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  1. 1. Belting the song, which works for Broadway, takes away from the intimacy of the screen. Something about movies lets things be muted and subdued to really push the emotion. Fanny shows a different side to herself this way. Also, personally, a softer lip-synced song is almost always better than a lip-synced belted song. I think it's harder to sync to a song that's bigger. 3. Giving Barbara a lot of higher ground puts her in control of the scene when it comes to blocking. Having her be "upstage" and then cross up the stairs gives her a vulnerability and draws the eye - you follow her as she shyly sings her song. It follows her and keeps her separate from Sharif while she sings about her feelings for him.
  2. 1. Gaslight is all about lighting - and one of my favorite Bergman movies. The focus is so often on the light on Bergman's face or the way things flicker - while here, the shadows are what's doing the talking. Where Bergman was lit for her emotional moments, Hepburn is shadowed. Opposing effects from the same idea. 2. As Hepburn goes back and forth between tears and rage, Harrison remains uncomfortably calm and cold, distant as her emotions tumult. Cuckor sets up the scene to show just how drastic their differences are, and it makes for a harsh and well done scene. 3. Eliza and Higgins are enhanced through their emotions. Eliza is often full frame, with much of her emotional outbursts being the direct focus. Higgins, however, slides in and out with the same disinterest he's showing Eliza. Cuckor creates a dominant (Higgins) bearing over with cool disdain, while the victim (Eliza) has no recourse to actually cause him the harm he's caused her.
  3. 1. Gypsy Rose Lee spits in the face of Hollywood code of the 1930s, and yet the beginning of this movie still feels like a Backstage Musical like back in the 42nd Street or even For Me and My Gal days. Because GRL is definitely not "code" material, a movie about her life is glaringly blazing into the future - where things aren't so risque and dangerous but are right out in front of you in bold Technicolor. 2. Rosalind Russell is a gem and I love her. Is that enough of an answer? No? Here we go - Rosalind Russell has every move down. She knows where the camera is, knows how to play to it, and knows her stardom is as big as ever as she makes her entrance. She controls every step, every line. She's familiar with the stage, so stepping up to defend her daughters means not only playing to the camera, but playing to the "audience" before the stage. It lends Mama Rose a realism, since she was someone who has been in vaudeville for so long. She's not a woman who will turn her back on the front of the stage, but twist and spin so she's always cheating out. Mama Rose comes in big and bold, and the whole scene depicts just who exactly we're dealing with. She forces one man to quit, kicks a little girl off stage, drops names or connections in any way possible, and completely takes control of the entire audition. Not many actresses could have pulled this off as big and bold as Ms. Russell. 3. The song has already been pointed out as having lyrics with double meaning, and others have mentioned the girls dressed up in makeup (hint hint at their future), but what struck me most was, during this whole scene, it was the girl with the most clothes on and the least amount of over-adultized makeup that was being pushed off the stage. The girl in the balloons is shunted aside as more mature looking little girls are given more attention. Even the way June sings lines "I will do some kicks" and kicks her leg up to her ears - much like flashy can-can dancers used to do for men back in the old west. And Louise IS going to be the one doing tricks. It's like it's all foreshadowing to what will become of Louise, all while their mother steals the spotlight and distracts all the attention. For Louise, the song is almost a swan song without her knowing it. "Let me entertain you, because if you don't notice me, eventually I'll have to take drastic steps to make you see me."
