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  1. 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? The song in this scene is supposed to be an intimate moment shared between the two characters as well as an self-examination for Fanny as she's debating over her feelings for Nicky. If Streisand had portrayed it more theatrically, it would've not only lost the sense of intimacy that's being depicted in scene, but it also would have completely changed the meaning of the song from tender and almost whimsical to somewhat garish and impersonal as well. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? The transitional moments in the scene is when Fanny begins to sing and expresses her feelings of uncertainty and attraction to Nicky. She finds herself relating to him despite the differences in their professions as well as their lifestyles. As the scene progresses, we find her becoming more certain about her feelings for him, but also more unsure of how it all would eventually pan out and whether or not their relationship could actually work. Still, as we watch them begin to establish a connection through out the course of the scene, we then come to the final shot where Nicky is looking on in awe and amazement as Fanny closes the song. Almost as if to indicate, that he can not only relate to her, but could also be experiencing the same sense of conflict as well. 3. How does the direction and editing of this scene support Streisand’s performance? Be specific about blocking, reaction shots, etc. The direction and editing are everything, especially in a more intimate setting as this. Here, we watch as the two characters establish a connection with on another as their walking down a lonely street. In order to achieve the sense of intimacy that accompanies that, a series of dolly shots were used to make the audience feel as if their walking right along with the characters as they travel down this little street. When the characters stop to share a somewhat intimate sense of conversation, the audience stops along with them to share that moment. A series of stationary shots were used to accomplish that effect. But, the most defining moment in the scene where Streisand hits the peak of the song is probably the most well shot. With of a the use of panning and continuous dolly shot gives the audience a little sense of whimsy and enchantment as Fanny expresses her true feelings for Nicky. By the time the camera becomes stationary again, we see a shot of Nicky looking at Fanny in awe while she expresses her feelings of uncertainty. As she closes out the song, the camera slowly pans in and focuses on her face and then fades to black. The way these shots are manipulated and used not only give the viewer the same sense of intimacy as the characters, but also draws them into the setting itself. Even though, Wyler mainly keeps the characters separated for the duration of the scene, the sense of isolation makes the characters seem even more appealing despite the perception of conflict that's being projected. The shots also highlight Streisand's ability as a singer and performer by mainly focusing on her throughout the course of the scene. Wyler also manages to capture an element of charm as Streisand sings. It's almost beguiling in a way when you watch the whole scene. I'll admit, even though this was the first time Wyler ever directed a musical, he still manages to showcase his ability as a master director by not only capturing the sense of intimacy that's being portrayed in this scene, but also manages to express the key points of basic human nature in order to create something that truly is enjoyable and entertaining to watch.
  2. 1. 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) Even though both films have very different themes, they both have quite a few similarities that might be worth exploring. For example, both are set in turn-of-the-century London during the height of class distinction, both of the main female characters are being manipulated and verbally abused by overly controlling men who can't see the consequences of their actions, and both suffer metal and emotional stress as an end result. Considering this and the themes of both films, I believe Cukor depicts them quite beautifully from a technical aspect in terms of lighting, setting, and character development. As I stated before, even though both films are in completely different genres, what Cukor was able to achieve in both of these aspects as well as being able to pull top-notch performances from Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn really show his skills and mastery as a director. 2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. There are quite a few transition moments throughout the course of this. The first, being when Eliza first breakdown as soon as she's alone in Higgins' study after both him and Colonel Pickering have retired to bed for the evening. The second, when Higgins' returns to the study to look for his slippers and Eliza chucks them at his head. Third, when she tries to physically attack Higgins and throws her onto the couch. And lastly, when Eliza express her feelings about the entire situation and what's going to happen to her in the after math. As we can see in the clip, and the layout of the key points listed, we watch how both actors portray the characters with both a sense of subjection and pathos. In the scene, we can clearly see that both characters are not only grappling to conceal their inner struggles due to the nature of the situation, but also their true feelings toward each other. Cukor best supports and exemplifies this with both lighting as well as long takes and slow transitional shots to really highlight and emphasize the emotions that characters are expressing in the scene itself. 3. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? As I mentioned before, there is a sense of pathos in both characters that Cukor seems to bring out quite a bit through out the course of the scene. Even though both characters are quite angry and hurt over the prospects of the situation itself, they seem to make a connection that's both attractive and appalling at the same time. For instance, Eliza is angry at the fact that now that the experiment is over, she's found herself in quite a predicament. She can't return to her life in the gutter because she's had a taste of the finer life and transitioning back to the life she had before would be extremely difficult for her. But, at the same time, she can't manage the transition into becoming a lady because the only options that are available to her is either marriage or prostitution. This is what Higgins can't understand because he's never had to face those types of life-altering decisions due to his class and station. In his mind, Eliza can go out and do anything now because he's given her the tools to do so. He's simply hurt over the fact that Eliza's lashing out at him because he believes her to be ungrateful for everything he's done for her. It's in this sense, where Cukor's direction gets interesting because in the character's moments of volatility, he highlights a sense of closeness in their interactions that give perception of intimacy even though they're mainly separated through out the course of the scene. You can see this all throughout the scene itself. Right at the moments where they become most turbulent, they reveal more of their true feelings both to themselves and to each other. It's almost as if to Cukor is trying to indicate that they only hate each other due to the nature of the situation as well as their class distinction, but could possible overlook all of that for a better alternative. But, it's the possibility of any of kind alternative that's frightening and because of that, they can never truly connect with each other.
  3. 1. 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 most noticeable changes in masculine performances is that there seems to be more focus on expression and less on dominance. In the past, the idea of the leading man was generally dominant in terms of both performance and portrayal. In most early musicals, we often saw the leading men such as Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby play the suave, sophisticated hero who always got the girl all while managing to sing or dance their way to the top. With Robert Preston's portrayals in both The Music Man and Victor/Victoria, we still see that same sense of sophistication but presented in a much subtle and openly expressive way. Like in the scene from The Music Man, for example. When Robert Preston's character, Harold Hill, attempts to convince the town of River City that they need a boy's band in order to keep them from falling into the temptations of the near by pool hall, he presents himself in such a way that is not only appealing and charming, but also manages to maintain a very subtle sense of control that's both subduing and concise in its execution. The same tropes are also played with Toddy in Victor/Victoria, but in an even more subtle and overt way both in tone and implications. 2. What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? Even though, Preston sort of plays both characters in some what similar ways in terms of precision and execution, he manages to have this inexplicable quality of drawing the viewer into the scene no matter what the circumstances. Not only is his range as actor impressive, it's almost down right criminal in the way he can command and control an entire scene with his gestures and expression both visually and verbally. You can this in both of the clips presented. In the clip from The Music Man, we can see how manages to entice the both crowd in the scene and the audience not only with his physical gestures and tone, but also with his projection of confidence by appealing to one's sense of morality. We sort of see that same sense of execution in Victor/Victoria, but in the opposite direction. Instead of appealing to one's sense of morality, he manages to appeal to one's sense of pleasure and sadism through his implications and insults. Of course, both characters have similar motives in terms of manipulating people to get what they want, but Preston plays both of them with such finesse and coordination almost to a point where he makes it seem so effortless and natural. 3. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? They only film I ever seen him in was The Music Man. However after reading everyone else's posts, I think I'm going to check out his other films as well.
