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About slthomson

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  1. 1. Streisand's performance of the song "People" might have felt very different is she'd been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more. The song itself wouldn't have felt so intimate and tender if she were "belting it out;" and that kind of performance wouldn't have matched the sensitive emotions her character is feeling in the scene. 2. As the lyrics are sung, the two characters relate to each other in a very sweet way. At first, Fanny turns her back to the camera when she hears what Nicky has to say about relationships. But then, when she starts singing, she's shy and unsure and he looks at her adoringly. He can't take his eyes off of her during the entire song and you can't help hoping they get together! 3. The direction and editing of this scene support Streisand's performance. There is soft, beautiful light. She's wearing a gorgeous costume and she looks lovely. She's front and center in the scene on the steps. The reaction shots of Nicky encourage her and inspire her, and she becomes more confident as she sings. Streisand's performance is stellar, and all of the direction and editing of this scene add up to support her.
  2. 1. Unfortunately, I haven't seen Gaslight yet. This scene reminded me of the scene in Gigi, by Vincente Minnelli, when Gigi has to choose to either be a courtesan or lose Gaston. She's torn and emotional and she has to decide if she's going to have to act like someone she's not. Both directors use beautiful costumes and lighting. Minnelli, however, has a lovely set that complements the costumes and lighting and Gigi is front and center. Eliza and Higgins share the scene in My Fair Lady. 2. As the scene opens, Eliza is crushed when she returns home. She's in the shadows. She's won the bet for Higgins, but she doesn't think he cares. You can't help but feel Eliza's pain as Hepburn drops to her knees in anguish. Cukor supports her with beautiful lighting, costuming, and staging. Then when Higgins enters and she's furious, she's still gorgeous as she's throwing his slippers at him! The scene shifts as Higgins begins to reason with her and calm her down. Now he's the center with terrific lighting, costuming, and staging. Harrison is both charming and reassuring. At the end, they're both in the center as they each try to figure out what to do next. 3. I notice the teacher/student relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor's direction. He's correcting her grammar and offering her candy trying to get her to calm down like she's a child, while she's respectfully listening to his reasoning as her teacher. Cukor highlights their relationship through their sharing of the scene.
  3. 1. Looking back to the masculine performances of past decades, I would say that a male performer doesn't have to be the "alpha" male to now be successful. He can have real feelings and emotions in his performance. Also, females are even stronger performers who can hold their own as the lead in musicals. 2. I notice that Robert Preston is insightful and strong in both of these clips. In "The Music Man," he knows exactly what to say and how to say it to achieve his goal. In "Victor Victoria," he's also strong, but with added sensitivity and dignity. 3. I've seen Robert Preston in "How the West Was Won." He plays Roger Morgan, the Wagon Master who "loved in vain." Again, he plays a strong character with real feelings. I notice that he truly does bring a kindness, strength, and insight into all of the characters he plays whether he's in a musical or drama.
  4. 1. This scene looks like many of the early classical musicals we've discussed. Vaudeville is represented in the staging and costumes, and even the way the scene is filmed where the performers are straight to camera is reminiscent of an earlier time period. At the same time, it looks ahead to new disruptions that we know will happen in the movie musical. Mama Rose herself personifies the disruption. She literally barges in and the tide turns. Also, the lyrics in the song point to a trend where musicals are going to appeal to more of a niche audience going forward. 2. Rosalind Russell commands your attention. She steals the scene and the show! She has incredible stage presence. Her traditional stage training, and the fact that she's a film actress, add to her credibility. 3. Sondheim's lyrics are sly, subversive, and edgy. "Baby" June sings, "Let me entertain you" and "I'll do some kicks/tricks." The fact that a little girl is singing these lyrics and doing high kicks and cartwheels make them seem innocent when they really aren't makes them sly, and the staging adds to the subversion. Sondheim's lyrics would've been edgy for the time period--especially compared to the lyrics in the musicals of the 1950's.
