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About PetuniaBrown

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  1. How might Streisand’s performance of the song “People” have felt different in the film, had she been more theatrical and expressive, perhaps even belting her song more? It would be been off-putting since the song is presented as an extension of the conversation she is having with Nicky Arnstein. It would have been like shouting in his face. The conversational tone she uses is essential to making the scene work. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene: how do the two characters relate to each other as the lyrics are sung? He is listening, but she is moving away from
  2. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) If you look at the ending confrontation between Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer in "Gaslight" you get the same dynamic as the example from "My Fair Lady." In both cases Cukor keeps both characters in the frame and lets the emotions spill out in one long take. Note the emotional transition moments in this
  3. As you look back to the masculine performances in musicals of past decades, what changes in male representation, and performance would you say are most noticeable? In my opinion, there is an added dimension of "real men" with a softer side and/or a good heart. In earlier years, men in musicals were often cads (such as in the earlier clip from "An American in Paris.") What other specific qualities do you notice about Robert Preston in either or both of these clips? (Preston is an early favorite of mine but I will try not to gush). For me, the most notable thing about Robert Pres
  4. In what ways does this scene look backwards to classical musicals and how does it look ahead to new disruptions that we now know will happen in the movie musical? It looks back via the time-honored tradition of "The Audition" where "ya gotta show 'em what ya got. It is future-forward as one of the earliest of what would soon be a deluge of big screen musicals adapted from Broadway plays. This is the introduction of Mama Rose in the film. Comment on Rosalind Russell’s entrance and performance especially as a traditionally trained stage and film actress. Coming from the stage, Ru
  5. 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? Not necessarily. After all, this isn't a documentary. The film is fairly stylized throughout. So in a way, it matches the ending ballet. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Not much. ? For me, it is the knowledge that he is trying to bluster his way through his disappointments and relative lack of success up to this point.
  6. How do the pre-dance movements of O’Connor and Kelly compare to their actual dance movements? They are already moving on the beat before the official dancing begins. Watch the Professor all the way through and consider the role of the straight man. Thankless. How he (or other straight "people") doesn't start laughing is a miracle. Plus, they keep pointing out the steps -- like he's going to join them. How do the representations of masculinity in all three men compare and contrast with each other? Since, a least for the moment, Gene Kelly is less alpha than usual, it
  7. As you reflect upon female representation in the 1950s, where do you think this film character falls in the continuum? Why? It kind of straddles eras because you have the Katie Brown character, a traditional feminine female, and Calamity who is tomboyish in the extreme and sees no reason why she can't do the same things men do. But despite their differences in appearance (initially anyway) and approach, both are strong women. Calamity just is and Katie gets there when she tries to take a shot at Calamity. She misses. But she was brave enough to try. How do you think Doris Day grows a
  8. As you watch the interaction between the four characters in this scene, what do you notice about the way they include each other or relate to one another? How is it different from early musicals we have discussed? There is great camaraderie throughout. As Jack Buchanan begins to sing, you can see Oscar Levant and the Nanette Fabray (RIP) look at Tony (Astaire) to be sure he is catching on. For the first two lines Astaire sings, he is still seated and still, seemingly, skeptical that there is anything in this proposed production for him. He finally stands up and fully joins in, signaling
  9. What do you notice about the way the scene is directed as Petunia goes to Joe’s bedside and as we cut to her outside hanging laundry? What does this tell us about her relationship, and the connection to the song? For one, she is happy that he is alive. As she approaches the bed early on, the covers are pulled over Little Joe's face. She pulls them back and is surprised and delighted just as she begins to sing. By the time she gets to the clothes line, life is getting back to normal. Joe is out of bed and sitting in a wheelchair. And she continues to sing and become more confident that th
  10. Thinking like a director and editor, describe how each shot spotlights key actions. Although this is not a dance sequence, it is highly choreographed. At the beginning, for instance, each time Betty Garrett moves, you hear a musical beat. When she talks about "fate knocking," she knocks on the rail and we hear it. This sequence is masterfully synchronized between the actions/acting of Garrett and Frank Sinatra, the song lyrics and the editing. Well done. It’s interesting to examine how musicals segue into musical numbers. How does this sequence prepare us for the singing? She
  11. What was the first Judy Garland film you recall watching? What was your first impression of her? I want to say "The Wizard of Oz," but it more likely was "Easter Parade" (I must have my annual "Easter Parade" fix to maintain peace and order in my universe) or one of the Judy-Mickey "let's put on a show" musicals (these can be problematic (blackface anyone?), but I love them just the same, and I am one of those people who actually respects and admires the many talents of Mickey Rooney as well). So, what was my impression? That she was one of the Great Wonders of the World -- as were many
  12. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. Well there is a lot going on in this scene ... and from different perspectives. You have the valet/butler, who is black, extolling the virtues of the old Cohan song "You're a Grand Old Flag" and how it is still relevant "today" as they are walking along a row of presidential portraits. Then you have "FDR" praising Irish Americans for wearing their patriotism on their sleeves. And if you still have
  13. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? I see it as not so much a "battle" but closer to the time-honored ritual of sizing each other up in a "let's see what you've got" kind of way. As they start to move, they are watching each other's steps (and probably a few other things) and in a way getting to know each other better. By the time they shake hands at the end, it's just a matter of sorting out who's who and then getting together. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or d
  14. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? It is a very light touch about something that could have been serious -- a woman who pulls a gun on the lover she thinks has betrayed her only to "use" it on herself after her husband shows up. Chevalier's character is winking at the audience throughout to let us know this is NOT serious. No one will ACTUALLY be killed. It is farce. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Descr
  15. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific example They are playful, attracted to each other but restrained. In both clips he looks at her longingly but doesn't make a move. In the first clip especially, Eddy is kind of "messing" with her, and she "plays" along." They have a connection, but it is a chaste one ... for now. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. I have not seen much of Eddy''s work without MacDonald, with the notabl
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