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Venessa Mency

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  1. 1. 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? The song would have been performed as if there was a debate going on, she needed to prove a point. The more subdued version gives you a feeling of a personal conversation going on between Fanny and Nicky. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? The scene starts out as with the two being playful. As the song starts, Fanny is basically, letting Nicky know how she feels about him. Especially when the part about "Lovers" starts. She has an embarrassed look on her face, but she continues to reveal her true feelings for him. Nicky watches on, then as you look at him, he seems to understand where she is coming from. 3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction The camera seems to be placed behind the characters. The camera mimics, the characters movements, starting and stopping. Just enough so you did not feel intrusive. It felt like I was part of the scene.
  2. 1. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar withGaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) Gaslight and My Fair Lady share a common situation of dominating men. My Fair Lady has Higgins, basically taking a poor uneducated woman and turning her into a woman of high society. Focused on her education, appearance etc and put on a show for the everyone to see. Higgins pulled her strings. Gaslight focused on the ego and greed of Gregory. He sought out Paula to manipulate her and drive her crazy to get his hands on jewels, Paula's Aunt Alice hid, before she was killed by Gregory. Backgrounds in scenes in both movies served as another character you focused on. For example, in Gaslight, Paula started noticing the gas lamps started to flicker then she heard foot steps. She could not understand what was going on. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. Eliza quickly breaks down, at first Higgins is completely lost. He does not see what the true problem is and toys with her emotions. Cukor makes you focus on the body language of his characters. Eliza stays away from Higgins. He slowly comes into the room, but his demeanor is very cold. Higgins tells Eliza that it is all over, you should not be depressed. You are free to do whatever you want. 3. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? This was a game that was played, with the winning team of Eliza and Higgins. But now Eliza, knows that her time is up and has to go back to reality. For Eliza, she has lost. Higgins was very distant, not sympathizing with Eliza, because when the morning comes, it is business as usual. Thru out the scene, it was alway wide shots. You see everything in the room and you think back to Eliza when he picked her up off the street.
  3. 1. 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? Going into this new era, films are moving away from the male dominated movie characters. Female leads are more prominent (The Unsinkable Molly Brown) with Debbie Reynolds. Debbie's previous characters, were always the young girl in love. With her presence in Hollywood, she can carry a movie on her own. 2. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? In both clips, it shows how he captures his audience, with his performance. In the Music Man, he brings this town into a frenzy over a pool hall opening up. How the children were endanger of becoming degenerates. Telling the parents to watch the kids closely. Victor/Victoria presents Toddy as a performer, who is liked and disliked by some. Toddy is not afraid to be honest even if it is crude. 3. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? After looking over Mr Preston filmography, I did see the move "The Last Starfighter" It was so long ago, I vaguely remember his character Centauri. I believe in that movie, it was just his voice. I do not remember seeing him in character.
  4. 1. 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 scene, goes back to early musicals, on the attention going to the staging of the show. You have the producer who is telling the director who to put in (balloon girl), because it's his money that is backing the show. The director is just trying to find talent, regardless of the child. If it is good and entertaining, they are in the show. Earlier shows were with adults, but we are starting with children 2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. Mama Rose bursts in with her raspy, loud voice, barking orders. You have no choice to pay attention to her. Mama Rose is todays Parent/Manager/Trainer. She would take over the show, if you let her and also put her girls in, regardless if the act fits in to the show. 3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). The song can be interpreted to be very innocent, because of the children performing it. Now if it was an adult, and they were wearing something suggestive, then your mind goes down into the "gutter"
  5. 1. 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? The ending of the film, was used more as a fantasy piece, in a way to describe Jerry's life in Paris. The sequence was over the top, but to give you a sense of a more artistic view of the city. You follow how he is looking for his dream girl. He finds her and loses her through out the dance. Thru out the film you get a glimpse of what his everyday life was like, the people he associated with. 2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Jerry character is an outsider in Paris. Even though he has adapted to the way of life, the Jersey boy will come out when you insult him. You can like someone who speaks his mind.
