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Posts posted by JDC_NYC

  1. 16 hours ago, Joshua Goodstein said:

    Rosalind Russell didn't do her own singing in Gypsy, she was dubbed by Lisa Kirk.

    That was not her in "Funny, isn't it?"???  Sounds an awful lot like her - where they sometimes don't make an effort to pick up a "tone".  The one thing I truly hated about the film "West Side Story" was the awful dubbing for Natalie Wood. 

  2. 23 hours ago, ameliajc said:

    My understanding is that those voice-over scenes are attempts at reconstructing the original version. It had been cut, and they lost the visual but had the audio track, so they laid in the still photos they had from elsewhere. (I know I heard that on TCM at some point.)  Whenever I watch A Star is Born, I keep trying to "unsee" those additions. I agree a little bit of cutting might have been helpful to that one. 

    Sorry about the aside, we're supposed to be talking about My Fair Lady. I appreciated this scene, in which Audrey goes through such emotional transitions, but nothing can beat Ingrid Bergman when it comes to the fluidity of facial expressions. I think Cukor was trying to do something similar here. I just find this scene so frustrating in that Eliza can't seem to find any way of expressing the feelings that we can all see that she has. I think this scene is also great at underscoring that she is an Object, and Henry Higgins is the alpha male who controls everything, starting with verbally.

    I wish those scenes and most of the rest were "lost" too! ?

  3. What I have noticed about the last grouping of musical films is that they let the leads sing their own parts - Rosalind Russell, Lucille Ball, Peter O'Toole, most of the actors in "1776", Omar Shariff, and on.  NO one could tell Lucy not to sing once "Ricky" was no longer in charge, I assume, and thank goodness because as bad as her voice could be, her rendition of "If He Walked Into My Life Today" still brings raging tears to my eyes.  And it was about time we got rid of the "looping" But I am watching "Funny Girl" yet again and I think it is OVER-directed.  The exact eye angle from Fanny when Nicky looks at her in this way or that.  The Broadway show must have been phenomenal because you can't do that much.  It also makes her the standout singing wise because her opposite lead cannot at all.  

    I have to add that while I adore the song "People" - I do NOT understand the lyrics at all.  I think people who need people are the needy ones that have created a world of spoiled kids!!  (not really joking - just trying to understand that lyric for years and years!)

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  4. Thank you for the time and effort it must have taken to amassed such a course.  I am very regretful that I never knew there was a Hitchcock course because I watched all of those films before and AGAIN and never got to participate.  But I learned something about myself when I took this course.  I like musicals.  I am even MAD about some of them.  But I also am very benign on many from the 20-30s and even '40s until we got to Sinatra and Kelly.  And while I enjoy and respect so many others it is the dancing that drew me in and then the singing second.  The plots were tertiary.  I want to say for sure that leaving out "The Music That Makes Me Dance" out of the movie version of "Funny Girl" is as sad as the fact that when I listen to the Broadway soundtrack, THAT is the musical I grew up with (when my parents went to see it on Broadway) and I never could feel as excited about the movie version - it became too washed out.  It just lost all its beautiful earthiness.  And I learned that you CAN lose interest in a "star" when you see where they go in life and ruin your ideal vision of who you thought they were but their lives went a little weird or the roles they chose or were offered....In ANY case - you learn if you let your mind relent to opening up and seeing, hearing, reading the ideas of those around you. 

    Again - I digress - but THANK YOU!

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  5. 15 minutes ago, KayeA said:

    Watching My Fair Lady again, I noticed that after the Ascot debacle when everyone is urging Higgins to stop the experiment, his mother comments something like, “The only reason you would continue this is if you are potty about her.” How did I miss that earlier? Clearly she knows her son. What other foreshadowing/clues about Higgens falling in love did I miss?

    And on another note, I always wonder what happened to Freddy. I know that when a play is done, it’s done, but I do sort of feel sorry for Freddy. He’s practically made himself sick over Eliza. Let’s face it, he’s basically stalking her. And he just disappears. I hope he married a New York heiress and had a much happier time of it than people in Henry James novels.

