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Posts posted by Helene

  1. 7 hours ago, mariaki said:

    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! 

    As an alpha female cultural anthropologist, I appreciate your comments

    • Haha 1
  2. 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.

    Other than that I love the dancing in this and how the patter between Kelly & O'Connor leads seamlessly into the song and dance.

  3. I saw Moon Over Miami for the first time on TCM. I have always been a Betty Grable fan and was surprised that I had not seen it before. Also a Robert Cummings fan... and found out that he actually was a singer. I have also been disappointed that Grable and other have been omitted from this course. Although I have been a huge Gene Kelly fan, there is too much concentration on him, Astaire etc. I was pleased to see the inclusion of Donald O'Connor and Dan Dailey, even if they were attached to Kelly

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  4. I recall seeing this movie when I was a precocious 5yr old and it had a profound affect on me in that it showed me that I could be a strong and accomplished woman (which I became) but needed a man to truly fulfill my life (which I sought). A dichotomy which has plagued Baby Boomer women in particular. I think that this movie as well as Annie Get Your Gun (which I only saw recently on TCM) sent mixed messages, as contrasted with other more traditional 50's musicals. 

    • Like 3
  5. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her?

    • At 5, I saw the Wizard of Oz and fell in love with that Voice as well as her portrayal of courage. As my mother was a huge fan, I got to see other movies as they were shown on TV including all the Mickey Rooney films. The idea of "let's put on our own show" stayed with me

    How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously?

    • It was interesting to see the juxtaposition of these two clips in terms of the chemistry with Astaire vs Kelly. In Easter Parade, which was supposed to star Kelly, her voice and her acting chops to me outshines even Astaire's formidable dancing ability. After watching her with Kelly in one of my favorite movies, the chemistry between the two as well as the lovely blending of voices makes me wish I could have see her perform just that one scene with Kelly. Her acting ability comes out in both clips

    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?

    • As other's have said, the only singer who has equal ability to "act" a song was Sinatra. Just recently, I had the occasion to re-watch Judgement at Nuremberg, a non-singing role that earned her an academy award. A Star if Born was of course her musical tour d'force … still bringing me to tears after the umpteenth watching.
  6. 4 hours ago, thinman2001 said:

    1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her?

    At the age of five my mother took me to see the re-release of Wizard of Oz at the Loew's Pitkin in Brooklyn. The two things I remember most were diving with fright under the seat when the Wicked Witch first appeared in Munchkinland. My other lasting memory was how spunky and take charge Dorothy behaved, while still showing unbounded empathy for the rest of the characters, notwithstanding her plight of being whisked far from home and not knowing if she would ever return. Garland commanded the screen even at the relatively tender age of 16.

    2. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously?

    Having watched her films for over 60 years, viewing these clips did not really have any impact on my impression of her as a performer. However, they do serve to remind you how versatile and talented she was. Few performers could handle singing, dancing, comedic and romantic/dramatic parts as well as she could. From Wizard of Oz to The Pirate to Judgment at Nuremberg, we see the full spectrum of her boundless abilities displayed on the silver screen.

    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?

    The standout performance in her later years was without question A Star is Born. Backed by superb songs from Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hart, among others, Garland was able to once again capture the attention of the audience with her renditions of tunes like The Man Who Got Away and Swanee. But most poignantly -- most relevant to this question -- she actually plays the part of a storyteller in the Born in a Trunk number. The only other performer who could both sing and tell a story as well as Garland was Frank Sinatra. Not bad company to be in, IMHO!

    I too saw the re-release of the Wizard of Oz but at the Premiere on Sutter Avenue in East New York!

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  7. On ‎6‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 5:52 PM, Lanin said:

    I believe they did. The number "It Only Happens When I Dance With You".

    Fred Astaire was not the original choice for the lead in Easter Parade. It was Gene Kelly who broke his ankle playing volleyball who suggested that Astaire replace him. Kelly also wanted Cyd Charisse for the Ann Miller role, but Charisse has torn ligaments. 

    • Thanks 1
  8. This was the very first movie I saw. I was five years old in 1953 and my grandmother took me to see the theatrical re-release. During the tornado scene, when Miss Gultch turns into the witch....terrified me! Watching this on TV with my children later on, they would laugh when I closed my eyes as Dorothy's house went spinning. It created a deep fear of tornado's.

    My favorite scenes - the Lullaby League and the Lollipop kids singing to Dorothy and the "boys" donning the uniforms to enter the witch's castle,... with the Lion's tale wagging behind him.

    • What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat?
    • Dale (Ginger) is not only matching Jerry (Fred) step for step, she is wearing pants. This in itself puts her on a more equal footing, literally and figuratively. If fact, her heel height is lower than his. Her movements are self assured and they are mirroring each other more than following and leading. I love how they dance as partners without touching until the end of the routine. In an earlier film, when they heard the second thunderclap, she might have jumped into his arms. but not this time.
    • How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week?
    • Top Hat is not about the theater or fantasy. It is a screwball comedy where the dancing is part of the plot, not part of the show.
    1. 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? Women started wearing pants in terms of clothing and position in the Depression and in many cases, had to be the breadwinner. Unmarried women could be shown as strong and married women could as well. This progressed through WW2 and ended when the GI's returned home.
  9. This scene reflects both the theater and silent film ... starting with the breaking down of the fourth wall. The untranslated French dialogue is understood through props and acting that could easily make this a silent film. Pre-code sexuality is strong without being overt... the garter, the closed bedroom door and most of all, the zipper that the cuckolded spouse cannot zip.

    • What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? In the first scene, McDonald seems to have the upper hand and the flirtation seems to be even handed. Her eyes go to the right until she finally turns around to look at Eddy. This is a romantic scene with a dash of comedy. She approves of his voice and even when he speaks of other women (including Maude), the bantering is light-hearted. In the second scene, she is vulnerable. Eddy does not interact with her directly but from his facial expression he is bemused, surprised and encouraging of her trying to sing like a femme fatale. The class distinction in this scene is pretty strong.
    • If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. I have watched a lot of their movies, maybe all of them. They epitomized romance, glamour and the singing equivalent of Fred & Ginger's dancing. Eddy's character usually comes across solid, sometimes a little dull until something pushed him to take action. The second scene reminded me of McDonald in "I Married an Angel"... 
    • What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? Ok for men to philander. Good girls get their men in the end, although Eddy is attracted to McDonald's spunkiness. What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? "Bad girls", eg, those with skimpy dresses, wiggly hips and outright seductiveness lose in the end to sweet, innocent, modestly clad heroines with trembling lips and hips that don't shimmy
  10. This was one of my late mother's favorite movies due to Luise Rainer's performance in the "telephone scene." This clip shows the light and fluffy side of life as most Depression era musicals did, not focusing in on the harshness of everyday life and providing an escape to as aspirational life where money was easy to come by and to give away. Not everything was a bowl of cherries... to me, the most poignant and political segment of these musical was Footlight Parade and "Remember My Forgotten Man".

    Compared to pre-code, the dressing room scene is modest. I recall my late mother and grandmother loving this movie, particularly the telephone scene where Anna Held learns of Ziegfield's marriage to Billie Burke. Until today, I had no idea that Held was his common law wife.

    • Like 1
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