  4. You're right - Gene Kelly is the one that makes it work. I remember the first time I saw An American in Paris I was pretty turned off by the scene where Mulligan approaches Lise while she's with her friends - mainly because, if I'd been Lise, I would have been way freaked out by a man coming on to me like that. I can look at the times and say, yes, men were more aggressive in movies back then (Howard Keel spanking Kathryn Grayson in Kiss Me Kate) and things are different now, but that scene always sat ill. At the end of the day, though, I enjoy the movie because of Kelly. If the role had been played by Howard Keel (a more domineering man with a deeper voice and overbearing stature), this movie would be hated by most today, simply because Keel presents more of a threatening image than Kelly. He's charming, sweet, and often seen as the nice guy - even in movies like For Me and My Gal, where he's often a punk. In today's movies, I'd relate him to guys like Tom Hiddleston (or maybe Benedict Cumberbatch). It doesn't matter how bad of a guy Hiddleston plays - we all know he's a gentleman in his everyday life and one of the kindest celebrities out there. That's how, no matter how horrible the character is, people love the villain or jerk character more than they should. Gene Kelly could have played Hitler in a fun, upbeat musical and made America feel confused about why they were supposed to hate the Third Reich (exaggeration, obviously). He was an American Golden Boy, and that's why Jerry Mulligan gets away with it.
  5. 1. The ballet scene wouldn't have felt as fantastic or dream-like if the movie hadn't been set in realism. If the whole movie had felt like a Picasso or even a Van Gogh in the background as opposed to a Rembrandt or a Monet, the whole movie would have had a more cartoony-unrealistic feel. That would have transposed into the ballet scene, where it wouldn't have been as stark, out of place, dream-like, or beautiful. The same goes for Lise's introduction. The bold colors as she plays caricatures of herself wouldn't have been as unique, creative, or enjoyable if the entire movie had been done in that style. I also think, if the setting for the movie hadn't been realistic, it wouldn't be a timeless film the way it is now. 2. Jerry is brought to us as a fun, jovial young man who walks the streets of Paris on his way to sell his paintings. He's friendly to everyone he meets - including the woman across the street selling her own paintings - speaking to them in fluent French. He's kept from being unlikeable when presented with the Third Year Girl by the girl herself. She approaches, speaks harsh French that shows she has little real connection to the culture, and then instantly tells him why his paintings aren't quite there. She doesn't introduce herself, doesn't offer a compliment first, and speaks in harsh, clipped tones that make her the unlikeable one. Even though he's harsh with her, we're given the impression that he's dealt with her kind before, which he goes on to say to Nina Foch's character (I can't BELIEVE how young she is. She does so well coming across as an "older woman"). He's kind to her, doesn't chase her away, but explains to her why he wasn't a fan of the girl before.
  6. This is my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies. 1. In a lot of ways, I wish I'd never learned about post-recording sound, since it makes me wonder how many don't actually line up. I struggle with the way my ear now listens to them as separate (kind of like watching them lip sync). They're very well done here, and yet I can't help but wonder what was added that wasn't there originally. 2. The role of the straight man is necessary in comedy. You can't have comedy unless someone is on the wrong end of the joke. The straight man fills the role of the observer and the stooge. He reminds us that what's happening is absurd, while still being part of the humor - as in when he lies down on the desk. In real life, someone would have stood up, shouted, stopped the ruckus, and gone back to teaching - and would never have allowed himself to be set at a desk and piled upon. But in comedy, the person who isn't necessarily part of the jovial side of the comedy is still insanely important. He allows them to cover him with the drapes, lay him back on the desk, and then pile him high with objects - without showing indignance or anger, but shock. He helps tell the story. It's easy to be the comedic one in a well-written part (assuming you can act), but it's a challenge to play the straight man when everything funny is happening around you and you can't smile.
  7. 1. While Calamity Jane isn't like the other women in 50s pictures, being the gruff tomboy instead of the sensitive bombshell, she's still a sign of the times that women are not capable of doing what men are doing. They mock her and laugh at her, even as they accept her. She's not one of them, and the movie never lets her be seen as stronger or better than them (much like Annie Get Your Gun). They hold to the femininity that women can't, as opposed to today's films where often a woman will be the best with the gun or sword, depending on the storyline. 3. I think Doris Day makes Calamity Jane a relatable and fun character. When looking at Jane's history and her photos, I actually picture a Marjorie Main, the type of woman that really could rough it and take on the guys. Day's performance adds the feminine touch, even while she's playing a more character role for her. She may be trying to be one of the guys, but Day is still a beautiful woman, and it's not hard to believe Hickock could fall in love with her.
