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About Stillwell

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  1. My first viewing of Yankee Doodle Dandy was as a child , watching, again, on the parents Sylvainia. Thank goodness for my Uncle Claude. He owned an appliance store and I am sure we always got "the" models. This had to be either during or shortly after the Korean War. My Uncle Jack had served, and so even as a child, I was aware of the pride and loyalty we felt. Having come so close on the strings of WWll, I think that the patriotic propaganda machine in film and tv was still a tour de force. 1. In this scene, the grand staircase lined with specific past presidents, McKinley ( I think), Grant (?), Jefferson, Washington sets our history of other wars. The darkly lit room shrouds the impersonating president. I think the editing of the President's voice could have been "tamed", but perhaps it was intentional showing strength. I just never thought it just right. Looking around the room I was wondering how many ships could be named. I have no clue. 2. "Even Mr. Teddy would sing 'It's a Grand Old Flag ' in his bathtub" and " It's just as good today as it ever was,"spoken by a WH butler. Upon entering, Cohan is greeted by the President alone , in a "normal" desk chair, with no indication of the effects of polio weakening his imagine. Mentioning how the President remembers the Cohans, and that he went to school in Boston, sets historic references. Cohan tell the President how cocky he was and that he was always carrying a flag in a parade or following one . The President states "I hope you haven't outgrown the habit. It is the one thing I have always admired about you Irish -Americans, you carry the love of country like a flag , right out in the open. It's a great quality" Well - if FDR thinks so , I should too. After Cohan's Massachusetts Civil War history, the President states, "So you've spent your life telling the other 47 states what a great country it is." Then the scene of the flag waving parade - who can resist that ? It prepares the way for the birth of the "Yankee Doodle Dandy, born on the 4th of July !" 3.If the movie had opened with the parade? I can't even imagine.The bombing of Pearl Harbor, the love of the nation for it's President, the admiration of all the patriotic songs of Cohan's, perfect storm of nationalism delight. Cohan had actually received the Congressional Gold Medal two years prior (May 1, 1940) to the movies release . The United States not yet in war , but by all means gearing up. Rep . Theodore Peyser stated, in support of the award, “Not because [Cohan] is a song writer, not because he is one of the most popular and foremost actors of the day, not because he has lent a helping hand to thousands, but because of his ability to instill in the hearts of the growing citizenry a loyal and patriotic spirit for their country and what it stands for in the eyes of the world.” I think that is what the open scene provides as well.
  2. 1. Eddy is really as stiff as his collar, but still allowed a sense of playful humor, while McDonald demurely, playfully responds. The attraction grows during this repartee, leading you to believe a relationship in the works.as in the interchange of other women's names in his serenade to tease. (I am surprised he got anywhere- never changing paddles strokes - he would have gone in circles ) 2. I don't recall seeing them in any other form but film. 3. McDonald's embarrassment,tells of her moral fiber, when catching eye of Eddy sitting at the table, while she is trying with all to win her audience. Her dress, singing,and performance style, in comparison to the "hostess", are in stark contrast. The satin, form fitting,jazzy, gyrating "hostess' overtakes the straight-laced McDonald. I was really surprised the dancing was not censored.
  3. 1. The challenge of duplicating a potential mates every move may be nature at work making sure each is perfectly suited. = https://www.facebook.com/myheartisinAfrica/videos/2132334487050420/ 2. Astaire and Rogers were well on their way, a tour de force of couplings of the genre. it Certainly is a contrast with Hallelujah, by presenting life in a fantastical escapism. The up-play of tensions between sexes that eventually leads to connection. Flirting, teasing, being standoffish, "ignoring"glances, Wise-cracking, fast paced dialogue taps your attention.(Yes, pun) "Forget your troubles, C'mon get happy" era lasts beyond the Great Depression, thankfully, for the preservation and presentations of TCM. 3. The role of male/ female are just beginning to morph. This due in part to women's roles portrayed in film, but not necessarily in reality, at that time. I think too, women change the most. As Rogers is equal in step to Astaire in leveling the playing field,metaphorically; it is also prophetical. It's been a Long dance.
  4. I had never seen this movie until now! I loved it. I was tickled from the very start to finish. 1. The opulent apartment, the dressing of the characters, the dazzling jewels & fur (close-up), setting of Paris, Chevalier's extreme French accent (or would that be French-affected English?) and cool, suave personality all set a standard for male stars to come. 2.From the beginning- The movie begins behind closed doors.The sound of voices, entices the audience to ease-drop. Then Chevalier , upon entrance, "recognizes" we have been there all along by breaking the wall with "She's terribly jealous". Letting us into the movie and explaining the personality of the then unseen woman. 3. I think the implied sexual encounter, the schtick with Chevalier helping the fumbling husband with the gun, and then the wife's dress only intensifies the persona of this experienced, desirable lover. ( I think Cary Grant alone comes to mind). The drawer, with the collection of guns, lets us know just how many conquests . All this within a sophisticated, lightheartedness leading us into the world of screwball comedy.
  5. 1. Yes , I think those viewing the movie at time of it's 1936 release may have remembered Held and Ziegfeld, who met some 40 years prior . The nostalgia may have create a relief from the dire days of the depression. For others the costumes and extravagance ( as in the orchids sent to Held) afforded a fantasy of grandness. 2. New, unknown kid on the block makes good. Especially , always the female role. 3. I think we would have seen an expose' of her legs, which was one of her trademarks, and a more flirty persona.
  6. The very first movie musical I remember seeing in a theater was "White Christmas", at the Circle Theater in Indy.That "dates" me. But from then on I was hooked on film. It didn't have to be in Technicolor, wide-screen, or 3-D. In fact, most of my early viewing was done on my parents Sylvania. My brother Steven, and I would watch all the Friday horror films(presented by Selwin on channel 8).All of them made way before me. But musicals - there is nothing like them. There are very few musicals I don't enjoy. Here are my top 3 - "White Christmas" - (of course), "Singing in the Rain", and shoot - i give up - the list is too long.... Any Busby Berkeley.
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