Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #1 (From The Great Ziegfeld)

Recommended Posts

  1. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not?  Yes I do. This was during the depression. People worked hard and have very little. I feel that when they could afford to go the the movies they wanted to see happiness, what hard work go(ie, make you a millionaire, or a famous singer). With that said I think most people knew that hard work might get ahead,they weren't going to be or marry a millionaire. 
  2. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals?that life is good, all you need to do is work hard to achieve it or find and marry a rich man.
  3. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples. One of the first things is that I think it would have been know that Ziegfeld and Held were not legally married. I also think it may have shown more details about the affairs he had with other women. I also understand that the girls of the Ziegfeld Follies usually didn't wear much more than a scrape of fabric here and a sequin there to preserve modesty so they probably would show that more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The musicals from 1929-39 portray an elegant luxurious life style. A much brighter outlook on life than the the 24.9% unemployment ravaging the United States during this period.People could escape the harsh realities of life by going to see wonderfully presented fantasies, and all for just a dime. William Powell, one of my favourite actors and Frank Morgan, (the wizard) use facial expressions to convey their dislike or distrust of each other to comedic perfection. Anne Hurd is shown attempting to undress in front of the audience. Post code would have her behind a wardrobe screen out of view.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree also that the movie was quite lighthearted. People needed some lighthearted fun. There was so much sorrow and termoil in  that era. They needed a distraction

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This clip definitely shows the brighter side of life. As many people have remarked an example of the brighter perspective of life was the huge tip given to the door man, that at the time could have been a weeks salary. Also the gift of the flowers being orchids which are considered exclusive and extremely expensive. 

2.    I would expect everyone even the antagonist to end up happy at the end, or if not happy then not upset about their situation.  The theme of all will turn out right in the end would be expected during this time.

3.  I would expect Anna's assistant to give her a more revealing lounging outfit and have Anna change into it, and then have Ziegfield show up at the door. Then have him go into the room to talk to her and the assistant leave the room. I would also expect Anna's onstage outfit to be more revealing.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I do agree that they portray life very brightly.  Giving the doorman such a big tip, and the expensive flowers given as a gift demonstrated that money was no object.  Also, everyone in the clip seemed to be cheerful and playful, including the audience members in the theater.

2. Other Depression era musicals I'm sure will work hard to keep the themes light, and not focus on real-world issues.  They do not want to depress already depressed people. 

3. If this musical had been pre-code, I imagine that when Anna Held went to her dressing room, she might have removed more than just her hat.  Also, she would have been scantily clad on stage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it exhibits a brighter perspective on life rather than emphasizing the reality of the era. This clip exhibits opportunity and hope. I agree with Popcorn97, we go to movies in our good and bad times and we expect to see movies that make us feel better about ourselves, though that isn't always the case.

Definitely greed and desired omnipotence are recurring themes particularly in Depression era musicals. When times are low, people will do whatever it takes despite the morality or legality to get what they want, and their actions easily supply the conflict of some great shows.

I agree with previous users too in that more risks might have been taken in terms of costuming and general sexual situations might have been included.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MalRoseMallory said:

Most Scandalous Of All

The most interesting thing I took from watching this clip and reading the background information was that the real life Ziegfeld led completely violated the Hollywood Motion Picture Code. He lived with a woman that he wasn’t married to, the code states that the motion picture couldn’t portray that. He was divorced, couldn’t show that. She led a childhood that was hard, couldn’t portray that. But yet, they made a Depression Era film to show “the bright side of life”. How bizarre!!?

Seems par for the course.  Consider that the least “Victorian” part of Victorian England was Victorian England.

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. As, I'm sure, many others have pointed out before me, this clip definitely exhibits a brighter perspective on the reality of that time. Few were able to attend such lavish performances, wear such expensive outfits, and carelessly tip people large amounts of money (for the time). This clip represents a time away from the worries of food and making enough to sustain a family. Instead, it worries about the sender of ornate orchids and fixates on the affections of two wealthy gentlemen - thoughts most Great Depression era people did not have time to worry about.

2. If this film is any indication, I'd assume plots of love are popular during this time (as they are during most times). I would also assume that many of the main characters involved in the movie musicals are of higher class or tend to not fixate as much on wealth - which would make sense if the filmmakers are choosing to alleviate film-goers of their daily worries. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel this clip exemplifies the 'typical' musical of this time period--happy, escapist, life will get better, keep on the bright side of things. I can understand why they were so successful with depression era audiences (if one had the money to go) because it offered a life more glamorous than theirs and it offered hope. Music is always a panacea for the soul.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  1. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? 
    Absolutely for both the time when Ziegfeld met Anna Held (at the turn of the century/early 1900s) and also for the depths of the Great Depression when this came out in 1936! Due to:
    - The light touch in the competitiveness, regard for five pounds, the incredible display of wooing with the incredible flowers... the way she was dressed like a dream... even to the point where this takes place in London (which was one of the capitols of Europe -- the height of good taste, high living, etc.)
    This gave people a true escape, visually -- where they could escape their own troubles if they could scrape together movie fare, and go get lost in all this incredible, beautiful, fun (and funny) world filled with interesting people, places, and things. It takes people into situations they'd never be able to afford or experience themselves (wearing a full tuxedo, sitting in a balcony box -- and by yourself!! Many could barely afford the standing gallery in the back of the house, right? And who in the Dust Bowl in 1936 would have ever have SEEN an orchid, let along a whole bouquet of them?)
     
