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Debbie Farthing

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About Debbie Farthing

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  1. 1. If this song was sung more theatrically or belted out, it would have broken the aura of intimacy created by her quiet almost introspective performance. 2. He has made it clear to her he doesn't want any commitment which creates a distance between them of what he wants and what she wants. The direction has her walk away from him and even puts railing between them to signify the 'hurdles' that exist between them and Nicky Arnstein is going to have to jump those hurdles and close the distance. Parts of the song are sung so softly that I wonder if her can even hear her. Considering that Arnstein was a gambler, using the line that 'people who need people are the luckiest people in the world' is quite interesting. 3. By having Omar Sharif on the edges of the shots creates not just a distance between them, but also creates a sort of aloneness for Barbra Streisand. She doesn't even look at him for most of the song and his reaction is hard to see. If she trying to convince him? is she singing to herself? how introspective is this? I think she's declaring that she doesn't want to be alone anymore and rely on herself alone anymore. He's made his position clear know she's revealing her innermost desire. It's very intimate but not in a sexual way. It's also somewhat sad.
  2. 1. Just as in Pygmalion (the basis for this musical), Eliza is Prof. Higgins' masterpiece and he treats her as such. He created her, so he deserves the accolades. The slight twist is that his creation has fallen in love with him, rather she is aware of her feelings long before he is aware of his own. Gaslight is one of my favorite movies ever and there are a few similarities in the theme of a man trying to control a woman for his own benefit. Similarly, both women decide to take control on the situation - in Gaslight the man ends up getting his just desserts, in MFL, Prof Higgins gets better than he deserves. 2.and 3. By using closeups for Eliza, her despair is very evident. Higgins' tries to retain his control and reserve just as he has throughout their relationship. The physical interaction between Eliza and Higgins is somewhat chaotic which emphasizes his seeming confusion and her near hysteria. He tries to fall back on his old trick of calming her with chocolate but Eliza has matured and is coming into her own and won't be placated this way anymore. She then decides to take control of her own fate by going to his mother. The scene at his mother's has him practically throwing a fit and pouting in the corner. I love it! The scene at the end when he listens to her voice and is nearly in tears is so beautifully done. I wish there was more of a reconciliation of what their relationship is. I saw a stage version of MFL with Richard Chamberlin in the Prof Higgins role. In an interview, he insisted the relationship ends as more of an uncle/niece type and was not romantic at all.
  3. 1. In The Music Man, I have always found Robert Preston to be kinda creepy. He's too old for Marian and it makes me nuts - not the Hollywood didn't have (still does) a penchant for pairing older men with much younger women. Given that, I can appreciate the ease with which Preston delivers this difficult song and essentially causes the 'massteria" he claims that pool will cause. It's also a more realistic performance with none of the sort of lightweight men (like Dick Powell, who I find just too fey for my taste) of the 20s and 30s or the sighing romantic albeit more masculine ideal of the 40s and 50s (like Gene Kelly who i love but some of his "I'm in love" faces are too silly). He is more like Howard Keel without quite so much pomposity. 2. He directly addresses his audience and plays it to his end goal. In The Music Man he stirs up their fears by expertly reading the crowd and finding things to make them worry about. In Victor/Victoria he says just the right things to anger the people who came in during his song insulting him as they did and ultimately provokes a fight -which is what he probably wanted. 3. I really have not seen anything else with him.
  4. 1. This scene reminds me of the 'behind the scenes' type movies we have already watched. The slight difference is that this is for vaudeville as opposed to a movie or Broadway show but it places this movie in a less glamorous setting. The change of setting could be part of the disruption in that the setting is more lower class - we won't see women in furs and men in tuxedos in the audience for these acts. 2. I love Rosalind Russell! That being said, she immediately draws all the attention to herself. She is large and in charge. She tells the musicians, the lighting guy, practically everyone what to do and they do it. Her bit with the balloon girl and the hat pin is the essence of who she is - don't get in her way or you'll get hurt. 3. As has been pointed out, the lyrics do have a double meaning but with the girls performing, it's supposed to be more innocent and just a bit of fun. With the chaos caused by Rose's entrance, the lyrics could be seen more as a plea - please look at us! take notice of us- that almost no one is paying attention to at the moment.
