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Posts posted by silentme

  1. If Streisand had performed People in the same manner as the play, it wouldn't have been as intimate or personal as it is in the film. She also does it in a way where it's part of the interaction between the two characters so the focus is not just on her, as solos on stage tend to be. It's interesting though that the song out of the movie stands on it's own with one meaning and a different meaning in the film. And a lot of that has to do with Streisand's amazing singing and acting skills. To take the same source and give it different meanings takes a lot of talent. It's hard to imagine anyone else being about to play Fannie the way she did and have the same success.

    It is such a personal and intimate song that it brings out deep emotions from both characters. Streisand's are more obvious as she is the one singing, but Omar does more than stand and watch and give her the space to perform. He is still part of that intimate interaction and his expressions reflect that. He's not just following and watching her, but it's also in the way he stops and leans on the rails and looks at her in a loving way. The message of the song is not lost on his character.

    The direction and editing of the scene make it all Streisand's, yet it can't leave out Omar as his character is also important to the scene. If he wasn't in it then the song wouldn't have been so intimate. The viewers have to see why it's being sung. Shots that widen so that we also see Omar yet keep the focus on Streisand are able to keep the song intimate between the two. 

  2. Gaslight is one of my favorite films, but I never thought of it as a comparison to My Fair Lady...until now. Both have very controlling, dominant males while the women are vulnerable and very much under their control. It's done willingly yet without thinking of the consequences that this will lead to. Adding to that, the men are not concerned with the well being of the women, everything is done because they have something to gain.  With My Fair Lady the scenery and the vibrant colors add to the story of the characters. It's overwhelming for Eliza as she is out of her element, but they also enhance her transformation into something she's not. She's part of society yet she stands out because she's really not part of it. Gaslight is fabulous in black and white as it has the feeling of film noir. It adds to the mystery and the madness that Paula is experiencing at the hands of Anton. 

    The transition in emotions in this scene is intense. I haven't seen this film so based on this scene alone, I'm guessing she was expecting something more from Higgins after he wins his bet. As the scene begins, we don't need for her to say anything, Hepburn does a wonderful job of expressing the emotions of hurt and probably betrayal. And taking that to a new level of anger is pretty amazing. Cukor's focus is on Hepburn and he lets her loose to let everything out. Such raw emotion. 

    Still basing on the scene alone, it seems that Eliza has developed feelings for Higgins while he only sees her as a bet. I feel like Cukor needed to keep it like this throughout the film in order to reach this critical point in their relationship. It makes Higgins' surprise at this revelation all the more surprising while at the same time seeing how clueless he was, never really understanding Eliza while trying to transform her.

  3. One difference I've noticed in male performances in recent musicals compared to those from past decades is that there is more animation to the dancing. I'm thinking of Fred Astaire who danced and sang wonderfully. He gave wonderful performances alone or with a partner, but with Robert Preston, he's doing both but there is another element to all this, his acting. We see the same thing in the clip with Elvis and Ann Margaret. All three of their talents are being showcased at one time. Another thing I noticed is that them men do not appear as athletic as say Gene Kelly or Donald O'Connor. We're seeing a different style to their dancing that involves more acting than dancing.

    Robert Preston knew how to command a scene. In the Music Man, he has full control of the townspeople who are so caught up in what he is saying that they don't really know that he is conning them. He is just that good in how he uses his voice and body movement. In Victor/Victoria, he doesn't let a loud group interrupt his performance and waits till he's finished to address them using his wit. How hilarious is that scene where he thanks the man for bringing his mother? And he does it so seriously and sarcastically that you can't help but love it. While Preston is obviously a wonderful singer and dancer, it's his acting ability that really makes his characters so strong and so believable. 

    I have seen some of Preston's films that are not musicals. While I did enjoy them, I personally love his musicals better. He was a wonderful actor. He was easy to connect with, he just had that everyday guy look and mannerism. It's his musicals though that really showcase what a talent he was. 

  4. The scene is reminiscent of the backstage musicals that were popular well before this film. We see a lot of preparation to getting the cast ready and some of the craziness as well. It looks ahead to the disruption musicals we'll see afterwards with the craziness and chaos it sets up in this scene. There is some very clever dialogue that sometimes doesn't even sound like a straight conversation. The whole scene is humorous as it is clever and witty with just enough constructed chaos to make it work. 

