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A Ryan Seacrest Type

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  1. It seems as we went into the 1960's, the male singers/dancers did not need to be the dominating focus of the scene. In the The Music Man clip, he isn't so much an alpha male as he is a Pied Piper of sorts. What starts as him giving his spiel to one person turns then into two, and then more, and soon pretty much the entire town. They hang on his every word and react as he wants them to. With the Victor/Victoria clip, he commands the room in a purely entertaining fashion. What sticks out the most to me with these two particular clips is that Preston isn't so much a dancer as a singer, and he has a talent of being able to speak as he sings. He isn't singing in the classical sense, but storytelling to the music and only occasionally doing so with traditional musical notes. I found that rather interesting. The only non-musical role I know of Preston's is The Last Starfighter from, I think, 1984? 1985? I saw it as a child and back then, I had no clue who he was. I was only starting to figure things out at that stage in my life. I also remember that Victor/Victoria was one of the first films we were able to see on HBO as cable TV had just entered my life, but my parents put the kabosh on me watching it. Looking back, I guess 8 years old probably was a bit young to understand what was going on in the movie. I probably wasn't ready to digest crossdressing and all. I just remember the commercials made it look funny, so it piqued my interest.
  2. I'm late on this one, but better late than never! Interesting musical, interesting clip. Rosalind Russell is awesome in this role, and the way she barges in and completely takes over what's happening (both literally in the film, plus overtaking the child singing on stage in that "talent show") is something you can't take your eyes off of. This is DEFINITELY not the style of musical we'd seen in past decades. I don't think anyone at the time could have predicted that musicals would undergo such disruption (the buzzword for this week's theme, it seems), but this was certainly something new and different for the era. The huge needle and heard-offscreen popping of the balloon at the end of this clip is hilarious. Does anyone else see Baby June here and get reminded of the snooty blonde girl at camp in Addams Family Values? Or even weirder, perhaps, the young Bette Davis character in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
  3. Oh, believe me, I went into viewing the film with the best of intentions and a completely open mind. It just really, truly was that bad of a movie. We couldn't believe how lost we were 45 minutes in.
  4. I don't mean a movie you'd seen previously. I mean a movie you never had seen before that TCM happened to air, and you happened to watch either deliberately or just because you "stumbled upon it", and it was so bad you either couldn't believe you sat through the whole thing, or you bagged it midway. I rarely do not finish a film, even if it's bad. On occasion though, I HAVE TO just to save what's left of my sanity. Only one film that I ever watched on TCM, I had to bail on. That was The Legend of Lylah Clare. I knew it was probably bad. Why? https://www.amazon.com/Official-Razzie-Movie-Guide-Hollywoods/dp/0446693340 Because that book stated it was the worst film ever. So, of course, I HAD to see it. I expected I'd be able to get through it. Nope. My wife and I practically broke the remote trying to turn that dreck off. So how about you? What movie made you cry for mommy? ?
  5. I nominate William Bendix for this spot...if there's enough of a catalog. I honestly don't know offhand how many movies he made in comparison to TV (The Life of Riley), but I always enjoy when he pops up on my screen. The Blue Dahlia is the most underappreciated noir of all time, in my opinion.
  6. Thank you for your take on...well, your take on MY take...lol...I actually love that you noted that the musical is meant to be "fun and escapist", you're absolutely right. I accept that times and norms and societal behaviors were different back then, and generally such things don't bother me when I see older films. I might squirm a bit at times (the crows in Dumbo, anyone?) but I get it was a different time, so I can look past it. Several years ago, I blogged all the Best Picture Oscar winners because my wife thought it would be fun to do (it was!), and it also gave me a prod to actually see all of the winners in general. I had never seen this film prior to when I watched it for the blog, and I was so excited to do so because it had all the ingredients of a film I would and should love: Gene Kelly, MGM musical, etc etc. I had every expectation of loving this movie. By the time the film ended, I wanted to bury myself. It left such a bad taste in my mouth that I was completely unable to look past the whole "it was a different time" thing, and offhand I can't even think of a second film where I've had that happen. Soit, je suppose.
