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Everything posted by thstarkweather

  1. I liked the first shot, which was a good 50 seconds in length. It allows us to see the reality of Eliza's emotions as she is always central in the frame. We and the camera stay with her. Here, Cukor's direction allows us to sympathize with her and later question Higgin's motivations and manipulations. Without this shot, the tenor of the rest of the scene would be dramatically different, and we would be less able to identify with Eliza.
  2. So the first thing I need to write is that I never before noticed how this clip from Music Man inspired the song sequence from Monorail episode of The Simpsons, with Phil Hartman voicing the huckster. My opinion on question 1 varies from some of the other posters. I feel that the move away from Astaire or Kelly like dancing and operatic singing was done to make the male performers more masculine. I don't know when, but I feel that song and dance became coded as gay and/or feminine. Men can still perform, but they can't be too showy (or flamboyant, to use a term laden with connotations
  3. It is on Filmstruck if you want to try that streaming service. I watched it last night. Can't explain the US and Canada discrepancy.
  4. I don't know if my response is what Jon Severino had in mind, but I have been thinking about that post and surmised that the analysis has to do with genre and the direction of Hollywood's leading male actors in the 1960s (and possibly in the 50s). Gene Kelly can more than capably perform as the lead alpha male in these musicals, but I have a hard time picturing him taking on the roles of Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Burt Lancaster, etc. This statement is not an indictment of Kelly, nor should it be taken as a ranking of which actor is better. But as the musical waned and th
  5. This trio here work into the template of the professor/teacher who is not street smart enough to know that he is being had by the two school buddies: class clown (O'Connor) and the too-cool-for-school alpha male (Kelly). All three play their roles perfectly. And O'Connor facial expressions are pitch perfect. I love how he and Watson go back and forth and how O'Connor skillfully sides with the professor only to undercut him later.
  6. I don't know if I could identify a single person as "the lead" in this scene. Indeed, take this number out of the film and ask someone who has never seen the film who is the lead, I don't know that they could answer. They all appear to work communally to convince us that they are all equally entertaining. As I formulate a response to the costumes, I realize that I really don't remember much about the costumes, which might be the point. They were all well dressed, but there was nothing obvious or flashy or distinct. The male costumes in particular did nothing to highlight or accentua
  7. Alicia Malone's Filmstruck podcast brought up this film. A month or two a ago she had a panel discussing art versus artist and how we view view films in the #metoo era. The podcast also turned to issues of race and depiction of race in film, and Song of the South was discussed. The panel largely agreed that the film is incredibly offensive, but some panelists mention the necessity of seeing such films to see how and why such art is created. I haven't listened to the podcast in a while, but I believe they drew parallels to Birth of a Nation.
  8. The Kid from Spain is available on Filmstruck. I was looking for something else, and then I remembered your post.
  9. Filmstruck has a good number of musicals. They don't have everything that the course is recommending. I do believe that 3 of the 4 for next week are available. But only 1 in week 4's recommended viewing list is (Cabaret). However, Filmstruck has many of the other films, particularly 30s musicals, that have been referenced by Dr. Ament and her guest lecturers.
  10. I agree with this in at least as far as the camera's depiction of the city is concerned. That is what struck me the most. The camera does not turn the city into a stage. So in that sense I do not view the scene "presentational." I will draw a quick comparison to the dance scenes in Top Hat. Let's take the dance competition in the gazebo in the rain and the ballroom dance in the hotel. While Astair and Rogers don't look into the camera, those scenes are presentational in that they present those settings as theatrical stages for the dance numbers (which are great!). In On the Town, New Y
  11. Thanks for the West Side Story reference. I will see it next weekend in the theatre and look for similarities in how the city is captured.
  12. I agree with you TopBilled. While my personal preferences skew in certain directions, those preferences should not be seen a statements about which genres are more important or significant. But I will inevitably draw upon my current knowledge of films to help me think about a genre with which I have limited experience. And I was struck by the convergence of those two opening sequences filmed on location in NY and released within roughly a year of each other. I appreciate the feedback and conversation.