  4. 1. 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? In a way, it pays homage to the backstage musical first developed in The Broadway Melody (1929) and 42nd Street (1931) by highlighting the whole aspect of vaudeville and how the conception of modern show business started. It also shows it's colors as a modern musical by trying to push the envelope with subject matter, even at the very beginning! For example, as seen in the clip, we are first introduced to the characters and world of vaudeville by quietly observing a rehearsal and audition process for a small kiddie sideshow. As we watch the comings and goings of each act, we naturally come across an act made up of two adorable little girls known as "Baby June and Co." As they warm up for their performance, it's made quite apparent that the audition is rigged for a little balloon girl act, who's going to get the top spot. By the time the girls get a chance to showcase their performance, it's quite clear that they've been extensively coached and don't exactly exhibit much talent anyway. Just as we think they're about to get thrown out along with all the other rejects, in comes their exuberant stage mother, in all her glory, as she commands the entire aspect of the situation. Here, in the opening scene, we already see the implications and nuances of the effects and aspects of stardom, the pressures to perform well, the desperation to be the center of attention, and the plight of child exploitation. We also have a chance to see the foreshadowing of what is to become of young Louise by watching Mama Rose make an attempt to burst the little balloon girl's bubble both literally and figuratively. 2. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. Honestly, I rather liked Rosalind Russell's portrayal of Mama Rose in this film, especially her entrance. When we're first introduced to her, we see her as forceful, commanding, and clearly domineering as she takes control of the entire situation all while wearing a smile. In a way, the fact that she manages to maintain a smile and essentially pleasant tone while she's steamrolling you, makes her even more endearing and also implies a more sinister undertone as well. It also give way to the implications of her as a master of manipulation and over-all predatory nature. That being said, I think the aspect of those connotations and layers of the character really showcases Russell's talent as an actress as well as her traditional training. In her portrayal, we do see some of the aspects of her more classic roles that she previously played, but we also see the air of desperation that she gives to the character as she vicariously lives through her children in order to achieve stardom. Which was not an uncommon thing amongst most stage mothers. (Natalie Wood was also a victim of an over-bearing stage mother as well.) And, we can see it on full display in Russell's depiction. 3. Pay attention to the song “Let Me Entertain You” in this scene. Is there anything you notice in Sondheim’s lyrics that are sly, subversive, or edgy? You can also discuss the song’s performance and staging as disruptive (or not). There's obviously a double implication in Sondheim's word-play and lyricism. It can either be interpreted as innocent and playful or as sly and subversive as well as edgy. It all really depends of the way the song is portrayed and how the audience perceives it. For instance, if a child were to sing and tap dance to this, like in the scene, it would be viewed as care-free and pure. If an adult were to perform this more suggestively, whether overtly or by implication, it would be seen as provocative and possibly even shocking. Of course, in context of the film, it showcases the evolution of the character of Louise as she goes from a doe-eyed innocent and transforms into a stripper and burlesque queen, Gypsy Rose Lee.
  5. 1. 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? Not really, throughout most of the film we see more realistic settings to describe the look and feel of Paris during the era in which it was made. Even though some of the settings are a bit stylized, we get a chance to observe the sights and sounds of the city itself. Characteristics such as the streets, cafés, people and their culture all come to life right before our eyes, even in a seemingly mundane way. Essentially, the point of all of this was to enhance the effects of the more fantasy based scenes, such as the ballet scene in the film's finale. 2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Well, it's essentially expressed in his characteristics and over-all personality. From the beginning, we see him portrayed as a regular guy. He's honest and straightforward even if it comes across as unpleasant at times. Like in the scene from the clip, we first observe him as being very cheerful and care-free while he's strolling through the streets of Paris to his regular spot where sell his paintings. As he's setting up, we see him interact with some other fellow artists working in the same area. Right away, he's friendly, warm, and charming, indicating to the audience that he's a very likeable person who has a good disposition. The only time that we see that disposition really shift is when a young girl approaches to offer her own observations on his paintings. As she states her unwanted criticism of his work, we then see him become more despondent and bit more aggressive, essentially chasing her away because she's not actually interested in buying his work. We then see his mood shift, once again, into a more passive and defensive tone when a slightly more mature woman approaches to express her interest in his work. As he interacts with her, he manages to exercise his caution while still expressing his curiosity about her true intentions. This being said, the character himself isn't necessary unlikeable, but rather guarded instead. As an artist, he's in a position were he has to constantly put himself out there in order to make a living. This often brings him in contact with all different kinds of people and all different kinds of situations. When unpleasant situations arise, he has to be able to handle himself in order to protect his work and his best interests.
