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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? Fanny is supposed to be unsure of herself, and uneasy with her burgeoning feelings for bad-boy Nicky. To have her character belt out a song would be out of character. Especially a song about relationships and needs. That is a move of someone with confidence in their actions, which is definitely NOT Fanny. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyri
  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, Cukor used lighting to highlight the emotional states of the characters. He moves the actors in and out of shadows as their characters' emotions change. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. Moving Eliza in and o
  3. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? One of the changes I noticed was how the roles seem to become less about physical strength, and more about emotional strength. The emphasis is not on how high a man could jump, or how many spins he could do. The focus is often on how he projects his emotions, his vocal range, etc. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? His ability to sing complex lines and
  4. 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? The team work between the girls is a throw back to the ensembles of the 1950's, while the backstage vaudeville setting takes the viewer back the the earliest days in film. The fact that these performers are all "free agents" representing themselves, and trying to set up contracts directly with the promoters reflects the new business model in the film industry. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment o
  5. 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? I don't think it does. The ballet scene is the show stopper. We expect it to be over the top, vibrant, and bold. These exaggerated elements aren't necessary to the rest of the story. In fact I think they would become distractions taking away from the narrative of the movie. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? I think he acts so unlikeable in the sec
  6. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? Their almost prowling steps are foreshadowing the synchronization that will be one of the main elements of the dance. Also the faces Donald O'Connor makes behind the instructor, reference the comedic elements in the dance. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. Poor man is treated more like a prop than a living person. He has the unenviable task of reigning in the juvenile dancers put in his care. How do the representation
  7. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? I think this role is a transition between the 1940s woman who was strong, capable, and independent, and the idle 1950s woman, feminine, demure, and traditional. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? I think her roles become more complex, less cookie cutter. She gets to play more than just the girl next door, branching out into roles that include a woman caught up in the intrigue of
  8. 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? In this scene, each member of the group helps out the others by providing props, physical support, etc. In earlier musicals the performers often performed individual routines that paralleled their partner, but didn't often directly include them. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone
  9. 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? For me the dark room represents her fear for Joe's health, and that he doesn't love her. As he recovers, and her faith in his love is strengthened, the scene heads outside into the bright reafirmming sunlight. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? I'm not sure the lyrics of the song would work for a
  10. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. With so many wonder moments in this clip, I'll just focus one of my favorite parts. When Frank's character tosses Betty the ball in response to her line about playing ball with her, her look of frustration and her impatient throwing away of the ball really show her character's emotions. You know that she has tried and tried to get him to commit, and she is reaching the breaking point. She has chosen his "turf" to give him her pitch for why they should be together. It’s interesting to examine how mu
  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. The walk past historic portraits, the flag waving crowds celebrating past military campaigns, the reference to the current numbers of stars on the flag and the assurance that more would come, promote the idea of America as a country that is strong, deeply rooted in its history while looking forward to a successful and prosperous future. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes.
  12. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? I think like many people, the first Garland film I saw was The Wizard of Oz. I was probably 7, and I mostly remember the flying monkeys. It wasn't until I was much older that I came to appreciate her acting in this movie. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? I am much more impressed with her acting skills after finding out from the lecture notes that she didn't read music, play an instrument, and she was not a trained
  13. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? I think the "battle of the sexes" can be seen in the back and forth nature of the dance. Rogers both initiates challenges in the "duel", but also counters Astaire's "attacks" showing her dance skills equal his. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? This film distinguishes itself from others of this era by giving Rogers' character a stronger role in the story. She isn't the demure woman waiting for the man
  14. 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)? The sort of dot-to-dot shots of the garter, her legs, the purse, and the gun lead you by the hand in the direction Lubitsch wants the viewer to go. Much like the dialog screens in a silent movie. No ambiguity, just a clear cut "blueprint" for a sordid encounter between a married woman and a man who, judging by the collection of guns, has done this before. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the sc
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