    Even though this is based on what we might consider a more sophisticated plot - being based on "Pygmalion" - it is still a main theme in stories through all time - The more a man or woman pushes someone away, the more they are usually "protesting too much".  Also, men love women who fetch their slippers!!! ?

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  6. Always having to be different, I guess, I want to start with this thought.  As opposed to what the lecture notes say: "Compared to the muted background and Higgins’ black and white tuxedo, Eliza’s red dress and dazzling, over-the-top jewelry stand out"  ... I disagree.  Her blood-red velvet coat seem to blend in with all the Victorian-like muted background pieces (her dress does sparkle) but it is HENRY HIGGIN'S black tuxedo and white shirt that stand out in contrast - and he is really just that "black and white" no grey areas for that character.  HE is RIGHT and YOU are WRONG.  Unless you are on his side and therefore, he'll forgive you your mistakes!  A totally loathsome and delightful character to watch as he also self-destructs.  

    I did see "Gaslight" and the things that I can think of is the use of that long staircase for important things to place as in this film.  And the overbearing male who wants to destroy the female - one quite literally and the other by taking away any sense of "self" and "creating" her in HIS vision - as if he too were allowed to play God.

    Cukor is a tremendously talented director - which still makes me wonder how he could direct that schlock of a film "A Star is Born" with Garland.  He either could not figure out how to cut it down to less than 6 hours other than putting in those voiceover overlays on still frames and then it still went on forever.  And a side note to Mr. Rydstrom - NO THIS student does NOT think this is an "EPIC" film.  If by epic you mean LONG - yes.  But this doesn't hold a candle to "Fiddler on the Roof" or "Camelot".  I only see a drunk or drugged up Judy Garland and can really only remember one scene with that awful clown makeup.  And those stills that make me wish it were over already.   Again, I digress!

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  7. One thing that I don't think I would have thought of before, had I not seen "My Fair Lady" again last night and then am doing this exercise a day late(r) is that Preston ALSO "talks-sings" his musical numbers.  I always knew that about Rex Harrison but kind of forgot about it with regard to Robert Preston.  I love his performance in "The Music Man" but have not been a great fan of "Victor/Victoria" - I think it might be the only performance by Julie Andrews that doesn't please me.  I am not against the material - "The Bird Cage" is one of my absolute favorite movies, but this "V/V" just annoys me.  I think I also remember seeing him in "S.O.B." and "Bells of St. Mary's" (odd pair, no?) and recall that he is authentic no matter what part he plays.  But I don't remember him in them as distinctly as I should to comment more than that.  

  8. 7 hours ago, Charlie's Girl said:

    Exactly what I felt about Calamity Jane, (except I didn't make it through 2 hours) mostly because of Doris Day. I think she has a lovely voice but the ludicrous accent, exaggerted mannerisms, and horrible acting just made it intolerable. I couldn't watch it. 

    I quite enjoyed Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, mostly because I think Howard Keel is quite fetching in buckskin.  

    I'm fascinated by the honest opinions and insightful comments that everyone has offered about the various films. I appreciate the opportunity to explore and discuss the course material.  I'm actually enjoying this course more than I thought I would and learning a lot!    

    "fetching", eh???  ha ha - cute comment.  I didn't like him very much until watching some of these films again recently.  And I too feel it is good that people are speaking their minds.  Not sure how much I've learned, but that could be a fault of my own.  Oh - almost forgot to add that I too am a HUGE fan of Charlie!

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  9. Don't we consider the fact that "A Star Is Born" was also done THREE times - There was a discussion about "Showboat" being done first as a silent film, then with Irene Dunne and Paul Robeson, etc.in black and white and then the sanitized glitzy version in 1951 with all the dazzle and Howard Keel, Kathrine Grayson, etc. and William Warfield.   

    But "A Star Is Born" was done three times as well - and in my opinion should have been left at the first.  Judy Garland version was even worse than Barbara Streisand's.

    Might not be that important a topic but it bothered me that the lecture video included a thought that no other film had been done so many times and cannot recall now what other film Dr. Ament quoted but it was not "A Star is Born".

