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  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? I don't think that it would have been as convincingly heartfelt. It really seemed as if she was in love with Nick. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? Looking at each other with goo goo eyes. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc.
  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) In both movies there is an extremely controlling man and a submissive, docile woman. Also both movies were set in London, in pretty old houses and set in almost the same time frame.  Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. It seems that while Liza is upset the camera is pretty focused on her. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?
  3. 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? I think it looks backwards to the backstage musicals in that the characters are auditioning for a part in a vaudeville type show. I think the disruption is that it's not a full blown 40's or 50's musical with elaborate sets and costumes. Or glamorous people in the audience.  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. First I have to say I love Rosalind Russell! The way she comes bounding in is reminiscent of her character in Auntie Mame. I have seen probably all her movies and am so impressed that she can play any role very well, comedy, straight, you name it. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). At first I didn't really think anything about it. But when I look at June's make-up, her bloomers showing, and the other children in various states of dress, I wonder if the code was enforced for kids. Seems like the stage mothers were living vicariously through their children. I also thought the same thing as the poster above, that Jon-Benet Ramsey looked a lot like June.
  4. 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? No,I don't think that it necessarily has to although this movie does have several stylized scenes. Like Levant's dream for instance. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? I tend to agree with some of the others that he acts like a child sometimes. But he does have a charming side and he does let that shine though. He can also be more upbeat and pleasant when things are going well.
  5. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? When they started quoting the tongue twister they were in sync and just carried that over into the dance. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. I don't know how he managed to keep a straight face or not at least tap his toes. I was smiling and tapping my feet just watching the clip, I would imagine I would be dancing along if were there.  How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? Of course Kelly and O'Connor appeared very athletic in their dancing, the professor just seemed pompous, I guess masculine in his own way.
  6. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? I think female characters are getting more and more independent. The roles that actresses have available seem to be more varied. And that variation is accepted by the general public. As far as this character, it's interesting to note that with Calam being a tomboy she was still accepted in the movie by the townspeople and by the movie goers. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I think she developed her range, becoming more independent like in Glass Bottom Boat, Pillow Talk, etc. 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 it. Even when she was being ornery you knew that she didn't really mean it.
  7. 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? They are working more as a group. They seem to be playing off each other. The earlier musicals had one lead dancer or maybe a couple dancing. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Sinatra, Fabray and Levant had on coordinating colors while Buchanan had on a different color. I was curious about that. Maybe because he was more flamboyant or because he wanted to be the director. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? All the props seem to tie them all together, like the hats that Sinatra Buchanan wore, the structure that they did the pyramid on, the ladder gag. And the fact that they all worked together equally, no one was trying to steal the spotlight.
  8. 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? At the bedside her mood is a little more subdued, happy and excited but subdued. Outside she is louder and dancing around some. She seems to be very devoted to Joe and deeply in love with him. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? If she were singing about her child it would be a little more tender. The lyrics would need to be changed a little. I don't think the cultural meaning would change, having a loved one safely back to us is universal. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? I haven't been able to watch this film yet, we are out of town. It is recorded at home. I will come back and answer this question.
  9. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. I think they show the "cat and mouse" game going on between the two. Every time Betty takes 1 step forward, Frank takes 2 back. Until she finally catches him at the end of the bannister. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? The music itself and the actors actions.
  10. 1.What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your impression of her? I remember watching The Wizard of Oz every year when I was a kid when would come on regular television. I thought she was wonderful, she could sing beautifully and got to act with all those cool characters. 2.How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? She has seemed to expand and mature as an actress a great deal. 3. What films in her later career come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience's imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric? The Harvey Girls, Meet Me In St Louis, and although not one of my favorites, A Star is Born.
  11. 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. I think all the flag waving, parades and bands playing helped to promote Patriotism. So many people lining the streets certainly helped in the overall feeling. I also noticed all the ships in the Oval Office, I am watching on my tablet so I couldn't make out exactly what their were, so I'll assume warships. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. I think with it opening in the Oval Office, we get to see where Cohan is going. I personally liked that better than starting out with when he was born. Even though it's pretty cool that he was born on the 4th of July.
  12. 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)? I noticed the clever use of innuendo in the whole clip to include the props, the garter from another woman, the assortment of girly guns, the zipper that the husband had difficulty with. The dialogue was genius, going back and forth between French and English but I still knew what was going on, he he he. And the staging with most of the clip being shot in the bedroom, well. . . Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. The sound of the gun, I could tell it didn't sound exactly like an actual "kill shot". And from the other guns in the drawer, I think it might have been a plan. And it worked, apparently multiple times. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? I think in a lot of Depression-era movies in general there was a whole tone of escapism. Movies (musicals) depicting wealthy people in unrealistic scenes for most ordinary people. I doubt very many people in the audience lived in fancy apartments or had multiple lovers, or servants.
  13. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the first clip, Jeanette's character seems to be annoyed by Eddy. She kind of cools when he starts singing but quickly acts annoyed again when he says the wrong name. In the second clip I think she is embarrassed, both by actually singing in a saloon and not doing it "correctly". She especially did not want Eddy seeing her there, in my opinion. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. I've seen Jeanette in a few other movies, like San Francisco and The Merry Widow. She's a great actress and singer. She always seems to be reluctant to accept the advances of the leading man but by the end she's in his arms. I'm pretty sure that I've seen Eddy in a couple of movies but I don't recall which ones right now. 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?. The "good girl" plays hard to get. I think the whole good girl persona is the norm. I have to say I was surprised to see the saloon singer's costume and the way she was dancing. 1929's version of twerking!
  14. Yes I do think perhaps the film is unrealistic but that's the point. We all want to forget reality if only for a little while. I enjoy the opulence of the theater and the other patrons. I would expect the opulence in a depression era film for the same reasons. Had this been made pre-code, I think Miss Hand's costume would have been alot skimpier and the animosity between Ziegfield and Billings would have been much more pronounced.
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