  6. 1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? In the pre-dance movements, it's obvious that neither of the characters are really interested in the elocution lesson and are mainly there just to poke some fun. You can see how O'Connell's character clearly mocks the professor with his silly facial expressions without any qualms whatsoever. Of course, Kelly's character tries to pay attention to the lesson, but ends up getting swept up into O'Connell's jeering and jesting. Once they join forces together transitioning into the dance everything is perfectly in sync. Despite their different dance styles, Kelly and O'Connell work really well together in this sequence and it's truly special to watch them collaborate here. 2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The role of the Professor is quintessential straight man. With the serious undertone and deadpan expressions, clearly makes him the crux of the whole scene and essentially ties everything together. It also makes him the most vital part of the sequence in order to highlight the comedic points of the scene itself. After all, the essential role of the straight man is so he provide the humorous interpoint for the comedian to play off his absurdity in order to get a laugh. The way the Professor is willingly manipulated purely for Kelly and O'Connell's amusement illustrates this sentiment perfectly. 3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? Here we have the archetypes of how masculinity was portrayed in the fifties. The alpha male, as displayed by Kelly with his athleticism and agility. The beta male, as portrayed by O'Connell with his more demure and gentle nature. And, the egghead, who is depicted as a foppish kind of fellow with no purpose other than to be used as a prop for the other's amusement.
  7. 1. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Well, depending on the fact that we see female representation in most films during the 50s portrayed as being mostly feminine and glamorous, I believe that the character of Calamity Jane and Doris Day's portrayal of her is a nice contrast. Mostly because it's a good depiction of what women could really do in terms of being strong and hardworking especially during this time. In the first clip, we see Jane as stage coach scout who protects the stage from being attacked by Indians and wild animals while crossing the dessert. During the course of clip, we also get to see that she actually enjoys her job, not only because she's trying to be tough like a man, but also because the job gives her a sense of importance since both the driver and the passengers depend on her to get them safely to the next town. Here, we see that she's truly in her element and how comfortable she is in her own skin despite the fact that the men in town don't take her seriously. In the next clip, we observe her exploring her feminine side as she realizes that she was in love with her rival instead of the person that she thought she was in love with. Personally, I think this gives a very interesting duality. Not only does she exude confidence and contentment in being "one of the guys", but we also see her display a more gentler side of her nature as well all while struggling to be seen as an equal in the wild west. I believe this is a rare gem in of itself simply because it's a nice representation of a strong, confident women in the 1950s and that what sets it apart from most films that were made during this era. 2. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? Doris Day was always phenomenal in every role she played and she had quite an impressive range. From light comedy to more dramatic roles, she proved that not only could she be the everyday women that was relatable, but also be the confident, sassy women that could hold her own, even with men. Sure, some of her roles seem a little too wholesome and overly optimistic at times, but that's what made her so charming and attractive as an actress. Her portrayal as the main character in Calamity Jane is a great example of all of this. Here, we see her playing a very strong, self-reliant young woman who also has sensitive side as well. We also get a chance to see her showcase and really develop her talents as a performer as well. How she branches out from a slightly demure and somewhat bubbly singer to a full blown artist is truly spectacular and also sets the tone the types of characters she played later on in her career. 3. Does Doris Day’s bright and sunny persona add or detract from the role of Calamity Jane in your opinion? Please defend your answer. Honestly, I believe bright and sunny persona adds to the charm of the character itself. It provides more of a balance to rougher edges of the character. It shows that despite the fact that Calamity Jane is a rough-and-tumble kind of gal, her over-whelming optimism is what drives her to keep going and pursue her goals even in the face of adversity. It also adds a sense of sweetness and believability that really makes her a bit more relatable in some aspects.
