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Harriet Worobey

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  1. Quick observation about the Oscar Levant clip. The silly gimmick of having him be the pianist, conductor, violinists, and drummer seems to imply that the viewer would not be interested in the Concerto without this to amuse him/her. I find it a bit insulting. In terms of being unlikable, I don't think it is softened much by this clip.
  2. A couple of observations about Singing in the Rain: the fact that Arthur Freed copied the melody of Be a Clown for Make "Em Laugh puts a blot on the film. Other picky items: Debbie is dubbed in "Would You" when they are making fun of Jean Hagen for Debbie dubbing her. Very bad hairdo and costuming on Debbie. Those items aside, of course there is much to love in the film. I just don't think it's the greatest ever, nor perfect. How come no discussion of "Love Me Tonight" in this course? The Moses Supposes number is a good one, but it is bit spoiled by playing to the audience in the last frame.
  3. Just a few thoughts about Doris Day. She indeed does a lot of acting with her songs, much as Judy Garland did. She does belt songs out in Pajama Game as well. I think she does a much better job with a very similar film to Betty Hutton in Annie Get Your Gun, in which she is loud and strident.
  4. 1. I guess my first Judy film was Wizard of Oz, since it was shown on TV yearly, but I also saw Meet Me in St. Louis (Louis, not Louie, as Tootie reminds us), since that is my hometown. I held Easter Parades down the street yearly. I always loved Judy! 2. I know these two clips too well to view her differently. For Me and My Gal is pretty much her first grown up movie, but she is younger than in Easter Parade. Her sense of humor is let out more in Easter Parade. 3. There were some storytelling examples earlier than A Star is Born, such as The Pirate, but A Star is Born is truly the pinacle. I enjoy I Could Go On Singing as well. As was mentioned, Judy was the best. Another way to go after storytelling is her concerts, especially Judy at the Palace and Judy at Carnegie Hall. You have to remember what an amazing live performer she was.
  5. I agree with some of the respondents that Ginger becomes an equal in this most wonderful dance number. She starts out following Fred's pattern, but does put down some of her own steps for him to follow. Then as the dance goes on, they meld together and do the same steps. The handshake at the end of the number really says it all. The biggest difference in Top Hat and other musicals (before or after) is the incredible quality of the songs and the dance numbers. The choreography is amazing, and of course, Fred and Ginger are perfection. You can find many mistaken identity plots in lots of other films. The chemistry between Fred and Ginger is unmistakable. I don't think Fred and Ginger are really screwball actors in Top Hat as much as they are in Gay Divorcee, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time, or most especially Ginger in Carefree. The No Strings number is more of a meet-cute. Most of the other actors are screwball, though. Certainly screwball comedy had a role in liberating women from the more typical roles of the past, along with movies in the late 30s and 40s that emphasized working women.
  6. First of all, I am sorry to say that I couldn't get either clip to play on my iPad. However, since I have seen Rose Marie many many times, I will comment. My first comment is that you should have reversed the two clips, since the saloon scene comes first, especially for those who have not seen the movie. Both scenes illustrate the development of their relationship. Sgt. bBruce recognizes Marie de Flor as an opera singer right away and enjoys the humor of her trying to keep up with Gilda Gray as the shimmy dancer. In the canoe Nelson is wooing with his voice but also adding humor with the other female names. 2. In all of her earlier films Jeanette is able to interject humor in her character, especially the Paramount films. I believe she does this in Naughty Marietta and Rose Marie as well. I Rose Marie all the temperamental scenes at the beginning are done humorously and set up her character for changes when she mets Nelson and gets in the Canadian woods. Nelson is a little more relaxed than he is often given credit for, especially in Maytime and New Moon. A lot of Jeanette's humorous moments no longer appeared as the 1940s approached,. 3. Jeanette is the one who will have to do the changing for the relationship to work. I don't think that's true of all their films, but it is of this one. She has to give up the pretensions of a prima dons and her unconditional love for her brother. She also has to respect Nelson's code as a Mountie.
  7. I do think that if you are doing a history of the musical film or even film in general, The Jazz Singer deserves recognition for its historical importance and at least discussion. The Love Parade also came out in 1929, although later in the year than The ?Broadway Melody. It was much more innovative and was nominated for best picture, actor, and director. I hope the discussions will be broader in the future.
  8. I think you are forgetting that movies in 1936, although the depression was still on, are very different than ones between 1929 and 1934, and not just because they were pre-code. Many were not just escapist, i.e. my Forgotten Man. I don't think the clip shown really exemplifies the depression movie at all.
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