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Ashley Lynn

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  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? How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? When the scene opens it appears as though Petunia is just expressing her happiness at her husband being home and being alive. She is overjoyed that he is alright and home by her side for her to care for and nurse back to health. When the scene moves outside she appears to be even happier because Joe is doing better. He is out of bed and she is pleased with life, but the sudden appearance of the two men at the end of the scene and the sudden, jolting stop to the beautiful love song tells us that happiness may not last. This song wouldn't have had a very different meaning if she had been singing to a child rather than her husband because it is expressing her unconditional love and happiness for her partner just as one would feel for their child. The use of this song towards a partner rather than a child shows us that she would do anything for this man, she can't picture her life without him, and her life is complete and happy with him by her side. I have not seen this picture yet, but it is definitely one that I want to see now that I know it exists and have heard nothing by remarkable things about it. This film and the representation of African Americans during WWII is an important piece of history that needs to be preserved and shared.
  2. This sequence from "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" is so well done visually from the moment the two characters spot each other their movements and the slight overture of music leads us easily into the musical number to follow. Throughout the musical number we see movements, actions, facial expressions that show who is dominating the situation, Betty Garrett, and how gradually Frank Sinatra is accepting the fact that he is caught, he has no real choice in the matter, she is not giving up, and eventually that he may be ok with being dominated by this strong and decisive woman. This routine is very similar to their excellent musical number 'Come Up To My Place' from "On the Town" in which Frank is trapped by this woman who has made up her mind about him and is not going to let him get away.
  3. The first Judy Garland movie I remember watching was "The Wizard of Oz" and I do remember being enamored with her, especially during the 'Over the Rainbow' sequence. It was the first time I remember as a child being riveted by what I saw on the screen. I have seen "Easter Parade" many times in the past. It has the incredible pairing of Garland and Astaire, so what's not to love!? I hadn't seen "For Me and My Gal" until it aired today on TCM, and oh what another great pairing! How could I have never seen Gene Kelly's first film and paired with Judy Garland on top of that!? After watching both of these clips, I am ever more conscious of how Judy Garland was able to do IT ALL. She excelled in every role she undertook and seemingly did it with ease. She always appears to be in complete control, but while also not stealing the spotlight. I become ever more enamored with her the more I see her. A later film that stands out to me as demonstrating how in control of the screen and audience Judy was is "In The Good Old Summertime" from 1949. When I first saw that film I remember thinking I wasn't going to like it because a favorite picture of mine is "The Shop Around the Corner" from 1940. I heard "In The Good Old Summertime" was a remake and had very little interest, because how could they possibly improve upon what was already a masterpiece? However, when I finally sat down and watched it Judy's performance in this movie was so convincing that even though it is a remake, it doesn't feel like it. Her performance of the song 'I Don't Care' in this film remains one of the greatest musical sequences I have ever seen in a movie, and really shows the depth and growth of her abilities as a performer when compared to her earlier performances. She was always great, but she just continued to get better and better. She was already a natural, but like a sponge she soaked up all the knowledge given to her over the years and just continued to improve without losing any of her early and natural charm and ability.
  4. Anyone else notice that all the movies from our class list for June 5th and June 7th were loaded to Watch TCM except one? Follow the Fleet was the only movie I couldn't find after it aired and is now the only movie out of the 24 on our our list for last week I have not seen! I wonder if this is an oversight or if there is a reason this one was not added?
  5. Easily one of my favorite musicals and one of my favorite movies in general of all time. I watch it at least once a year, every 4th of July of course! Eager to watch it again as part of this course and look at it in a different light or notice something that I haven't in previous viewings. I have always felt a strong connection to George M. Cohan and his story as portrayed by this movie as I am also a descended Irish American and my birthday is right before the 4th of July, so similarly growing up I often thought the fireworks and celebrations were for me too! As the previous entries have stated, they made an absolute effort to have American flags in every shot of the parade scene as the parade itself is a 4th of July parade, that scene screams American Patriotism throughout, but we also see the portraits of the presidents along the staircase in the opening scene and other subtle, and not so subtle, nods to patriotism throughout these two scenes and throughout the entirety of the movie which will make you come away proud to be an American and want to do a little flag waving yourself, and, as they intended, eager to donate to the war effort in some way. The opening sequence and initial dialogue at the White House shows us that this movie is intended for all Americans and promotes unity by specifically stating how Cohan's music had influence on President's ("Mr. Teddy used to sing it in his bathtub" and "I can remember you and your family well ..."), African Americans ("I was supposed to be off tonight ..." and "It's just as good today as it ever was."), and emphasizing that Cohan is an Irish-American (“That’s what I like about you Irish Americans, you carry your love for your country around with you like a flag.”), but none the less he and his family are as rooted in American history and as patriotic as any other American. Through starting with this scene rather than the parade scene we see that Cohan's music has transcended the ages and unified all Americans of many backgrounds. By then looping back to witness the events that got him to this point of meeting the president we also come to agree that his contributions to American Patriotism and the war efforts warrant the praise he will receive and begin to also look at him as an American hero in his own right. We too feel nostalgic about his contributions by the time we circle back to the scene with FDR at the end of the movie, which perhaps wouldn't have been accomplished as successfully if we had not started with the scene at the White House at the beginning.
