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About OhEwe

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  1. I learned to "see" more when I watch a film. I always "saw" the cast, costume and sets, now I also "see" the subtleties of light, small background items, and staging. There is so much more to any movie than the stars and director, and this course really brought that more sharply into focus. I also discovered that I still have a passion for learning, and I am really looking forward to taking more courses in the future. Thank you Dr. Ament, TCM, and everyone else involved in putting together this course. It was a wonderful way to spend 4 weeks (especially while house-bound/recovering from surgery). See you at the movies!
  2. 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? The scene would have lost a lot of its tender/growing up feeling if the song had been "belted out." Still a show-stopper without being "in your face." At this point in the film, Fanny was still a fairly innocent young girl. Living with her mother, unmarried, just getting her start in "show biz." If "People" had been belted out, it would have given Fanny a harder edge too early in the movie. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? There are a lot of long looks between the characters but little to no physical contact. It works with the softer tone of the song as it's sung in the scene, and helps to underscore Fanny's innocence as it contrasts with Nicky's harder, more experienced edge. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. Aside from the kiss at the end of the scene, there isn't much (any) physical contact. The characters are lit so their eyes show every expression, with the background of the working-class area where Fanny lives mostly in shadows behind them. Also interesting are Fanny's long shadows as she walks back home after Nicky leaves. It's interesting that Fanny and Nicky are shown more individually rather than together (not quite a couple, not sure where they're headed at this point, with one party very worldly and the other still quite innocent).
  3. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her?.... I saw the Wizard of Oz for the first time on tv when I was a child. I was probably about 5 or 6 (early 1960s) and we watched it on the tv in my Great Grandmother's living room because we didn't have "cable" at home. My first impression was that Judy Garland really was Dorothy, and more than anything else, I wanted to "be" Dorothy. Nobody seemed to mind that I danced along with a movie I'd never seen (fumbling my way through the steps as I tried to learn as the movie went along- I am not, and never have been, anybody's idea of a "dancer"), singing along with songs that were familiar because we had a recording of the soundtrack and I did know the words (and, again, nobody's ever going to confuse me with a "singer") How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously.....There is such a huge spectrum to Judy Garland's talent. Astaire and Kelly were prolific dancers, Judy Garland was perhaps more of a "triple threat" who could act the heck out of a scene, deliver any song, and could hold her own with two notorious perfectionist dancers without being a Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller or Vera-Ellen. These clips show that "Dorothy" is all grown up and although the viewer might find it hard to take their eyes off her, she's a generous co-star who's by no means "stealing the scene" and whose performance compliments her co-stars' and makes the scenes a definite combined effort of great talent. 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?......A Star is Born: if "The Man That Got Away" doesn't give you chills, you should see a doctor to make sure you still have a pulse.
  4. 1. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? I felt as if the clip was a bit more "innocent" than the theater was at that time. Held's reaction to the floral arrangement seemed a bit naive for an experienced, celebrated performer who was likely more accustomed to receiving gifts from "stage door Johnnies" and wealthy gentlemen and knew how to play off of those gifts. The clip does show a sunny, naive outlook from an established star of the stage. 2. Talent and hard work leads to riches and fame, but for a young woman to be successful she needs a good promoter. If she plays her cards well, she just might wind up married to him. 3. My understanding is that Held and Ziegfeld never married and that the end of their relationship was extremely contentious. The scene were Held realizes that her "husband" has given extravagant gifts to a younger ingenue would likely have led to a pretty nasty fight in the pre-code era (there were a few doozy spats in Broadway Melody) instead of the the somewhat resigned look on Held's face. There also seemed to be a bit of a preachy undertone - alcohol use by starlets leads to the rapid decline of their careers under the influence of "demon rum." over-indulgence is, if not outright sinful, definitely unacceptable and those who spend extravagantly/live on credit are doomed for a big fall (or wind up being supported by their wives, as it appeared Billie Burke was doing). I also think the pre-code wardrobe might have been a bit more true-to-life (ie. a tad "scantier") and possibly the backstage life of women on the stage a bit more scandalous than portrayed in this film. Vanessa Theme Ament, Ph.D. Endowed Chair, Telecommunications Ball State University
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