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About Shayna

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  1. 1. She sings the song contemplatingly - had she belted it, it would have had a very different feeling - more loud, in your face type feeling. As it is, I feel it is sung expressively and theatrically, but in a 'smaller' theatrical way - it's more intimate. Belting a song tends to make it less intimate. Larger movements take away from the lyrics and pure meaning. 2. When she first sings about children she gives a little laugh, as if remembering what it was like to be an innocent child. Her entire tone and demeanor changes as she begins to sing about lovers - her voice gets softer, her tone and body language are simultaneously feeling the arms of a lover around her as well as being embarrassed about singing about such an intimate feeling/relationship with a man she wishes to share that experience with. Arnstein watches from a distance. You see him move his body just a little towards the end of the song, as if he wants to move towards her, but knows he still needs to keep his distance and slowly let her come back to realizing he's there. 3. As soon as the song begins Arnstein is her audience. He's following her - we only see his back, as if he's sitting in the seat in front of us in the theatre. He follows her, but not too closely. As she walks up the steps she makes them her stage, and he stays back where he is, taking a seat on the ledge, just watching her, mesmerized.
  2. 1. the scene starts with Eliza in the shadows, which is a big part of Gaslight (the shadows from the gas lamps, the light fading and getting stronger). Obviously, this is both a literal and non-literal take on the term gaslight. Throughout the scene Eliza is upset and Higgins fails to understand why. In Gaslight the husband takes opportunities to make it seem as if his wife is imagining situations/feelings. In this case Eliza's feelings are on target, Higgins is just obtuse. 2. As Eliza begins to let her frustration out by crying, screaming, hitting the couch, the camera stays with her, at a respectful distance. We see her and her surroundings. Cukor doesn't try to cut in for a close-up to focus on her face, because her feelings take over her body - shaking, etc. We are simply able to watch her emote - we're not so close that we're invading her space, but we're not so far away that it feels distant to us either. Throughout the scene both actors are almost always in the frame, even if can't always see both faces. They are doing a dance, but a very different dance than the joyous one they did during The Rain in Spain. The camera continues to keep its distance. We see the room, we see the actors. We aren't forced into unnecessary close-ups, forcing us to understand they're feelings. 3.Higgins always stands over Eliza. She is crouched down on the couch, she reaches out to attack him, and he grabs her arms to stop her. He is still the teacher, still the dominant member of the relationship. She's trying to figure out how to dominate, how to be in charge, but hasn't gotten there yet. He talks down to her, both literally and figuratively. He fails to understand her feelings, basically trying to tell her what she's feeling and thinking in wrong (also a la Gaslight). At all times he holds himself upright, he is proper - in her anger Eliza forgets all the proper etiquette she's been taught about how to behave, which leads to her crying and cowering on the couch.
  3. 1. I'm not sure there's an easy answer to this question. Throughout the decades the men are always trying to woo women, and be respectful, yet also flirty. The style in which they do this changes a bit. In the 30's the Dick Powell's, Fred Astaire's, Nelson Eddy's were a bit more 'innocent' and sweet. In the 40's the women took a bit more control (Ethel WAters in Cabin in the Sky, Betty Garrett, even Judy Garland in For Me and My Gal or Summer Stock). In the 50's we saw more of the alpha and beta male characters - Howard Keel, Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Gene Nelson - competition was either non-existent or friendly. As we move into the 60's the Preston's Harold Hill is more of an alpha male, still flirty, very confident, yet thrown for a loop at his own feelings. Men are becoming more in touch with their feelings. 2. In both scenes he has 'control' of his audience. He's not necessarily the best singer, but he enunciates and talks musically and almost lilting. In The Music Man he has the townspeople eating out of his hands. He knows just what to say to get them 'scared' about the pool table and the youth. In Victor/Victoria he's performing for an audience, but they are focused on him. Even as a group of people enters the room talking loudly he keeps the audience's attention. 3. I have not seen any other Preston films.
