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mariaki

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Posts posted by mariaki

  1. 3 hours ago, crecente said:

    "If TCM offered a live a-la-carte service that was $50 a month we would sign up for it and stop paying the $140 or so per month for TV programming. "

     

    Hear Hear!    I would pay a fair amount more than $50 a month directly to TCM to support what they do.  I paid the $10 for the sports package yesterday (up to $212 now for "basic" package + TCM, Phone, Internet) and found out today that it is only available on one of our TVs because our cable boxes are old. Of course Xfinity offered to upgrade for an additional $7/month per box.  Geesh. The greed.  The flagrant extortion.  I am sputtering angry and NOT paying another dime. In fact, looking for way to ditch all cable channels and stream TCM. Anyone know how?  

     

     

  2. 8 hours ago, Charlie's Girl said:

    SciFi would be fun.  I don't think I would participate in horror unless it were confined to very old films. 

    I'm not a fan of the modern slasher films or gore and mutilation for the sake of gore and mutilation, so I say we stop at 1980. In the 70s-   Rosemary's Baby, The Wicker Man, Carrie, The Exorcist,  The Shining (well, shining is 1980...)  I consider them classics.  And if we threw in Europe and Japan, too- wow, what a course that would be! 

    • Like 3
  3. So happy I found a thread where I can thank our wonderful instructors Professors Edwards, Ament,  Gehring and Rydstrom.  I loved how each had something unique and valuable to input to the course and how Ament's bubbly personality was the perfect "foil" to the others she conversed with.  We were lucky to have had a range of experience and backgrounds in our professors as well, which is team teaching at its absolute best! What a great educational opportunity, and for free, for pete's sake! 

    The dialog/conversation approach, which I experienced with the Hitchcock course, is so much better than any straight lecture could be and I appreciate the clips that were embedded in the video discussions as well. That made the discussion even richer.  The podcasts were very interesting though I would suggest keeping them to a max of 30 minutes.

    Thank you TCM, Ball State, and our great instructors! 

     

    • Like 2
  4. 3 hours ago, MotherofZeus said:

    Are we applying an outdated standard for what the musical is becoming? I don't have an answer to that. It is a question I ask when I look for more in La La Land.  The songs "City of Dreams" and "Here's to the Dreamers" really touch me whenever I watch the movie. When I left hte theater after watching it, I heard more people discussing the plot, events, and meaning than I usually do. It wasn't for lack of those elements. Rather it was because it had provoked thought. That's what art should do.

    I actually think it is stronger than many recent musicals and original content is a delight. Add that it succeeded at the box office, and we have a musical that paves the way for more musicals.  

     

    I think  you are right about the relatability of the actors.  That is quite true of both. Attractive, but not unattainably gorgeous. Talented, but not at the Fred/Ginger level.  But that brings me to your point about outdated standard:  My standard is the lead better be either a great singer OR a great dancer to be in a musical.  I didn't see high singing and dancing standards with LLL actors. I can overlook Astaire's singing because he's a great dancer and overlook Dean Martin's acting because he's a great singer, etc, but didn't find anything noteworthy with the leads of LLL that made them the right casting for a musical. (Hugh Jackman, however it happened, I think danced better in his films. )  I agree that LLL is stronger than other recent musicals since it had a compelling story,nice cinematography and a lovely hint of magical realism. (Especially better if we are comparing it to Frozen and Tangled. ) BTW, have you seen the Polish film, The Lure? Imagine vampiric mermaids with a touch of Abba in a sleazy 1980s Eastern Europe. Slightly rated-R link is below.  

     

  5. I must be a curmudgeon or maybe its just that I watch a lot of old movies with INCREDIBLE talen,t because though I liked "The Greatest Showman," it didn't wow me.  I am a circus fan so I had big hopes, and I enjoyed the big dance numbers and one smaller beautiful one that included the dancers dangling acrobatcally, but I didn't find the music overall captivating and felt the "theme" song was played and "stomped" out too frequently so it became redundant. But what a fabulous topic for a musical!  Can we try just one more film, please? 

    • Like 1
  6. Great post, Charlie's Girl!  I feel the same about the Beatles though I gained my love and respect from my dad's younger brother who lived with us a while in the late 1960s and played drums in our basement!  My first song as a child was "Baby You're a Rich Man", my mother told me. I know I liked the part about "keep all your money in a big brown bag inside a zoo. What a thing to do!" 

    When I was 13 I saw "A Hard Days' Night" in the dollar theater near my house at least 12 times over 3 days. I emerged from that weekend feeling like I knew each Beatle in depth, which made our professors' discussion about each boy's character being shaped in the film ring very true to me.  It also makes the film "Let It Be" so sad to see how distant each is to the other after that close interaction and fun of their early days. 

