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John Firestone

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About John Firestone

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  1. Does a movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris’ ending ballet need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film? This entire movie is about the interaction between fantasy and reality and the blurring of perception, but the real love story of the movie is between America and France – especially Paris. One of the recurring admonitions from Dr. Ament has been to recall the history of the time when the movie was made. Made in 1951, Europe (and especially France) was just beginning to recover from WWII. The USA was engaged in helping this recover
  2. As a child of the Fifties, my first exposure to Judy was holiday TV screenings of "The Wizard of Oz". Even as a child, I noticed how convincingly she stood up to Elvira Gulch, how she gently persisted as her family and friends were too busy to help with her troubles (walking on the fence while she chatted with Zeke was a brilliant scene), and how realistically she related to Toto (yes, and Toto, too). Then, there is "Over the Rainbow". The song fist so many interpretations: the yearning for independence, for identity, for lifting of pain and sorrow. And Judy does it so gently in this per
  3. 1. Many have mentioned the scene climbing the stairway (ascending to meet The President). I am uncertain how familiar the movie-going public was with the geography of the White House at this time – TV has so changed our relationship with the White House. The Oval Office was indeed located on the second floor of the White House until 1933. The location at this time was in what previously and subsequently was known as "The Lincoln Bedroom.” So, Mr. Minnelli evokes George Washington by pausing the shot briefly at his portrait, evokes Teddy Roosevelt directly (singing Cohan songs in the bathtu
  4. I agree that Luise is not so innocent. That light-footed dance, those double-entrende lyrics, that turning the tables with the hand-held compact mirror ("I play at being vain, but I see who you are") are plenty suggestive enough. That costume may cover her skin, but it exposes a lot of shoulder -- and there is no doubt there is a shapely woman under that dress. The times and The Code led to more subtle writing and film-making -- and flirting - perhaps on and off the screen. The few pre-Code films I've seen were indeed more overt in their conflict and sexuality. I could imagine a scene being pl
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