  6. 1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? The prior to, the dance sequence Kelly and O'Connor are very laid back. They were bored, and really trying to pay attention to the professor. Once they have a rhythm going with, they decide to cut loose and make the training fun. They start off sort stiff and begin to play with the different ways to say the rhyme. When there was a change in how they said the verse, their moves coincided with the change. 2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The Professor kept a straight face thru out the routine. Watching I really was not thinking whether he was straight or gay. His attitude was of a very well educated man, who in a way do not like singers/dancers. Possibly to the point of thinking this is not a respectable profession. 3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? Kelly is for sure the leader of the pack. He can be funny but serious. O'Conner is the funny man, but can fall in line when needed. The Professor is the outsider, his demeanor is constant. Never relaxing and always stiff. The gag to make fun of the whole situation of tutoring someone on speech.
  7. 1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? This character is the far opposite of what was being represented. She is the "Tomboy". Jane can do anything a man can do and she feels she can do it better. The way she speaks, incomplete sentences-slang. Very unkept and always wearing pants. Jane needed to do her part to help out everyone no matter what was needed. If it meant getting dirty, that it was she did. Women, had there place, it was in the home cooking and cleaning and Jane was not having that. 2. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? Roles before and after, were very feminine roles. As a professional woman, she plays an ad exec in "Pillow Talk". Doing the opposite, she is a dutiful wife in "Send Me No Flowers" 3. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. As the versatile actress she is, seeing her play someone who is so gruff and high spirited was inspirational. I liked how she went all in for Calamity Jane, sometimes a little exaggerated. But you would need to know, what it was like to really be in a man's world and still not be taken seriously by some.
  8. 1. 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? This performance plays out like a conversation set to music. The characters are each giving an example of how a simple idea, can create a show. As an idea goes out, someone else has another one. They are convincing Astaire's character, becoming more motivated until he is in. In earlier musicals, the idea is set and characters revolve around the director and what they want. 2. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. No one in the ensemble stands out. You have the Lily who is dressed according the standards of the time, casual and everyday look. Tony's look is sharp, even though he is not working, he still dresses the part. The Pin Stripe suite is great. Jeffrey's jacket, makes you think of a stage/movie director. 3. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? Thru out the performance the characters stay close by each other. They are observing what each other are doing and reacting to it.
  9. 1. 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? Petunia is so attentive to Joe. The camera stays on her as she sings to him. You focus only on her emotions how she explains how her husband makes her feel, even after all the stress he puts her thru. She has his back whether he is physically there or not. This shows true love 2. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? When there is a child involved, the emotions would still be there. The love is everlasting, young or old. Society has always had the bond between a parent and child to be unbreakable. Man and wife, you see the relationships crumble and the parties separate. But depending on the emotional state of the marriage a similar bond like the parent/child can have the same effect. 3. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? During this era, the effects of the war hit everyone. In the African American community, unity has always been there. The film shows a positive light towards, love and faith in God. Regardless of race, struggles are the same. Everyone having to do there part to survive. When you needed an escape, you congregate at the local club.
  10. 1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. Shirley is just an all out stalker. She waits for him and there is where the cat and mouse game begins. The scene is continuous, the camera follows up and onto the bleachers in stadium where Shirley is aggressive. The tables are turned and the woman is chasing the man. The camera follows at a distance up the bleachers. You see how spaced out the bleachers are as the characters go up (Dennis is running for his life). With the cameras further back the performance shows how the entire space was utilized, from the very top to the bottom. The close up of Shirley hoisting Dennis over her shoulders is hilarious. 2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? As soon as Dennis walks out and Shirley jumps out in front of him, you know there is a song coming on. The look on Shirley's face tells it all. She has something to say and he was going to listen.
