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Judy J

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About Judy J

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  1. Have you seen any Robert Preston films that are not musicals? If so, what do you notice about his characters and his approach to acting, now that you are more aware of his dedication to working his craft outside of his stage or film work? This question made me think immediately of "How The West Was Won". Robert Preston played the wagon train master who wants to take Debbie Reynolds as his wife. His character was very straight-forward and direct, self-assured and in control, very much like I imagined Robert Preston to be in real life. Before "The Music Man", Preston seemed to be relegated to being the second fiddle or best friend of the leading man, but somehow he always managed to get you to pay attention to his character. The success of "The Music Man" broke him out of those secondary roles and made him a star.
  2. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical? The staging of the scene is reminiscent of classical musicals, but what happens in the scene is totally disruptive. While the girls are performing, other actors are speaking lines and distracting from their song and dance. This is something that does not happen in a traditional musical.
  3. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? He's played by Gene Kelly! Even as the obnoxious reporter in "Inherit The Wind", Kelly is not unlikeable. He has that wide, open grin and charming demeanor that is inherently likeable.
  4. How do you think Doris Day grows as an actress in her various roles in the 1950s, before and after this musical? First, let me confess that I am a huge Doris Day fan, and have been since the first time I saw her on screen when I was 6 years old. In her early films, it seems the studio wanted to capitalize on her singing ability, but when they realized she could act as well, she was able to move into dramatic roles as well as musical comedy. However, as good a dramatic actress as she was, I think she absolutely sparkles as a comedienne. The comedies she did in the 1960's with Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, James Garner, et al, are some of the best work she ever did. Her timing was impeccable, delivery always on target. She made her leading men look terrific (not that they needed any help!) She and Judy Garland were truly triple-threat actresses...singing, dancing, acting. They could do it all and make it look effortless.
  5. Not sure if anyone else noticed this, but during the dance number when Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor use window curtains as costume, the pattern of the drapery looks very much like a Hebrew prayer shawl, which would be in keeping with the "Moses" theme. I thought this was a clever use of costume design within the dance number.
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