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AnotherJamesSmith

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  1. 1. Petunia is elated when Joe is alive; however, the work still needs to be done around the house, and the filming of her going about her business seems like a good way to advance that point and the ongoing plot. The plot can continue now that the main characters are ok, Joe is alive, and Petunia is happy. I think it also shows that she does love her life, her man, her work, and all of these have come together with the news that Joe is ok. 2. The elation would still be there if a child was found to be ok, but it's a different love (but, in this case with Petunia, it would be unconditional whether Joe or a child). 3. I have been fascinated with Cabin in the Sky since first seeing it, and I seem to see different things in it everytime I watch it. Sure, it reflects a 1940's view of black Americans at the time, but the direction and acting of the film knock it up a notch or two from the blatantly stereotypical minstrels or Steppin Fetchit characters (and even the Bill Robinson character)--these characters are portrayed more like real people, and the emotions conveyed (sadness, fear, happiness) seems more universally displayed, without racial overtones or innuendo.
  2. I specifically remember The Wizard of Oz as the first film, but the first film other than that one that made an impression on me was In the Good Old Summertime. It was with this film that I saw the range of talent, the subtle humor expressed, the depth of emotion that could be shown by Judy Garland in even a rather simple role. I have seen all 36 films (several times over) and I will say that my absolute favorite is The Clock, for many reasons as I like Meet Me in St. Louis -- I am drawn from frame one into the film and get lost in the slice of life goings on of a wartime romance and what happens to two innocent people, how they react to their situation and obstacles thrust upon them, and the sort of naive innocence that both Judy and Robert Walker bring to their situations in The Clock. In any of the first films I viewed, I was, of course, struck (bowled over, perhaps) by the singing and dancing and acting talent; but I remember thinking (and saying to my grandmother, who watched all of these movies with me usually) that it seemed impossible to believe she didn't find herself beautiful! She really was a lovely looking woman and for any era, but especially the 30's and 40's and 50's was seemingly what was popular and considered good looking: great legs, beautiful eyes, slim....baffling how she and others didn't recognize this physical beauty was right there in front of them! With every scene, every film viewed, any viewer is taken with just how talented Judy was with any offhand remark for humor, and how in command she was of her talents, how she seemed to know just what was right for her...others can only help augment an original talent; that talented person has to know if it's right or wrong, if a line seems natural when spoken, if a song needs a lot of verve or just a quiet, restrained physical performance. She remains a teacher to us all as we watch and re-watch her performances and marvel at and learn from her art. Later musical films like Summer Stock strike me as excellent examples of good songs made superior by her lyrical approach to performance; her rendition of Friendly Star, to me, is one of the best things she did -- the viewer cries when she pleads for the friendly star to "light my way, lead me to my lover."
  3. 1. I think the two scenes exemplify the playful yet sterile "lovemaking" and courtship depicted in historically traditional operetta-- there's a lot of coy batting of eyes, snappy-type dialogue that seems to skirt around the fact that the two are attracted to each other. I think you find it in most movies of this era and beyond to the 40's and 50's and even in the 60's...no one wants to come right out and say, "I'm attracted to you," but rather a verbal circling game is played. The scenes are charming and elicit a smile from any viewer, whether that be just liking the scene or baffled by its innocence and "yesteryear" quality that doesn't exist anymore. 2. I have seen many other films with MacDonald in them without Eddy: San Francisco, The Sun Comes Up, The Merry Widow, etc. She's obviously the one MGM in particular pushed, she's the more accessible of the two. If I recall correctly, Nelson Eddy had quite a career of his own with recordings and with radio, but was always considered "wooden" in his acting style, which never seemed the case to me -- he is no better/ no worse than Allan Jones or Howard Keel, two actors who appeared in the same type film roles repeatedly in their heyday. 3. Characters and roles seem very deliberately and sometimes awkwardly overt: "good" girl vs "bad" saloon girl, industrious, valiant Eddy vs. drunks, etc. There wasn't much subtle pidgeonholing going on here (or in any of the early musicals...think of Judy Garland vs. Angela Lansbury in The Harvey Girls: I recall reading that Angela was actually booed and hissed in public for being mean to Judy in the movie (could be an urban legend, but some roles define an actor and the public sometimes thinks you have to be one (a mean person, for instance) to play one.
  4. I don't think the softened scenes like this were confined to just the Depression era. Scenes of a similar vein run through most of the musicals of WW II and well into the early 1950's...nothing too heavy, nothing too serious. It has to do with escapism, which isn't a bad thing and carries an unfortunate negative connotation. This scene reminded me (sort of, figuratively) of the Popeye cartoons when Bluto and Popeye fought for Olive Oyl, and her arms stretched from pulled side to pulled side, longer for Popeye and then longer for Bluto, then longer for Popeye again, and longer for Bluto...who to choose? :)
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