    Rosalind Russell is larger than life as she enters the scene. Rose is taking command of the show and leaving everyone not knowing what to do but follow her lead. Russell's experience on stage is evident. She knows how to use her voice and body language. Yet she's not overshadowing the others, although it might be seen that way, but letting them still be part of the scene. While this is early in the film, we already get the idea of who the film is really about...Rose.

    Listening to the song as performed by the young girl, it almost seems innocent. Yes she's dressed as a doll, dances around and sings, but I get the impression that for the time period it's suppose to represent, it's meant to be innocent. On the other hand, it also feels like it is a foreshadowing of what's to come, not for this young girl but for Louise. We just don't know this yet because Louise isn't the one really singing it.

    I have seen this movie and enjoyed it very much. Natalie Wood is wonderful but this is Rosalind Russell's film. As the needy Rose, she commands every scene she is in. But she does this generously. Perhaps this is because of Russell's experience as a stage actress or her own personality, or both. Her quick wit and fast talk is so enjoyable as is everything else about her. It's easy to see why this is one of her best performances on film. 

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  5. I don't think Minnelli needed to use a less than reality look for the film. To begin with, it looks great. The colors, the clothes, the scenery, everything about it is wonderful. It should stand in contrast to the ending ballet dance scene as that was a fantasy. If the film had the same look, the dance scene wouldn't have the same type of impact it has had.

    What keeps Jerry from being completely unlikable is the way Kelly portrays him. He's walking down the street greeting people so we already have a sense of what kind of person he is. He may have been abrupt with the 3rd year college student, but it was obvious in his conversation with Milo that he's dealt with their criticism more than once. He was pretty straight forward with Milo but she appeared to enjoy it. Why else would she buy his paintings? Kelly could have easily used a sharper tone with the student and perhaps the same when he finds out that Milo doesn't have the money, but he doesn't. He's a bit curt but not much more. Even his body language is relaxed. 

  6. The pre-dance movements of Kelly and O'Connor lead us right into the dance scene, not really separate from each other. They're playful, not serious about the lesson. As they joke around in the pre-dance, we see O'Connor making faces and then Kelly joining in on the fun. They're also in sync with each other and even more so as they sing and dance. Donald O'Connor is wonderful and so humorous in this scene. It all seems natural as he's making faces behind the professor and into the song and dance sequence. 

    Poor professor, being made fun of throughout this scene. But sometimes the straight guy is the funniest. Watching Donald O'Connor making faces behind his back is very funny, but it's hilarious that the professor keeps reading and never catches O'Connor in the act. We don't have to hear the professor say anything to them, it's his actions that make the scene more entertaining.

    In comparison to each other, I guess it's the clothing that defines their masculinity. The professor is wearing a suit and O'Connor and Kelly are wearing bold color sweaters. Safe masculine clothing. There's more of a noticeable contrast between the three. We have the intellectual professor, even if he is being made fun of. We also have two students although Kelly would be considered the more masculine of the two. He's the focus of the professor's teaching and is the one watching as Donald O'Connor makes the jokes. Kelly only joins in later. We also see he's the dominate in the one part where he is standing in the chair with the curtain draped around him (A Roman stance) as opposed to O'Connor kneeling on the floor. But while Kelly can be seen as the masculine of the three, O'Connor as the secondary is the one that really steals this scene. Yes he's the one not taking the lesson seriously, but looking at it from the audience's point of view, he is the one leading things.

  7. Compared to other female characters during the 50's, Day's interpretation seems to show one of a woman discovering herself on her own terms. I haven't seen many musicals during this period, but it looked like most women were either the strong and smart type of the sexy blonde. Jane is refreshing in that we're watching her grow. I think most of us that were the "tomboys" can relate to that. 

    Doris Day was all over the board. She was wonderful in musicals and equally talented in dramas and comedies. Personally I liked her in the dramas she made. It amazes me that she was some one who could be so entertaining in Calamity Jane and so intense in The Man Who Knew Too Much. That is a wide range of talent. 

    I did think Day's bright and sunny persona was just a tad distracting. It was as if I was watching a child trying way to hard to be heard and throwing a tantrum when not getting its way. Not too mention always too cheery. Having said that, I was able to get past that and begin to enjoy her performance. She is such a charming person that it was hard not to like her character. 

  8. The interaction at first is supportive and encouraging. It's when they start to sing and dance that it turns to play. They really seem to enjoy goofing around with each other. But it is an interesting difference from past musicals. Not one person is the star. Even though this song is to encourage Fred Astaire's character, they are all encouraging each other and having lots of fun. I'm thinking of how different this scene was to a previous clip that included Fred Astaire. He was singing and dancing and then Ginger Rogers joins in on the storytelling. Not so with this one. He is part of the storytelling but the center of attention.

