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  1. 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? The way the scene opens is reminiscent of the older musicals with the vaudeville, cute kids performing and putting on an act show. However, as the scene plays the curtain is pulled back and the new disruption comes from the brash, aggressive entrance by Russell (something not many old musicals had). The best example of disruption is the full force of Mama Rose and her stage mother role. 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. She comes in no holds bar. Takes complete control of the scene and no man can stop her. 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). I feel there is a double entendre to the song completely. When the kids sing it they are doing it in play. However, when Louise sings it as an adult it takes on a whole new sexy meaning.
  2. I believe Jimmy Stewart's character was a baseball player NOT football player. But yes there was a bleachers scene so that is awesome!
  3. Good News: Connie Lane: Gee, I wish someone loved me like you love you! Connie Lane: Why don't you just hit her over the head with a hockey stick? Singin' in the Rain: Don Lockwood: [desperately] Hey, Cos! Do something! Call me a cab! Cosmo Brown: OK, you're a cab. Don Lockwood: [unimpressed] Thanks a lot! Cosmo Brown: Gee, I'm glad you turned up, we've been looking inside every cake in town. The Unsinkable Molly Brown: Molly Brown: It's not the money I love, it's the not having it I hate. Molly Brown: [in France] Here I'm pleasant, at home I'm vulgar, I guess it's like here you eat snails, at home you step on them.
  4. 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? It's an artsy film. Less realism the better especially in a ballet. Not a favorite of mine. 2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? He seems very friendly with the locals and has a skip in his step. Clearly he has had art students come around and critique his art acting like the most respected, knowledgeable art critics in the world, so after awhile I'd be annoyed too. Plus they don't buy anything. Gene Kelly can play cad but he never fully succumbs.
  5. 1. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? O'Connor is the fun, jokester character. Rolls his eyes, makes funny faces and is goofing off. Kelly is more composed and masculine in his composure but even he is starting to cave to O'Connor's fun antics. This goes right into their dancing techniques. O'Connor the hoofer, arms flailing around, moving with full abandonment and quite exaggerated. Kelly is more composed, arms go with the choreography and has crisp, controlled and composed movements. 2. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. The professor keeps a straight face and ensures all the attention is on O'Connor and Kelly. He only comes into play when Kelly and O'Connor want him too and doesn't detracted or pull focus off the dance. Unless you focus on him, the professor is not the one you should be looking at. 3. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? O'Connor is the more feminine of the 3 men. He is batting his eyes and plays the scene for the laugh even upstaging Kelly (which I love). Kelly to me is the masculine, confident man. Knowing he was a bit arrogant, task master and thought highly of himself makes me like O'Connor a bit more and so my focus is on Donald more (plus the way Kelly treated Debbie Reynolds behind the scenes always irks me). The professor is a stuffy man. No real sense of humor and takes everything, including his job, too seriously.
  6. 2. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? Strong female role breaking a bit from the stereotypical glamour, sex sells woman look that many musicals were using. Calamity Jane along with Annie Oakley were strong women who didn't mind getting rough and downright dirty. They held their own with the men and this sometimes made them outcasts with men but mainly with other women. They could be feminine on their own terms but they were much more comfortable as tomboys. 2. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? In her earlier musicals like Romance on the High Seas and My Dream is Yours, Day played these young wide-eyed women looking for stardom. Fresh behind the ears and single-facetted. As she aged, she was given great dramatic roles like in Young Man with a Horn and The Winning Team but Warner Bros knew that the money making was in her light and cheery musicals. So at first they casted her back as the woman looking for fame like in Tea for Two and then tried to capitalize on MGMs success with Meet Me in St Louis by putting Day in period musicals like On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. I feel Calamity Jane was the real breakout role she needed to have clout in picking the films she ended up making later. By her amazing portrayal in Jane, Day went on to make films that really showed her range as an actress even if singing was involved. Love Me or Leave Me, Young at Heart, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and even Pajama Game showed her as a strong woman with an edge. A raw nerve that when exposed showed depth and range. They were more complex roles which would lead her into the "Sex" comedies of the late 50s such as Pillow Talk. I'm a huge Doris Day fan and have seen all her movies but these films of hers in the 50s are the golden ones of her career in my opinion. 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. I think it adds to the role. Calamity Jane, the real life person, was a performer in Wild Bill's Wild West Show and was said to be quite compassionate. I think Day captures this quality well. Day always seems to be shining for the performance which a great performer does. Day makes Jane truly likable even if she can come off vulgar holding her own in a man's world.
  7. 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? It's not a flashy scene. It's very relaxed. They look like they are all having fun and are good friends comfortable with each other. They are mindful of each other so the playful back and forth flows nicely. 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. The color pallet works nicely together and is not flashy but more toned down colors (grays and blues). Oscar and Nanette are both in gray showing a connection. 3. What do you notice about the staging and interplay between the characters that helps define the relationships between the characters in the song? Oscar is shown as being the clown and joking around which identifies his character's personality. Nanette holds her own in the boys club even though Oscar tries to upstage her at the end. Fred as always is very classy.
  8. 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? Petunia loves her husband and is showing him that his love is all she needs to have a happy life. Doing the household chores and showing that time has elapsed and Joe is healthy enough to come outside shows us that she is happy just being Joe's wife. 2. How would the song change if it was a woman singing about her child? Does the cultural meaning change? How? I don't think the meaning changes culturally I think the way it's sung changes. The scene would have been shot differently but as we can see Ethel's version sung to her husband and Judy Garland's version sung to her son are the same song but sung in different tones and accentuations. 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? It's a beautiful film and beautifully directed by Vincente Minnelli. It hopefully helped to boast racial integration for WWII and limit the the unfortunate stereotypes.
