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About SusanAW

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  1. Other aspects I see of the battle of the sexes in Top Hat are the strong women making her own way, he is wooing but she takes up his offer and makes it a sort-of challenge match him step for step and finally the dress of each character being similar suggests and equally you haven’t seen in other films. Top Hat distinguishes itself from other movies from the depression era we have watched or discussed earlier this week by changing the male/female characters roles. Previously the men and women have had more traditional roles (boy helps girl) this scenario has the boy and girl on a more even field he needs to not just pursue her but meet her expectations. Also this film uses the musical numbers to advance the story. The clip we saw today moves the relationship forward because of the dance not just as an entertaining dance number within the story. The dance number also was more intimate than many of the larger grand stage numbers we have seen earlier this week. I believe some reasons for the changes in roles between men and women in the screwball comedy musicals that distinguishe themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930’s are the times. Many women had to step up and help their families with income wherever possible to get by in the depression. I believe women were becoming more self sufficient which led to confidence and a new way to view themselves. An earlier post spoke of actresses becoming more popular with audiences giving them the power to take on stronger roles. This coincides with my point and seems like a natural progression. Really enjoying these discussions! Thanks to everyone who are posting.
  2. What I noticed about the “Lubitsch touch” or his show-and-tell storytelling was how he used the props such as the garter, gun, door handles and the Ladies zipper to tell the story even though we are on the outside looking in (with the use of French dialogue). His speaking directly to the audience was as if to keep us up on what’s going on. Understanding of Alfred’s character was portrayed through the props, i.e. the garter that clearly didn’t belong to the lady & drawer full of guns clearly telling us he’s been in this situation before as well as easily zipping the dress her husband cannot; through the staging by clueing us into his economic status as well as having a man servant; finally the dialogue, he is amused by her jealous talk, cool under fire of being caught, eye rolls. Some things I noticed about the scenes use of sound are the French dialogue which kept the viewer at arms length from the characters allowing us to hear but not be apart of the scene. This aided the comedic amusement factor because I wasn’t invested in the characters so I was able to see the situations funny side even though most wouldn’t be amused in that situation. The sound of the husband coming down the hall then the door knobs moving and rattling added to the tension, suspense and anticipation of the scene or gave it depth. Even the silence after the ambassador walked in added because you could see he was in trouble. The themes or approaches I might anticipate in other Depression-era musicals are not to take life to seriously, adultery is amusing, poking fun of the wealthy, showing the wealthy as silly or bumbling, charm can cover bad behavior, the excesses of the wealthy.
  3. 1. What I noticed about the characters in these two scenes... clip #1: The two characters are affected by each other but prefer to hide it from the other. In this clip she is faced away from him so you can see her face but her words don’t reflect her feelings. She is obviously trying to keep him at a distance while finding him appealing. He is pursuing but holding back as reflected in being caught using his song as some sort of “form letter” he puts different women’s name into like a pick up line. They are interested but holding back for their own reasons/agenda. Clip #2: This time the characters are put in a vulnerable position. She trying to earn money and clearly out of her element, getting coaching from the piano player. She is also embarrassed he is seeing her doing this and not well. He embarrassed for her in her position. They avoid eye contact while clearly being drawn to the other. 2. Do not remember seeing these actors previously. The clips makes me curious and I want to see the film. 3. What do these clips say about male/female relationships as depicted in the films of this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? The relationships of male/female characters are hands off. The double entendres and word play as well as facial expressions are meant to tell the story more than physical contact. The relationships are more puritanical or expected to be. The norms expected are a lightness to the relationships, more innocent in nature. Girls should be wholesome. Bad girls are vulger, crude and morally bad characters. Hands off, not as much physical touching. Lots of cheek to cheek.
  4. I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. You can tell those who have seen the movie and those who haven’t. For those who haven’t don’t judge the 3 hr movie by this one clip, it’s pretty good. Also the movie was made just 4 yrs after Ziegfeld’s death, that’s pretty quick. His wife Billie Burke was the main powerhouse behind the film being made. So I wondered how much of the story sanitizing was her doing besides the Movie Codes in place. 1. I agree the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic. Why? The tone is light hearted and happy. The people are generally from the wealthier class, we don’t see or hear their troubles in the clip. The costumes are fancy dress and the song is light hearted and flirty. 2. Themes I might anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals are romantic entanglements, power and influence, money & success, grandness, beauty moves you forward to success, pull yourself to success through cleverness and/or determination. 3. My imagination is quite good, so I can easily imagine this film or script clip differently had it been done pre-code. As many others have stated, the costuming would have been more risqué, more skin on show. I also think the choreography of the number would have reflected the double entendre in the lyrics. The dressing room scene would be more provocative. The men would have been in or by her dressing room. I believe the interaction of the men in competition would have been scripted differently, however I like the way that part was filmed. The film would have had the freedom to be more realistic (Ziegfeld’s big personality, his interactions with others especially women, and his shows) pre-code but based on the fact Billie Burke was behind the film leads me to think that wouldn’t necessarily have happened.
  5. Like many of you, I grew up watching old movies, especially musicals. So many favorites from Holiday Inn to Grease it’s hard to choose, however, Guys and Dolls stands out as a favorite I go back to over and over. First saw the stage show (my sister was in it) when I was about 10. The following weekend the movie was on TV. I was mesmerized. I like the people or characters, the best can fail and those we expect to be bad can surprise us. It moved me then and still resonates. I also like the club numbers (so fun) and the costumes. So excited for this class!
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