      I was immediately attracted to Edwards phrase "Charming Radicalization" as you also seem to have been. Excellent wordsmithing!   Have you seen Howard Goodall's Sgt Pepper documentary?  It's excellent. 

    From one fan to another!  

    • Like 1
  7. Hard to pick just one! I thought the "war prep, during the war, and post-war" discussion of the 1940s was fascinating.  So was discussion on race with  Cabin in the Sky and Showboat.  I like how each week our instructors really drove home the point that film is a reflection of the period in which it is made regardless of the period of the film story. That brought a strong cultural/historical view to each discussion and broadened the scope of film watching.  

  8. Some observations:

    1.  An empty city sidewalk at night is a sexy location. It's the post-crowd, end-of-night, intimate time of a date.  It is a blank canvas full of possibilities. (Think Singing in the Rain, though Kelly is contemplating alone.) 

    2.  I love how she uses the iron railings as props to hang on to and stroke. Gives her hands something expressive to do. (Kelly and the lamp post.)  

    3.  The camera  does a wonderful smooth swirl around her that is both vertical and horizontal when she is on the stairs,  like its draping her in satin. It's done to get Shariff back in the frame, but psychologically it seems to move her from a lonely woman to one who is no longer alone. She's also fiddling with her fingers at this point showing her trepidation which adds a lot to the story and which would not have been visible if the camera had caught her from the waist up. 

    4.  One of Streisand's most beautiful poses is the one I have snipped here at the tail end of the song. It elongates her neck gracefully and gives her a more classic profile.  Nice way to end the song. 

    streisand.JPG

  9. I adore Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn, but I could never buy them as a couple at the end of this film. On his part, I get no attraction to her whatsoever, not even in the upper class British "we seem to get along all right; what say we make it official?" sort of way. 

    As far as an auteur link with Gaslight, I notice the way the camera follows Hepburn in her emotional collapse in a similar manner that it followed Bergman during at least one of hers. Both are beautiful, feminine, and emotionally fragile women, being manipulated by men.  They flit through several mental attitudes and emotions in short spaces of time and need the focus to be strictly on them with no distraction. I recall some medium close-ups on Bergman's confused face and a lingering camera.  

    In our clip here, even when Harrison comes into the scene, he remains framed in the door for some of it until she gets to her feet.  In the shot I clipped below, even though it is Higgins doing 90% of the talking, and even though he moves toward the camera and back again more than once, the camera remains stationary, focused on Eliza's emotions. 

    MFL snip.JPG

  10. On 6/27/2018 at 1:41 AM, chillyfillyinak said:

     First, Cukor was called a woman's director because that was code to signal others that he was gay, not that he was better at working with women than men.

     

    Thanks for another great post!    There is no doubt that Cukor did shine directing all the leading ladies of the decades, including those with difficult reputations.  Did his POV favor women in a way that didn't bring out the same in his leading men? (Real or imagined by the men?)  On the one hand, being called "a woman's director" is a compliment, and on the other, a career disadvantage, not because of any so-called "vice" of being gay, but because leading men might be worried about being upstaged by the women under Cukor's direction. Cukor's homosexuality didn't need much coding since it really was no secret, though of course not publicly discussed. 

  11. Mama Rose's entrance reminds me of something I once heard about the transition of stage actors to film.  A stage presence is very different than a film presence and it was hard for some stage actors to tone themselves down and to become more subtle in their expressions and movements. With cameras, they no longer had to project out to the back row. Mama Rose shows her theatrical background by pretty much leaving a vacuum in her wake as she walks around the stage giving out orders. 

  12. Our professors were on fire in the 42 minute podcast on the 1950s.  It was like an NPR driveway moment. Very captivating with a lot of interesting points and much food for thought.   Favorite Dr. Ament point- about how men had to learn to live in civilized society again after the war.  Favorite Dr. Edwards moment-  his unabashed enthusiasm for the spectacle of the musical with words like "energy", "flamboyance", "epic" and the best one, "the screen crackles."  Made me wish I could have them both over for wine and a movie!

    • Like 5
  13. On 6/21/2018 at 2:07 PM, MSecaur said:

    1. The visual look of "An American In Paris" has always reminded me of a Ludwig Bemelman's "Madeline" story come to life, with its bold colors and Impressionistic style, and even though the performances are fairly realistic, the overall feel of the film is to me quite stylized.

    Oh  my gosh yes!  That is exactly it.  Bold colors,  clear shapes and lines.   It is Paris of the American imagination-- for all the people who wish they could be over there painting and falling in love. It is hyper-clean and hyper-precise. 

