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Laurel H

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About Laurel H

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  1. Thanks for all the input. I dearly love Mel Brooks. He is one of my all-time faves, and I told him so, when I met him. A lovely man!
  2. I'm not sure if this was brought up already, but I am curious about The Producers and other Mel Brooks films that include music, such as Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Where does this fit into the musical spectrum? The Producers is really a film spoof about the making of a musical that is partially shown and embedded in the film. Is this considered a musical itself or a sub-genre? And what other films have gone from screen to stage, like the Producers has? Thank you to the professors and everyone. I have had a wonderful time taking this course!
  3. If Streisand's performance had been more theatrical and loud, she might have appeared more forceful as well and less humble and reflective, also less coy and flirty. It would have taken away from the subtlety of the masterful performance, and might have ended up intimidating Nick instead. At first, Fanny seems flirtatious toward Nick. She's unsure and hesitant, turning away from him. From afar, Nick smiles and becomes more riveted on her, as her singing grows more intense, really emphasizing the lyrics. Fanny crosses to the lamppost, holds it, and cautiously flirts with Nick, drawin
  4. As I try to recall Gaslight (it's been a long time), I think both films have women with an uncertain fate, under very rocky circumstances. It is the man who seems to be in control, placating and manipulating the woman, to varying degrees. She is supposedly ignorant, but "outsmarts" the man in the end. The set props and especially furniture are used to good effect in both films, almost as a separate character in Gaslight. Both films have wide scenes with space for interaction of the characters. Eliza turns out the light, and the lighting becomes softer and darker, she falls to the floor an
  5. In these two clips, we see male leads who are far from the well-defined alpha and beta male types of earlier musicals. Now the characters are well-rounded and human, with all the character flaws and range of emotions of men in the real world. The performances and songs are integrated into the story and forward the character development, instead of just showcasing a particular star and his talents. Preston stands apart from the crowd; he is not one of them, he is a cut above them. His wordplay is above their heads, he reels them in with trickery and sophistication. In both clips, you sens
  6. The opening scene of Gypsy looks back to classic movie musicals as a quaint brightly colored throwback to more innocent vaudeville days, seemingly wholesome and good fare for the whole family. It makes one think of the backstage musicals of the past, though more novelty than elegant. It's an ensemble cast, until Russell enters and takes over the scene. The scene looks ahead as it is literally disrupted by Russell, her risque innuendos, broad bold movements and portrayal of a strong woman who is not subservient to any man...all qualities more fitting to the cultural climate of the 1960s and bey
  7. I do not believe that it's imperative for the director to use a more gritty, less stylized approach, because the beautifully fantastic ending ballet scene would be too jarring of a contrast. Minnelli's striking use of color and sophisticated mise en scene throughout the film leads well into Kelly's ballet scene. Besides Gene Kelly's obvious natural charm, it is his self-deprecating humor that gives Jerry Mulligan a humble quality and makes the viewers like him very much. We empathize with him, when the third-year student criticizes him, and cheer for him, when Milo decides to purchase hi
  8. In this clip from Singin' in the Rain, O'Connor and Kelly's pre-dance movements set the tone for the rhythm and synchronicity to come during the dance routine. Their movements have a comical appeal and show us that it's them against the Professor, the straight man here. Their antics with the curtains and the chair and O'Connor's making faces behind the Professor's back all foreshadow the hilarious and tragic end for the Professor. As seen with the Professor, the straight man becomes little more than a prop, used by the stars as a means to showcase their talents as comedians as well as ama
  9. I believe Calamity Jane would fall into the middle of the continuum. While she doesn't achieve true equality as a female looking for acceptance in a man's world, she does manage to successfully portray a strong female character, who softens romantically while not losing her tenacious strength of character. In her later films, she would continue to portray strong women who had to prove themselves, while always managing to stay feminine and likable, whether as a career woman or stressed-out mom. I believe she carried this wholesome quality into the 1960s, managing to balance it with the mo
  10. At the beginning of the song, Astaire sits in the director's chair, and the others crowd around him as a unit. They each put their hands on him, as they attempt to convince him to do the show. They point at him and move in together toward him. Once he joins in, they link arms and dance with their legs over each other's as a cohesive whole. Again, they show support for each other in the acrobatic part of the scene. Unlike earlier musicals we've seen, there are no closeups of one person; noone is the star of the show. There are no solo spots, though the particular qualities of each are featured,
  11. At the beginning of the scene, outside the bedroom door and then at Joe's bedside, the lighting is dark and dismal. The angel appears, Joe "awakes" and the mood is uplifted. In the outdoor laundry scene, it dramatically changes to a well-lit sunny day, with a bright, white sheet as a backdrop, filling the scene with more light. All is well, as long as Little Joe is around! This tells us that her relationship with Little Joe is everything to her, her reason for being, even with a bare table, his kiss is all she needs. As she sings his name, while taking in the laundry, she wraps his shirt aroun
  12. Blanche Sewell's expertise as a film editor is evidenced by the seamless flow of the characters, as they move throughout the scene, using the sets to enhance the choreography. At first, Betty blocks Frank in the narrow doorway, showing us at once that she is after him and he has nowhere to hide. She moves around him, backing him into a perfectly placed wall. When he ducks under, she pulls him back, and the chase begins, up the wide stairs, to a sign that reads" from mansion to cottage." Effortlessly, they dash across, finding another wall, where Frank tries unsuccessfully to escape. In one smo
  13. The first Judy Garland film I saw was Wizard of Oz. As a child, I felt that she was a friend, a real girl with real troubles. She even made the land of Oz feel like a place just over the rainbow. I recall her warm, lovely voice and sense of humor while interacting with the other characters. After watching the two clips, I can see how she matured into a more sophisticated performer, while maintaining the charm and exuberance she had early on. She makes complicated dance routines appear effortless and displays a great deal of empathy with her partners. One later film that comes to mind is A Star
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