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Video Girl

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  1. I don't think the scene would be as effective if Barbra sang it the way she did on stage. It would lose that nice, intimate, personal moment. There is a lot of distance between Barbra and Omar as she sings. You can tell that they aren't on the same wavelength in their relationship, too much space between them. The lighting is darker in this scene. When the camera slowly zoomed in on Barbra near the end of the song, you get a feeling that she feels lonely in the relationship. She is still far away from him, he makes no attempt to walk closer to her and she is on a step up higher them him, alone in the spotlight. There's something very sad about this scene and the way she sings the song. It's as if she is wishing she was in a better relationship with a man who was more caring, unselfish and thoughtful. I've really enjoyed this online class, thanks for creating it. I have a new appreciation for musicals now.
  2. I can see similarities in the movie Gaslight to My Fair Lady even though Gaslight wasn't a musical. It took place in England too. Both lead female characters were being tormented and came out of the experience changed. I loved Gaslight. I also see a similar use of shadows and darkness. Eliza felt like she was used even though she was the one who wanted to be transformed into a lady. Higgins and Pickering patted each other on the back and didn't pay any attention to Eliza and she was the one who worked so hard to make their success possible. I don't blame her for being so angry. It's obvious that Higgins still doesn't understand women. He was totally clueless. I like My Fair Lady. The songs are such fun to sing and the costumes are glorious but I hate the ending of this movie if you can call it an ending. It felt unfinished to me. Nothing was really resolved. He just told her to fetch his slippers...ugh! She deserves a better man than that, someone who cares about her feelings. It's obvious Eliza was in love with Higgins and he didn't realize it. I think Higgins is only in love with himself--there's no room in his heart for anyone else. That's what he said in the song, he didn't want to let a woman in his life. Eliza should have left to start a life on her own and put her new image to good use. Or she should have dated the guy stalking her, on the street where she lived, singing outside the house all night... or Higgins should have developed feelings for her and told her. Or something...I need closure and didn't get it. I feel like the director used up all of his creative juices and just called "cut, that's a wrap!" leaving no real ending to the movie. I wonder if it ended this way in the book...
  3. I love Robert Preston. His characters have layers to them. Earlier, musicals presented men with just one layer to their personality (the playboy, the mucho man, the shy man, the comedian sidekick, etc.) In the Music Man, Hill isn't all bad and he isn't all good, it isn't black or white with his character there are a lot of grey areas mixed in. That is more realistic since we all have different nuances to our personality. You can't stop watching Preston when he's on screen. He grabs your attention completely. I also enjoy Victor/Victoria, such wonderful songs in that film and a great story too. I love the "Ya Got Trouble" musical number in Music Man. It has always been one of my favorite scenes in the film. That's a whole lot of lines to remember in one song. So impressive! I wonder if some might consider it to be like an early version of rap music... I haven't seen any of his movies that weren't musicals. I'll have to check those out.
  4. This scene from Gypsy reminds me of the backstage musicals of the 30's and 40's. Rosalind Russell stole every scene she appeared in, in this movie. Such a talent! She is the ultimate stage mom. The song comes off as being innocent and cute with the little girls performing. They are like little performing robots going through the motions like their mother taught them but it wasn't particularly entertaining and that is probably why the people conducting the audition didn't pay much attention to them. Then again, Mama Rose steals the show so all attention is on her.
  5. I found him to be very unlikable. It was very rude the way Jerry behaved to that college student. She was polite and didn't deserve to be yelled at like that. He wasn't very nice to the rich lady either. Throughout the movie, he acted pompous, arrogant and loud. His best quality is his dancing. That's the most likable quality he has and that could be why viewers can forgive his bad attitude. Gene Kelly's movie characters aren't very warm and fuzzy. He always plays the playboy or the tough guy. It's hard for me to warm up to him but I love his dancing--especially tap dancing. And Singing in the Rain is one of my all-time favorite movie musicals. An American in Paris isn't one of my favorite films. I don't enjoy watching it. I like most of the songs, I love ballet and I'm a fan of fine art but there's something about this movie that turns me off. Maybe it was trying to be too cultural and serious and that took the fun out of watching it. I've heard that a love of movie studios added opera, ballet, etc to their movies so people wouldn't criticize them for being cheap entertainment. I'm more of a fan of musicals made in the 1940's because they were more entertaining. Anyway, American in Paris is well produced, it just doesn't appeal to me.