  10. I don't care for over-analyzing some fun scenes so I will make it brief.   This bit with the Professor and the less than serious students can be seen in all types of movies - some done better than others.  This is a "goody".   Jerry Lewis uses this same "schtick" years later in "The Nutty Professor" getting the principal to recite Shakespeare and then has him in all sorts of poses with an umbrella for a sword and then wrapped in something to look like a toga - but I digress (a habit of mine).  Gene Kelly does a good job of trying to be the less dominant in the sense that he does not get the pronunciation while O'Connor is correcting him along with the professor.  His mocking him is funny as he is trying not to be caught (i think that was a Danny Kaye specialty also).   I don't get any alpha/beta male thing - just a couple of wiseguys who want to show up the brainiac.  It might be irreverent but it is a musical COMEDY.  And hands down, one of my FAVORITE DANCE numbers of all time.  What IS interesting to me is that Kelly is a bit taller than O'Connor but because of his dance style, he ends up looking a little shorter since he bends more and has a lower plié than O'Connor even when tapping.  

    1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why?  

    Seems she is leaps ahead of where many characters were at that time - because she is not one-dimensional as in not JUST the "man-chaser" or "dumb-blonde" or sweet and sanguine girl-next-door.  When I first watched this film a few years ago (not in my earlier life so many others), I wondered if there was a lesbian subtext that was being buried.  Evidently, it was not(?)  

    1. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical?  

    I have to really go back and figure out what was before this but this certainly her roles with Rock Hudson and James Garner had her as a fairly one-dimensional character - the sort of nitwit wife or single woman who got what she wanted in the end but ditsy - though I often thoroughly enjoyed those films.

    1. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer.  

    I definitely think it added to the role of Calamity Jane.  It made you want to accept her being such a "calamity" so to speak and it lifted the rough exterior so you knew there was something warmer and gentler inside her that perhaps she was too insecure to let out.  I love her rendition of "Secret Love" and find it quite emotionally evocative.

    By the way, I found the lecture notes on this and "Showboat" the most course-worthy to date.  Thanks for the input and background material/comments on them.

  11. Americans Celebrate Community and Conformity (title from Lecture Notes for "Band Wagon"

    Does anyone find it ironic that the House on Unamerican Activities (or HUAC) was spurred on during this same time - so did these plots with were celebrating community and conformity an ingredient in their suspicion stew or did it create their suspicion because writers and producers were promoting those rather than individualism?  Just curious if others see the oxymoron here.  Not pointing at the lecturers but at that committee which was a stain on American history.

  12. I find it difficult to have to hear a quarter of the 2nd week's review telling me that we can forgive the use of "blackface" in the 1940s musicals because "golly us black folks is jus' sos happy to be a part of y'alls lifes"!  I think that person should join Mike Pence and his wifey at dinner as their special guest.  Appalled that it could be said and then followed up at the end by saying that one day someone will watch what is being done today and find THAT shocking.  Well no sh*t Sherlock!  We ARE doing things today that are shocking but in the REAL WORLD - not just on film.  So NO - I will not give you that.  I will say it was deplorable to go back and watch what I remembered as a cute musical comedy and see Bing Crosby (a child beater by the way) and his co-star in "blackface" and find it just soooooooooo adorable - NOT.  It was one of the low points for me of any movie with Fred Astaire - luckily he was not the one to don that dribble.

  13. 11 minutes ago, Cakane said:

    I think that when they show Petunia going to her clothesline it’s simply to show that she’s able to continue with the her daily life with joy knowing that Joy is going to okay. The way they showed her with Joes shirt and how it hugged around her neck just wrapped that up for me. And in the end it’s a triumph over good and evil  

    I thing the words and how it was sung would have to be changed for a child. This was a song that was meaningful between a Husband and Wife. Of course that could be only because that is how I have first seen it. First impressions stay with us. 

    It’s apparently a very important film for Black Americans Who had so many struggles during WWII. But at the time of its release it may of been received with mixed emotions as it seems to embrace a lot of southern folklore. Which I see as being shown as the fantasy that the movie is but that’s the enticement needed for the movie.  It definitely shows patriotism and that was of huge importance and a goal. 