  5. 1. A movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris' ending ballet doesn't need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film. If the entire movie were as stylized as the ending ballet, there would be no contrast and the powerful effect would be lost. On the other hand, the entire movie doesn't have to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach either. A balance between the two would still provide an amazing impact for the ending ballet. 2. Jerry Mulligan acts pretty darn unlikable in this scene; however, he's not completely unlikable. When the scene starts, we see him doing everyday things and happily interacting with his fellow artists as he begins his day. He's abrupt with the student, but he sees through her and answers her honestly. He begins to warm up to Milo the longer they talk--especially when she offers to buy his paintings. However, I believe it's Gene Kelly himself who keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikable. His charm and personality shine through even when his character is trying to be pretty darn unlikable!
  6. 1. The pre-dance movements prepare the audience for their actual dance movements. They set the tone for the playful dance to come when they're poking fun at the teacher and with each other--it's going to be light-hearted and fun. Their "buddy" relationship seen prior to the dance also prepares the audience for the actual dance and how they're going to perform together. 2. The Professor adds to the humor of the scene by being "straight" all the way through it. He's a balance, almost a prop, between the two dancers and the audience as well. It's amazing that he can keep it together with those two performers spectacularly dancing around him! 3. All three men represent masculinity differently. O'Connor is the "Beta" male, the best friend, the class clown. He's smiling in a goofy way and batting his eyes while he looks at Kelly from time to time like he's seeking his approval. Kelly is the "Alpha" male--he's smooth, confident, and holding the center when he's dancing. The professor is the straight man, adding to the humor of the scene. All three of these men accurately reflect the gender roles in American culture at the time--O'Connor is the best friend, Kelly is the Leading Man, and the professor is "the old guard."
  7. 1. After reflecting on female representation in the 1950's, I think this film character falls in the middle of the continuum. Women's roles in films at the time were challenging stereotypes just as in the culture of the day. Calamity Jane is a Tomboy who rides, shoots, and acts like a man; but the men in the film don't take her seriously. She tries her best to stay the course anyway. She's feisty and determined. It's not until she becomes softer and more feminine that she finds love and is more respected. The fact that she starts out as a Tomboy, changes, and yet doesn't go all the way to the other extreme, puts this character in the middle of the continuum for me. 2. For me, it's clear that this was Doris Day's favorite role. She's truly enjoying herself every minute in this film. Before this role, I think she's trying to find her niche. After this musical, she seems more confident and radiant. She's found her place. Her smile is amazing and infectious and I believe she brings this energy and joy to all of her other roles going forward. 3. Doris Day's bright and sunny persona adds to the role of Calamity Jane in my opinion. Doris makes her endearing and relatable. She's also likable and you can't help cheering for her.
  8. 1. I notice that this is clearly a group as I watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene. Everyone is very encouraging and working to build each other up. They look each other in the eye when someone is speaking/singing--they're really paying attention to one another. This is different from early musicals we've discussed because no one is front and center--everyone is equal and included. 2. Each character's costume coordinates with the others in the scene. Everyone is wearing a combination of navy, gray, and white. They all complement each other and the red background. No one's costume is "over the top" or "showy." Everyone in the group is equal in terms of their costume. 3. The characters are all together in a tight group. They're all four moving in unison; they're all in step and staying close together. They're working together and interacting in an encouraging, uplifting way. This makes the theme of being stronger together/working together to solve problems clear and believable for the audience.
  9. 1. I notice that Joe is the center of Petunia's universe. Nothing else is more important to her than Joe, whether she's doing laundry or any other chores. This tells me that her relationship with Joe is key--it's so much a part of her that she's glowing while she's singing the song. 2. If she were singing about her child, it wouldn't be as romantic. She would still be full of love and tenderness--just not in the same way she would be with her husband. I don't think the cultural meaning would change if she were singing about her child. Loyalty would still be the theme--even if it's not to a mate. Parents are loyal to their children, and this loyalty theme would still be in keeping with the strong nationalism of the day. 3. I think this is a wonderful film that honors the African American community. Black Americans went above and beyond for their country during WWII. Sadly, when they returned, they didn't receive the honor and opportunities they deserved. This film is important because it is such a well-done, respectful, tribute to their efforts.
  10. 1. This sequence starts in the hallway outside the player's locker room. Ms. Garrett traps Sinatra--she's "laying in wait" for him. He runs from her and she chases him all the way to the bleachers. There's a feeling of tension created by her unwanted advances here. Then when she says, "Start playing ball with me," they literally toss a ball. Later she grabs him by the ear when she's talking about it being too late--he's caught--it's fate. She gets him in the end--literally--when he slides down the railing backwards and lands in her arms. Mission accomplished! 2. This sequence prepares us for the singing when Ms. Garrett traps Sinatra in the hallway and chases him to the bleachers like he's prey. She has him trapped--he's a captive audience and so are we.