  8. 1. The characters include and relate to one another with comedy and unity. It isn't a competition (like Rogers and Astaire dancing films, where they might be competitively matching step for step), but a collaboration. They don't highlight Astaire, but have him do a simple step on the outside of a trio. There's rarely a moment where one character is by themselves in the shot, and usually only because the others are setting up for the next united gag. Earlier musicals tended to feature fantastic dancers or highlight one voice as opposed to the ensemble. But much like the action, very few lyrics are sung solo. 2. The costume choices bring them together in the color scheme. All three men have colors that tie to each other. Fred Astaire is in a sharp, dark suit with a tie that matches Buchanan. Levant's pants match Astaire's suit and his tie goes with Buchanan's outfit as well. Fabray, while set apart as the only female in creamier colors, still has grey in her skirt to tie back to the neutral colors of her gentlemen. It's a cohesive color scheme, as opposed to putting each of them in a bright contrasting color, or more so, highlighting the star by putting them in a red while everyone else wears muted greys. 3. Much as I said in my response to question 1, the actors are never alone on stage for long. They're always united, whether as a duo, trio, or the whole quartette. It's a playful song where they are physically interacting every step of the way, telling a story together as opposed to one person telling a story while the others provide background.
  9. 1. The scene shifts from Petunia being in a place of crisis in the seconds before she realizes Joe is calling for her to her joy at seeing him. "Don't call the doctor, go tell the reverend, tell everybody..." She's overjoyed that her husband is going to be all right. As he tries to speak to her, she tells him to rest, and in her joy and love, she begins to sing. The bedside rejoice (aside from making me tear up) has a tender softness to it. When we shift to the outdoor scene, it shows some time passed, and she's no longer dressed in dark clothing with her hair covered but is wearing a bright dress, taking down brighter laundry, and singing joyfully. She continues to care for Joe, putting him out of the sun, but her life has found a balance - he's home. He made the right choice in being faithful and choosing family, and it changed her life. 2. If this had been a woman singing to her child, the words would have changed. Not all of them - the affection and love would still be there, but the romantic side would be removed. She might sing of her joy to have her boy back. Instead of being about a strong marriage (representing how we're loyal to our country through good and bad) it would have been expected - what mother wouldn't want her child back? It's a stronger meaning to have a wife want her husband back and find happiness in him when he's caused her strife. All children cause their parents strife, yet rarely would a parent not want their child at full health. It would have lost that national tie if it had been about a child. 3. This film is amazing and baffling. We still struggle today with equality and equal representation in films (of women and people of color), and yet this film managed to do both back in the 40s. Minnelli handled this with a more sensitive touch than say, Hallelujah! director King Vidor, but it's also 20 years later and times have changed. There are always stereotypes in early films, but this film isn't one to divide - regardless of skin color, it could be viewed as a touching story that reminded the nation that we are united, regardless of what the past has put us through. I think this would be especially true for black Americans serving in WWII or with loved ones serving. It's a reminder that their contribution isn't less - it's equal. The war couldn't have been won without all Americans uniting together.
  10. I love Frank Sinatra. I'm not a huge fan of Garrett, but I don't mind her. 1. The sounds match up really nicely. They hit every musical note that went with an action (the ball toss, wall slam, railing slide). For every advance she makes, he counters. Despite being the mafia, tough guy, Frank Sinatra (being a slim man) is easily manhandled by this petite lady. It's interesting how things like this were allowed, since it's a female to male combination and not a man being so aggressive with a woman (there are films with that in there). 2. This segued easily with the music leading up to it. When she corners him and forces him backwards, the music has already begun, playful and light with their steps. As he continues to run away, he almost forces her to speak, and in doing so, she begins the song.