  6. I read this as well, but haven't seen a list yet either. They did provide a link to the TCM Mad About Musicals Shop which shows a few book recommendations. https://shop.tcm.com/mam-books/b237634?az=23-11902 I have picked up a few of these and am waiting for them to arrive so I can read about musicals while taking this course!
  7. One of my favorite Fred/Ginger dance routines! As far as battle of the sexes are concerned, I see this clip as more of an 'anything you can do, I can do too' rather than an 'anything you can do, I can do better'. There is a definite sense of a different type of wooing going on in this dance number. Traditional techniques aren't going to work here to get the girl, she wants to be treated as an equal and Astaire has to come to that realization to get his girl. In this same manner this particular film distinguishes itself from the other Depression Era musicals we have watched thus far, because previously we saw the man in some degree of or almost complete control, but in this picture we see a strong, independent female character who has her own mind and will not let a man, even one she may be interested in, take complete control. A possible reason for this role reversal is in relation to the current events of the times, women were taking on a more active role outside of the home and taking on new challenges, and thus wanting to be treated in a more equal manner. Ginger's performance in this clip shows just that type of modern woman.
  8. I haven't watched a Lubitsch picture before, so this was my first encounter, and at first glance the Lubitsch Touch reminded me of modern director Wes Anderson, whom I adore. The subtle and sly glances, the close ups held on small objects, and the lingering hold of an emotion or facial expression to emote a comedic reaction to what potentially could be a very serious situation all are used in Wes Anderson pictures today, which I now see that the Lubitsch Touch is being used in his films. I will have to find and watch more of Lubitsch's work in the future. The props, dialogue, and staging all assist with progressing the story and character development in this scene. Everything is well thought out and utilized to further the overall story, everything we see has a purpose for being there. Through this careful placement of props, dialogue, and staging, even in this short scene, we are able to infer a great deal about Maurice Chevalier's character and where this story is headed.
  9. I definitely want to watch the 4 recommended movies this week, and have added Hallelujah and Rose Marie to my list after watching the videos as well. Other than that I think I will wait to see what on the list ends up being on demand and go from there. I would love try to fit in as many of the 95 movies as I can into my schedule over the course of the month! Whatever I can't fit in, I will keep on my radar to watch in the future.
  10. The interactions and sheer charisma between the characters in these two scenes, and really any Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald pairing, is that of a natural and realistic attraction. I first saw these two remarkable actors while one day several years ago taking a chance on watching one of their movies during a TCM marathon of the pictures they did together. I had never seen an Eddy/MacDonald movie, but suddenly found myself so completely entranced by their performances that I watched several of their movies back to back that day. When the marathon was over I even felt myself yearning for more! These two had that natural spark that has you rooting for their two characters to "get together" from the moment they are first on screen together. In the clips we saw from "Rose Marie" there are those subtle glances at one another, the uncomfortable silences, the simple embarrassed or unsure moments that are so true to the beginning of any romance that makes their scenes believable. Their relationships progress naturally and realistically. In these clips we see Eddy's character as strong, having it "together", respected, well liked, and desirable (as demonstrated by having women accompany him into the bar or his song in which he just replaces the name to suit the girl). MacDonald's character is timid, uncomfortable, inexperienced in reality, shy, unsure (as demonstrated by her uncomfortable appearance during her performance at the bar and her realization that the song wasn't written on the spot for her, but for any girl whose name fits the melody). These traits perpetuate the male/female aspects of relationships that we see so commonly throughout motion picture history in which the man is the supportive, dominating, more worldly character while the woman is meek, in need of a man's support, inexperienced.
  11. I had the same thought regarding her attire during her performance. It was a playful song seemingly somewhat paralleling or alluding to her upcoming decision on who to chose, and pre-code perhaps she would have been dressed in a more scanty costume rather than the long dress and bonnet she appeared in.
  12. In the syllabus it said there would be a list of recommended reading for those of us that would like to do additional reading about musicals on our own time. I haven't seen a list yet, but have checked out the Mad About Musicals books available on TCM Shop. I would love to pick up a few of these books to read this month in between completing the coursework and enjoying the movie list! Could we get a list of some recommended titles to go along with this course or for after this course? Any other suggestions would be most appreciated as well!
  13. A Goofy Movie was a huge part of my childhood and development of love of musicals! Love that you thought to include this movie!
  14. I can never seem to get enough of Singin' in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Sweeney Todd, An American in Paris, and White Christmas to name a few favorites. When I see these listed on television, I have to stop and watch. The best musicals are the ones that not only have great music and great performances, but also have the ability to transport you into that world for a short time and make you forget about your own troubles. These musicals always make me feel better when I'm tired or stressed or just need a break for awhile. I am anxious to be exposed to and learn about some musicals through this course that I have never seen before or maybe only saw once before!
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