  4. 1. This begins in the style of a classic backstage musical- we're seeing the audition process - except it's children, not adults. It's looking backwards by showing us a 'backstage musical', it's already looking forward by focusing on youth. We're also not seeing full songs - if you watch a Broadway Melody or a Golddigger's movie, they were rarely interrupted mid-song - the song was always sung through - In that way we're also seeing disruptions. We're seeing more real-life, people putting their kids to work, and people not getting jobs. we see (a la 42nd st) some preferential treatment - balloon girl has the job before she's even done anything. Also, there's not the same youthful excitement of "Let's Put on a Show" that we saw in the 30's an 40's. 2. Roz commands the scene as soon as she enters the room. She enters as Mama Rose does when Gypsy is performed on stage, but it doesn't have the same effect, because we're not actually in the theatre as she walks down the aisle. Rose defines "Stage Mother' to a tee, she is in charge, her children are really merely pawns. Russell was a stage performer and although she was also a movie actress, there's just something about how stage performers hold themselves, enunciate, and draw all the attention to themselves - we see that here. 3. The lyrics of Let Me Entertain you do exactly what they're meant to do. As performed by children it's simply an innocent song - I'm up here singing and dancing, look at me type song. Like any child may say to their parents. The kids sing the song with a literal meaning - I will do some kicks - and she kicks her leg, I will do some tricks - and she does a little trick with her hands. When we hear the song later, as sung in a burlesque house by a woman stripping it is suddenly full of double entendre - doing kicks and tricks and making a person smile now has a totally different meaning. Sondheim's cleverness at lyrics is amazing. He is a wordsmith. As staged the scene is disruptive because Mama Rose comes busting in. As a movie viewer our attention is totally pulled away from the performance of the song because the camera is now following Rose, not the children.
  5. 1. I think it depends on the film. When you're watching a musical you're already watching something 'stylized' and 'fantasy' in some way. People 'stop' the action to sing/dance their feelings. Even though the song/dance may move the action along, it's already stylized. Minnelli so lovingly films every scene in An American in Paris that I feel that the final ballet fits in easily with what we've already seen. Maybe that means the rest of the film is already using a 'less that realistic, stylized approach. Sure, there's a fantasy feel to it, but throughout the movie we've seen Henri perform, we've seen Jerry paint, we've seen Levant fantasize about performing as the entire orchestra, so the ending fits. I think there needs to be a little bit of stylized action to lead into a final fantasy scene, so that it isn't jarring. But, maybe sometimes it's meant to be jarring to the viewer. 2.Maybe because I've seen the film so many times I'm not as bothered by Jerry's actions. (as another member mentioned, he does sort of stalk Lise). In this scene I feel like he's just being an honest American. We already know his character, we've seen him with his friends, we see his enjoyment and fun as he walks to his sidewalk. We also see him conversing with the artist across the street. If his interaction with the 3rd year student wasn't explained, then yes, I think it would make his character unlikable. But, he explains his actions and his reasons, and we, the viewer, are given to understand that he's had those interactions before and doesn't want to waste his time and energy. If he wanted to talk about art I think he'd be studying it somewhere or teaching it somewhere. He's here to sell his art, and if someone comes up who seems like they may want to buy it, then he'll discuss it.