    And Gigi, of course, is Matisse, Lautrec, and Van Gogh.

    madeline.JPG

    • Like 1
  14. 3 hours ago, Helene said:

    Although I love this scene and the mastery of Kelly and O'Conner, I do not like the portrayal and subsequent treatment of the professor. This is in line with the stereotype of intellectuals in American film... think Ball of Fire and the remake, A Song is Born. Brainy types are portrayed as the antithesis of the Alpha male and brainy women are portrayed as unfeminine … take off their glasses and they become sexpots!. Anti-intellectualism has been pervasive in American life and film reflects that which has lead us to where we are today.

     

    Excellent point, Helene!  I think I've become so used to it, I never thought of it as clearly as that.  Just one exception from our class comes to mind. In On the Town, the very desirable Ann Miller  is working on her anthropology thesis in the museum when she falls for "prehistoric" Munshin.  She is intellectually slumming! But then again, that implies that the highbrow men at her university can't satisfy her in the way a lowbrow can, so back to your point! 

  15. Singing in the Rain is all about "old school" vs. "new." Kelly has played and replayed the same role forever (in the film) and America is ready for something new. Within the film, that newness is the talkies and a fresh young actress; in the real America, that newness is a new post-war decade full of possibility and the rise of youth culture.  Though not particularly young,  Kelly and O'Connor give off the exuberance of youth and innovation in contrast to the stuffy old school style of the professor who is mocked and finally becomes nothing more than a dance prop like a coat rack.  

  16. Is it just me, or does this poster look like a pulp novel cover?  I don't think there was any scene with her shirt open that much. She's awfully flushed too, brandishing that whip!  Anyway....

    RE: Our clip-  By the time she gets on the horse to finish "Secret Love" I almost feel the sigh of relief from the audience as Jane finally finds her proper place in society and leaves a lot of those tough girl ways behind.  Nothing smooths the rough edges like a good man. In fact, lack of a good man must be what is wrong with any woman who acted and dressed as Jane did.  (I am pretty good at looking at nearly anything through the social lens of the time, but sometimes.....)  

    While I respect Day's talent, I just can't get into this film.  I admire so much the women of the "wild" west, and to see Calamity Jane, a hard-drinking, adventurous and troubled woman in love with a man who didn't want her portrayed as an adorable rapscallion who cleans up to a tame girl-next-door seems to diminish who the real women of the west were. I went to the cemetery in Deadwood to see the graves of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill. It was a joke they buried her next to him because he was on another wife when he died. Anyway, I don't usually have too much trouble with historical inaccuracy for the sake of a good story, but maybe this wasn't the story for a musical.  

     

    doris!.JPG

    • Like 1
  17. On 6/19/2018 at 8:00 AM, 500efr said:

    2. Doris Day got type-casted into the quintessential optimistic, breezy, comedic female lead. She was the blond, blue-eyed, all American type of woman. She has appeal to men because she not the threatening, dangerous, sultry, cosmopolitan woman of the world. She appeals to women because she could be your sister, best friend or next door neighbor.

    Great observation! 

    • Thanks 1
  18. The first thing I noticed is that Astaire does not out-dance the others.  With the exception of Levant, the performers are kept on an even playing field of dance.  Levant's lack of skill is fodder for some of the visuals, sort of an inside joke for the audience who knows Astaire as a dancer and Levant as a composer. Here, however, they are just a couple of buddies.  

    The second thing I noticed is that together the four of them are sort of a flag. Navy suit on Astaire with stripes, navy tie on Levant on a white shirt, shades of blue on Buchannan and Fabray with her white blouse and bright red accent on her belt. 

    Finally, I like the contrast that exists using the set of Oedipus Rex for the gang's silent film sight gags and this totally American buddy ensemble. In addition to high brow vs. low brow, was there any play less "American Way" than Oedipus Rex?  (fatalism, incest, absolutism, self-mutilation?) 

  19. 8 hours ago, Suzy-Q said:

    Anybody who thinks Show Boat, even the 50's version, is cheerful is not paying attention. Julie is fired because she is passing for white, Gaylord Ravenal loses all his money gambling and leaves his pregnant wife; Joe singing about his life as a black man being hopeless. A film not mentioned at all (weirdly) is Oklahoma: Laurie's near rape by Judd; the "Poor Judd is Dead" number; Judd attempting to murder Laurie and Curly by setting their house on fire; Ado Annie sleeping around. Not so light and fluffy.  I could name several if not many musicals that do not fit the stereotype of the course writer. I hope that people taking this course will watch these films without the preconceived notions presented here and try to develop their own views.

     

    I wonder if the fact that Oklahoma, Show Boat, and South Pacific were all Broadway shows has anything to do with their darker undertones. 

    • Like 2
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