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Everything posted by mariaki

  1. Really great and thoughtful post! Thanks for writing this. It is something I have thought about in reference to the arts of the 1950s in general. It's been said that the 1950s had "multiple personalities." On the one hand, you had the rise of teen culture and the carefree times of drive-ins and hops, but on the other hand, the Korean war starts in 1950 and the US gets involved soon after. On the one hand, you had economic boom, home ownership, and increased consumerism and "things", on the other hand the realities of what the atomic bomb could do (and fear of Russia) competed in horror with
  2. What a wonderful piece of family history! I said in another post somewhere that much African American contribution to entertainment is hidden. I've been learning bit by bit over the years, ironically, AFTER I left school and sort of through the back door, because of my interest in jazz. Your mention of the Follies brings to mind Josephine Baker, another great who went abroad to reach her full artistic potential. Of course, I had to look up your uncle and I nearly fell out of my chair to see he wrote and sang a song "Dizengoff" which is/was the main strip of coffee shops and clubs in Tel Aviv a
  3. Ken Burns' series Jazz explained that white audiences came to Harlem to see black entertainment, though of course the opposite could not happen. In addition, black entertainers played in white venues though blacks could not be in the audience. And as far as the motivation for making Cabin in the Sky? It had been a successful stage musical and Hollywood sniffed money. Aside from any possible motivation from progressive individuals/artists, you can be quite sure the studio motivation was $$$$. I don't know for sure, but I doubt any promotion of tolerance or acceptance came into it. The fact th
  4. Ethel Waters covered that song some years before this film. Waters and Horne had professional "tensions" between them. Maybe Waters had some claim on the song and didn't want it in the picture? She clearly couldn't be the singer in the film since she disliked Georgia Brown. However, if you think about it, she could have done a very acid-tongue rendition- "Fellers she can't get are fellers she ain't met..." but that wouldn't have been Petunia's style!
  5. Interesting Quiz! I had not heard of just two: "Once on this Island " and "Spring Awakening."
  6. Love JC Superstar! It seems to be on once a year. When is the last time anyone screened "Tommy?"
  7. Almost any of the early ones with Maurice Chevalier- and I say that as a true Chevalier fan. He minces and moues, overacts or forgets to act at all. The plots are trite little vehicles that showcase his skill as a lover. Did I mention I absolutely adore his films? This song from Love Me Tonight (1932) is brilliantly shot and edited and makes this "silly" picture one of my favorites!
  8. Frederick Douglass was one of the first African Americans on record to speak out against blackface. However, there were also some very popular blackface minstrel shows in which the players were all African American. Complexions were darkened and features were outlined. The whole era of minstrelsy and its move into vaudeville is a complex and fascinating period of American history and our history of entertainment. I don't intend to sound glib and light- hearted about images and acts that were hurtful and insulting, but rather to encourage people to look into the somewhat "hidden" early history
  9. It's interesting that quite a few posts refer to how Garrett "outsizes" Sinatra. When I watched, I was thinking how slim her waist was and that she seemed smaller than in On the Town. I grabbed a still from our clip to show a body comparison. Perhaps the fact that so many of us thought she was physically larger/stronger than Sinatra is a tribute to her acting skills building her character as an aggressor.
  10. I watched Cabin in the Sky (1943) the other day and am so glad I did. What a beauty Ethel Waters is! She just radiates personality in general and sings with such love to Joe that I can only assume she is a terrific actress. In comparison, Lean Horne, with whom I was previously familiar, lacked connection with the camera, in my opinion. Of course, that could have been the self-centeredness of her character, I'll admit. What immediately struck me about this film is that African Americans are performing for themselves. In so many films, African Americans are performing "on demand" and for
  11. I just watched Harvey Girls again today on TCM (On summer vacation!) and that number is so wonderfully done with all the townspeople having their bit to say. It's so energetic and captures the energy and excitement of the westward movement in the 19th century. I love the "chug chug" dance move Judy does with a crowd of girls as they move next to the slowly starting train. As a train fan, I am likely to break out in this song when I see a train go by!
