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Case

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Posts posted by Case

  1. I am surprised there are only one or two 20th Century Fox Musicals in this course. Granted, they are not as well done as MGM musicals, but they were very popular and in many cases, were more reflective of the social and cultural times during WWII.  Betty Grable was a big star and the pin up girl during the war. The Grable musical Pin-Up Girl (1944) has Betty working in the War Department as a secretary and singing in a club at night. The finale of the film has Betty and a hundred women in “Army” uniforms marching in formation in a Bugsby Berkley like extravaganza. This film highlights the participation of women in the war effort.  In Down Argentina Way (1940) the Good Neighbor policy of FDR is prominently featured with South American locations, music and dancing. Carmen Miranda makes an appearance in this film. And what about Alice Faye. Her Musicals were pure American Patriotism (Tin Pan Alley 1940, Alexander’s Ragtime Band 1938) and also part of the Good Neighbor Policy (Weekend in Havana 1941). The Gang’s All Here (1943) boasts wartime effort (war bond drive and women missing their men at war) and the Good Neighbor Policy (Carmen Miranda and the opening musical number with a South American cargo ship unloading in New York.  Finally, what about Four Jills and a Jeep. This is a musical based on the true experiences of Hollywood actresses entertaining troops overseas on the military bases and front lines. I think not including these films and stars misses a big part of the history of the 1940s musical.  

  2. 1.  The Wizard of Oz was my first Judy Garland movie I can recall. She was everything in that movie. Touching, funny, caring, dramatic, etc., and  she was only 16-17 when she made that film.  She showed a wide range of emotions with little acting experience or training. I think she was probably an actor who used her own personal ups and downs as resources for her acting.  I don’t think Garland fans of the 1940s  were aware of her personal struggles as fans of today are.  In 2018, Judy Garland admirers are aware of her life struggles and can see where she gets that emotional intensity in her acting and song performances such as in A Star is Born in 1954. 

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  3. I have seen Cabin in the Sky many times. It is a joy to watch. Ethel Waters is wonderful. She is the heart and soul of the film. Her singing is joyful and hopeful when her relationship with Little Joe is good and mournful and tragic when it is bad. What a performance!  Lena Horne is all sugar and spice and a temptress.  She adds these qualities to her singing in the picture.  But Ethel Waters is the star. She is the emotional heart of the film. 

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  4. The opening of Yankee Doodle Dandy (YDD) sets up the plot of th movie. Pres Roosevelt asks Cohan to tell his family’s story in show business and their patriotism.  At the end of the movie, FDR enlists Cohan’s help to continue the patriotism for the war effort.   So, the White House scenes open the story and wrap it up. I noticed that in the background in FDR’s office, it is decorated with paintings of ships and a model ship on the mantel. FDR was a huge supporter of the Navy  was served in the in the Navy Dept during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency.  That is a bit of realism. I need to do some research on FDR’s White House decor. 

  5. Ruby Keeler and Eleanor Powell are both great dancers and performers but very different styles. Keeper is more of a hoofer and a female Cagney when it comes to tapping, heavy footed and bent over.  Powell is lighter on her feet and graceful.  I know Powell is a more rounded dancer because she is more acrobatic and trained in ballet (Broadway Melody 1940).  Keeler is adorable tapping and I can see why movie goers in the 1930s loved here.  Powell is a fantastic dancer and her routines are well choreographed for her talent and abilities. I like watching her dance solo or with partners. I just wish she would keep her mouth closed more when dancing. It is distracting. Both dancers seem to enjoy performing and you can’t help enjoy watching them. Question - can anyone imagine Keeler and Powell dancing together?  

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  6. MacDonald seems more natural and free in her acting. Eddy is very stiff. I especially admire Jeanette’s facial and eye expressions as he sings to her. He is behind her in the canoe and can’t see them. She is an underrated actress. I have seen most of their pictures together and her pictures with other actors. She is great in everyone, especially San Francisco.  The best MacDonald/Eddy film is Maytime and the finale, Sweatheart.  Wow!

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