  6. 1. The pre-dance movements lead into the dancing, slowly. First, as the professor is doing the exercises O'Connor is nodding his head in rhythm, then even his funny facial movements are done in rhythm. But, all is done in light, quick movements, just like the tapping. They move to the curtains an play with them, the play builds into the dance. As they move away from the curtains O'Connor especially is moving in legs in wider movements and clapping his hands (making tap sounds), so that when the tapping does begin it isn't quite unexpected or 'jarring' to the ear. Just before they jump up on the table and really start dancing they tap their hands on the table, giving the audience another hint at the tapping to come. Everything is rhythmic, staccato (like tap dancing generally is- unlike the smooth quiet one thinks of when one thinks of ballet). I also feel like the way they move around the room prior to the dancing is a way of exploring their space and props. - they're going to use the chairs they pass by, right at the scene begins we see the posters of the lips enunciating each vowel - at the end they take it down and pile it on the professor. 2. I think the straight man doesn't tend to get enough credit. It's hard to be the straight man in comedy. This time though, the straight man is more the 'prop'. At the beginning he doesn't realize they're mocking him. As they ask him to do another he thinks it's a compliment - he stands straighter, looks proud, and does another tongue twister. But, as O'Connor and Kelly begin to play and dance he is 'disapproving' in his expression. Finally he is simply used as an audience member - almost forgotten - then used as a prop at the end when they drag him back onto the screen, sit him on the desk and pile everything else on top of them. 3. Here we see three different types of men and masculinity. The professor is almost foppish - his actions, how 'proper' he is. He's also older, more fatherly or grandfatherly - his masculinity (or lack thereof) is unimportant. Donald O'Connor is once again the classic Beta male - he is of no threat to Kelly's masculinity. O'Connor is dressed in a lighter color - the bright green sweater - gives us a different feeling than the dark, masculine color of Kelly's brown sweater. Also, partly due to their build, and probably partly purposely done by the costumer's it seems that Kelly's clothes are just a titch tighter, showing off his muscularity and build. Kelly's dancing style has always been considered more athletic, and while O'Connor is his equal in dancing, there's still more masculinity in Kelly. Also, throughout the movie O'Connor's character Cosmo is simply the friend. He is of no threat to the women anywhere - he's a joker. He doesn't get up and offer to do the movie stunts, Kelly's character does. We see Kelly ask the 'risk-taker', O'Connor is his sounding board. Gene Kelly - even when dancing is more of man's man - he's simply more masculine.
  7. 1. In the 50's we were beginning to see more musicals that took place in different time periods, women in the late 1800's West - 7 Brides for 7 Brothers and Annie Get Your Gun among them. The tom-boy role wasn't completely unusual. Day's Jane is a woman trying to fit in with the men, which I suspect is something that was happening more in the 50's, more women entering the workplace, having had the WWII experience of women doing men's work. Society was still fighting against it, but it was slowly starting to change and maybe Calamity Jane is trying to show that? However, even in seeing that we still find a woman who eventually conforms (at least a bit), by trying to be more feminine to get the man. We're still seeing women 'needing' men to help them out of a situation. 2. At this point in her career Doris Day has begun to move past the lead ingenue role that we saw just a couple of years earlier (Tea for Two, On Moonlight Bay, etc), but she hasn't reached full 'maturity' yet. It's almost as if Calamity Jane represents Day's attempt at becoming more of a grown-up. Shortly after this we see her portray more confident women, or women fighting for something (Pajama Game, Love me or Leave Me, The Man Who Knew Too Much). Then she moves on to more comedies, portraying a professional woman and doing more comedy in her roles opposite Rock Hudson. 3. I looked up a little about Calamity Jane. It appears her life certainly had more hardship than this film even attempts to portray (similar to the whitewashing in the MGM Show Boat). Although not really Day's fault her portrayal of Calamity Jane simply shows a perky woman, first being a 'tom-boy' then trying to get the man. I suspect the real Calamity Jane did much conforming, she simply did what she had to do to survive. Doris Day's constant smile doesn't show us any of that!
  8. 1. There are lots of open arm hand gestures - welcoming everyone into the song. They are having fun - playacting a whole scene or idea in one line of the song. Fabray walks by playing the Femme Fatale while Levant does a comedy bit with the ladder behind. They are comfortable with each other, and having fun. It's not a love song/wooing moment as we saw earlier in the scenes both in the 30's & 40's (Rose Marie, Top Hat, For Me and My Gal, Cabin in the Sky). No one is trying to impress another person. The dancing that the 3 do together is lighthearted and fun, they're laughing as they avoid stepping on each other's feet and crossing legs in front of each other. 2. They are all dressed in fairly muted colors - blue, grey, black, white. The only bright color is the small flower on Fabray's dress. The men are dressed in casual styled suits, all similar but also individualized enough for each character. Fabray is casually dressed to look professional (and fit in with the men), but still looks feminine in the long skirt and the flower at the waist. 3. The character of the director starts the song - he is taking the lead, initially, as a director should. He gives the others ideas to work from and with. The characters of the writers sing about plot devices. Initially all 3 are helping the actor (Astaire) find his part, they all watch him to see if he understands. Astaire joins in slowly, only singing one line (almost a minute into the song), then the others take over again before he's given a chance to fully show he understands and can 'play the part' too.
