this character was most successful.
  4. This scene from Gypsy is reminiscent of some of the back stage musicals we saw during the course. Its a musical about musical performers and their pursuit of stardom, fame in the entertainment business, a common theme in the old hollywood musicals of the 30s, 40s and 50. Mama Rose is grooming her children for the stage which appears to be in the vaudeville era. When Rosalind Russell arrives in the theatre she immediately takes over, the stereotypical stage mother. Rosalind Russell's stage experience is evident in the way she projects to characters both on the stage and in the audience and really commands the stage. She is not intimidated by anyone and rather intimidating herself. It is often said that communication is 15% words and 85% attitude and body language. I did not find the words of the song particularly suggestive but the attitude and choice of song for a child did not suggest a Shirley Temple sort of innocence. I think Mama Rose was looking towards the future and finding the right niche for her daughters. There was an edge to this musical that contrasts with older musicals. Knowing the history of GYpsy Rose Lee probably influences that impression. When Mama Rose sizes up the competition and brings out her pin we know she will stop at nothing to neutralize the competition (child or not), then pop!
  5. I like your analysis of this scene in An American in Paris. It brought some persective that I had not considered. The only point I would argue would be the overall likability of Jerry but I suppose that is a reflection of the complexity of human relationships in real life as expressed in film.
  6. 1. Having a more realistic approach blended with other scenes using more imagery and imagination makes the film more accessible to a wider audience and also creates a special effect. The scenes that represent the real world rather than a dream or imagination are important in moving the story foward and maintaining the attention of some audience members who might not "get it". The stylized scenes like the ballet are gorgeous. The other parts of the film telling Jerry and Lise's story are also beautifully filmed but with more realism. The colors, attention to detail all reflect the overall quality of the visuals in this film. 2. Jerry is a complicated character, he is not very likable, his attitude towards women leaves a bit to be desired, even measuring it against the standards of the 50s. He has a great big chip on his shoulder which is never really explored in the story. Just a frustrated struggling artist. We also learn he is a veteran of WWII. One of his redeeming qualities, however is his interactions with the local folk. This is also evident in other scenes in the movie, most notably the "I Got Rhythm" number with the children.
  7. Well in this daily dose I'm afraid the professor is no match for these two friends who at first try to humor him but the whole thing is at his expense. It is so gloriously entertaining that you can hardly blame them. Donald O Connor's facial expressions as the professor is attempting to improve Kelly's diction are priceless and of course generates their rejection of the exercise which then becomes this great dance routine. It is interesting and very clever as the rhythm of the spoken word moves seamlessly into the rhythm of the dance. The straight man (professor) becomes a prop as the dance evolves into a fast paced athletic routine. I don't see a contrast of masculinity as much as personalities. The professor is serious, Gene Kelly is the attractive leading man and Donald O'Connor is his amiable, loyal side kick. Though not part of this routine it is easy to see how Debbie Reynold"s character fits right in with Kelly and O Connor as their characters all seem to look at life through the same lens.
  8. Calamity Jane dresses like a man, her speech is unrefined and she performs tasks that would traditionally be assigned to a man. She is attractive and likable but it seems like she is not taken seriously. The same could be said of the role played by Betty Hutton in Annie Get Your Gun. It appears that if a woman assumes interests that would normally be attributed to a man the women become caricatures, no subtlety. The tone does change when she recognizes shes in love and this soft side is exposed in her singing of Secret Love. If Marilyn Monroe was one extreme then Doris Day in this role is on the other side of the spectrum. I think in both cases they are not representative of forward steps for women which would be typical of 1950s society. Of course these movies were meant to be good fun. As for Doris Day the actress, her body of work is very impressive. Her role as Ruth Etting in Love Me or Leave Me is representative of her ability as a dramatic actress. Her successful run of light comedies is also a testiment to her talent/skills, comedy isn't easy. I like Doris Day and have watched most of her movies at one time or other as for Calamity Jane, her pleasant disposition added to the role, it allowed a bit of softeness to the performance that might otherwise have become irritating.
  9. Daily Dose #9 The Band Wagon This number illustrates a group of friends/colleagues none of whom become more of a focus from the other. The fact that they are a foursome highlighted equally, differs somewhat from the musicals previously covered where the focus tended to be soloists or duo Fred and Ginger, Garland and Kelly. Each performer receives the same amount of attention and they are constantly synchronizing their movement to support the other in projecting the purpose of the number to advance the story. As was pointed out in the lecture video by professor Ament and Rystrom it is a good example of how the music and song are integrated into the story. In the musicals of the 30s and 40s for example, the numbers were often secondary to the actual story. They might be practicing or performing the music on stage or rehearsal. This number moved very smoothly from dialogue to music as they try to brainstorm as a team, the show they desire to produce. The costumes also support the fact that they are not performing on stage but an extention of their previous discussion. The men were in suits, Buchanan's being a bit more casual than Astaire and Levant. Nanette Fabrays dress was simple and attractive, effectively in their "street clothes". I feel the staging and choreography reflected the friendship and casual professional relationship of the characters. The only exception might be when Nanette is placed "on" Levants shoulders perhaps emphasizing theirmore personal relationship. These people are cooperating, getting along, having fun and using their talents to create something positive very much in line with the assumptions presented regarding 50s musicals on modeling community and cooperation. Its a great song with wonderful performers, that's entertainment!