  8. 1. 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? Not only is the scene putting emphasizes on the themes of being community driven and offering inclusion, but it also points out the theme of the world-is-your-oyster mentality. The possibilities seem absolutely limitless and everything is viewed with a sense of positivity and endless enthusiasm. Which makes sense since World War II had finally ended and the Allied Powers won. I can see why people were so excited about the aspect of a glittering and bright future after everything seemed so bleak the decade before. As we can see in the scene that's laid out, we watch as each of the characters interact with other in a seemingly warm and playful way. Each displaying their own set of little quips and sense of humorous interplay as the musical routine progresses. We also get to see the theme of unity being played out all throughout the scene as well. The way each character has a chance to showcase their own unique talents and have their moment to shine in the spotlight while still being able to work together in a cohesive unit is quite apparent. I feel like we don't get to see that a whole lot in some of the earlier films because most of the focus was on the performance element itself rather than the hull of the storyline. 2. What do you notice about the costuming of the characters that indicate cohesiveness of the ensemble, as opposed to setting anyone apart? Be specific. Even though, the costuming itself seems a little plain, the indication of cohesiveness lies within the coordination of the color scheme and the patterning itself. As we can see from the clip, the three male characters all have very well tailored jackets which are tied together with a complementary color scheme of both light and dark blues and a very neutral gray tone. Nanette Fabray's costume is also in the same neutral gray tone and is also very well fitted which is essentially the defining piece that ties everything together. The uniqueness of these seemingly plain clothes also puts an emphasis on the individuality of each character as well. We can see that the characters have very distinct personalities despite their consistency as a cohesive unit and this is due to their costuming. For example, Nanette Fabray's costume is a nice, ordinary white blouse matched with a patterned gray and white skirt along with a single red flower essentially makes her character pop from the other three male characters. Although we can clearly see that she is the only women in the group, her costume still gives her a sense of an individual personality while still being apart of a unit. The same goes for Jack Buchanan's costume as well. In his case, we can see that he is wearing a light blue jacket with a gray ascot indicating that he is not only that he is a serious artist, but also some what pretentious. This being said, gives his character a sense of individualism that is quite unique and therefore makes him stand even more than Nanette Fabray's character, but is still enough to blend in with the rest of the group. All in all, the characters do have a chance to stand out as individuals, but only enough to be distinguished from each other and not from the group itself. 3. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? In this clip, we get to see how each character works together to make the other better while still being put on equal footing. After all, the routine itself is reinforcing the idea of unity and harmony. We get to see this idea put to work by how the characters interact with one other in a very light and humorous tone as well as having a chance to demonstrate their talents as performers. For example, I believe this is best exhibited in both the acrobatic display and the old vaudevillian comedy routine. In the acrobatic routine, we see the characters help each other and work together to form a very impressive gymnastic display only to be thwarted by Levant stepping towards the front of the camera to reveal that it's just a cleverly planned illusion. We also get to see this same idea repeated in the clever use of illusion, pantomime and sight gags as displayed in the vaudevillian routine. Here, we watch as Fred Astaire and Jack Buchanan pantomime a slightly more satirical version of Laurel and Hardy while Oscar Levant passes by carrying a ladder, at both ends. We then see Nannette Fabray appear to demonstrate her own unique impression of Mae West as she attempts to impress Astaire and Buchanan with her hips. Regardless of all the hullabaloo that's being displayed in this specific routine, it still gives us this sense that despite the character's different backgrounds and talents, they're still able to come together as a cohesive unit to create something fabulous, remarkable, eye-catching, and overall, just plain fun.
  9. 1. 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? The song simply expresses and acknowledges Petunia's utter love and devotion to Little Joe despite how he's treated her in the past. We can see from the beginning of the scene as she rushes to her husband's bedside when she discovers he's alive and well after suffering a near fatal gunshot wound. She continually proclaims her praises and affirmations to God for answering her prayers to save Little Joe regardless of his wandering ways. As she begins singing her song to display her overwhelming joy and happiness, we cut and see an angel appear in a white soldier's uniform to not only reaffirm Petunia's faith and commitment to Little Joe but also to God as well. As the scene transitions from Joe's bedside to their front yard, we then see Petunia hanging laundry while tending to Little Joe. While she's takes down her washing, she sings her song once again to express her feelings of glee and happiness. These feelings are conveyed through her actions as well. The way she flirts a little when she takes up the washing to how she ever so lovingly hangs Joe's shirt around her neck represents the fact that she can even be happy while doing hard work because Little Joe loves her now. 2. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? Culturally speaking, I don't think the meaning of the song would change very much mainly because the song is about acceptance and unconditional love, but the way the song is conveyed would be much different. It would be articulated in a softer and more nurturing tone indicating warmth and maternal splendor both in action and visually. She would be rocking a child in her arms and slowly stealing soft glances as she lulls the child to sleep while singing this song. It would've been simply beautiful. 3. What other thoughts do you have about this film, the issues of black Americans during WWII, and this film’s importance in this era? I know that this film was definitely significant in displaying an all-black cast just like its predecessor Hallelujah! did several years before. It also highlighted the significance of inclusion and recognition of African-American performers as well as countless of African-Americans who voluntarily served in the war during this time. I know that before America's involvement in World War II, both President Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, were strong advocates for racial equality especially when the war effort came about. This film not only exemplifies that, but also focuses the importance of hope, complexities of human relationships, temptation, unconditional love, forgiveness, redemption, and most importantly, devotion and faith in God.