  9. 1. As she first enters the room after he wakes she sits by the bed, leaning on it, as if she's praying - sending up a thankful prayer for his recovery. As it moves outside it shows time is passing, he is recovering and she is getting back to her daily routine. But, as she takes his shirt down she once again feels grateful for his recovery and his love, and she wraps the shirt around her as if he is embracing her. 2. I think some of the song could be sung as a lullaby to a child, but certainly the meaning would be different. However, most of the words could easily translate, saying that your child is bringing you happiness, even when you're sad. I do think though, that the type of love spouses give each other is very different from the love btwn a parent and child. Certainly a child always needs the love of a parent, but a child should not feel the responsibility creating/keeping their parent happy. 3. Certainly there was still a lot of prejudice during WWII. Troops were still often separated by race. Seeing a film like this allowed African Americans to see people like them on screen. It allowed people of different races to see African Americans and see that their problems were not necessarily so different from anyone else.
  10. 1. The movement is choreographed carefully with the music - as she chases him up the bleachers the music is both crescendoing and getting faster - matching their speed. 2. As he walks out of the locker room the music is already playing, cluing the viewer in that a song is coming. As he attempts to pass Garrett the start and stop of the music matches their steps (this also answers question 1 above), this 'choreography' also tells us we're about to see a song. Even as she starts to sing, her first word "Hey" isn't so much sung, as shouted, then she eases into the singing.
  11. 1. I honestly don't remember my first Judy Garland movie - she was just always there. Before cable The Wizard of Oz would only be on once a year, and we would always watch that. I also recall being 5 or 6 and having my mom wake me up in the middle of the night just to watch Meet Me in St. Louis. (again, pre-cable!) 2)This was initially a hard question for me to consider, since both of the clips/movies are ones I'm familiar with. But, thinking about the comments written by Prof. Ament about the scenes I tried to look at them with fresh eyes. In both scenes you see Garland is not afraid to get 'mussed up' - she's dressed like a hobo in the Easter Parade song - dirty face and teeth, clothes with holes, etc. As she sings and dances in "For Me and My Gal" her hair gets loose. As an actor she didn't stop the scene asking it to be fixed, she didn't demand that her hair be perfect - It's more real that way. I had also never thought about the piano playing. knowing that she couldn't really play/read music certainly makes one watch the scene differently. She obviously rehearsed to make it as realistic as possible. 3) Meet Me In St. Louis came after For Me and My Gal. Her ability to sell every song and scene in that movie was discussed, but it still comes to mind. I also thought of the finale in Summer Stock - which showed a different side/style to Garland - especially when watching her throughout that particular film. Her storytelling songs and scenes in A Star is Born also come to mind. Even in the lost footage scenes of Star is Born - when we're just hearing her and not seeing the action, you get her ability to capture the audience's imagination.
  12. 1. The movie/scene starts in the White House - the home of the President of the United States - the leader of the country. Cohan walks up the stairs passing paintings of former Presidents. There is a huge American Flag directly behind where Cohan sits as he begins his conversation with the President. 2. By the time the film is released the term "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is well known - Cohan says "I was a regular Yankee Doodle Dandy, always carrying a flag in a parade, or following one." The President says he hopes Cohan hasn't outgrown that feeling. He also refers to the Cohans as Irish-Americans - not just Americans, but pointing out that specific group. 3)I feel that by opening the scene with Cohan looking back on his life he's drawing you into the story. As a viewer you are not just thrust in by obvious patriotism, but see it in a more laidback way. Then we see the parade, we find out it's Independence Day, we know where we are, and why.