    While the costumes are beautiful, not one of them stands out. There is nothing in their clothing that attracts attention despite each dressed differently from each other. No top hats, even suits, and definitely no gorgeous evening gown. Each compliments each other.

    I've never seen this film, but from the clip it looks like these characters have a good relationship with each other. During the song they are having lots of fun playing around, entertaining each other as well as the audience. The gags are funny and so is the way they interact with each other during this time.

  9. The first thing we notice is how the women run to Joe's side and the angel (it's been a while since I've seen this movie so I don't remember exactly who he was) is completely ignored, the camera just goes right past him and straight to Petunia and Joe. At his bedside and then later when she is doing laundry we see that she is completely devoted to him, even when she stops taking down the laundry to tend to him and then returns to it. He is everything to her. We also see this in the way she looks at him and also her expression when she sings about him.

    I could see this also being a song about the relationship between a mother and child, although some wording would need to be changed. While there is a difference in relationships between spouses and the ones parents have with their children, no one can deny the devotion that connects them. I don't think the cultural meaning would change considering this is a film that reflects family devotion and commitment. 

    I think the film was meant to show that the lives of black Americans was perhaps not so different from others. Showing this in a time of war and a time when patriotism was at a high point along with a sense of unity, it showed that peoples lives were more connected than they would have thought. I wonder if this film was meant to be made and released during this time to bring more acceptance to African Americans who were fighting yet facing racism at the same time? The importance of this being a film with a black cast cannot be denied. The talent is amazing. 

  10. I haven't seen Take Me Out to the Ball Game except for the clip, but it just felt like it was too choreographed. It didn't feel natural or spontaneous (although they are all choreographed) like other films that have been discussed. Having said that, each action is captured and highlighted perfectly. The chase scene at the beginning is funny to watch especially since we know something about the actors themselves. Their actions like tossing the ball or sliding down the rail perfectly match the music. 

    Right after the chase and Sinatra being caught, we know a song is coming and when it's going to start. But, it's perfect timing in how it progresses the story. We know she wants him and is going to make sure he knows he wants her too. What perfect way to do so than with a humorous and witty song to enhance the chase.

  11. The very first film I saw with Judy Garland was The Wizard of Oz. I guess this is the same for many but it's perhaps her most iconic role. How can it not be. For some one so young at the age of 16 years old, she has the most amazing voice and screen presence. She doesn't play the cutesy cutesy young person, there's a maturity about her without acting adult. There are so many wonderful characteristics to Dorothy but honestly, I felt like I was watching Judy Garland and not Dorothy. She completely owned the role and it would be impossible to imagine the movie with anyone else.

    From watching the clips and a few of her films, it's easy to see how she grew as a performer. I was surprised to read that she was not a trained dancer nor could play piano or read music. And she also grew as an actress. She's cute and funny in her younger roles, but to see her later films shows that she was a natural talent. Sadly, we don't see too many child actors who were able to make that transition to more mature and even serious roles. I've always been a fan of hers, but having learned more about her has really made me appreciate her even more as a well rounded and extremely talented performer.

    A Star is Born is the film that comes to mind when I think of Garland's ability to capture an audience's imagination through song. Just the raw emotions she's feeling makes the audience feel along with her. That is not easy to do and she does it so easily. But it's also her many performances on The Judy Garland Show that shows how connecting with her audiences comes so easily. I think her performances are less restricting than they would be on film, and we got to see more of her doing a variety of songs and skits. So much more to enjoy.


  12. Having the scene take place in the white house begins the list of patriotic symbols. As we see Cohen and the butler walk up the steps we see portraits of former presidents on the wall, ending with the father of our country George Washington. Once in the office we see the American flag in the background pretty much every time the camera is on Cagney. I'm not familiar with the paintings of the ships, but I'm wondering if this had more to do with the selling of bonds. Along with the flag in the white house, we see many flags being flown at the parade, yet again showing patriotism as the soldiers march off to war.

    Right away we hear the butler talking about The Grand Old Flag and Mr. Teddy singing it in the bathtub...it was just as good today as it ever was, a sign that patriotism is still strong and never lost. In the scene with Cohen the president makes the comment about Irish Americans carrying their love of the country like a flag, right out in the open, it's a great quality. I feel like this was a message directed towards everyone and not one specific group. I also feel that the use of radio announcer Art Gilmore was used for this specifically for his strong voice and speech. Very commanding for a president.

