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About Dkmpruett

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  1. BTW, did anyone notice how much Fred Astaire looked like Dick Van Dyke in the clip from Easter Parade. Made me think I need to look at DVD's dancing in Mary Poppins again.
  2. I bet that 90% of us were introduced to Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. To this day, it is one of my favorite films, and a critical reason for that was that little Judy had a real voice and I wanted to sing just like her. Although I didn't understand it at the time, she had a grown-up voice in her young girl's body, and I think that her acting was beyond her years also. She expressed so well what I was feeling when I imagined myself dumped in a strange land with people smaller than I, where evil was real, and things were not what they seemed. ("Witches are old and ugly," says Dorothy with such deep belief. It astonished me when I read a list of her movies to realize that I don't believe I have ever seen an entire Judy Garland movie all the way through. I have seen pieces of several of the Andy Hardy movies, parts of Easter Parade, A Star is Born, and Meet Me in St. Louis, and Till Clouds Roll By. What I did see of Judy was The Judy Garland Show on TV in the early 60s. I was just a kid, but she just blew me away. She could sing, she could dance, she could fill up that little screen. And, until I was older, I didn't associate Judy on TV with The Wizard of Oz at all. She could project so many different faces. I trained as a singer, so what I always find remarkable with Judy is her musicality and her ability to stay true to the song when she sang. She could put a song over not only with her acting ability and her very mobile face but with the way she turned a phrase. I've probably listened to a lot more recordings of Judy than I have seen movies. Sometimes it's a good thing to turn off the picture and just listen to what she could express with her voice.
  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. I believe that opening with the Fourth of July Parade would have weakened the promotion of patriotism in the film. By beginning with the Cohan's visit to the President's office, the audience of the 40's would be reminded that the American dream is still coming true; at the time of the parade scene, we do not see people of color in the crowd, the Irish would not often be welcomed in the President's office, and a black man would not likely not speak so familiarly as Cohan and the President's valet do as they come up the stairs. The message is, not only is this a good country, it is becoming a better country, a more inclusive country with opportunities for all. This was an important message coming on the heels of the Great Depression. Remember that during World War I, Irish-Americans were generally more supportive of Germany and its allies than they were the British and their allies, including the U.S. If the film began with the parade, viewers might miss this entirely (things look great at the parade, after all, unless you are looking for those who are not there or who are marginalized), while the retrospection in Cohan's talk with the President reminds the viewer of how far we have come as a country. For modern viewers, I think it also reminds us of how far we have come since the film was made. The President's remarks about Cohan's Irish heritage would be pretty offensive in our present.
  4. The set and set decorations are critical to setting a patriotic tone in the clip. When Cohan ascends the stairs, we see presidential portraits. We know we are in the Oval Office when the camera follows Cohan as he approaches the President's desk. We see the American flag near the fireplace, which would remind Americans of the President's fireside talks at the height of the Great Depression. The ship models, ship's wheel desk clock, and nautical paintings remind us that the President was previously Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Woodrow Wilson and, more importantly, during World War I. Later in the clip, the 4th of July celebration features flags of all sizes, bunting-draped businesses, a band, a parade featuring veterans of previous wars,and many people gathered together, demonstrating unity of spirit. A plaque on the building where the boys are perched (a church? the town hall?) is in the shield shape often used to represent Columbia.
  5. I often use the line, "Click your heels together and repeat 'There's no place like home.'" Admittedly, I do not use it in the way it was intended. As a project manager, I often found clients or team members who expected the new project to result in exactly the same process or product they were trying so hard to replace. As a little girl, I was terrified as Dorothy watched the sand run out in the hour glass. Scarier than the tornado!
  6. After viewing and commenting on the clip, I was able to view Top Hat in its entirety this afternoon, and I wanted to share some thoughts. First of all, understanding that this film is early in the pantheon of movie musicals, Top Hat would not cut it for most musical fans today except for the phenomenal dance/song sequences. The story is incredibly shallow, and there is not a lot of character development. While it is true that the song and dance is fairly seamlessly integrated, the product is rather weak. Does that mean I didn't enjoy watching it? Absolutely not! Like the little girl with the curl, when it is good, it is very, very good. Second, Ginger Rogers was such an amazing comedienne with such a mobile and expressive face. I thoroughly enjoyed her Dale. But I also was pretty taken with Helen Broderick's Madge. She was a stand-out from her first line. In fact, I felt that her character was the most highly developed in the musical. Third, I was interested in the number of caricatured characters, specifically Beddini, Bates, and, to a degree, Horace. Probably the style of the period. Fourth, and this was really a surprise to me, because I am pretty much steeped in the more mature musicals of the late 40's, the 50's and the 60's, nobody sings or dances except for Fred and Ginger. The closest to a second story line is the relationship between Horace and Madge, and it is practically non-existent. It sounds like I'm carping, but, since, I'm not as familiar with the musicals of the 30's, these were new learnings for me. What did make me laugh at myself was, I sometimes (cruelly) make fun of the Hallmark movies with their formula stories, weak plots, stock characters, continuous misunderstandings, and far-fetched resolutions. Now I begin to wonder if there is a relationship between the style of the movie musicals during the Great Depression and the made-for-TV movies of the Recession of 2007!
  7. Powell vs. Keeler - wow! I find Powell the more athletic and controlled dancer of the two. She always seems to dance with her legs out in front of her in this clip, which I think is a remarkable control of gravity. She is clearly powerful (get those kicks to hold at the time and then make a planned landing instead of flopping) and graceful and seems to be able to do anything the choreographer asks of her. Not everyone can look good coming down stairs or turning cartwheels, but she comes up smiling every time. She takes a lot of space, even when the camera is close to her. Keeler is more intimate in her dancing. She appears much smaller than Powell and dances that way. It seems that she might be more a dancing singer rather than a singing dancer. I should also note that her clip was more shorter and there was less opportunity to observe a lot of variety.
  8. 1. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? This clip is the dance equivalent of Anything You Can Do from Annie, Get Your Gun except that Jerry has spent some time and effort (singing) in order to spark some kind of positive response from Dale. While I'll be watching the rest of the movie tonight (cannot believe I have never seen it before!), in this clip, Dale appears to be in control of her own life. The startled response to the thunder at first seems to be a little out-of-character; is she using her "feminine wiles" to keep him going? Toward the end of the clip, the thunder doesn't seem to bother her any more than it does him. When Jerry dances a challenge, Dale is up to it and sometimes adds a twist of her own, such as extra taps or mirroring (surely it is more difficult mirror!). Jerry's recognition of her ability and her acknowledgement of his recognition in the final handshake indicates that they have reached an understanding. 3. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? During the 20s, women would have achieved a level of freedom that they had not previously experienced. In the U.S., women gained the right to vote in 1920, more women were attaining higher education that in the 19th century, and during the Depression, women were more likely to work outside the home to help support their families. As a result, it became more acceptable for women to have their own opinions and be more independent. A woman could be charming but also witty, and, while screwball comedies may be romances without sex, the wit could often add the necessary spice to a comedy.
  9. I am having the same issue working on a PC. What happens is this. I can play the entire example. When I attempt to play the segments, nothing plays. If I attempt to place a segment, it will let me place it, but always places it in position 1. If I attempt to place another segment, it (apparently) moves the original segment back to the group of segments and places the newly selected one in position 1.
  10. So much depends on what makes a particular musical a favorite. I love South Pacific because it was the first cast recording I ever heard...and The Wizard of Oz because I associate it with specially planned family times (my mom always made homemade malts when we watched...and Into the Woods because I do the same thing with my grandchildren. But, for sheer energy and passion, All that Jazz.
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