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Xavier

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  1. It is pretty obvious that Maurice Chevalier's character is a philanderer. One of the best use of props that is shown on the film is the drawer full of guns. As it happens in the scene, after her lover is fighting him over the possibility of another women, she takes out a tiny gun out of jealousy. The said drawer may well be and example of how many love escapades Alfred may have been part of. I was an incredibly subtle way of develop Alfred's character with strictly visual elements. As it has been said, it is pretty evident that the movie is the product of a long tradition of silent films. Sound is used mainly to accentuate scenes, characters and moments. The gun shot and the French dialogue are examples of this. For one presents a lethal force relating to the characters and the other makes the nature of the movie more evident. With the French dialogue the film situate the movie goers as spectators of a story, not active participants. One of the main themes treated in this clip is rich people as flawed people. Most of movie goers of the time went to the movies for the chance to escape; laughing at wealthier people would have been one of the elements that helped reach that escapism.
  2. The first thing that struck me in the canoe scene, besides the obvious flirtation/courtship between the two leads, was the way the film represent virility and what is a "desirable man". While Nelson Eddy's character tries to review his "competition" to Marie's heart, he presents a series of attributes that makes a "real man". He asks if his a banker, which may represent economic stability, he asks if he is a sportsman, which may exemplify health and physical ability. At the end we find out that it is actually and Italian tenor, which surprises Mountie Sergeant Bruce but he is willing to proof his "virility" in the only way possible in a musical, besides a dance off: singing! In contrast to they way the treat masculinity, we find that being coy and delicate is on the top of the list of femininity. The bar scene exemplifies this because we see how uncomfortable Marie is in the dingy place. She is not willing to compromise herself physically for the sake of entertainment (for a mainly men audience) and is embarrass to find herself being seen by Sergeant Bruce in that place. What is really interesting is the way that both of them are worried of being part of that dual canon of what gender is, but most importantly: they both care of what the other thinks of them. This makes clear that they are willing to fit on what society sees as a couple, thus helping the studio with the code. I have seen this and a couple of other Jeanette McDonald's films ever since I was introduce to a recording of "San Francisco" caused by YouTube wormhole. I am a huge fan of her sense of humor and the detail she puts on her performances. Judy was right when she sang: "I'll never will forget Jeannette McDonald, just to think of her it gives my heart a pang..."
  3. I completely agree that the clip depicts a brighter perspective on life, compared to the day-to-day life of the movie goers of the 1930's. The element of competition on the entertainment sphere is treated almost like a childish game. Money is superficial and that is exemplified in the lavish costumes and theater sets. Visually we are transported into a black and white world full of expenses, most of which the public attending the movie were not able to have. This was common on the movie musicals of the era; big musical numbers, money all around, and drag-to-riches storylines were treated and presented to the audience as a form of escapism. Not to remind them what they do not have but to present them a world of "HAVING". From the clip it is pretty clear that the film is a Post-Code production. Decorum is one of the stronger elements on these post-code productions. On this clip the musical number, instead big group of girls in tiny outfits, we have one head-to-toe covered girl singing. The dressing room scene is light, it is implied that Alma Held is going to undress but it is no shown. We are then directed to the feeling of admiration towards Held's talent from the bouquet of flowers, instead of letting the viewers "admire" an undressing scene. It is really interesting how movies teach us HOW to see. While taking us on a full, money-driven, tour on a life that is clearly not our own, they keep us grounded on how we should behave as an individual on society.
  4. As soon as I read this question three things popped into my head: Judy Garland, Summer Stock [1950] and Easter Parade [1948]. Although every time somebody asks me this kind of questions I have a different answer, favorites change every now and then, Judy Garland always is in one of my choices. I find myself going back to these two films more often than not and they make me smile as soon as the credits start. Judy sense of humor and her ability to go toe-to-toe with the two top dancers of the Hollywood Golden Era [Gene Kelly & Fred Astaire] is more than amusing; it is beyond moving. I can honestly say that these two movies made me change the way I viewed movie musicals, made me want to study them (and change my majors in college) and dance and sing more often in the shower. From them I learned that sometimes you need a song and a dance number to see and feel things better, and I am forever grateful.
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