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Everything posted by Kwittenbrink

  1. Thank you so much Dr. Ament for a wonderful course!  I thoroughly enjoyed learning about musicals and I am truly mad for them now!!  It was a wonderful beginning to the summer.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  2. 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? Well, it seemed an intimate scene, despite Omar not being in a great deal of it - just admiring her from afar - so she needed to sing quietly as she seems to be introspectively considering her feelings and what she wants and needs. I find it interesting that she continues to move away from "people"/Omar, as she is singing how "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world," as if she is foreshadowing what will
  3. 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) The techniques are similar to perhaps film noir or Hitchcock where much can happen in the dark or shadows - we can see a great deal about the characters. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. Well, we see Eliza realize that she
  4. 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? Preston seems a bit deeper than those in some other movies. He does seem to embody the character and IS the character. He doesn't seem to just be singing a song in a glamorous way. He is telling a story and creating the story through his song. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? He really is deliberate and sings to the audience - he looks them in the
  5. 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? This clip looks back at the musicals that we have seen in the backstage show-how-the-musical works like in Singin' in the Rain or Bandwagon but it also looks ahead in the visual appearance of the movie - it isn't as showy and colorful or as glamorous as musicals used to be. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stag
  6. 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? No, I don't think it needs to use the stylized approach throughout the film, I actually enjoyed the beginning of the film more and was not as keen on the ballet interpretation of his rejection at the end. I want the guy to get the girl. It was a nice gesture on Henri's part. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? I actually like that he is brash and
  7. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? They already feed off each other and know that the class is a silly waste of their time - they speak well and know that the class is really for their starlet who has horrible elocution. While the movements don't mirror each other pre-dance, they certainly are still acting as a duo with the straight man for their fodder. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. He is perfect! He is initially enjoying being the best teacher and believes that t
  8. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Well, I think that it is hard to keep churning out the female roles that the 50's thought were necessary. I haven't seen the film yet, but reading the notes it states that Jane/Day donned a dress and tried to be more feminine - I wonder if that was the message that this film was trying to get to girls in that era - to be feminine to get a husband? But then she tames it down and still wears pants but it just more polished as her character grows in the movie. I have t
  9. 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? They move as a group as they entice Tony to see how life gives you ideas for shows, particularly their show. They are not dancing individually and showcasing their dancing skills, which, as Ament pointed out, only Astaire is a trained dancer. They are building the scene to work together. In the past we have seen huge dance numbers with the main character taking the spotlight.
  10. 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? She is called to his bedside and is instantly jubilant as she realizes that he is alive and is doing well after being shot. She says not to call the doctor but to call everyone to let them know the news! Like all illnesses, and hardships, we are exuberant and exultant initially and then we still need to move on with our lives. While we still are happy that the person is doing we
  11. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. In this tight spot she has domination over him and he really can't avoid her. She dominates him in her strength and her knowledge that he will be coming out of that door and she corners him in an instant. She backs him into the wall; catches him at the end of the stairs; swings him up over her shoulders; etc. He seems kowtowed into "falling" for her - I personally am put off by this scene and am not too keen on Garrett and how she is portrayed. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into
  12. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? Probably like most, I saw her in Wizard of Oz, and of course loved her and the movie! She has such a strong and sweet voice and is playful and funny and so expressive with her face. A delight. It is so sad to know how the industry pushed her to stay thin and that is what caused her to become addicted to meds. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I guess I didn't know how versatile she was and how she was able to do vaudevill
  13. 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 with the white house, the grand staircase, the president, the flag, the parade - all to highlight America. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. I like that the president says a kind word about Irish-Americans since that is not the
  14. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? I like how they are both trying to "lead" when they dance together - you can see the struggle in her as she tries to move him where she wants and he to her. Their clothing, her not being swayed by his charm. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? She is not the sweet and innocent girl that we have seen previously; she is in pants and a hat and ready to battle in the dance number. It is stormy and thunderous - it
  15. Both ladies are lovely! The 42nd street was not as elegant the other movie. Keeler wasn't in the clip as much so it was hard to compare, but she is a bit more heavy footed than Powell. I thought Powell was acting through her dancing and was quite humorous and graceful at the same time - those LEGS! Beautiful. I suppose I enjoyed her dancing more than Keeler's. I feel as if I need to see more of Keeler to make a statement on the two.
  16. 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)? We see the drawer-full of guns and women's articles of clothing that he's collected from other escapades and see that he is a womanizer, but playfully! I love that it is completely in French but no subtitles which is so amazing since that would not be so today since no one speaks two languages typically in America. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound
  17. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the first scene she is very confident and rather acerbic after he sings his heart out to her; in the second scene she is endeavoring to sing and make money, but cannot compete with the tart that hops up and steals her thunder; her confidence wanes and she leaves the bar. He, however, is taken still by her and not with the shimmying lady even though he was sitting with her initially. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, p
  18. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? Yes, I agree that it does seem to give a brighter perspective - the topic of her song is suggestive of what the Follies were about - scantily clad women on a burlesque stage, "come and have your way with me." During the depression, times were hard and buying orchids in such great number was probably unrealistic. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals? The lighting is bright and clean; the lush costuming and the white decor;
  19. So, I've been watching a lot of Hitchcock lately, but just tried to catch up on my other DVR favorites and GRANTCHESTER is one that I've come up with that is very Hitchcockian. I love the POV shots and the high angle shots. One shot in particular struck me where they had a close-up on a man's mouth as he stated a very snarky response to a woman in the show.
  20. 1. 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. In the Lodger, we are shown the dead girl quite quickly - in this we have a very lofty scene of London. We seem to be seeing the "upper crust" of London and hearing the political talk regarding cleaning up the river - ironically as we find the dead girl floating in the water. In the Lodger we see all the different groups talking about the many murders of the golden haired girls. To our knowledge, this is the first murder in Frenzy. 2. What
  21. 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. She flips her head back with a sweet and sly smile, as if to say I succeeded. As she was packing the suitcase, she really didn't seem to care how she packed them - while they were neat, the boxes were flipped over to the side like it was not a big deal. The suitcase with her "used" items were thrown in willy nilly. It was this case that she put into the locker at the station and the key for that
  22. 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? Well, we see the two characters, presumably meeting for the first time, flirting as they discuss birds. Mitch mistakes Melanie for a shop girl and asks her questions as she pretends to work and know (less than he does) about the birds in the shop. The setting is in a public space (again Hitchcockian) and no frightening music. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening seque
  23. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? Well, the titles are splitting apart which suggests a plot that will be tearing and rending something or someone... The music screeches and gives the sound of something horrific like screams. The two together are perfect. As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona, and a very specific day, date, and time: “FRIDAY, DECEMB
  24. Even at the level of the dialogue, this film is playing with the idea that two Hollywood stars are flirting with each other (e.g. the line, "I look vaguely familiar.") How does our pre-existing knowledge of these stars function to create meaning in this scene. Hitchcock was very aware of appearances and of his stars' appearances - no drinking from styrofoam cups; always acting the scene. I feel like stars were meant to always be playing a part and audiences wanted that to be their actual persona. It reminds me of the beginning scene in Singing in the Rain where Gene Kelly as Lockwood and
  25. Describe what you think this film will be about simply from the sounds and images in these opening credits. Even if you have seen the film, try to focus on these sounds and images themselves and “the story” (or if not "the story," the mood and atmosphere they are establishing) that this sequence is communicating to the audience. It has a very science fiction sound and feel to the images and music together. I can't help seeing slinkys and spirographs from when I was a kid. Very trippy 70's designs. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequen
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