  5. 1. The rhythm of the song/routine is set by their almost chanting of the tongue-twister, it then proceeds to their hands, and then they finally start dancing. Once they do start dancing, it's no holds barred. I have watched this movie numerous times and would watch this clip again and again. Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor are simply fantastic together. It's a shame they only made this one movie together. 2. If I remember correctly, Gene Kelly's character is taking the elocution lessons but he and Donald O'Connor are really wanting to go out for the day. The rather haughty professor is just too easy for Donald O'Connor to mimic and he can't help himself. Gene Kelly might try at first, but is soon pulled into the fun. The professor's role is to be mimicked and then to be upset at being mocked and then further upset by the 2 men goofing around. They pile the stuff on him at the end so they can make their getaway. He is mostly just a prop for the Gene and Donald. 3. Donald O'Connor is the beta male through out the movie - always making jokes and gags, not really all the serious. His star is definitely tied to Gene Kelly's who is the alpha male - the romeo chasing the women, full of himself at times, in the power position. But he's a good alpha male - he always makes sure his friend has a job and he's not purposely mean to anyone. The professor might be described as the omega male - somewhat effete, not a romantic or manly man in any way. I also want to add, that Gene and Donald are rather stereotypically "American" men. The professor more European and 'out of style'.
  6. 1. In thinking about how the portrayal of women changed in the movies from 1929 to 1953 when this movie was released, we're seeing something of a mix of the more independent women of the 1930s and 40s and the woman who gives up everything for her man - like we see in Seven brides for seven brothers. In the clips, Calamity moves from the confident scout in the stage coach scene to a feisty angry woman, both of which have her in very rough clothes and sounding rough and very unfeminine. The Secret Love scene shows her still in men's clothing but cleaner and better fitting. She has not changed her hair style though but she he singing is calmer and more confident. So she's changed somethings but not everything. 2. I think I've only ever seen one other Doris Day musical, Love Me or Leave Me (?), a handful of her comedic roles, and one dramatic role (with Rex Harrison as her husband). She portrays a little too wholesome for my taste sometimes, but I think she could be very funny and she was very good in the movie with Rex Harrison. It must have been difficult for her to find different kinds of roles when she was typecast as the wholesome mom/wife/girlfriend with a degree of sexiness (the right kind of appropriate sexiness, not slutty) with a fair amount of brains but usually willing to play 2nd fiddle to her husband eventually. 3. I did some reading about Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley and the musicals about them are practically full on fiction. I'm not sure I understand why they made these musicals at all. Was it to provide some sort of vehicle for actresses who wanted a less traditional role? But then they turn those women into almost simpering idiots in order to get the man. This musical at least doesn't quite do that to Calamity Jane. The story here is so different than the truth of Calamity's life (which I doubt any studio would have made a movie about). Doris Day is a great performer but I just shake my head a bit at the contrast between this musical and the truth.
  7. 1. In the clip, all four share pretty much equally the song, dance, and gags. No one person stands out or has the majority of the scene. Previously, most scenes featured one or two people with everyone else either being in the chorus or sitting on the sidelines. 2. In this scene, everyone's costume is fairly close in color and intensity. The only real pop of color is the red rose on Nanette Fabray's belt. In contrast, in the movie On The Town, the 3 men wear their sailor uniforms (which being white help them stand out) and the 3 women wear red, yellow, and green and not in pastel either. This really makes the women stand out from the background even in busy scenes. Using the colors of a stoplight aren't coincidental either. I'm sure we could draw some parallels to how the colors are used with the women's characters and circumstances. 3. The 4 characters are working together for their collective good. They each need something out of this collaboration. The Fred Astaire character quickly becomes part of the group rather than being the one needing to be convinced - he moves from being the only one seated to singing and dancing with them.