  2. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals?
    - The role of the heroine being a bit more delicate and vulnerable
    - The guy (Ziegfeld) gets the girl (Anna), overcoming obstacles to do so (Billings) -- both personally and professionally
     
  3. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples.
    It would have possibly been grittier - and the musical numbers filmed with more of a risque costuming or setting. Additionally, the types of characters might have been more "colorful" and the scripting could have been a bit more off-color or double-meaning in nature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the clip doesn't necessarily exhibit a brighter perspective but more of a desire to enjoy a comfortable life, something moviegoers aren't able to.  The scene is set in England, everyone is elegantly dressed and enjoying a live show the appears beyond vaudeville.  The movie goer may be envious Ziegfeld can toss a fiver or to wish they were the doorman.

Themes in future musicals: lighthearted, playful songs staged for an audience.  Seems like to show an audience is trying to get the movie goer to become part of it.  Ambition of the actress/actor; the vying for the better deal and lots of flowers!

Pre code, I believe the dress would have been more revealing: off the shoulders; possibly hair down versus up;maybe a sheerer fabric.  When she returns to the dressing room, she may have gone immediately to a dressing gown which may have been more revealing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.    Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? 

Yes I agree that this clip demonstrates a different perspective than reality. The whole tone is upbeat and the song she sings is very catchy, as well as, fun to listen to. The reality of life during this time is that many people had lost their almost everything and were working very hard for little reward. This film seems to take viewers away to happier and more affluent times. There were parts of the clip that were very unrealistic such as the delivery of the orchids and going to watch a show wearing formal attire and having an orchestra.

2.    What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals?

I would expect to hear similar lively music and dancing, more affluence and opulence, exotic locals, and well dressed ladies and gentlemen. 

3.    Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples.

There probably would have been younger actors and actresses, less choreographed musical numbers, simpler songs and dances, etc. The language would have been simple and easily understood for a variety of audiences. There might have been even more detail into her childhood and his not so faithful ways. And definitely less on the costumes. I don't feel they would have been quite so covered up. Especially in her dressing room scene, she never even changes out of the dress. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did the mirror on the long chain get passed over by the code enforcers.  Towards the end of her number it was swinging freely and bouncing off her vaginal area.  Surely calling attention to that area of female anatomy was scandalous to the keepers of all things virtuous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was very interesting to hear and see the light-heartedness of Depression era films. The lighting was soft and gentle. The voices were sing-songy and meek. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that rival producers competing over stars is a theme that will be used over and over in musicals as well as musical theatre being the main setting for early musicals. Rivals continue looking at musicals like Annie Get Your Gun. It seems that depression era films also like to have everyone in formal wear as it makes everything more glamorous.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's definitely something extra lighthearted from the musicals of this era. The quality alone that they contain song and dance, as opposed to being a heavy drama, was an obvious way of distracting audiences from the misery. Another thing I've noticed over the years is small jokes, whether they be a sly double entendre or use of the era's slang. They give a sense that the characters are regular people just like their audiences, but the stories they live through are larger than life. Like in many romantic comedies of the era, I expect to see more love triangles, whether they be romantic or more on the professional side like Ziegfeld, Billings, and Held. I also expect to see a lot more scenes where a leading lady sings a solo and that be the sole focus of the scene. I think that if this had been made a few years earlier, Held would've been wearing something more revealing, and the conversation between her and her maid would've had more crafty quips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see how easy it would be to lose yourself in a movie that offers hope, opportunity, and no financial restraints. More than likely would have been a nice escape for everyone, with the aforementioned themes, during a tough time in our country. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, wproudfo said:

I do agree that this certainly takes away the seriousness of the time period. Miss Held didn't really have any idea who had sent her the flowers. She was just overwhelmed with the idea that someone would send them to her. I believe if this film had been pre-code, she would have been dressed in a more scanty costume for her performance. Instead, she was covered from head to toe in a long dress, bonnet, and a parasol.

