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  1. 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? Had this song been sung less tenderly and emotionally, the entire meaning of it would have been lost. Fanny has fallen in love with an exciting but dangerous man. She has feelings wound up inside of her she fears will be unrequited. Nick clearly is not the type of man who will devote his entire heart and sole to another person, especially one woman. Fanny feels she must let Nick know how she feels and why he should fee
  2. 1. 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) A common theme shared by Gaslight and My Fair Lady is that of a woman being manipulated by the male head of household. In the former, the goal is to convince the woman she is going mad. In the latter, to win a bet that he can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. In some small ways, I also see some similarity
  3. 1. 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? In the early decades of movie musicals the male leads were generally very masculine and were either pursuing or being pursued by their female counterparts. As the decades moved on, the male leads became less one-dimensional. Their various relationships with female characters began to reflect the changing sexual dynamics of the times. Oft times, the characters were less romantic and masculine. Their insecurities were allowed
  4. 1. 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? The setting is akin to the show within a show motif of early movie musicals. We get shots from the seats up to the stage and inside show biz terms and dialog, not unlike 42nd Street and Footlight Parade. Part of that is due to Gypsy being set in a similar time period to the earliest musicals. All that changes with Rose's entrance! Chaos now ensues and continues until she gets the pink spotlight on her kids, where she then tu
  5. 1. 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? On the contrary, just as you can't compose a symphony consisting entirely of crescendos you also cannot film an entire movie musical in one particular approach. In The Bad and the Beautiful, one of my favorite inside Hollywood dramas, the main character is a producer who thinks he can direct a saga better than one of the leading directors of the day. The director quits out of frustration and the producer takes over and creates a mon
  6. 1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? While in pre-dance mode, O'Connor continues to play the comic sidekick to Kelly's more serious, alpha male leading man. O'Connor mocks the elocution teacher while Kelly plays it straight and recites the phrases as they are presented to him. It's obvious Kelly's character does not really require speech lessons so off they go into their magnificent dance number. The elocution book is tossed and they literally take control by manhandling the teacher. They move him into position and transition in
  7. 1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? The 1950s was a time of conflict for place of the female in American society. On one hand, women had taken a more equal position with men after having to join the workforce to replace the many men who answered the call of duty to fight in WWII. Women in the 50s began encroaching into the heretofore male dominated executive levels of business and commerce. However, there was also a desire to return to the era of traditional, conservative values, where a woman's pla
  8. 1. 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 intent of the number is to convince Tony Hunter (Fred Astaire) that the classical dramatic actor/director, Jeffrey Cordova (Jack Buchanan), can be successful transitioning from drama to musical stage since in the end both genres are just different forms of entertainment. The number opens with Tony's friends Lester and Lily Marton (Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray) and Cor
  9. 1. 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? This scene makes one thing absolutely clear: Petunia's whole existence and source of sustenance is her love for Joe. The camera closes in to a tight head shot of Petunia and Joe and his hand being lovingly held in hers. He has returned from the edge of eternity and is now back in her life, and she is glowing with joy that her Joe is back with her. Caring for him and loving hi
  10. Actually, they did appear together in On An Island With You, a 1948 musical comedy. It was one of MGM's most popular movies that year. Lawford played a navy flyer who woos Williams while serving as a technical adviser on a movie in which she is performing. Cyd Charisse and Ricardo Montalbano were the second leads in what I found to be an entertaining film. Life is expectations. Lawford was not the best singer on the lot but was popular enough to have starred in this film as well as in Good News, Two Sisters From Boston, Easter Parade, It Happened in Brooklyn and Royal Wedding.
  11. 1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. 2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? This scene is brilliantly structured around both music and camera settings. The music has two general themes: the chase and the vocals. The director uses close-ups for singing and distance shots for the chase. There are also a number of visual and action tricks designed to move the scene along both visually and musically. The scene opens with Sinatra flipping a baseball
  12. While his film career was not extensive, I did enjoy If I'm Lucky, a 1946 musical co-starring Vivian Blaine, Phil Silvers, Carmen Miranda and Harry James and his Orchestra. If you haven't seen it, give it a try. It shows up on TV every once in a while. No question his TV work on Kraft Music Hall was the best running variety show for almost 20 years. I still think his performance of A House is Not a Home is the best version of that song ever recorded!
  13. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? At the age of five my mother took me to see the re-release of Wizard of Oz at the Loew's Pitkin in Brooklyn. The two things I remember most were diving with fright under the seat when the Wicked Witch first appeared in Munchkinland. My other lasting memory was how spunky and take charge Dorothy behaved, while still showing unbounded empathy for the rest of the characters, notwithstanding her plight of being whisked far from home and not knowing if she would ever return. Garland commanded the scre
  14. 1. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. The opening in the White House was specifically designed to form a basis for the theme of the film, that of American Exceptionalism. Up until Pearl Harbor, there were many Americans who felt WWII was a European war and that the U.S. should remain neutral and isolated from the conflict. After Pearl Harbor the movies were asked to lead the way from isolationism to patriotism. This film was designe
  15. Not to offend Ruby Keeler fans, but I have always felt she was a triple threat: couldn't dance well, couldn't sing well and couldn't act a lick. While many say the studio dictates the performance, in Keeler's case I believe she could not have performed in musicals for any other studio. Powell, a classically trained dancer, was extremely athletic as well as being a magnificent tap dancer and would likely have been able to adapt to the style of any studio's productions. To a great extent Powell was a female version of Gene Kelly in that she could incorporate very physical movements into her
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