  10. 1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. In terms of shooting and editing for this sequence, everything's just laid out perfectly. The way the wide and close-ups coincide with the actions being conveyed and the way they were initially shot really exhibits the set-up of the scene itself. As we can see from the very beginning, Betty Garrett's character, Shirley is obviously quite interested in Frank Sinatra's character, almost to a point were it becomes increasingly uncomfortable to watch. The best way this sense of discomfort and practically claustrophobic feeling is conveyed visually, is by highlighting the series of close-up shots of the actors throughout the entire scene. Seeing these tight close-up shots of both characters, the audience can clearly see that Sinatra's character is definitely disturbed and is desperately trying to seek escape from Shirley's clutches. That, along with the panning shots in the opening sequence, and the wide shots of her physically chasing him through out the scene, perfectly articulates that her intentions are those of a domineering and predatory nature. Even the composition of how the shots are cut plays in perfectly not only with the structure of the musical sequence, but also with the comedic timing and relation to the film's overall theme of baseball. The shot where she demands him to "play ball" with her and then cuts to him actually throwing a ball to her, demonstrates this clever example of carefully composed and ultimately playful sense of timing while still coinciding with the main theme is executed quite brilliantly. 2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? Well, we can tell from the scene's initial set-up that something musically related is about to happen. From Sinatra's cheery and overall confident disposition as he's exiting the locker room, we begin to see that something dramatic is going to happen in order to disrupt it. Sure enough, the abhorrent obstacle emerges itself in the form of Betty Garrett who is obviously attempting to make her motives known as she tries to pursue him. As she continues to chase him down the hall and into the ballpark, we begin to hear the faints sounds of a musical soundtrack slowly creep up into the background and then overtly progress, gives the audience the indication that a full blown musical number is about to begin.
  11. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? Like everyone else, the very first Judy Garland film I ever saw was The Wizard of Oz. I was about eight years old and my parents and I were in the local Rent-A-Center to purchase some furniture. I was extremely bored like most eight year olds would be in this type of situation, so I went to look for something to do while my parents were talking to the salesman. Right away, I noticed that they were playing a movie on one of the television displays and so I plopped myself on one of the chairs and watched it. That movie was The Wizard of Oz and I was totally captured by it. I remember being completely dazzled while watching Dorothy being taken on a wild adventure with The Scarecrow, The Tin-Man, and The Cowardly Lion. And Judy's portrayal of Dorothy was quite amazing too. Not only could she mesmerize you with her singing abilities, but acting abilities were quite exceptional as well. Especially, when she sang "Some where Over the Rainbow". It was so sweet and sincere just like the character herself. Ever since that day, I've been in love with Judy ever since. 2. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? Even after reviewing the clips, I really don't view her too much differently than I did when I was a child. In fact, I was actually dazzled by her even more. I mean, you can really see her growth as a performer evolve quite vastly in both clips and that was only in a couple of years as well. Which only pinpoints the fact that she truly had talent, both as a performer and an actress. You can also see how versatile she is in both performances and that she could definitely hold her own with the likes of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. I can see why she was considered to be the ultimate triple-threat at that time, she had everything you can possible imagine in a performer and she even had star quality to match. That's why when I watch her films now, I'm still completely captivated by her just as I was when I first saw her in The Wizard of Oz as a child. 3. 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? Like most people, the most significant film that come to mind when thinking of Judy would probably be A Star is Born. Mainly because her performance in that film is just so powerful, especially vocally. You can really tell that she's giving the audience her all in every musical performance and that she was definitely happy to be back on the screen again. I honestly think it was one of the best vehicles used for staging such a miraculous comeback and not only for showcasing all of her talents, but also showcasing the fact that she still had it and was even better than ever before.