I had the same thought regarding her attire during her performance. It was a playful song seemingly somewhat paralleling or alluding to her upcoming decision on who to chose, and pre-code perhaps she would have been dressed in a more scanty costume rather than the long dress and bonnet she appeared in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Movies of this time period were produced so people could escape the woes and worries of the Depression.  Even though this seems to me a bit ironic as most of the people who were enjoying movies of this time were the more wealthy.  It did give them a time to put the worries of the day on hold and let them enjoy a happier go lucky time.

themes that you might anticipate from this would be "survival of the fittest" or a bit of jealousy from the two men in the box seats.  With the leading lady, perhaps a bit of narcissistic tendencies as she flounced around the stage but in a humorous way.

The pre-code view of the musical would have been more vaudeville-esque, as in the leading lady would have been more scantily dressed in her dressing room.  The gentlemen's jealousy of the leading lady's attention toward the other man would have been more blunt and might have shown some exchange of blows or harsh words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several people have mentioned the fact that Ziegfeld was obviously wealthy and not afraid to flaunt it, something I had overlooked. But what a stark contrast in one man handing out large tips and extravagant gifts while so many people were eating dirt and grass (maybe literally) to stay alive. For some viewers this display of wealth could be an escape of sorts and a chance to imagine themselves in that position (look at how popular the old Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous show was back in its day.) For others it could bring up a sense of bitterness and resentment (Who is he to throw money around like confetti when I can't feed my children?).

I'm wondering what demographic the audience consisted of? Were people suffering the hardships of Depression able to indulge in the luxury of going to the movies? If the audience consisted mainly of people who at least had a roof over their heads and weren't worried about where their next meal was coming from, maybe it gave them the opportunity to block out the realities of others not as fortunate as they were and not have to acknowledge it for the moment.

I also had thoughts similar to other posters regarding a pre-code version of the movie. I think maybe Ms. Held's costume would be more revealing, although her innocent appearance might have been part of the actual act. But I agree that in her dressing room she would have changed into "something more comfortable" rather than remaining in her costume.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.   Yes, the whole atmosphere is lighter than the real world at that time.  The competition between the two men is almost lighthearted; and the singer's "problem" of having to choose between suitors is not really a problem at all.  We can "forget our troubles, come on get happy" with the escapism of the musical.

2.    I expect light hearted themes regarding dilemmas that are easy, people with money and talent, and a general happy energy. 

3.    Pre-code, the scene in the dressing room might have shown her already undressed.  Perhaps the conversation between the doorman might have been a little risque regarding the french star everyone is talking about.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I think the mood is bright and cheery.  These scenes could be from any financial period.  Money certainly stood out in this short clip.

2. I might expect movies from this era to be upbeat in an attempt to help you forget your troubles for a little while. Don't worry, be happy.

3. Pre-Code sexual innuendo might have featured more in the short clip, through costume, or actions. Jr would have delivered the expensive flowers himself.  At the very least Ms Helds costume would have been more Flapper Style with more skin showing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Anne R. said:

In Canvas open Mad About Musicals course. Click on Modules. Click on 6/4 - An Historical Overview. Click on Week 1: Monday. Under Table of Contents, scroll down (quite a way down) to Daily Dose. Go down to the blue bar that says Launch External Tool. It will open a new screen where you can play the film clip.

Thanks, I found it late last night thanks to BrianBlake posting screenshots. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely agree that this portrays a lighter, more cheerful representation of daily life during the Depression. The lightness of the song and slight carefree attitude of Held are the complete opposite of 1930s reality. But that's what made movie so attractive at the time; that they try to take away the sorrows one may be experiencing at that time and is honestly still true today.

Whether it was romantic, comedic or elaborate song and dance individuals, audiences craved "fantasies" and cultural escapes when they visited the movies; something to distract them from the realities of the day. Another important genre that emerged were "gangster movies" which allowed the audience to step in the shoes of those who go against law and turn it to their advantage; a sort of an "adventure" movie.

I believe Held would be a little bit more "forward" with her 2 suitors. Displaying more sexual tension through showing more skin by Herd and verbal sparring between individuals could have been used as persuasion techniques.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sadly I have not seen this film yet. Wishing the Redford Theatre in Detroit would show more classic musicals....

But from the clip, I can tell this is loaded with escapism with the light-hearted background music during the conversation between Ziegfeld and the doorman and the light jokes, especially the one about 5 pounds.

The musical number is also very playful and teasing. Beautiful girls singing and dancing always pop up in other Depression era musicals. The elaborate costumes and exquisite set designs all further contributed to the escapism of these musicals. 

The song would work well in a Pre-Code film...except the outfit would probably be MUCH MORE revealing. Backstage Monsieur Ziegfeld would probably be waiting for her in her dressing room...and who knows what would have happened?? 

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find a frilly parasol like the one Luise Rainer has in the clip.

 

 

vlcsnap-2014-12-30-13h45m51s180.png

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


© 2019 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
×
×
  • Create New...