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Breanna M

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  1. Hi! I'm a new Backlot member and I would really be interested in a Pittsburgh chapter! Has a chapter in Pittsburgh been developed yet?
  2. 1. This scene is not overly visually demanding, so every shot has an action (Frank throwing the ball to Betty, Betty picking him up, etc.) that you really focus on. Thinking like a director or editor, I think this simplistic style really helps to make sure that the song and the interaction between the characters is the main focus of the scene, rather than an intricate dance sequence that distracts from their interactions. 2. This sequence does not really prepare us for singing, it pretty much just starts. The only real indication that the viewer has that there is about to be a song is Betty Garrett walking in perfect time with the music in the background.
  3. 1. The first Judy Garland film I recall watching, like most, is The Wizard of Oz. I was immediately taken with her; she just had this presence that demands your attention, even if you aren't necessarily old enough to analytically understand that or comprehend why at the time. Every scene she was in, your eyes automatically went to her. 2. I view Judy Garland with even more respect and admiration than I did before watching these clips. I was familiar with the clip from For Me and My Gal, by I had not seen the one from Easter Parade. Having the two side by side really helped me to compare how she could be funny, but also sweet and continue to demand your attention no matter how small an action she was performing. She also shows more of that adult maturity in her emotions that we are on the cusp of in The Wizard of Oz, where she is still a kid playing a kid, but in these roles, she is a young adult playing and portraying the complexity of a young adult. It's really amazing how she can do it all, and do it all so well. 3. The biggest example that pops to my mind as an example of her increasing ability to capture the audience's attention is her performance of "Get Happy" in Summer Stock. That is such a visually simple scene, but she makes it everything. The way she dances, the way she sings, and the way she reacts to the things going on around her without every losing her flow makes it all look so effortless and impossible to tear your eyes off of.
  4. 1. There was no shortage of patriotic symbolism in this short clip. As Cohan is being walked up the stairs at the very beginning of the clip, there are paintings of several past presidents lining the walls. Also, more of the scene seems to have an American flag in it than does not. By showing these symbols of American heritage, it promotes patriotism both explicitly and subliminally. 2. The one line that particularly struck me in terms of boosting morale is when Cohan and the man escorting him up the stairs are talking about the song "It's A Grand Old Flag" and Cohan says it's still a great song after all this time. That really plays into the idea of using symbolism of shared American heritage to inspire patriotism and support for the war effort. 3. There was so much uncertainty during the war that I think starting the movie with Cohan visiting FDR in the Oval Office and then working backwards removes that uncertainty as you know there will be a happy ending, as opposed to starting it at the parade and having that uncertainty as to how the story will end if you are unfamiliar with Cohan's life.
  5. 1. Another big aspect of the battle of the sexes that stuck out to me in this clip was the fact that Ginger was wearing pants. At the time, this was fairly taboo for women to do; I always enjoy the stories of Katharine Hepburn being controversial for doing just that. In dressing in a way that parallels Fred, Ginger plays into that battle of sexes and the sense of establishing a level of equality and mutual respect between the two. 2. I think this film really distinguishes itself from the other Depression era musicals we have watched this week in the fact that while it is a man trying to woo a woman, it is done in a much different way. Ginger is really presented as Fred's equal. You have some doubt as to whether or not Fred's attempt will be successful as Ginger is so fiercely independent as compared with the portrayal of Anna in The Great Ziegfeld or Marie in Rose Marie. 3. I think one of the biggest reasons that we see this change in the portrayal of women in screwball comedies is the necessity for women to take on what were traditionally masculine roles to keep their families afloat during the Great Depression. In that way, seeing the women of Hollywood taking on masculine traits or appearances made the situation of women in real life doing so more comfortable, for lack of a better word.
  6. 1. One of the images that struck us the most was when Alfred opens the drawer and puts the gun in and there are several other guns already in the drawer. In that way, I noticed that the Lubitsch touch is much more about visual humor or suggestion than verbal, as there was very little dialogue or noise in the clip. This visual suggestion was also shown with Albert holding the garter and the woman needing her dress zipped up. 2. I found it fascinating that there was so little dialogue in the clip, and there was also barely any background music. The one line of dialogue that really stuck out to me is when Albert does break that fourth wall, telling the audience that "She's terribly jealous." I think this line adds to the scene's effectiveness because it makes it clear from the outset that this is supposed to be comedic. Otherwise, the scene would have been incredibly dramatic, but that quick line makes it funny and ensures that the audience knows it is supposed to be. 3. I might anticipate to see the theme of portraying a dramatic situation in a light way in other Depression-era musicals. The situation in the scene is certainly dramatic, and would fit well in a drama, but it is handled in a light and comedic way, which continues to provide that escapism that movies served during the Depression.
  7. 1. From these two interactions, I notice that MacDonald and Eddy's characters have a real chemistry. I found it really amusing when Marie was mocking Sergeant Bruce after he sang to her, and then said Caroline instead of Rose Marie. It did not feel mean-spirited, rather it had a very light, joking feel to it. Despite their joking, you could tell the two cared for each other, whether or not they knew it yet. In the second clip, you also see this deeper respect between the characters in the way that Sergeant Bruce looks proud of Marie's attempts to mimic the other singer. It really makes the interactions between the two characters deeper and more meaningful. 2. The only other movie I have seen this pair in is 1942's I Married An Angel. In that film, I also really noticed that chemistry and comfort the two had with one another. They were incredibly convincing as a couple, and had that same level of deeper respect for one another we see in these clips. 3. These clips tell me that male/female relationships in films of this era are depicted as much more proper, with a respectable courtship and a lack of inappropriate advances or use of innuendo. We also definitely noticed the impact of the code in the second clip when the other singer's dress fully covered her, unlike many of the outfits worn by women in pre-code musicals.
  8. 1. I definitely agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than is realistic. This really struck me in the relative calmness between Ziegfeld and Billings when the latter realizes that Ziegfeld is also at Anna's show. In the paragraphs before the video clip, it is explained that competition is "light-hearted and handled with a gentle touch." This is definitely true; instead of the two men engaging in a fight or heated argument, Billings looks taken aback, Ziegfeld gives him a smug look, and that is that- it feels very civil. This is also interesting to me given the parallel popularity of gangster films with musicals, as talked about in the video with Dr. Ament and Mr. Rydstrom. While gangster films frequently see tensions between characters or competitors blowing up, often fatally, I find it interesting to see this light-hearted and more fun competition in musicals of the time. 2. I might anticipate approaches to story telling of the same light-hearted nature that we see in this clip from The Great Ziegfeld. Although Anna is making a large career decision, she comes off as very casual and frankly uninterested in seriously weighing her options. In that way, it is certainly more light-hearted and differentiates it as a musical from, say, a melodrama. Going back to the video with Dr. Ament and Mr. Rydstrom, I also certainly saw the theme of "the woman's problem," the choice between career and love, that they discussed as being prevalent in not only musicals, but film as a whole. Anna seems to be choosing between career, represented by Billings, and love, represented by Ziegfeld, in this scene. 3. I think the biggest change that would have been made in this clip after the motion picture code was enforced would be that we probably would not see Anna beginning to be undressed. Also, if this were written with the motion picture code in mind, a less suggestive song for Anna to perform might be picked.
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