  8. I stayed up the other night to watch this movie and was so glad that I did. I am a great fan of Lena Horne but have been completely won over by Ethel Waters. 1. The first part of the song is shot very close to her, so close he's almost not in the shot at all. This is a woman who is greatly relieved to have her husband back. In the second part, a little time has passed but he's still recuperating, and her feelings are still the same. She loves this man heart and soul - the bit at the end where she has his shirt hug her re-enforces that. This song is like her daily devotional. This song must have hit home for many women who whose husbands were off fighting in the war. 2. If she were singing this song to a child, I think it would be more like a lullaby. With the war going on, I could see this having meaning for a mother worried about her son (and in some cases, daughter) and hoping they come home safe. 3. I felt this film had fewer racist overtones than did Hallelujah but it seems that the only way someone (not white) makes it to big money is through gambling and other sinful acts. But the themes of love and devotion to one's man is similar to those in other movies of time. Many men were off fighting the war and sometimes doing things they shouldn't but the emphasis is being the good woman he's going to want to come back to and being an understanding woman who's willing to forgive all. This movie does rely on the old trope of a good woman is what a man needs and that it's almost her responsibility to keep him on the straight and narrow. When Joe goes off with Georgia Brown and returns to his gambling life, it's because Petunia turns him out. It's almost as if he has no choice to be bad. The themes and the lessons in the movie transcend race and are clearly pointed at women - be faithful, love your man no matter what, always forgive, keep your man on the straight and narrow. A woman's job is her husband.
  9. 1. I adore Betty Garrett and was happily surprised to find her in this film. As many others have commented, Betty's character is literally lying in wait for Frank's. From the small hallway to the large stadium, the two are the kept in the shot and makes it clear that he really can't escape - It's Fate that they be together. I have to hand it to her, this number had some really physical moments in it - such as running up the bleachers (I wonder how many times she had to repeat that feat) to picking Frank Sinatra up. I like how the shots are mostly contained to them waist up, only a couple of times do we see their entire bodies, it helps create a more intimate feel. In this role reversal, Frank's character, like most of the women who are wooed by the leading man, doesn't really need to much convincing. I do find it interesting that whereas the hero usually just has to kiss the woman of his desires to win her over, in this scene Betty truly chases him but there's no kissing. 2. The music starting when he leaves the locker room and then becoming synchronized to their movements segues the scene into the song.
  10. 1. The Wizard of Oz is probably the first Judy Garland movie I saw. To be honest, it isn't among my favorite movies and I don't really remember what I thought about her. But I love the supporting characters of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and especially the Cowardly Lion. I do vaguely remember being afraid of the flying monkeys as a kid. 2. I have seen quite a few of her movies now. The clips do bring out the nuances of her performance and how she captures the camera, especially in the scene from Easter Parade. Fred Astaire almost blends into the background and she was only 26 when she made this movie. 3. The movie Summer Stock and her Get Happy number. It is only 2 years after Easter Parade but she seems so much older in many ways. Her struggles with a number of issues is well documented, so this number, which is so well-paced, subtle, and adult almost seems like her statement of coming back. Also, her performance in A Star is Born with the divine James Mason is amazing. And she was only in her early 30s.
  11. 1. There are numerous clues in the scenes - when George ascends the stairs, there are the portraits of the presidents on the wall ending with George Washington at the top (who he 'portrayed' in the show the butler is talking about). George Washington has long been used to evoke the ideals of America. The pictures on the walls of the Oval Office are mostly of large ships, showing how America can meet the needs of war. The parade scene is filled with flags. The Cohans are particularly patriotic - they love the country, they have been showing the rest of the country on how to do that, family is important but so is also making sure the 'show goes on' - the allusion is to America being ready and capable of waging and winning (more importantly) the war. 2. The lines about the Irish immigrants being very patriotic and the Cohans showing the rest of the country how to be patriotic as well. The tying of Mrs. Cohan's labor and the beginning of the war for the US - she won't hold things up implying that the US will set about getting geared up for the war and be prepared quickly and will win quickly. 3. If war has not just be declared, the opening could have been the 4th of July parade very easily, but switching it to the Oval Office ties everything into the war and the war effort. Signs and clues to victory are everywhere - the portrait of George Washington, the marching of the Union veterans, the commitment of the citizens, the might of the American industry (hinted at in the pictures on FDR's walls).
