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Kate M

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  1. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. I ADORE the movie Gaslight! Bergman and Boyer are amazing! This particular scene in My Fair Lady is extremely reminiscent of Gaslight in the attitudes of the men toward the women. SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN GASLIGHT. (And if you haven’t, seriously, what are you doing with your life?) In both films the men use emotional and mental manipulation to make themselves out as the put-upon benefactor and the women over-reacting, emotionally unstable lunatics. Both Henry Higgins and Gregory Anton treat Eliza and Paula (respectively) as children who must be controlled and talked down to, with no agency of their own. Everything the women do “wrong” is blamed on their low mental faculties, everything they do “right” is taken credit for by the men. This becomes so ingrained in Paula and Eliza that they second guess every single thing they do and know, or think they know. The women barely even speak without the nod, literal and metaphorical, from the men. They’re completely broken down by the men in order to be recreated into what Henry and Gregory want, which is a completely blank slate to be dominated and puppeted about however they please. The only difference between Gregory and Henry is their motivations. Gregory does what he does in order to destroy Paula so that he can gain control and access to all of her possessions - specifically her aunt’s jewels. Henry acts the way he does partially because he doesn’t realize what he’s doing is wrong (he professes to treat everyone rudely equally) and partially because he is incredibly self-absorbed. One is evil, the other is just a jerk. By the end of both movies Paula and Eliza take back their lives in very different ways. Paula, disillusioned about her husband, boldly leaves Gregory to be arrested for his crimes. But Eliza realizes she cares about Henry (not romantically but enough to need him) and makes the choice to return to him, fully aware that he’ll continue to treat her the same as before, but with the confidence now to fight back when necessary. I honestly can’t believe I’ve missed the glaringly obvious connections between these films for so long. I’m ashamed.
  2. 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? I think it would have come off as too over-the-top if she’d added any more expression to the song. Her character’s motivation in this song was to try to subtly flirt with Nick. She’s awkwardly trying to get him to fall for her, but she doesn’t know how to since she doesn’t have the experience. She knows she can’t come right out and say what she wants, but she’s attempting to let him know anyway. Any more expression wouldn’t have been believable for Fanny. She’s not that type of girl. It would have been akin to throwing herself at him. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? During the set up for the song he’s being extremely flirtatious, invading her personal space - much to Fanny’s delight. However, during the song itself Nick keeps his distance, physically and emotionally. You can tell that she intrigues him, this is shown by the fact that he follows her down the street; but he doesn’t want to be tied down, he says this.
  3. There are some things that I just have to say about Funny Girl (yes, I’m slightly behind in my class work). 1. In the lecture video Rystrum (sp?) says that Fanny chose her career over Nick, but I have to disagree with that. She let him go because she knew it was what he wanted, but she made it sound like she agreed. She does this earlier in the film when he comes back from Kansas having lost everything. Before he even says anything, she knows and says the house is inconvenient to the theatre. While it may be, she loves that house, you know this from the care she took in making it a home for them. But she indicates she wants to get an apartment in the city - giving Nick the opportunity to save face. She does the same thing at the end. She knew from the moment she saw him that he felt the same way he had before going to prison. Had he greeted her the way he did when she showed up on the boat, everything would have been different. She would have left show business and would have made their life together work. But he didn’t greet her like that. He barely even hugged her, let alone kissed the daylights out of her. She knew it was over, so in order to let him not feel like the bad guy, she said he was right and that she wanted to stay on the stage. She didn’t make that choice, he did when he let his pride take over and began to resent her rather than support her. 2. I’m not sure if anyone out there watched the show Glee when it was on, but now whenever I see Funny Girl I think of that show. One of the main characters, Rachel, loved Barbra and wanted to be just like her, so every choice she made was with the goal to make it to Broadway. She does and is cast as Fanny Brice in a Funny Girl revival. However, in the actors’ real lives at this same time, one of the other actors, Cory Monteith who played Finn, was struggling with substance abuse. He and Rachel, Lea Michelle, were a couple on the show as well as in real life. He ended up overdosing a few years ago while Rachel was still in the stage show. Lea took that loss and pain and channeled it so beautifully and so movingly into the final song that I think she gives Barbra a run for her money at the end. While Barbra is reacting to her character’s pain, Lea had the devastation from both her character’s loss as well as her personal loss. It’s heartbreaking, but phenomenal.
  4. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Their movements before dancing are more restricted and controlled. They’re being reserved as polite society would expect. Once they begin dancing they are more open. They’re still controlled, meaning thoughtful, but they have more of a “go-with-the-flow” feeling. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. He provides the actual comedy in the scene because of his facial expressions and dumbfoundedness, his uncertainty in what’s even happening. If he wasn’t there it would just be Kelly and O’Connor ransacking an office.