  12. 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. Well, at the beginning of the scene, we open up with the main character of George M. Cohan coming to the White House to meet the President. Right away, the audience is introduced to the two most significant symbols in America. The White House, which is represents our country's freedom and sense of democracy. And, the President himself, which represents not only leadership but the consciousness and affirmation of the American people. Pretty good setup so far, huh? As the scene progresses, we see George having a conversation with the butler about the good old days as he shows him to the Oval office. Along the way, we see the paintings of past Presidents on the wall which represents our country's past victories and achievements and that we as a Americans should take pride in how far our country has progressed even with the threat of impeding war looming at our doorstep. When George finally arrives at the Oval office to meet the President, we can see that he wears an expression of reverence and gratitude as he shakes the President's hand. This not only represents his own sense of honor at having the privilege of meeting the President, but also is a visual representation of how all Americans should treat the President with honor and respect despite our own personal viewpoints and affiliations. We also notice that George displays the pride he has in his country by wearing an American flag pin on his lapel which shows that as a Americans, we should not only take pride in our country, but also not be afraid to express it openly. As we watch the scene progress, we are led into a conversation held between the President and Cohan as they both express not only their own achievements but also their love of country and how they've both managed to make an impact in it despite their different backgrounds. Both being quintessential examples of how the American dream of success can be achieved whether you're placed at the bottom or the top. At the height of their conversation, we are then led into a flashback as Cohan discusses the beginnings of his humble origins on the day of a fourth of July parade where his father was putting on a performance while eagerly waiting for the arrival of his son. His excitement heightened not only by the prospect of being an expectant father, but also by the fact that as an Irish immigrant, his son has the privilege of being born in a country like America. Which is another visual representation of how we as Americans should be thankful that we have the privilege and opportunity to live in a country like America despite our origins or backgrounds. All of this in culmination with the biographical content, is a perfect way to not only open the beginning of the story, but also to boost audience moral with an extraordinary sense of patriotism and national pride right from the get-go. 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. Roosevelt: "That's one thing I've always admired about you Irish Americans. You carry your love of country just like a flag, right out in the open. It's a great quality." Cohan: "I inherited that, got that from my father. He ran away to the Civil War when he was thirteen. Proudest kid in the whole state of Massachusetts ." Not only is dialogue patriotic through and through, but also reinforces the idea of unity and pride in serving your country whether it be contributing through work or military service. Everyone's efforts were important. Roosevelt's statement about Irish Americans was a way to promote diversity and inclusion on the part of all immigrants living in America at the time. To emphasize the fact of what they contributed to the economy and how proud they were to be able to have the opportunity to do so. Cohan's statement also emphasizes this fact as well too. That the love he conveyed for his country was something that was instilled in him from an early age and also stemmed from his father's pride in contributing and serving his country through military service. Which was another perfect way to boost the audience's morale since America was going into the war at the time this film was released. 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. The opening scene with Cohan meeting Roosevelt was very important because it establishes who Cohan is as a person and what he contributed to American society during his lifetime and how influential it really was. If the film were to open at the parade scene it would've taken the audience a lot longer to figure out what was going on and who Cohan essentially was.
  13. 1. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? It's very plain to see that Astaire's character is trying very hard to woo Rogers' character, but she somewhat apprehensive about the prospect of being in a relationship. This is mainly due to the fact the Astaire character simply sees her as nothing but a woman and therefore must fill the conventional role. Based on this and the fact that he may never truly see her as an equal, she attempts to resist his advances. But, it isn't until they dance together in a seemingly simplistic fashion, that actually begin to see each other as equals and truly connect with one another. 2. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? It's formatted as more a screwball comedy rather than just the typical song-and-dance routine that was exhibited in most musicals. By highlighting the use of comedic routines along with the music and dance routines, Top Hat was truly unique and definitely stood out over typical musicals of the era. 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? Well, as I believe someone already said, screwball comedy is about the unexpected and a role reversal of the typical archetypes between men and women definitely would've been unexpected. It also was a time when women were just starting to go into the workforce due to the Depression so maybe film studios wanted to explore the comedic side of that as well.