  11. 1. I think, like many in my generation, the first movie I saw of Garland's was Wizard of Oz. In fact, for most of my childhood/teens I didn't realize there were other movies of her--that was THE movie and she was THE Dorothy. 2. I've seen both of the movies used in the clip multiple times, but when I first started seeing her catalog of talent, I remember being surprised to see that Dorothy grew up--and grew up insanely talented. Gone is the round-faced little girl with large eyes and a cute dog. Garland is a class act, and she cracks me up. 3. The Pirate was one of the first "later" movies I saw of Garland's, and I was completely enthralled by her Mack the Black song (as well as others). Not long later I saw Meet Me in St. Louis for the first time. I cried all the way through Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
  12. 1. Being in the Whitehouse, obviously, sets up American values. Can anything be more American than where the President himself lives? Furthermore, the American flag pin, the portraits of past presidents on the wall, and the naval photos and the model ship (I believe that's what was in FDR's office) are all American symbols. More than that, I would think the ships would be a tribute to Pearl Harbor and the US Navy. 2. From two minorities (Irish American and African American) talking about American pride, when both had been so abused in the US's early years (African Americans longer than Irish Americans, who had the privilege of at least being white, even if they were the lowest of their own race) to two men of different social backgrounds, the conversations all range around American pride, virtue, and patriotism. The butler and Cohan discuss the earlier Cohan days and the music that a former president loved, uniting them across racial lines in a way to remind the viewers that we're all in this together. The President and Cohan discuss Cohan's patriotism and how much the Irish love a country. It's all tying back to loving America, no matter who you are. 3. If this movie would have opened up on the 4th of July (while a patriotic date), it would have lost the connection to the war American audiences were currently dealing with. So shortly after entering the war, they didn't need a 4th of July parade from the 1800s - what they needed was to see their president and a man they respected and loved reminding them that America continues on, that we all have pride and passion no matter who we are, and that we're all in this together. It would have been a biographical movie either way, but the book-ends in the president's office keep the audience lifted about where we're going more than where we've been.
  13. I think the reason people might struggle to see a battle of the sexes in this clip is due to its era and post-code methods. Rogers is dressed in a way that isn't as feminine as is often used, and while Astaire leads her into the dance, she chooses to be part of it and to match him step by step. He might be in control of which moves they do, but she's choosing to show she can do them just as well. I think by today's standards it's not much of a battle, but in the 30s, during an era where they could hardly show anything, it's rather explicit in Rogers being just as involved as Astaire. As for the film itself, many times Rogers' character tries to turn the table on Astaire's (often confusing him or putting him in his place) when she thinks he's a married man. Yet, she still falls under his spell. It's a push-pull relationship all the way through.
  14. 1. Is this clip brighter than reality? Yes, for sure. In the Depression Era this wouldn't be day-to-day life. As many worried about jobs, housing, and food, the idea of a starlet who has the opportunity to work with two big names would be fantasy. The whole thing is escapism in a time when it was so important for those facing hardship to have something to dream about or escape to. 2. I'm struggling with the wording of this question - what does this clip make me think I'll see in other Depression Era Musicals? I'd say I'd expect to see men competing over women (as opposed to women for men) in both business and love, but in lighthearted ways where there's an obvious winner right from the first meet-cute. I'd expect to see people living more lavish lifestyles than actually were lived during the Depression Era, with the stars being less everyday people and more larger than life, celebrity, royalty, gangsters and the like. 3. If this movie had been pre-code, I could agree with most everyone else in the idea that she would have showed more skin for her "Play with me" song, and perhaps maybe the way the song would have been done might have been even more to the point. I could see her getting undressed in her dressing room, being in her underthings or a robe of some kind when she receives the flowers to decide where she's going to go. I would think they wouldn't have shied away from the true story of Ziegfeld and Held if it had been pre-code, showing his philandering and her divorcing him as opposed to a happy-go-lucky love story. If it were made now-a-days I'm sure it'd go further than that to show every nitty-gritty detail.
  15. I actually thought Wait Until Dark was a Hitchcock film when I was growing up (someone probably misrepresented that to me) and it was always one of my favorite classic suspense thrillers. I agree on all fronts. It is definitely a reflection of what Hitchcock gave us.
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