  5. I’m not sure what the first Garland movie was that I saw, probably Wizard of Oz. But no matter what, Judy was always Judy. Watching Wizard of Oz, For Me and My Gal, Meet Me in St. Louis, and Easter Parade all in a row has given me a much clearer vision of her growth as an actress. She went from being a character in a story to being the story itself. She's a Hollywood staple. I think what I admire most about her is her range of emotion- from her comedy to her tears, she puts all of herself into every role. I’ll probably cause some heart attacks, but I’ve not seen A Star is Born - yet. I’ll handle that next week.
  6. That’s great...but I have Sling, which isn’t currently listed as a partner. So the app won’t work for me.
  7. Is there anyway that TCM can partner with Sling TV? The app doesn’t work without a provider, but Sling isn’t listed as a provider, so I’ve had to purchase each of the films I’ve watched through amazon rentals, which means I haven’t been able to watch very many because it’s $3-$6 per movie. I’m enjoying the course, and some of the movies I own or have seen, so I’m not concerned about those. But since I aimed to broaden my base with this class I would really like to watch more than a couple movies each week. Somethig to consider, please.
  8. Not just musically (because, c’mon, it’s the Beatles) but cinematically, right?? I mean, the cinematography and effects are just stunning for that whole film!
  9. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? Throughout the film you can see the battle of the sexes play out within each of the couples. Jerry/Dale: obviously the need to be equals in the partnership, Dale making sure that Jerry sees her as strong and independent, a woman who will not be overrun. And that appeals to Jerry. He appreciates her all the more because of this. This is a woman who can keep up with him not only physically but mentally. Madge/Horace and Dale/Alberto: in these pairings the roles are somewhat reversed from the traditional expectation. The women are confident, more levelheaded, and more clever while the men believe they hold those attributes. Madge and Dale call the shots in their relationships with Horace and Alberto, going so far as to basically make the men appear effeminate and ditsy. This is the battle but on a different front. Rather than fighting for an equal stand, the women have already overtaken the men. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? Each of the films I’ve been able to watch (The Broadway Melody, The Wizard of Oz, and Top Hat) has been very different from the others in my opinion. TBM focused primarily on the music, which makes sense due to the recent advent of sound as well as the point of the film being a place to showcase new musical numbers. TH focused more on the dancing, which, again, makes sense thanks to the stars of the film being Fred and Ginger. And finally, TWoO seemed to focus on the story more with the music as a bonus, and I think that’s because it’s such a well known story - people went for the retelling of a beloved tale. 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? One reason might be that it’s the change of the roles that provides the comedy at that time. The expectations for women were very clear and kept life and relationships running smoothly. However, the reversal, or at least equalizing, of gender roles created unexpected situations which led to the misunderstandings and humor within the stories. It allowed audiences to enjoy the outrageous scenarios that could never happen in real life. ?
  10. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? The props are the most telling feature, particularly the drawer full of revolvers. The film stereotype of European women being overly dramatic, especially about love and relationships, is the obvious meaning behind all the guns - each representing a different woman he’s used. This is practically a neon sign pointing to his cavalier attitude toward women and sex. This is also apparent by the extra garter, as its modern day equivalent would be the random bra in the frat boy’s room. The guns and the garter are his trophies from his sexual conquests. He’s obviously being set up as a man that cannot, and should not, be trusted. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? A common theme (considering Top Hat as well) would certainly seem to be the mockery of the rich. It would allow the masses to feel a little better about themselves for a brief period of time. It would give them the opportunity to say “Well at least I’m not as gullible as...” or “At least I would never...” within the world of the film.
  11. 3. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might youimagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples I think one way it may have been different pre-code is that, since she’s backstage, the men would have burst in on her in some state of undress, as you discussed in your video about that being a way to make things a little more risqué. Additionally, the rivalry between Ziegfeld and Billings could possibly have also been scripted with more than just smug/concerned looks and racing each other to get to her.
  12. I had issues on my iPad with the tap part (guitar hero part) bc each time I would tap, my screen size would adjust. It’s probably user error, but still annoying. The matching part worked fine though.
  13. I grew up on musicals, so picking a favorite is impossible. Bursting out into song was just something that happened in my family. My go-tos for the classics (generally) are: Singin’ in the Rain; Oklahoma; Meet Me in St. Louis; and Hello Dolly. For modern musicals: Across the Universe; Mama Mia; and Annie.
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