  14. 1. 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)? It's pretty obvious that Lubitsch had quite a knack for subtle humor and sensual innuendo as well as sharp visual wit. The way he manipulates the flow of the scene with just a few props and limited dialogue is quite impressive considering this was when sound films were just starting. It's quite apparent he got his start in the silent era because the scene mainly plays out like a silent film normally would with the way the actors still use their slightly exaggerated expressions along with somewhat overt movements and actions to match. The use of props in this scene is also executed very brilliantly. From the introduction of the garter to the use of a gun as one of many now safely locked in a drawer, to a subtle implication of martial woes through a women's stuck zipper, all give way to the fact that the main character is a charming yet some what gilded philanderer who's obviously had some experience. And, Lubitsch executes all of this so properly and precisely that it's quite fantastic to watch. 2. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. The use of the sound is quite limited but effective for the most part. Especially the way the sound of the gun that female character uses in the scene is manipulated to seem somewhat muffled rather than amplified almost as if to already indicate the possibility that she might be using a pop gun filled with caps rather than a real gun and that her apparent suicide is actually staged. Of course, we find out that this actually is the case and the rest of the scene plays out quite comically. 3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? I would expect to see more of the somewhat comical and cynical outlook of poking fun at the rich and elite. After all, morale during the Depression was quite low since it was difficult to find work and money was quite scarce. So, by providing the image of opulence and playful extravagance in light comedic fare, the audience was able to escape from the looming drudgery and into their own fantasies.
  15. 1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? In the first clip, the characters seem to be quite playful in their interactions with the sense of flirtation that's being presented in the scene. The subtle humor and cheeky banter indicate that although on the surface they may seem ambivalent towards one another in reality, they're simply masking their true feelings for each other. Plus the fact that Nelson Eddy's character sort toys with Jeanette MacDonald's character by dropping that line about how he used his love song to woo other woman and couldn't get it past one of them indicates that he's starting to feel comfortable enough around her to slightly push the boundaries of his ribbing. In the second clip, the intensity of their relationship is put to the test when Nelson Eddy's character conveniently shows up at the Saloon where Jeanette MacDonald's just happens to be working and clearly isn't doing too well at it either. While the character of Sergeant Bruce displays the fact that he can be a lady's man, he looks on to see Rose Marie painfully struggling to perform her classical rendition of the Sophie Tucker's "Some of These Days" to a less than enthusiastic crowd. When she finally notices him, her already mortifying discomfort transitions to utter shock and sheer embarrassment. Yet, she keeps pushing on like a trooper even though she's clearly dying up there. To make matters worse, when the bar maid comes up to take over and give the number a little more pep, it's more than apparent that she doesn't fit in but like any good trooper, she's still keeps pushing on to prove that she can be just as good as the rest of them. This in turn, causes her to win the admiration (and some what pity) of Sergeant Bruce for her audacity to keep on going despite being in an uncomfortable situation. 2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. Honestly, I've never really seen either one of these actors, (even though I've heard of Jeanette MacDonald), but they both seem to be quite gifted and talented performers. And, their singing voices are simply incredible to listen to. They just mesh so well together and their chemistry is obviously palpable. I can seen why they were both paired together in more than one film. Guess I'll have to go check out their films now. 3. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? It's obvious that there is a very clear sense of decency being depicted here in both clips as far as courtship is concerned. How the characters interactions with one another is displayed as being very proper and well intentioned even though the main male character is a bit of playboy and the main female character is some what snobbish, it still works out because they're both equally matched and can't fight the overwhelming sense of attraction. Plus you can't deny that chemistry, right? I actually do expect to see more male/female relationships to depicted like this in films under the code especially from this era specifically because after the seemingly questionable moral standards of the pre-code era, the Hollywood Film Code was created and enforced to encourage a more wholesome image for the public to embrace and ultimately fashion themselves after. This was especially important where young people were concerned since they made up the majority of audiences that were filling up the movie houses. By using characters like that Of Sergeant Bruce and Rose Marie as example to depict what a proper relationship with opposite sex should be like, there was hope that young people would be able to develop a sense of morality and ethics in order to avoid making the same mistakes of their predecessors. At least, that was the idea. Although, there was seemingly good intentions behind the development of the film code, unfortunately, many studios used it as a way to control and take advantage of the actors/actresses that were contracted under them.
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