  6. This is one of my all-time favorite musicals. I love Donald O'Connor. I don't think he got the praise and attention he deserves. When people talk about tappers they usually mention Fred and Gene but never Donald. He is every bit as good in this number as Gene Kelly and he has awesome comedic timing, just look at the Make Them Laugh number. I like Gene's dancing but every now and then he has the strangest expressions on his face like he's trying to smile naturally but missed the mark. Anyway, I love every movie Donald O'Connor is in. This scene leads up to the dance number slowly in order to set the mood. You know they are going to dance and sing about tongue twisters because that's what you see before the music starts--especially when they recite the tongue twisters to a beat. It's such a clever number. It's not easy playing the straight man and this actor does it well. You could tell that the professor is used to being in control of his students and is surprised by the actions of Don and Cosmo. His facial expressions add to the comedy of the scene. Don, of course, is the alpha male, the masculine, playboy, take-charge kinda guy. Cosmo is the happy-go-lucky sidekick who isn't looking for love and just enjoys life and being there for his best friend. He doesn't take anything seriously. He lives in the moment. The professor is the beta male who is mild-mannered and dedicated to his work. Because he takes his work so seriously, the guys poke fun at him, trying to loosen him up and get him to enjoy life. I guess it was all in good fun when this movie was made but today, it might be called bullying. They just dumped a bunch of junk on the poor guy and left him there. The professor must have done something right because Don and Cosmo both recited the tongue twisters accurately, maybe they should have thanked their teacher.
  7. This movie doesn't fit with the whole conformist theme of the 50's. She stands out, acts like a tomboy instead of a coquettish female and when she tries to act like "a lady" it doesn't work for her. The only thing she does that is conforming is to fall in love and sing a sweet, love song. Doris Day had a good variety of acting jobs in the late 40's and 50's. It's not a musical but I especially liked her in Midnight Lace--such an unexpected role for her to play. But when the 60's rolled around, she was put in the cute romantic comedy mold. I can see why Calamity Jane was her favorite movie, it gave her a real challenge and I suspect it's always harder playing a real-life character. I don't feel her sunny personality detracted too much from this character. I like seeing actresses try roles that give them a challenge. She has that rough around the edges tomboy personality. The way she pushes Bill around takes being pushed around by him and the way she jumped up on the bar and how she sits like a man is believable but I would have liked her to go even deeper, play that part even edgier but I guess that isn't what the 50's were about. The way she portrayed Jane was probably seen as being very edgy during that time period.
  8. This is one of my all-time favorite musicals. The That's Entertainment clip shows them working together in harmony. You can tell that these four have respect for each other. No one tries to upstage each other. It's a group number and they share the spotlight well. The costuming is interesting. They are all wearing neutral colors so no one person stands out. The outfits mesh well together on the screen. It's very cohesive. The staging is very playful. It's a light-hearted and fun number. Not many props but they were added for a touch of humor (kerchief, ladder)
  9. I love Ethel Waters. I wished Hollywood didn't restrict hiring African American actors because it would have been wonderful to see Ethel--and other talented actors featured in more movies during that period. Ethel lights up the screen everytime she's on. The way she sings this song shows how much she loves her husband. The scene was shot with a nice touch of simplicity and innocence to it to highlight this simply delightful moment of a woman who is deeply in love. I think this song would be effective if she was singing about a child. The whole scene has an innocence and simplicity about it. They would have to change the scene when she puts Joe's shirt sleeves on her shoulders though. Such a shame that African Americans fought in WWII, risking their lives and they came back home to the same stereotypes, racism, and bad treatment. I'm sure there were many more black actors and actresses just as talented as Ethel Waters and Lena Horne who were never given their chance to shine in the spotlight because of racism.
  10. It's amazing how much the movies changed from the 30's to the 40's. In the 30's the women waited for the men the make the first move and even then, they played hard to get. In the 40's you have Betty Garrett's character blatantly chasing a man. How interesting. I'm amazed at how well she could run up the bleachers in that long dress. Very impressive! You knew when Sinatra has that look of fear in his eyes when Betty comes into the scene there would be a chase and a song. Usually, you can tell when they are going to break into song when you hear the instrumental music behind the dialogue.