  10. Cabin in the Sky, as was Hallelujah before it, was an important film in that it featured an all african american cast, but fell short of being a trend setter. These movies did not result in much change in the overall status of the african american performer in Hollywood at that time although these films were successful at the box office. Having said that it was an important beginning, but even today we still have issues regarding diversity in the movie industry. Ethel Waters performance of "Happiness is Just a Thing Called Joe" is a reflection of her devotion to her husband, her commitent to caring and nurturing is evident in her relationship with her husband, in much the same way she worships her god. She is supportive of him and loves him inspite of his faults. The song celebrates love, values of home and marriage. The love she was expressing was not passionate, nor sexual. As I watch and listen to her performance of this song I couldn't help but think she could have just as easily been singing to her child. If a child was substituted, it would not have been necessary to change much of the delivery.
  11. Take Me Out to the Ball Game In this Daily Dose scene we see Betty Garrett "go in for the kill" in her persuit of Frank Sinatra (well their characters at least). Each scene is choreographed to highlight her determination to win her man and also to reflect the physical attributes of the two characters. I noticed that they were equal in size and height, Sinatra was no match for her. As they moved up and down the bleachers, the forward movement periodically stopped to highlight the physical comedic action between the two principles. No way would these scenes have worked with John Wayne, for example, (imagine her trying to pick him up). At the out set the light music, change in facial expression and movement of the characters is an obvious lead in to the next musical number.
  12. The Wizard of Oz was the first movie that exposed me to the talents of Judy Garland. I was a child and enjoyed her performance even then, a female character with whom I could relate, but I suppose at the time I didn't understand it that way. It became a tradition in my family to watch the Wizard of Oz every year when it was broadcast on TV, I think around Easter. My siblings and I were invited to our friends and neighbors house to watch it in color, that dates me doesn't it? My favorite movie song is Somewhere Over the Rainbow and over the years I grew to appreciate the quality and vulnerablitly of her voice in that performance in one so young and as she continued into adulthood and more mature roles. My favorite Christmas song is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and although many times replicated no one can compare to her delivery of that song. She conveys both sadness and hopefullness in her magical performance. Not only is her dramatic range noted in the musicals A Star is Born and Meet Me in St. Louis, but also her later dramatic roles in A Child is Waiting, I Could Go On Singing and Judgement in Nuremberg. She is often seen as a tragic figure in her private life and I suppose her vulnerability is reflected in her acting. It was great to see these clips and earlier films that also showcase her skills as a comedian and dancer. She really is very funny in the clip with Fred Astaire and frankly overshadows him a bit in that one.
  13. The opening of Yanke Doodle Dandy present an almost reverent homage to patriotism in the portrayal of the meeting with FDR. The walk to the office, flags along to way and his conversation with the butler that referenced Cohen's love of country. The soft lighting as they walk to the seat of democracy in a way felt like he was approaching an alter. Cohen says "Im a little nervous" as he shakes the hand of the president. The flash back to the boisterous parade was effective in switching the tone from quieter introspection to the story we are about to be told of the bigger than life story of George M. Cohen. The American values that are alluded to in the conversation with FDR include family, love of country, the heritage of the "Irish Americans" who arrived in America to follow their dreams. The biography begins with his father who obviously was a strong influence as he followed him into the entertainment field. As a dual citizen of Canada and the US (I have lived in Canada for over 40 years) it has been interesting being able to look at the US from the outside as well as the inside. To say that this opening scene is bittersweet is an understatement given the current political climate. Analysing movies of the past in the context of the political, social, and economics of the times adds a depth this course that makes it all the more interesting. It also allows reflection on how far we have come in some respects and how much more we need to learn.
  14. Another great clip for the Daily Dose! Fred and Ginger at their best showing off their command of dance and an excellent vehicle for the "battle of the sexes". Here we see Fred Astaire quite smitten and Ginger measuring him up. They are equal partners in this dance. Gender neutral costumes to level the playing field as they demonstrate their skill at the dance and also the nuances of their blossoming relationship. The big difference I see in this movie compared to the other depression era movies I've watched thus far is the role of the woman as an equal partner rather than the typical themes of the woman being the shrinking violet or at least having to pretend to be. In this case I would even say she has the upper hand. I havent seen the whole movie, looking forward to it tonight, so I am basing my comment on this short clip. Ginger Rogers in the The Golddiggers of 1933 and Broadway Melody also played women who were able to look after themselves. The Depression era was such a challenging time for families struggling to survive, put food on the table. These movies through song and dance attempted to provide an escape and the suggestion that better times were around the corner. Movies did attempt to showcase qualities in both male and female characters that demonstrated perseverence, humor, and ingenuity.
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