  11. 1. The first Judy Garland film I recall watching was The Wizard of Oz. It was a very special, once a year treat at my house growing up. My first impression of Judy Garland was that she had an incredible voice and that she was spunky and sweet. I loved how she defended her dog from "The Bad Witch" even before I knew that character was actually "The Bad Witch." I was rooting for Judy right from the get go and I have been ever since! 2. After viewing these clips, and listening/studying the lesson, I'm amazed at what an incredible talent she truly was and what a gifted storyteller she was when she sang. She could do it all and make it look effortless. 3. The films in her later career that come to mind as examples of her increasing ability to capture an audience's imagination as a storyteller when she sings a lyric for me are Easter Parade and A Star is Born.
  12. 1. The scenes were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II in Yankee Doodle Dandy. The opening setting is in the White House. The main character is walking up the steps past paintings of American heroes, including George Washington. He enters the Oval Office and sits down across from President Roosevelt. All around are American flags and paintings of successful battles. The Fourth of July Parade in Providence, Rhode Island features everyone waving an American flag and bunting draped from every building. There are happy families cheering wildly as the marching band goes by. All of this combined is very American and very Nationalistic and in keeping with the patriotic and happy family themes of the time period. 2. The dialogue and/or screenplay work to boost American morale as well. In the opening scene, the African American butler mentions when he saw the main character several years ago, he was "Singing and dancing about the grand old flag." That sets the tone for what's to come. This continues in the Oval Office scene with Cohan telling President Roosevelt, "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy. Always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." The President later responds with, "You've spent your life telling all the other 47 states what great country this is!" He even mentions Irish Americans and that they "Carry the love of flag right out in the open." Everyone is included and very proud to be American. 3. If the film had opened with the Fourth of July Parade in Providence, Rhode Island instead of opening with FDR in the Oval Office, I think it wouldn't have been as powerful as a biographical musical. The fact that Cohan is sitting across from FDR in the Oval Office is significant. FDR was an incredible patriot and world leader. He united the country and promoted American values. Cohan helped with this and it's an inspiring message that FDR acknowledges him and his efforts. A parade is nice, but definitely not as powerful or as personal as a sincere thank you from one of the most influential presidents in American History. This opening scene in the Oval Office definitely sets a more powerful tone as a biographical musical.
  13. 1. This clip from Top Hat is interesting because there's a strong woman and the man has to play by her rules or not at all. She's his equal and he has to accept that for her to be interested in him. 2. This film distinguishes itself from other Depression era musicals we've watched/discussed this week by the strong female lead. She's in charge. She doesn't have to choose between love and career. The man has to play by her rules and accept her as an equal and on her terms. 3. I think some of the possible reasons for changes in roles between men and women in these screwball comedy musicals versus earlier musicals in the 1930's is that women were taking on more active roles in society. They were contributing to the family and working hard too. Even though a lot of jobs went to men during the Depression, new technologies emerged that employed women. Eleanor Roosevelt was also a strong woman and role model, along with others like Amelia Earhart and Frances Perkins.
  14. For me, it's definitely "Singin' In The Rain." It has it all--fabulous dancing, catchy songs, a sweet story-line, and a happy ending!
  15. 1. I notice the hallmark black and white contrast photography first in the clip. The use of props and the humor that's used also point tot he Lubitsch touch. Alfred is a Lothario--the use of the extra garter, the smirk, the extra pistols in the drawer, the dress that needs zipping up--as well as the line, "She's so jealous!" and the use of the closed bedroom doors right at the beginning, all help me understand. 2. This scene uses sound to emphasize certain points--like the gun being fired and the yelling behind the door, and husbands barging in through doors. I think the gun being fired adds to the scene's effectiveness--it gets your attention! I really believed she shot herself and that Alfred had been shot--I had no idea they were blanks! 3. From this clip, I might expect beautiful sets, elegance, costumes, and wealthy characters that the audience could laugh at to feel better about themselves. I would also expect a romance with proper courtship rules and a woman who has to choose between love and career.
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