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Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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Everything posted by Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

  1. I think I overstated. The production was problematic, the reviews were mixed, and as a road show, it was not received well, as it was considered overly long. It has been considered better over time than at the time. 1968 was a terrible year in American times, and this film did not comport with the times in any way. Coppola did not get along with Astaire, fired Hermes Pan, and as usual, insisted part of the production be done on his property, which was not easy for the studio to deal with, let alone the aging Astaire. Coppola wanted realism for a film that is fantastical. Additionally, the the
  2. Did anyone notice that Fred Astaire borrows some of the choreography from Royal Wedding's revolving room dance for his "When the Idle Poor" dance in the storage area? It is almost identical. If you recorded this, take a look around 1:34 and marvel at how he adapted it for this short interlude. Fascinating.
  3. I agree. I would love to teach a class about westerns; one of my favorite genres.
  4. Today's forum is about the song "People" from the film Funny Girl. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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? Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, et
  5. Today's Daily Dose of Delight regards George Cukor as director of My Fair Lady. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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) Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. What do you no
  6. Today's forum is on Robert Preston and two roles he has played. If you recall, you saw clips from The Music Man and Victor Victoria. Please post your comments here. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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? What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals
  7. Today's Daily Dose forum is from the musical Gypsy (1962). This is where you may post your comments. Recall that the clip refers to the opening scene, and discusses Sondheim and Russell. Please reflect upon these topics below. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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 is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance esp
  8. This forum is for discussion around the Daily Dose of Delight regarding An American in Paris. Recall that Minnelli's direction was discussed and his background was given as information that leads to his approach to directing; particularly his gift for mise-en-scène. With this in mind, please respond to the following prompts. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 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? What keep
  9. This forum is to discuss Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelley as they perform in "Moses Supposes" from Singin' in the Rain. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other?
  10. This forum is for Daily Dose of Delight #10, regarding the two clips from Calamity Jane, featuring the performance choices of Doris Day. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own). As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Plea
  11. Welcome back everybody. Here is the forum for Daily Dose of Delight # 9. It is for The Band Wagon. Recall that you watched the number "That's Entertainment." The emphasis is on community and the ensemble in the musical number and the movie musical in general. Please post your comments in this forum. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own) 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
  12. Today's Daily Dose of Delight is from CABIN IN THE SKY. As you reflect upon the clip of Ethel Waters singing to Little Joe, her presence and performance, and the importance of this song in the narrative, please respond in this forum. 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? How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? What other thoughts
  13. Recall that today's Daily Dose of Delight is from Take Me Out to the Ball Game. As you reflect upon the clip selected by Gary Rydstrom, recall his discussion of Blanche Sewell. Please respond to the questions posted. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing?
  14. Recall that you watched two clips demonstrating the points made about Judy Garland's nuances and growth as a musical actress. Please respond to the following questions. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? 3. What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience's imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric?
  15. Additionally, other races were not as separated, although they were treated as less valuable than white. They were marginalized in mainstream films. The "yellow peril" was a common term for Asian men in films. Just awful. But they were not the victims of the same kind of laws that African Americans had been. Go figure. Slavery, am I right?
  16. Any film marketed to black audiences was considered a race film. It seems so insulting now, doesn't it?
  17. In pre-code, there were sexual liberties, violent liberties, and relationship liberties that were representative of the looser morale values of the jazz age in these musicals. The catholic church, among other more conservative institutions, wanted to impose censorship on to film expression. This is what the Hays Office and the Production Code were trying to address. Any pre-code films were more representative of what was happening in society. When the code began to be enforced in 1934, a more pristine and prim cultural norm was imposed onto the film industry. We have seen this since that time
  18. I appreciate you addressing this issue. TCM does their very best to get rights to as many films as possible. So if one of your favorites is not listed, you can pretty much be assured the rights were not available.
  19. Here is the Daily Dose of Delight #5 Forum. Please post your responses here. Recall that the clip is from Yankee Doodle Dandy and shows the opening scene with George M. Cohan and FDR. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 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. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost America
  20. You are correct. Anyone who replaces the sounds of the taps has to be very good. Powell did her own, and those of other dancers. Hermes Pan did Fred Astaire's. Gene Kelly did his own. So did Gregory Hines. We Foley artists who were trained dancers could do the dances for many of those who danced in films.
  21. After listening to today's podcast, feel free to post any ideas or responses. Have a great day.
  22. Remember that the role of Julie needs to be played by someone who is passing as white. Lena Horne was already known as African American so the surprise that she is part black would not work in the storyline. Again, it is so important not to impose our perspectives onto the times, or to make assumptions onto those who made the films. There is plenty of bigotry to go around and it is very easy to jump to that conclusion. However, critical thinking can allow us to try another perspective.
  23. I think TCM schedules according to what films viewers will find most popular. I know these folks and they are not bigoted or prejudice. They proudly show all of these films. In fact, they want to promote diversity. The issue is always what films should be placed in prime time for all of the time zones.
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