  11. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? First film for me was The Wizard of Oz. I remember seeing it on TV. As a kid, I was not that fond of musicals. This one I watched with my mom. As Dorothy, she was the typical kid. She was respectful, but a little bratty, in the beginning. She had her dog, Toto which she cherished. The movie was whimsical, funny. Looking back now at Judy Garland, as a child actor, she was great. Judy's acting was beyond her years. 2. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? Now that I am older, and have a new fondness for musicals, I see how talented she was. You look at all the hard work it takes to be a "triple threat" (Act/Dance/Sing). In the musicals she starred in, she conveys on screen, innocence, emotion. She makes you feel happy. 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? Meet me in St Louis, is a favorite along with A Star is Born. In meet me in St Louis, she is a young adult and you see her blossom as a performer. Her voice sounds beautiful when she sings, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. In A Star is Born, you see a true professional at work. The emotions, of her character experiencing life in show business on and off the stage. How it is not always what it seems and the toll it takes mentally and physically. You can feel what she is feeling when she performed. I would stop, what I am doing to watch either of these films.
  12. 1. 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. As Mr Cohan is walking up the stairs to the Oval Office, you see paintings of past presidents on the wall and at the top is George Washington. Once in the office I noticed that all the paintings on the wall were of ships. Even on the fireplace there was a miniature ship. 2. 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. The one line that stood out for me, was when FDR said. " That is one thing I admire about you Irish Americans, you carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open. It's a great quality" It gives the audience an understanding, that immigrants can love the US just as much as born citizens. 3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. Starting in the oval office felt as if something had happened. This commanded a private, after hours meeting with the president. They started with small talk, then proceeded. If the parade was first, it would have been more uplifting. You would have a sense of happiness. You get a glimpse of the Providence community on the 4th of July, coming together to celebrate with one another.
  13. 1.What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? This scene would show how the couple come together, thru dance. You see initially, how they would match each other but come to enjoy each others presence. Astaire and Rogers always have good chemistry on film. Even when they dislike each other it is believable. 2. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? This film was more of a comedic movie that did not focus much on the "big show" but more on the couple in a realistic setting. With movies like Broadway Melody where the show was the focus and the characters were secondary. 3. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? This movie would show the changing times, where gender roles are changing. Females are taking charge and not looking for the "Rich Man" to marry. They have to seek jobs and work as hard as men.
  14. 1) When the scene starts you feel like a voyeur. You know something bad is about to happen. Alfred is just inviting you in to watch it all. Even though they were speaking in French, you knew by the body language, exactly what was going on. Even though, she was married, she was still jealous of the garter she found. Alfred was calm about the whole thing. He did not need to explain anything. 2) For me the scene was void of noise, other than the mood music that came thru, when the lady so-called shot herself. This scene, to me was a set up scheme to get this couple back together. The apartment, itself, was set up for just this scenario. Extra guns filled with blanks, in the desk. Once she shot herself, she waited until her husband responded the way she wanted him too. Showing his love and affection. I thought that portion of the scene was too funny. Alfred is just standing there grinning, especially when he zipped up her dress. You think to yourself, why is it unzipped to begin with? 3) Theme you can anticipate would be adultery, and lengths a person would go, to get some attention.
  15. Rose Marie 1) This clip shows 2 people thrown together and trying to make the best of it. Marie was not interested,(thinking of another man) while Bruce was throwing out all the signals with nothing to show forth. (like a 1st date from hell). She gave a little interest, when he serenaded her. But shrugged him off, taking it as just a playful flirtation. The next clip, shows how Marie is out of her element in this run down bar. Trying to sing these upbeat/sassy saloon songs like an opera. It was terrible. But you do what you must, to make money. Upstaged by another gal who stole the performance-and her "tips". All while trying to hide from Bruce with shame written all over her face. 2) N/A. I am not familiar with the 2 actors. Need to see this and other movies with them as the stars 3) The depictions, show that with the new codes in place "courting" is shown as very innocent. Not overly suggestive. Men would show interests. But still had to do some work, to win women over. Nothing is rushed.
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