    Maybe I'm nuts, but where does that thought come from - what if she were singing about a child instead of her husband.  Do we need to consult Dr. Freud here?  There is a certain "girlish" smile and twinkle in her eye that I hope would be different if it were a different situation but of course since we are watching what is there on film and not imagining another scenario, it could be due to that.   I find myself writing my responses and then looking just above to the comment above and often seeing the person has said much the same (which is why I don't like reading comments before I write my own or I would feel that I am being influenced by others' opinions) - but I will quote Cakane because I see she and I do have similar opinions and now I am tired of typing! 

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  14. Not sure how much "significance" can be found in any musical-comedy.  There is a difference between "musicals" and musical-comedy, no?  The plots are light and entertaining.  Musicals segue into musical numbers pretty much, if you'll pardon the pun, right on cue.  You can almost here the piano tuning up in the dialogue most times.  Pretty predictable but probably disappointing if the actors didn't break out into a song.  It is great to study these films but in my opinion over-analyzing things can take the joy out of them. Like what is the significance of a woman who is deliberately cast to be stronger and domineering over a man with a slight build and sort of shy? It is a vehicle that is used over and over through time and is meant to be funny.  And the fact that it's Sinatra, well all the more funny.  But if you think about him in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" with Betty Garrett - does he really come off as a heartthrob?  He looks like a skinny guy who can be manhandled and that just makes is all the more comical and hits the mark.  

  15. Ok - here I go again.  I am a big fan of Judy Garland and have learned more about her part of film as I grew up.  My earliest memory of her was in "The Wizard of Oz" and she was magnificent.  However, after that, my next memories of her were from television and her shows and she was pretty much strung out on drugs by that time.  She was always sort of slurring her words and not really the embellishment of her own craft any more.  My father was a great fan so I listened and watched and thought it was great until recently when I went back and looked at some of that again and realized she was a mess really.  But then I went to the films and saw just how talented she was and what made him that enthralled with her talent.  But I do NOT think that "A Star Is Born" was very good at all.  I hated the implanting of stills to fill in what they could not afford to shoot and I did not care for James Mason's part.  It was certainly not one of my favorite efforts on her part - even the whole hysterical crying scene.  Too much melodrama.   I did like the outtake that TCM showed with her rendition of "The Man Who Got Away" - that never made it into the film.  See?  That is why the film falls short for me.  Thank you for the opportunity to speak about this.

  16. Around minute 10:50 in the Lecture Video for Lecture #5: Cabin in the Sky (1943) with Vanessa Theme Ament and Richard Edwards, https://learn.canvas.net/courses/2206/pages/week-2-monday-an-historical-overview-of-the-second-decade?module_item_id=218041 Dr. Edwards brought up this subject - I believe it was Vincent Minnelli who brought editing into dance numbers to highlight certain moves.  I remember something that Fred Astaire once said and emphasized about his own dance routines which is that often editing a routine was a way to "cheat" and that when those close-ups are shot it is not live but just that particular sequence and was "lazy" so to speak.  So he, himself, insisted that his dance routines were shot in full frame and done as one continuous piece.  So frankly, in my own humble opinion, I do not think that that "innovation" was something positive.  To this day, I can't stand when they cut away to "body parts" during a dance. 

    And while it might be true that this was something that could be done on film and not in the theater, remember that movies were a way of bringing the theater or Broadway experience to audiences who did not live in New York or large metropolises that would have the possibility of seeing those shows live.  

    How do others feel?

  17. Why are we talking about the battle of the sexes in this obscure way when there was a BROAD palette presented to us in "The Love Parade"?  OR is THAT the point - that it is SO apparent in Parade but supposedly less so in Top Hat.  Really not sure but the obvious comparison to The Love Parade and the last U.S. election "possibilities" is enormous.  And might STILL be one of the reasons it didn't happen.  Even Bill could not convince his supporters that he was really behind being "First Gentleman".

  18. 4 hours ago, TopBilled said:

    I agree that THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE belongs in the dictionary next to silly. It's a little too silly for me. I've never seen GREASE 2 but even the original GREASE is a bit much in spots.

    As in what I said about "Born to Dance" - can I have that time back minus two of Powell's dance numbers.  Not sure why it bothers me so much - but it was not what I thought I had missed for so many years and now I know why I did! 

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