  7. That's actually a hell of a take on that particular part of the scene that I never would have thought of myself. Kudos.
  8. Thank YOU, and the multiple others who commented on my original post. I enjoyed reading everyone's take on the film and my personal feelings about it. Gigi didn't quite give me the creeps like this one did, but I can TOTALLY see why it would to some, especially in today's society. If Maurice Chevalier was walking around singing "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" in a public space today like he was back then, he'd be in the back of a squad car faster than you could say "Megan's Law", but I'm able to get past that in Gigi because the overall film just doesn't irk me like AAIP does. My wife and I both love Gigi but it isn't lost on us at all that the film is basically a story of a young girl being taught to be a prosti.....erm....."courtesan". It's just a lovely film though. I think I feel that way because the story doesn't have its moments of ludicrousness, there isn't song-and-dance that feels like filler throughout, and most importantly all of the characters are genuinely likable.
  9. Jerry Mulligan is friendly and chatty to most around him at the start of this particular scene. Unfortunately, that's where it ends. He blows off the American student for what appears to be no legitimate reason, and while the rest of the clip in particular doesn't make Jerry come off too badly, what happens throughout the rest of the film makes Jerry one of my least likable characters in any movie I've ever seen. Yes, An American in Paris looks wonderful. Yes, the dance sequences and dream sequences are beautifully stylized. Yes, Vincente Minnelli pulled off his usual signature tricks once again. However, personally, I find this film loathsome. It legitimately makes me physically ill watching Jerry Mulligan act the way he does to Milo, such as that ridiculous series of actions at the club where he first sees Lisa. Then later, the way he stalks her. And let's not sugarcoat it, there's nothing cute about it, he flat-out stalks her. Later scenes with Jerry and Lisa, and Jerry and Milo, and Jerry and his guy friends (remember how he crumples up a note and tosses it to the ground like a petulant child?).....blergh. I'm sorry. An American in Paris is in my bottom-5 of all-time Best Picture winners. I was hoping this week's Daily Doses wouldn't include this film, but perhaps Gigi instead. We did get a clip from that one within today's lecture notes, so that made me smile. Now perhaps I should have some champagne...
  10. Before they begin dancing, Donald is performing the comedy while Kelly is more or less to me the straight man. Once the dancing begins, they are absolute equals. The professor is the one character here who remains the same: the comic foil. The patsy. My favorite moment here is near the end where Donald and Gene rip the poor guy out of his chair, seat him on a table or desk or whatever it is, and cover him with props. Even after this, the duo continue to dance while the professor just sits there, legs visible but otherwise completely piled on. To me, the best comedy work of the old days always had a straight man/comic foil. For instance, I don't think Abbott & Costello would have ever been nearly as funny or as famous if they were both at times the Alpha (clearly Bud Abbott) and at other times the patsy (clearly Lou Costello). Jack Benny to me had the best ensemble of anyone in classic radio/TV, and Jack actually was almost always the foil. The funniest lines were coming out of Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, et al. Jack got his biggest laughs usually without saying a word, or even sometimes literally by just standing there expressionless. The professor being buried under furniture and a rug and a lampshade and even wall art while just sitting there and taking it makes me think of Jack's style of humor, and it's probably why I consider this scene the funniest in Singin' in the Rain overall.
  11. I enjoy both this and Annie Get Your Gun for different reasons. I've never been one to think that either Annie or Jane was better than the other one, or that the performance of one was better than the other one. I did personally wish that Day would either have the exaggerated twangy accent for speaking AND singing, as opposed to only having it when speaking in this film. That's really the biggest criticism I've ever had about Calamity Jane. I don't think her sunny disposition hurts the character a bit. I like how this character doesn't fully conform and submit to the "norms" of the day as far as feminism goes. She softens a bit, OK, but at heart she's still Jane, and that's why this film wins me over. If Jane would have suddenly turned into Little Miss Tee-Hee Y'all, that would have honked me off. I don't know as much about Doris Day's work as I should, which is pretty inexcusable of me. I'm more familiar with her comedy roles such as the Rock Hudson series of films. I need to make July a Doris Day film month.
