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About JoeSmith95

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  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? There’s such subtely and nuance in her performance. You get the sense that she’s coming up with this on the spot. That’s what the song is meant to do—the repetition of “people” for example harkens to someone trying to finish a thought. She’s expressing a profound idea; she’s not expressing a big emotion, say anger or fear. So belting this out in a showy way would have an entirely different, and frankly, the wrong effect. Her
  2. It looks back as it’s literally on the stage, with the proscenium and vaudeville as framing devices. It looks ahead as the song, while seemingly for the stage, is really making a story point. It explains so much about June’s upbringing, her family dynamic, and her commitment to putting on a show that continues throughout her life. She owns the stage. When you see this show performed, the show almost always stops for applause at, “sing out Louise!” Here, there’s no pause for a reaction—Russell is simply barreling ahead, spitting out dialogue at a rapid clip, overtaking all the men and chi
  3. It’s similar to today when we compare the “Chris’s” from the Marvel films vs. the Stallones and Arnolds of the 80s, the “ideal” lead goes through phases. And it’s often that it’s not just one that is preferred even at the same time. But it does, like fashion, seem to go in waves. The biggest change seems to be an increase in empathy, and an understanding that the man doesn’t know it all. Those are probably the biggest changes in not just musicals, but American film in general. Preston is truly a leading man in both performances. He commands attention of those around him, and while the ca
  4. Wow, this scene points out how sexist both of these movies are. Higgins is really despicable here, treating Eliza with such contempt and disrespect for her feelings, with little more than token empathy. In neither film are the men worthy of any trust nor love bestowed upon them. While reflective of the time of both films, it's still hard to reconcile today. Additionally, both movies are melodramatic. And both use the tight confines of a stuffed and stuffy room as settings that showcase how trapped the women feel in the space. The best is the switch from sadness and suffering to hot ange
  5. Not at all. Musicals have artifice built in from the start. Who breaks out to song, and has a backing track and tap shoes at the ready? So there’s freedom to explore and use different styles. What movies need to be is authentic and consistent to themselves. The stylized scenes in these films almost always have a setup—a dream, a production number from the show within the movie—that allow for more expressive vs. realistic approach to make a point or emphasize a feeling. First, and most simply, it’s Kelly. Whether his performance choices, or those of the director, there are subtle ways he
  6. O’Connor and Kelly are already in rhythm and in sync even before the real dancing begins. It builds slowly, starting with movement and reaction, and then finally bursting into full dance that builds and builds until the big finish. The straight man is often underrated in movies—and very much so in comedies. O’Connor’s antics don’t work without the professor’s position and almost non-reaction at times. If this were set in high school, you’d have the smart, nerdy type (prof), the class clown (O’Connor), and the all-start jock (Kelly). In other parts of this film, there’s almost an in
  7. She's somewhere in the middle. While on one hand she is an independent career woman, she also has a traditional story arc that leads her to a man and traditional wedded coupledom. Before she is often the ingenue and naive. After, she rarely is. Even as her comedic roles could be absurdly silly at times, almost always is Day either in control of the situation or at least clear eyes about it. She's always the equal to the men she stars with, and often superior to them. Doris Day's persona really adds something to the character. She was sunny, yet she was as often feisty and direct,
  8. They are almost always acting and dancing in unison. Even when apart, they are connecting, such as the lighting of the cigarette. In many of the earlier works we've watched, it's been about dance as a sparring match, even if it's two characters we know will end of together, it's a dance off. Here, it's clearly about quickly convincing one reluctant (yet not all that reluctant) character to join in. Not only do the costumes coordinate, they are also very plain. These characters wouldn't stand out off the studio lot on a city street. Grays, dark suits, nary a speck of color even where pop
  9. It's really about Petunia. She's almost always favored in frame. Joe is an accent at best, even as the song is clearly about him. The switch to the laundry scene is interesting, as it implies a few things: that she is the caregiver, that she's able to focus on something other than impending death, and ultimately as you finally see Joe later in the scene, that he truly is OK. The love from mother to child is almost always seen as eternal, so a song about a mother's love for a child wouldn't have as much weight. It would be expected. To love an errant husband, unconditionally, is somethin
  10. There's a really nice mix of shots that the director considered, with wide shots at the beginning of the number to closer shots for the chorus around "fate" where you really see their faces and the growing connection between the two actors. The cuts between scenes always seem to be in the right places to, just the right time to make the most of the action, or show the desired movement and reactions. This may be one of the best examples of going from a visual/spoken scene to singing. The movement increases in pace, the music goes along with, and the actors are delightfully choreographed
  11. She's Dorothy of course. I grew up in the 80s when the big three musicals--Oz, Mary Poppins, The Sound Of Music--had their annual showing on a big three network. As I would have been so young, I'm not sure what I thought, other than she was likely a proxy for most kids who want take the journey. It's not until later that I appreciate those sepia-tone scenes, where her acting--and particularly the melancholy delivery of Somewhere... makes not just that scene but the entire movie become a classic. It's Judy who allows that to happen, in her delivery, her reactions, etc. Having watched many
  12. The scenes are overtly patriotic, starting with a setting in the White House which includes a walk up the stairs past Washington and other presidents, then going to the literal flag waving parade scene. The dialogue is very purposeful, hinting at cross party unity in one line, while ina other, it sets up unity between races while simultaneously reminding viewers of Cohen's American songbook. As mentioned in my first answer, the dialogue is wonderfully written to accomplish many things at once. Almost every line hints at the ideals and beliefs that most Americans value--freedom, liberty,
  13. 1. In the setup for the clip, it's described as he leads, she follows. Yet, that's not always true. Even when she first stands up and they pace around the room, it's Ginger who he seems to be following. So I find that interesting, the way that she is in charge of this situation. And he really does need to work to woo her. 2. It feels a bit more personal. Many of these films are on such grand or fantastical scale. And while there are moments of that in Top Hat, the scenes like this, which take place not on some backstage (although still on a stage!) but in a intimate space. Circumstances
  14. This is simply a delightful scene. It's laugh out loud funny when he the knock on the door is about her husband, completely turning the scene on its head. The Lubitsch touches in some ways are so common today--probably even more so on TV than film. And they basically remind me that film is a visual medium first and foremost. It's funny that in a class about musicals, that I'm thinking how the best films use visual images well to make the narrative work best. Even great dance numbers can be enjoyed without the sound on. Here, the story could be told with many more words, yet instead, half the d
  15. These two have great screen chemistry, knowing how to match glance-for-glance, acting when not speaking, all to a greater effect by the two paired. It's amazing to me how much I was taken by their acting--not their singing. That's party because I find the operatic style a bit off-putting, even if their voices are beautiful. So even when her singing style made to be a counterpoint, with her style played for laughs and pathos, in the second clip, I can appreciate her pipes yet don't really enjoy. But the couple and their acting--that I liked. There's genuine affection--and attraction--between th
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