  12. 1. Although several others have said that think Ginger Rogers plays a secondary role in this routine, I completely disagree. He does dance first, but she chooses to join him. During the routine, she doesn't copy his steps back to him, she anticipates them and does them at the same time he does. On a side note, her part is actually harder as she switches from being on the same foot as him in some sections and then has to do what is called a fake and change to mirroring him in others. She makes it all look seamless too. In ballroom dancing, the woman's part is often harder than the man's. So when they are in hold, he's not just throwing her around, she's doing the steps herself (and backwards I might add). So I see this as her making the choice to join him, actually mocking him some in mimicking his posture and mannerisms, and then coming to enjoy the dance without sacrificing any of her self or independence to him. 2. This particular scene is much pared down from in the clothing and the set from some of the other clips we've seen. I know there are big scenes with fancy sets and clothing, but this is much more casual and intimate, in a way. Also, there's a sense of companionship rather than romance or sex, at this at this point. 3. More women were working outside the home than ever before. Many people simply could not afford to get married and those single women had to support themselves. Married women also had to take outside jobs to make ends meet. Women were paid less and often were hired in place of men in certain positions. These women had an increased sense of their own independence and didn't want to be portrayed as having to be taken care of by a man - they could do it themselves. I think at this time many of the actresses wanted to portray more independent female characters as well.
  13. First, I'd like to make a small observation. In the scene when the husband struggles with her dress, it's not a zipper but hooks which take much more dexterity to both hook AND unhook. Zippers don't come into use in women's clothing until the mid to late 1930s. 1. The whole scene suggests an affair and a serial womanizer but we never see a bed or bedroom, nor is there any suggestive double-entendre type of dialogue. It's all done with props, such as the garter, the husband breaking his way into a locked room, etc. Maurice Chevalier's character comes from another room and we assume it's a bedroom. The fact the her dress is incompletely hooked intimates she was getting dressed. It all points to Chevalier being not just a womanizer but a skilled lover as well. 2. The only part of the scene that has music is when the husband picks up the gun and approaches Count Renard and then shoots him. The music serves to heighten the suspense and emphasize the shot of the gun. 3. Love will clearly be a central theme in most musicals, whether it involves star crossed lovers, reluctant lovers, or love lost. The characters, even those seemingly broke (that comes up in several movies), will be very well-dressed and in beautiful, exotic, wonderfully decorated locales. The use of sly and witty banter helps us to like even the rogues.
  14. 1. In the 1st scene, she is driving the interaction. She is not interested in him and he tries very hard to win her over anyway he can but ends up revealing himself as something of a playboy and she calls him out on it. There is almost no eye contact between the two. His song does win her over (some) and she then looks at him but turns away again when she realizes he might not be serious. In the 2nd scene, eye contact is purposefully avoided by both of them. She is ashamed that she has to work in such a place and that she is failing miserably. She slinks away in defeat. He tries to make sure that she doesn't see him with another woman hanging all over him, which he was fine with until her sees her singing. He feels sympathy for her but is not going to embarrass her in front of everyone. 2. I have not seen them in anything else. 3. This movie casts women as either saints or whores, there's no in between. For the Nelson Eddy character, he's revealed as a playboy but is ashamed to have her see him as such, especially in the bar. It's acceptable for a man to have a past but not a woman. He probably changes in order to win her over because she's the good woman he's always wanted deep down.
  15. 1. This movie definitely shows things in a brighter light than really existed. Did audiences want something light and fun and easy or something dark and depressing and realistic? This point was made in the movie "Sullivan's Travels" with the conclusion that people knew how bad things were and didn't necessarily want to be reminded. Going back to the discussion video about movies were mostly either light and easy musicals or gangster movies, gangster movies were escapism in their own way - most people weren't involved in that kind of life but read and heard about it so it brought in a realistic element that wasn't actual life for most of the audience. 2. I would expect to see the themes of behind the scenes and love at this time. Also, an emphasis on a woman making it big but as pointed out in the discussion she has to make the choice of career or family. 3. Pre-code I would expect the song to be a bit more risque and her costume to be more scanty - less ruffles and innocence. The backstage scene would probably have her undressing probably with one or both of the men competing for her to be in her dressing room. Anna would be able to read the English herself and would play the men off each other - less the ingenue and coquettish and more adult and businesslike, probably using her feminine wiles to help her get what she wants.
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