  12. When the lights go on.... I just wanted to add that the ending of Meet Me In St. Louis, when the lights all go on as they did at the Palace of Electricity in 1904- just wow! Thinking of the year 1944, America fighting on 2 fronts, the message is clear: there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, so chin up. There are bright happy days ahead and all will be well.
  13. I so enjoyed our professors' discussion on Meet Me In St. Louis, one of my all-time favorite films. I never could understand why that film always reduced me to tears, but after watching the lecture, I think it was the pure emotion in the film. My family moved across the country when I was a kid, and I don't think I ever really got over it- losing my friends, special childhood places that became almost mythic in memory, etc., so seeing the love within this family and a father who decides NOT to move is touching. "Honesty" is the word used in our lecture, and that nails it. Judy and this film
  14. The slow climb up the White House stairs was a wonderful opportunity to work in a conversation with the African American butler as they talked about patriotism with portraits of US presidents behind them. Even though Cohan was a major celebrity at that time, it rather brought to mind the great ascent of the "simple" Irish immigrant family and how that could only happen in America. This really kicks in when the flashback shows Cohan's father in a sort of "leprechaun" suit in start old-world contrast to his fully integrated American son. In FDR's office, the walls are covered with picture
  15. I see quite a few responses who did not see a battle of the sexes. I will say I didn't see much "battle" either, but I did notice around 2-3 times when Ginger moved first and Fred followed or Ginger added some flourish that Fred noticed but was too late to copy. I sensed a slight one upsmanship on her part when it could be fit in. However, and this is a big however, I thought the way he grabbed her in his arms for the close dancing segment was brutal. It was manhandling! I can't believe I am saying this about Astaire, but when I view this through the lens of battle of the sexes, that is what
  16. I think the mix of French and English was very cleverly done. The audience gets the plot without understanding French up to the point where the "twist" is exposed and Chevalier says "her husband." The audience had assumed until that point that the the husband and jealous wife were Chevalier and the woman. Sound-wise, the only bit of music is when the husband holding the gun steps menacingly toward Chevalier. It's like a parody of a melodrama, an interruption in the comedy. On the other hand, it is also a highly visual scene. It's hysterical where Chevalier and the husband examine the gun
  17. Just a small comment on form- I thought the iris transition added whimsy to the scene and confirmed that Held's world was pleasant and light-hearted.
  18. I think Jeanette MacDonald is brilliant- a great actress, wonderful voice, and beautiful with expressive eyes. One of my favorite films with her is San Francisco with Clark Gable, though he is so darkly sexy in the way he sizes her up that I feel he could eat the "lady-like" MacDonald alive. Nelson Eddy is more of an equal sexual match for her with his more "gentlemanly" and non-threatening charisma. I noticed in the clip how the bar girls latched on to Eddy when he entered the saloon and he was quite happy they did. However, as he begins to focus on MacDonald and her attempt to sing, a
  19. I also suggest the history of minorities in the industry and in films.
  20. I've been singing the praises of this class to my colleagues at State College of Florida. I absolutely love the clever lecture delivery format of a conversation that is notes-based yet allowed to move organically. The Canvas organization was superb and easy to follow, the material was perfect for all levels to find something interesting and new, and the student contributions were thoughtful and diverse. Thank you to TCM and Professors Edwards and Gehrig, to our guest Alexandre Philippe and to my classmates who made such excellent presentations. I'm looking forward to seeing the remain
  21. Good choices! I was thinking of Tilda myself because of her ability to morph into so many looks. She would be great in something that required multiple identities- even male.
  22. Oh my gosh this is one my favorite films and you are SO right! There's an abundance of motifs in this film as well as a huge psychoanalytic overlay which is very Hitchcockian, And speaking of cool blonds - Catherine Deneuve!
  23. I would also add Welles' The Stranger with Edward G. Robinson, 1946. There is a touch of Shadow of a Doubt in it- the evil from the outside world entering an idyllic small town. There's also a nice stairway chase up a clock tower which is not only vertiginous but reminds me of the windmill stairs in Foreign Correspondent - maybe it's the wood structure and the black and white. It fits the "spy" Hitchcock template in many ways.
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