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DJSchmidle

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  1. 1. 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. As Cohan climbs the stairs at the White House, paintings of past presidents can be seen. In FDR’s office the walls are lined with paintings of ships and there are models of ships, as well. Cohan is wearing a flag lapel pin. The Fourth of July parade is replete with waving flags, and men dressed in solider uniforms. 2. 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. The references to the flag, Yankee Doodle Dandy, the patriotism of the Irish-Americans (who were often depicted as being wholesome, family-oriented, and loyal to their country), Cohan’s description of himself as cocky (which I read as the kind of self-confidence often associated with Americans), and Cohan’s reference to his father “running off to join the Civil War” as a young adolescent all carry overt patriotic themes. White House butler recounting how had seen Cohan in a play: “You were singing and dancing about the Grand Ole Flag. Mr. Teddy used to sing it in his bathtub.” Cohan to FDR: “I was a pretty cocky kid in those days, a pretty cocky kid. A regular Yankee Doodle Dandy, always carrying a flag in a parade, or carrying one.” FDR to Cohan: “That’s one thing I always admired about you Irish-Americans. You carry your love of country like a flag. Right out in the open.” I don’t recall the exact quote, but the reference to Horatio Alger was also interesting. Alger often wrote about impoverished youth who worked their way out of poverty. That could be seen as echoing the “American Dream” in which anyone could “grow up to president” or at least, succeed in life. Cohan’s reply: “I inherited that. Got that from my father. He ran away to the Civil War when he was thirteen.” 3. 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. Flashbacks have often been used in biographical films. On the one hand, opening with the parade would be a very obvious nod to patriotism. However, to open with a scene that included FDR was a wise idea and I think more effective for what the film was striving to achieve. The scene with FDR would definitely have resonated with audiences of that time period, considering FDR was the president at that time and was leading the country into war after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  2. Regarding the first question, the drawer that was full of guns was very Lubitsch. I also loved the scene when the husband shot Chevalier. There was great comic timing in that scene. The thing that most struck me about the sound of the film was the off-camera sounds. The clip opened with the sound of arguing behind the door. Likewise, when the husband arrives on the scene, we first hear him through the door. I found that very effective. I'm not sure about the theme. It felt different to me that other movies of the era (though this was in '29 and I am more versed in films later in the 30s). It did feel more sexually overt than later depression-era films and it was very melodramatic. I want to watch the whole film now!
  3. To answer the second question first, I have never seen neither MacDonald nor Eddy in a film before. Although their names are well-known to me (and I may have, in the past, seen a few minutes of one of their films), I am really not very familiar with their work. To go back to the opening question, the interaction in the first clip was pure 1930s production code Hollywood. The manly leading man (he's a Mountie, after all!) pilots the canoe while doing his best to charm the leading lady. She in turn, comes off as a little feisty and standoffish, though we can guess where this will eventually lead. That said, to me it feels like MacDonald has the upper hand in the scene. The second scene is much different. This scene is mostly about her. She is far less confident than in the first scene. Although the camera cuts between the two of them throughout the scene, it really isn't until the end of the scene that the two of them connect. TBH, I couldn't figure out from Eddy's facial expression what he was meant to be feeling as he watched her struggle with the musical number. I have read that his character was feeling embarrassment and sympathy for her, but he just looked annoyed to me. That, however, is an aside. When the two notice each other, its is she who looks embarrassed. The confident, feisty woman in the canoe is gone. He, on the other hand, seems to smile reassuringly at her. In this regard, he seems to have the upper hand he didn't achieve in the first scene. He looks like he is about to come to her rescue, in as much as he appears to be trying to reassure her with his smile. As for the male/female relationship and the Hollywood code, I partially alluded to that in the last couple of paragraphs. Eddy is clean-cut, honorable and rugged (as depicted by his role as a Mountie). MacDonald, while showing an independent nature in the canoe scene, is still the epitome of the 1930s decent, modest woman. this was best highlighted by the contrast between MacDonald and the other singer who joined her in the second scene. Of course, all of these comments are based solely on two short film clips, since I haven't seen the whole film or any other of their films!
  4. Very good point about how a pre-Code version of this film may have impacted its contention for Best Picture.
  5. The way money is so easily spent definitely reflect the fantasy of what type of life people would have liked to have had. The doorman remarks on the amount of the tip, yet Ziegfeld makes a light joke about it, showing that for him, money is no object. Likewise with the orchids. The maid remarks on how much they must have cost, and yet for the sender, money was obviously not a concern. I think this is a theme that carried over into other depression-era films. A lot of easy money and extravagance. The style of dress that Anna Held wore was psuedo-Edwardian--floor length, long sleeves, and parasol. Although her neckline wasn't high, she was also not showing much cleavage. This is in direct opposition to the somewhat double entendre of the lyrics she is singing. I could see scene reshot in a way that would reference Mae West--a tighter fit to the gown, more accentuated cleavage, swiveling hips as Held crosses the stage, more suggestive glances, and definitely a less saccharine tune.
  6. As someone who is involved with theatre, I was very happy to see how JC Superstar was cast. As you said, using experienced stage actors and producers with extensive theatre experience, really made a huge difference. In my opinion, the other televised musicals have been lackluster in comparison.
  7. Like a lot of others on here, I love the Fred Astaire musicals. They bring back memories of watching old films on Sunday afternoons with my father. Likewise for musicals such as Holiday Inn and White Christmas. I would say my attraction to those are more nostalgic than anything else. I have also always loved the Sound of Music for the music, itself. For me, there is something soothing and comforting about Roger and Hammerstein's work in this musical. I do have somewhat eclectic tastes and when it comes to more contemporary musicals, I like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Jesus Christ Superstar. I became attached to the former when the theatre I worked with staged it several years ago. Campy and fun with some memorable and admittedly, not so memorable, songs.
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