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Everything posted by tnmorgen

  1. 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? If Barbra had belted the song in the movie, I think the scene would be compromised. She gave it just enough volume, a lot of texture and emotion. That's what the scene needed.
  2. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) Gaslight is more hazy in the background scenes. The action is more front and center. In this film the background is more a character - more present - than in Gaslight. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. The cam
  3. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? Drag, swish, and svelte. Men can dress in drag and be masculine. Men can swish and be gay. And men can be svelte instead of muscular. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? His song timing. In "Music Man" his timing is more defined by the song as written, while in "Victor/Victoria" the number is more responsive to the audience as well as the music. The timing
  4. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical? It looks back to vaudeville, and the backstage musical. It also looks at how acts were favorited - or given partiality - which was mirrored in the "payola" scandal in radio. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. She's, loud, brash, and has incredible stage presence. She upstages and takes ove
  5. Would people be interested in a class about gender representations of the female in the movies? Since the American Studios seemed to be the only ones left after WWII, perhaps we could look at how the feminine expectations set us up for the #metoo movement, and other questions of gender.
  6. Does a movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris’ ending ballet need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film? Only if it's done as a statement. I think the contrast is helpful to express emotion and internal growth or dialogue. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Partly his clothes, being casual but clean. He may not be likeable, but he is logical. The logic is approachable and understandable.
  7. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? The hand slapping on the desk is one way their behaviors pre-dance compare to their dance movements. They also have a rhythmic line of singing which sets up the dance rhythm Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. Yes, I did. He looks incredulous, and not appreciative. It must be hard to keep a straight face and play along like that. He obviously could not dance the same way - even a little bit. He had to lean on Gene Kelly as they were mov
  8. I'm not a professional dancer. BUT - As an observer, I'd say that Astaire's build was slighter than Kelly's. Kelly makes the dances look easy, while Astaire makes them precisioned perfection. Kelly is more fluid in his movements, perhaps because he leans forward more, uses his torso more Astaire does remain more upright, but that has to do with build as well as style/training. Both are fabulous no matter what.
  9. This is also one of my favorites. It wasn't until this class that I found out Oscar Levant wasn't a concert pianist. And the ballet segment near the end of the film makes me think that Gene and Leslie were really in love. Gene Kelly's dancing is always so fluid, powerful, and expressive, that I love watching him. I especially like the ballet segment where he's dressed like the black dancer from the Moulin Rouge. I always drop whatever I'm doing to watch him. Thank you for bringing up the topic and sharing your insights.
  10. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? This is a film of conforming and fitting in to the expected. Calamity Jane stands out and doesn't fit in. She must conform to get what she wants, which is her love, Bill Hickock. That means she must become submissive and feminine, just as women were expected to be submissive and feminine after the war. Women were expected to return to the home, not continue working. And to be too "tomboyish" was frowned upon. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in
  11. As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed? The camera work is close in the beginning. Everyone is in one spot on stage and it's very much a "stage" in that there is an unbroken 4th wall. The actors are bunched in one area and the camera work is close. I want to say that there was only one camera at first, but maybe there were two. This is while Astaire is in the chair. The other actors are all performing to him. La
  12. I did a little bit of historical costuming for street theater, and these are historical costumes of the era. I love looking at clothes through the lens of history because we see how women were expected to behave - what the expectations and *class* of the person/character were, by the clothes they wore.
  13. What do you notice about the way the scene is directed as Petunia goes to Joe’s bedside and as we cut to her outside hanging laundry? What does this tell us about her relationship, and the connection to the song? "Little Joe" is that he's probably immature. She takes care of him as if he were a child. She nutures him, supports him and gives her all for him. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? She's already treating him like a child while he's healing. She's the responsible one. The song wouldn't change much b
  14. I'm glad this is a popular topic! I did some costuming in the 1980s, and I loved it. I think dressing an actor in the B&W era would be hard because you only had the shades of gray on-screen when the clothing you made was actually so vibrant. I wish I'd been around earlier, to work in the studios designing some of those costumes - or even sewing them. The fabrics were amazing. Before the man-made fabrics we take for granted today, they had cotton, silk, or wool. Various weights, true, and a variety of weaves, but how did they get some of them to do what they did? Amazing stuff. I hope
  15. Very true! And the shade was perfect for Doris Day, too. That movie can make me sick because of the depiction of domestic violence in it, though I often tune it in anyway.
  16. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. Dancing up the bleachers, with Betty chasing Frank, it really was interesting to watch how the camera followed them. The way Betty trapped Frank at the wall was interesting, too. He was so small, and she was almost overpowering. The chasing up the stairs was also cute. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? Background music often plays the major musical theme of the song. We don't get the intro, but the theme, which
  17. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? I first saw Judy in the Wizard of Oz. I was amazed by both her face and her voice. Her voice was so big and her face was so young. I also watched her variety show. My mom wouldn't miss it. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I don't remember the scene with Fred Astaire from previous viewing. It was hard to see Fed with Judy on the screen, unless the camera was on their feet. She stole it. I know she didn't mean to,
  18. The butler in the White House was scheduled to be off that night but wanted to see Mr. Cohan, having seen him some 30 years ago from the Gallery courtesy of Mr. Roosevelt. Cohan (Cagney) talks about how there were fewer stars on the flag some 60 years ago (1878, when he was born) and the parade. Flags, and vaudeville. As Cohan is walking up the stairs, the portraits of past presidents line the wall. The clock and what looks like a wheelchair in the back of the room behind Cohan in FDR's office. How Cohan "tells the other 47 states" how to be an American. A mention of Irish immi
  19. I caught a film earlier, "The Gay Divorcee'" and the gown Ginger Rogers was wearing had a certain flair to it that I don't see anymore. Although it was a black and white film, it might have been gold and purple for the gown at the end. It looked like an upside-down flower, the way the skirt flared at the bottom - while not designed with flounce. I don't think this aspect of musicals has been covered much, so maybe a discussion can begin?
  20. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? The sets aren't as opulent in this clip (Top Hat) as in some of the other films. Also, with Ginger Rogers in pants, we lose some of that grandeur and "upper crust-ness" that we see in other films. I wanted to address the Ruby Keeler/Eleanor Powell clips. I think Eleanor Powell has it all over Ruby Keeler. As a woman, I see women's thighs in two ways "Thunder Thighs" or "Pencil Legs" and Ruby is a Pencil Leg. Her thighs aren't as powerful. In fact, she seems much smaller ph
  21. 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)? Our main character, Alfred, is a lover of women. He seems to have a lot of them either serially or concurrently. He loves the feminine and their appeal to him. The dressing of the woman makes me think this film is pre-code, as it suggests a sexual affair in a pretty blunt way. We don't see the bed, rumpled or not - if we did, I missed it. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of s
  22. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In both scenes, NE seems to be able to "read" JM pretty well. Almost like reading her mind. He clearly wants to impress in the first scene, and in the second, he shows a compassion that she may respond to favorably, but his compassion is not so that she will look on him favorably - instead it shows his character's uprightness (upright mountie style). In both scenes, I have the impression that JM is drawn to NE against her will. First by his singing voice, and secondly by his
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