  11. I don't remember what the first Judy Garland movie was I've seen. Probably the Wizard of Oz. When I was little, it used to come on TV every year and I liked it until the flying monkey's swooped in, then I was done. So it was years before I saw the movie all the way through. What made me fall in love with Judy was her voice. I couldn't understand how a girl that young could have such an amazing grown-up voice. I love all of her movies and I'm a big fan of her TV show too. I have seen the movies these clips are from and it hasn't changed my opinion of Judy. She will always be one of my favorites and nobody can sing like she did. I do feel sad that the studios took advantage of her and worked her so hard. They had her taking drugs to get more work out of her and she struggled with her health for the rest of her life. It's a miracle she lived as long as she did. She was wonderful in "The Good Old Summertime" with Van Johnson. I loved the "Harvey Girls" too--that film doesn't get enough attention as it should. I've seen all of her films and she always lights up the screen. Sheer perfection. And she is an excellent storyteller, I used to watch her on talk shows and she could tell such great stories--such an entertaining talk show guest too.
  12. I love this movie. I never get tired of watching it. It was created to spread patriotism during the war but it's still doing that today, well, sort of. This movie is always on TV on the 4th of July. The movie used every patriotic theme you could think out. Songs about how wonderful America is, lots of stars and stripes decorations, etc. I imagine it was exactly what audiences needed during WWII. The butler talking to Cohen about the song Grand Old Flag, being in the White House is patriotic too. Opening with a parade would be less effective. It's best to tell the story about Cohen and work in the patriotism throughout the story. It illustrates why the troops are fighting, it's to protect the American families so they can follow their dreams. Showing Cohen talking to the president in the White House shows how the American way of life means anyone who wasn't born rich could pursue their dreams and it's even possible to have a chat with the president. Again, that "American Way" is what the troops were fighting for.
  13. I'm not sure if I would call it a battle of the sexes, it was more like women can do anything as well as men. Not a battle but a challenge that ends with a symbol of equality. I love this scene, I've watched it many times and it always makes me smile. It starts out as a dance challenge and ends with them dancing together as one instead of trying to top each other's dance moves. Shaking hands at the end is symbolic of coming together as a team instead of as rivals. I think this film is more screwball than the other films we watched this week. It takes a giant step deeper into comedy. I also feel the dancing is more stylized and sophisticated mixed with a splash of being hip and trendy. In the earlier films, we didn't see a woman tap dancing in an outfit as casual as riding pants. Of course, in the rest of the movie Ginger is wearing fabulous gowns--including the one with all of the hand-sewn feathers on it that unfortunately, kept flying off the dress when they danced. I think the reason why we see changes in roles between men and women in this movie is because that was what was happening in the real world. As we get closer to WWII, women played a major role outside of the home, working in factories, being WACCs, etc. The world was changing.
  14. Lubitsch’s touch is very visual. There wasn't a lot of dialogue in English so it was the visuals that told the story in this scene. Even if you didn't know French you knew what was going on and what they were probably saying. The close-up shots, the facial expressions, etc. told the story. The scene unfolds very smoothly, the pacing is slightly slower so you can pick up on all of the nuances. I especially noticed the sound of the gun going off, first with the woman shooting herself--which was shocking and sad and again when the husband shoots the playboy she was canoodling with and that had a totally different effect, it was surprising and funny. The theme is playfulness. It's naughty but playfully naughty. The woman is jealous because the man she was with was cheating on her but then again, she was cheating on her husband so she is just as guilty as he was. Nobody was trying to hurt anyone, they were just having fun and of course, it all ends well.
  15. I love the facial expressions between Nelson and Jennette in this scene. The story is right on their faces, no dialogue is necessary. You feel closer to both characters. I felt so embarrassed and sympathetic to Jennette's character when the saloon singer upstages her. She didn't mind the people in the saloon not paying any attention to her singing but when Nelson walked in, you could tell that she hated that he didn't see her winning over the crowd. And the look on Nelson's face showed me he wasn't being a player anymore and that he really cares about her. This is such a wonderful scene. Like most movies in this era, the road to romance starts out a bit bumpy and later, they realize they are in love. I've seen all of the Nelson Eddy - Jennette MacDonald movies and found them all to be charming. I like opera so the music really appeals to me as well as the story. I especially liked "Sweethearts" and Naughty Marietta." They have such a wonderful on-screen chemistry together. I've heard that they were very different off-screen. Jennette liked making movies and Nelson hated it. You would never know that by seeing them in the movies. Relationships in movies of this era show couple playing by the rules. The man makes the first move, the woman is reserved and cautious. Something happens that makes them drift apart and then they realize that they belong together. Anytime there is a conflict between two women wanting the same man, the "good girl" always gets him in the end.
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