  12. I really liked this clip. Fred Astaire--let's face it--is clearly the "biggest name" of the quartet, yet here he isn't highlighted and focused upon. He's part of the quartet, and willingly so, and there are times within the performance where you almost forget he's there because the focus is on Nanette, or on Oscar, or on Jack. And that's exactly the point. Everyone gets their time to shine in this scene. The four of them are even shifting left-to-right location throughout. The staging here is outstanding, allowing for some classic visual gags as well as the removal of the wall/door showing what we expect will just have Oscar back there, but in fact has everyone. Nice trickery. Unlike past musicals, cohesiveness and conformity get more focus in this decade. In this clip, it's good. In other musicals.....eh, not so much. There are certainly a number of 1950's musicals I am not a fan of. Hopefully the Daily Doses won't cover any of those!
  13. From the looks of things, I'm afraid that if I discuss the movie I'll be spoiling the whole story for those that haven't seen it, so we're going to start this post with the ever-important... **SPOILERS AHEAD** OK, we've gotten that out of the way. The obvious devotion from Ethel's character to Eddie's is unwavering, and her relief upon seeing he survived the gunshot leads her into this song. We can see her mile-wide smile the entire time she's singing. What we don't see from the initial clip is most of the film! Joe (Anderson) has a second chance to reform himself, and at times it doesn't seem like he's doing a very good job of it. Ultimately, Petunia (Waters) unknowingly performs a deed that allows Joe's soul to be saved, which leads us to what we see in the Daily Dose, and fortunately, Joe indeed forsakes his previous habits. Was it all a dream he experienced to bring him there or something truly spiritual? That's for us to decide, I suppose. Hollywood was still a long way away from disposing of certain stereotypes when it came to non-Caucasian, non-American people, but the fact that films like this were made this far back at least shows that Hollywood was trying to be more inclusive. It helped to have supporters such as Minnelli and Mayer in such high places, of course. It still doesn't make watching certain musical numbers any less uncomfortable today ("Pass That Peace Pipe" from 1947's Good News is perhaps the most cringeworthy example that comes to mind), but I accept that it was a different time then with different tolerances.
  14. The segue question is interesting. It's actually what makes some not like musicals at all. As someone I know says in relation to West Side Story, these two gangs are about to fight so why are they suddenly singing and dancing? It is funny in a way, but it's exactly the point of musicals, to tell a story and further it when necessary with the songs. This particular scene starts with Betty chasing down Frank, who's trying to escape, and when she yells "HEY!" to him, he stops. At that same moment, the orchestra blares and we're kicking off the song. Perfectly fit, natural feel. I also like how we see Frank has run a bit of distance when she yells for him to stop, and we see both figures still on the screen with the wide distance between them. The musical referred to in the lecture video today (Bathing Beauty) doesn't have that natural segue. 1929's The Broadway Melody neither. I don't believe I'd heard the term "variety musical" until today. Betty Garrett probably was given the most self-assured female characters in musicals of this era than anyone else got. We see it in the Take Me Out to the Ball Game clip. We also see it in On the Town and Neptune's Daughter. Interestingly and probably just coincidentally, all three of these are 1949 films. Garrett unabashedly wants Sinatra in today's Daily Dose clip and she has no shame (nor should she) in pursuing him. In On the Town, it's the same situation with the same actors, just as different characters and in a taxi cab. In Neptune's Daughter, she's turning the tables on the traditional "roles" within the song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (which won the Best Original Song Oscar that year, by the way) by being the aggressor to Red Skelton's character. I love that Garrett always got these roles and was allowed to turn the tables on the norms of the time's societal behavior. If I may be so bold, I've attached both of these examples below so you can see for yourself why I think Garrett was one-of-a-kind.
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