  13. Well, if we can't draw comparisons between and across genres then I suppose that we will be prohibited from talking about the amazing noir influenced musical number in The Bandwagon.
  14. Rather than commenting on today's Mad about Musicals Daily Dose, I wanted to write briefly about Dr. Ament's discussions regarding On the Town and the significance of it being filmed on location, particularly the opening sequence and musical number. During the lecture, I couldn't stop thinking about the opening sequence in Dassin's The Naked City (1948). This was also shot on location in New York and its opening also begins with large panoramic views of the city. But unlike its musical counterpart, this noir film digs into the particular nitty-gritty aspects of the city as night falls and daw
  15. And after I posted I was glad to see another poster confirm my shot count. MrDougLong did even better by time stamping each one. Thank you.
  16. I enjoyed the insights or previous commenters who discussed the score and the blocking in the locker room and hall way. All that worked quite well. I counted 11 shots in this sequence, so each shot has a fair amount of time. And many of the shots center on Sinatra and Sewall, from the waist up. They are not really dancing (well, not Top Hat dancing). I agree with Motomom's comment about the bleacher shot. That was the most distinctive shot of the sequence. IT was the only shot that actually reminded me of how baseball would have been filmed in that era. A single stationary camera
  17. Yes, my first encounter with Garland was in The Wizard of Oz. My second was Meet Me in St. Louis. In both of those films she is in that liminal stage between child and adult. She is sweet, innocent and imminently likable. Watching her in these clips made me realize her talent in breaking out of that teen star image. There is still a sweetness and likability to her, but there is also a maturity. She is convincing as an adult. I don't know many other Garland films that would allow me to comment on question three, but I want to draw a parallel between Garland and so many teen stars
  18. The direction of the Cagney walking up the stairs with the pictures of presidents in the background, the last one George Washington, established the greatness and unity of the United States. Continual lineage of "great men" leading a "great nation." Even the casting of someone playing the current sitting president must have been a little bit awe-inspiring. Unlike today, even unlike the sixties, moving picture of a US president must have been rare. FDR's mention of "Irish Americans" was telling in terms of the film's patriotism building. All peoples (well, white peoples who emigrated
  19. I don't know that I have too much to say about questions 1 and 3 (at least not more than what other posters have written), but I did want to take time and use question 2 to discuss one element of Top Hat that endlessly fascinated me: the art deco mise-en-scene. The sets were wondrously elaborate and fantastical in nature. Many of them reminded me of German expressionist cinema. While not gloomy or ominous, they seemed dreamlike. I suppose that this might be the most extreme version of bright-siding the depression that I have encountered in 1930s musicals. The the direction in thi
  20. Others have mentioned the garters and guns as the specific props which inform us about Alfred's character. The collection of guns in the drawer was telling. All were rather small, delicate and feminine, which may very well indicate one for each woman he has seduced. If that is the correct reading, they signify notches on a bedpost or names in a little black book indicating sexual conquests. By the way, Garters and Guns would be a great name for band. The sound editing was magnificent for the era. The gunshot was well done, but I was particularly impressed with the chatter that we hea
  21. I completely agree with GeezerNoir's comment. Gray is allowed to dance and perform to demonstrate to the audience what is unacceptable and should be shunned. Of course, purporting to demonstrate bad behavior in an effort to demonize it still allows the film to showcase such scandalous sexuality. I suppose that this allows the film and to have its cake and eat it too. By the way, the composition of that scene with Gray dancing in front of the piano and next to a disheartened MacDonald is tremendous. Reminded me of the piano scene in Only Angels Have Wings. Maybe Hawks used Rose Marie as
  22. 1. While the happiness and frivolity might be exaggerated, the clip sill portrays verisimilitude. Whether "we" could expect such a bright outlook might depend on individual and group circumstances. 2. Some other posters have mentioned the theme of money and economics. The undercurrent of finances would be something that I would expect to run through many depression era musicals. In fact, many backstage musicals work with this theme. Even the 2011 Muppets movie dealt with issues of financing and financial hardship. 3. A pre-code film would have contained a great deal more sexua
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