    Since this is a biographical film, using flashbacks to reflect on past events is an easier way to understand the story. It sets things up for us and to give us an understanding of events that were important to the character's life. If the movie had just started with the parade we wouldn't really understand Cohen as a person or how these events shaped his life.


  13. First off, this is one of my favorite movies and so glad it was part of the discussion. This is a fantastic battle of the sexes. Ginger's character seems to enjoy the wooing but is not about to let Fred's character know that. We see her smiling while he is singing to her, but this is to herself and the viewers. She decides the direction it's going in when she steps up and participates in the wooing, letting Fred know that this is what is going to get her and on her own terms. And not only is he winning her over but is also acknowledging her terms, which he seems to enjoy. There seems to be a mutual respect at the end of that scene.

    I don't think Top Hat distinguishes itself much from other Depression Era musicals. We still have the elaborate scenes, screwball comedy, great songs and dancing, and fun storytelling. I wouldn't have expected it to be so different since these films were meant to help people during a difficult time.

    Ginger represents women beginning to take control of their lives, or what control they were able to have. She's not letting Fred win her that easily, and she's the one setting the terms as we see in the clip. I can only imagine how audiences felt when they not only saw her in pants but also not letting Fred take control of wooing her or of the dancing for that matter. In it's own way it was setting a standard for women to not always having to be just the dance partner.

  14. I really want to see this movie! Right from the beginning we can see that the props play a very important part of the story. It's not her garter yet we don't know that just yet until she lifts her dress to show she is wearing her own. And she obviously knows he's a cad by bringing a gun in her bag. How convenient that it's shooting blanks which only makes the scene even funnier. I had to watch it twice just to watch the scene where the camera moves us even closer to the interaction between the lover and the husband as they inspect the gun. I felt like I was part of that. Hilarious!

    The sound was obviously a challenge that many directors had to overcome. The hissing sound was like listening to a bee that was trapped in the movie. The talking and gunshots were heightened yet not so much that it turned into noise. Even the kisses the husband was planting on his wife were loud enough that we didn't need to see them to know how relieved he was that she wasn't dead. And how mushy were those kisses!  I feel like the stage experience the director and actors brought to this film played a big part in overcoming that challenge.

    Watching this clip I noticed that little dialogue was really needed to tell us what was going on and who these characters are. Not knowing French, I didn't need to know what was being said. The excellent use of props and the interaction between the characters was more than enough to tell me what to expect in the film.

  15. I've never seen this film nor have I seen any of the films that Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald made together. Having said that, I enjoyed the chemistry between the two. In Rose Marie, Eddy does seem stiff compared to MacDonald, but I saw him as the straight guy to her being the more funny of the two. The interaction in the boat is witty, funny, and very charming, which I'm sure has a lot to do with it being after the enforcement of the film code. But that's okay. It work so well. In the second clip it felt awkward seeing Marie fail in her attempt to entertain, but there's big strong Eddy to her rescue. 

    The relationship between the two is similar to other musicals, a sort of cat and mouse game with humor and witty dialogue, and some great songs as well. Which I'm sure was expected for this era. But considering the restrictions the code put into place, it doesn't make for bad movies. The characters and the audience seem to enjoy the pursuit of affection and anticipation when these two will get together. I know I now want to see this movie.

  16. It definitely shows a brighter side of life, and humorous as well. Just from this clip alone it's obvious the two men are in "friendly" competition over a woman. No harsh word but some very funny facial expressions. The scene where Ziegfeld gives the doorman the money and replies that he's trying to lose weight is very witty and funny. I would think in today's films there would be sarcasm in his tone. It's also obvious this is after the enforcing of the motion picture code. First off,  Held's costume covers a lot, and through the whole clip she stays in it, even when her maid is attempting to undo her dress. And although I don't know too much about Ziegfeld or Held, I do know they were a common law couple. How risque'! Obviously not appropriate to be part of the film.

  17. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has always been one of my favorites. Of course the famous barn building dance scene is the best, but the actor's singing is my what draws me to the movie. Such beautiful voices and songs. Jesus Christ Superstar is also another favorite. The passion the actors express in their singing is amazing. It's also a modern and controversial interpretation that does a wonderful job in telling the story of Christ at a time when I think people were beginning to question their faith. 

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