  9. God bless the DVR! Grant it I own most of these movies (especially the Judy Garland/June Allyson ones), I'm just too lazy to find them and play them on my dvd/bluray player. I'm seeing a trend as in most of the films are MGM. I think I'll try to watch some Doris Day ones as well (she was Warner Bros except for Take Me or Leave Me). The 40s and the 50s musicals are my favorite!
  10. 1. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. It's an act/react game of cat and mouse. For every action a reaction occurs from throwing a ball to the blocking of walkway making the character zig when the woman zags. 2. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? It's a game of cat and mouse. The music sounds after a movement and announces Betty Garrett's character from the beginning. Just by hearing the music and watching the chase begin you know the characters are going to break into song soon.
  11. 1. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? This is going to sound cliche but of course it was The Wizard of Oz. A must see and share for every child. My mother made sure I got an early start. I wanted to be her and help her as Dorothy. Her innocence when singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow made me believe in the possibilities of a happy, magical place. Later I would go on to watch every one of her movies. 2. How do you view her differently after viewing these clips than you might have viewed her previously? She grew into a beautiful songstress and quite the hoofer! She didn't do much dancing in the Wizard of Oz but her dancing is on par with some of the greats in her later movies. In fact, I believe Gene Kelly is stated as saying she was one of his favorite dance partners. And her acting, which always took a back seat to her beautiful voice, is impeccable. In movies like The Clock, A Star is Born, or Judgement at Nuremberg you see just how brilliant an actress she could be. 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? I always think about her performances in A Star is Born and I could Go On Singing as some of her finest and heart-wrenching pieces. The Born in a Trunk song is such a powerful piece and is sung with such conviction because it was Judy. Same goes with I could Go On Singing. Even the animated film Gay Puree, when she sings Little Drops Of Rains you feel for the character even if it is an animated cat lol.
  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 it opens in the White House talking to the president so I'd say that's about as patriotic as you can get! With the addition of the pictures of past presidents alining the walls as Cohan goes up the stairs, followed by the dialogue talking about how his father ran out and joined the Civil War without hesitation, you could hear the importance of America to Cohan and his family. Once we see the flashback scene with all the flags and parade we know were in for a very patriotic film. 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. When Cohan states his father was willing to run out and fight during the civil war and how the president says that Cohan is the best representation of American values even portraying the President is a compliment to him. 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 don't think the movie would be as well celebrated on patriotic holidays like the Fourth of July like it is now. It would just feel like another bio pic like "Till the Clouds Roll By" or "Words and Music". Both these films are not as celebrated and kind of get lost. The president added heart and gave purpose to the flashback story and Cohan was celebrated for his patriotism.
  13. 1. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? I didn't really see all that many aspects of the battle of the sexes. I mean Fred did the singing and leading in all aspects. While Ginger did meet him move for move I guess the handshake and the outfit were all that made her stand out as a supposed "equal". It's progress but still the man makes the calls. 2. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week?Ginger Rodgers is shown here as a stronger more independent kind of woman not just a pretty face. Different kind of wooing is needed as she is not a damsel in distress, down on her luck. 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? Women were becoming more active in the workforce and at home especially with WWII around the corner. Mens roles were pretty consistent: soldier, playboy, performer, etc. However, you had some amazingly strong portrayals of women coming out in the movies thanks to actresses like Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Kathrine Hepburn, and Viven Leigh. No more women as conquests, these women were strong, charismatic, charming, and independent.
  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)? Since most of the dialogue is either in French or English with a very thick French accent the props and mannerisms were key to identifying that Alfred is a ladies man. Lover of the finest things in life and I pretty smooth operator. By visually panning through with the camera, were able to see the unclaimed garter, the "gun" drawer and hanging picture showing what kind of bachelor pad this apartment is and just what kind of hobby Alfred is good at. 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 muffling or pop of the gun was almost comically unrealistic as if to show that Alfred is in no real serious threat. 3. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? Lavish lifestyles, glitz and glamour, and excess living (all great for escapism during a difficult period like the Great Depression)
  15. 1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. Per the musical formula of the times, boy meets girl, boy tries to woo girl, girl plays hard to get until proven she is vulnerable and then boy woos again and succeeds. Eddy tries to impress Rose Marie with his singing in order to compete with the guy she is going to meet and ends up with egg on his face when she figures out his flirting routine. However, in the next clip we see MacDonald stepping out of her comfort zone and showing her vulnerability, bowing out to the better voice for the song type. Now it's time for Eddy to make his move again but with a better outcome. I think MacDonald did a beautiful job conveying her embarrassment and defeat. 2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. While I heard of Eddy and Macdonald, I have never actually watched their films or listened to their music. When listening to coloratura sopranos I prefer Jane Powell or Kathryn Grayson. After seeing these clips though I look forward to catching some of their films on TCM especially for MacDonald whom seems very earnest in her acting. 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? Men are always shown holding some powerful, almost royal type position (mountie, famous producer/director, soldier, etc). A position that gives them respect. Women however are always seen as good or bad girl, secretary, saloon girl, house wife, looking for a husband or wealth, and meek, unable to face challenges without a strong man behind them. So glad there were actresses like Kathrine Hepburn and Claudette Colbert who would go against these stereotypes. Pushing back towards the man. Unfortunately though the code always won so we'd get that they lived happily ever after bit at the end.
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