  13. 1. I feel like in this scene the Dale isn't letting Jerry lead the dance (although he does a couple times). She is mirroring his moves at some points during the dance. She doesn't try to one-up him in her moves, and he doesn't try to one-up him. They're having fun together. For the 2nd couple (Horton & Broderick), you can tell that she's running the show- she is the brains! 2. I feel like in this movie, the couple is portrayed more as equals. The woman doesn't need help or saving. She isn't 'helpless', whereas in something like RoseMarie, even though she has a goal, but she needs a man to help her get there. 3) This is mid-to-late 30's - even though they don't know it, there is an impending war. Woman have slowly become more independent. They don't need a man in the same way. There are more careers for women. Dale even tells the dressmaker if he doesn't like something she's doing she'll go back to the States (this also harkens to question 1 - he may be the designer, but he needs her to wear his clothes - she's in charge).
  14. 1) From the very beginning you see that the Count is confident and a lady's man - he is not uncomfortable holding a woman's garter, he easily zips up the woman's dress - and adds a 'voila'. Later, when he opens his drawer and puts the gun in you see he's actually adding to his 'collection' - this isn't the first time he's been in this situation. 2) From the very beginning of the scene sound is used in an interesting way. We're looking at a closed door, but the voices start quietly and get louder as they get closer to the door and after the door is opened. The same thing happens as the husband is trying to get into the room. It gives the viewer (who cannot see where they actually are) a cue as to how close we are to seeing the characters. When they show the people outside running towards the building you hear the chatter and the feet running. He even uses silence effectively - after the Count is shot by the husband - as he feels his body checking for a wound - no words, no sounds, just simply the actions. 3) Once again, despite the Depression, he appears to be living in opulence. As with other movies - I think we're going to see a man who has to 'win' the girl - earn her respect, prove he really loves her. The woman will likely be a 'good girl' - someone who doesn't fool around.
  15. 1) I feel like in the first scene MacDonald has the upper hand, so to speak. Even though she is the woman, she is in charge. Eddy has to woo her, to prove his worth, etc. She's interested in him, but isn't going to show it, he has to work to get her attention. In the second scene they are more familiar with each other, they've known each other a bit longer. She is in an uncomfortable embarrassing position. She can handle it as long as no one she knows sees her, but as soon as he walks in her demeanor changes. She's still proud, but she also doesn't want to be seen in a vulnerable position. I feel like he's staying in his seat and keeping his distance for the moment out of respect. 2) I've seen a bit more of MacDonald than Eddy, a few of her later film roles when she played more mature characters or mothers. I always felt she had a nice screen presence and could act, but wasn't the most dramatic. She's pleasant, can do a bit of comedy and a bit of drama, but probably wouldn't be called on to do a strong dramatic role. Growing up Nelsen Eddy was always a bit of joke. He got by because of his voice, but certainly wasn't a strong scene partner. I guess when I think of Eddy the word 'fop' comes to mind! What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? As others have mentioned there's definitely signs of 'this is the man's job' in the first scene. MacDonald sits while Eddy rows. He woos her, she has the upper hand here, but he has to prove his worth (just like I said in answer to the first question)....But, now he has to prove his worth as a man - I will row this boat. But, then she has to remind him to row the boat. Man - brawn, Woman - brains. In the 2nd scene McDonald is dressed very respectfully - she's all covered up, no skin showing - she sings in her polite, operatic voice, she's a good girl (but no one is paying attention). Then the other woman comes in 'scantily' clad and does some 'dirty dancing'. MacDonald wants to try it, she is interested, but then she thinks 'no, this is wrong' and leaves. A good girl may visit a 'bad' place, but she will quickly see the error of her ways and leave! Eddy comes in and is treated with respect because he is a man in uniform.
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