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DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #5 (From Yankee Doodle Dandy)

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Sporting a flag pin, entering the White House, displayed portraits of past presidents, especially Cohan's namesake George Washington, and meeting with the president are all used to good effect to promote American patriotism. Cohan says that he was "a real Yankee Doodle Dandy, always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." The president says, regarding Irish Americans, "You carry your love of country like a flag." These statements might help boost the morale of audience=goers by instilling a pride in being a born-and-bred American or an immigrant to America. I believe opening with the White House scene is preferable to the parade scene, in that it sets up the backstory of Cohan's roots, his birth and how he got his name through flashback. It also foreshadows later events and frames the film, when it returns to the White House and the later scene with the president. 

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Interesting too that many Irish were not treated well when they immigrated, yet the George and his family were such supporters of America.  

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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. 

The display of pictures on the walls, the way the butler handled the guest and the oficie itself promoted a great deal of American values. 

Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.

The dialogue boosts the American morale when the guest roundly remembers his youth as a Yankee Doodle Dandlt waving the American flag at parades and how his father influenced his patriotism.

Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. 

Opening the movie with the office scene, gives you a better idea of what the movie is going to be about. The sense of patriotism and country values is set right of the bet. Great camera work gave a stronger feeling to the scene. 

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1. The concept of patriotism through the use of props, sets and music overruns the segment shown. To start with the location is the White House, considered the home of the country and one owned not by its occupants but by the people of the United States. The paintings along the walls feature previous Presidents and used to inspire respect for those who came before. The fact that Cohen here is meeting the President, the holder of the highest office in the land, should be taken into note as well. Flags are on display in both the President’s office and along the street when the flashback begins. All of this wraps the viewer in a sometimes subtle and other times blatant sense of country.

 

2. The dialogue shows two men discussing the patriotism that one instills in those who see his shows or hear his music. The conversation points out a difference in opinion of the political parties even back then from the FDR’s comment that some think Cohen would make a better President to Cohen’s referring to the ownership of a critical newspaper. What was nice to see was that it wasn’t directed as a slam or a diatribe on the difference in parties but played off in a subtle manner as a joke. And FDR’s comment about “admire about you Irish Americans” is seen here as a compliment as he celebrates their adapting to and love of this country.

 

3. By opening the movie with this scene it eases the viewer into the story that is about to unfold. Had it begun with the parade it would have left you at first wondering what the story was about. Moving straight into the performance his father was giving it might have made people think they were seeing a film about him instead of George M. Cohen. The slow, gliding movements of the opening segment allows the theater patron to sit down and watch the story unfold rather than be tossed into an fast paced parade and performance. It tells you up front this is who the movie is about, his love of country and how that story came to be.

 

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1. I can't think of another film more overflowing with Americana and patriotism than "Yankee Doodle Dandy." As shown in the clip, the production values play a big part in this, from the scenes of Cohan (Cagney) walking awe-struck through the White House to meet with the President, to the small American flag pin on his lapel, to the nostalgia-heavy flashback to Cohan's birthday on the Fourth of July during the turn of the century, where crowds are shown waving flags and joyously celebrating our country's birth. 

2. Patriotism and working together are extolled in the screenplay, such as the line when FDR tells Cohan that the Irish-Americans "wear your love of country like a flag." Even Cohan Sr.'s line about how his wife "never held up a show in her life" indirectly ties in with Hollywood's WWII-era effort to encourage teamwork and solidarity through film.

3. The frame-story of Cohan meeting with FDR that bookends "Yankee Doodle Dandy" not only provides a logical means of flashing back to reminisce on Cohan's life, but also allows the relevance of Cohan and his music to be tied to the present WWII America. This isn't just the life story of a man who wrote great songs that stirred the country into patriotic fervor decades ago; the messages of patriotism and American values are just as relevant to the 1940s as they were to the 1910s (and, I would argue, continue to be relevant to us today, over 70 years later). If "Yankee Doodle Dandy" had begun with the parade scene instead, I think that the overall tone of the film would have been much different, and it would not be as celebrated as it continues to be today. The relevance between the time Cohan was born and grew up in to the present day would not have been established, and it would have been just another one of the many musical biopics produced in the 40s.

James Cagney is one of my all-time favorite actors, and I'm so excited to rewatch this film. I think it's one of his best performances, and one of the few opportunities he had to show that he was capable of playing so much more than just a fast-talking tough guy.

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1. The entire movie is designed to promote patriotism from the entrance into the White House to the pictures lining the stairs- Lincoln, Washington, Just to name two- to seeing President Roosevelt in the Oval Office, and even the flashback to July Fourth speak of a love for America. At this point in time, America was on the verge of war. Its navy was on alert in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.  The military knew that war was imminent in the Pacific in particular and in Europe.  While the production might have occurred prior to the entrance into WWII, studios such as Warner Bros. were gearing up for war. They were leading the way to changing public opinion from isolation to willing to fight.

2. Several lines stick out. Roosevelt says, “How’s my double?” Cohan States, “I inherited that from my father,” referencing the flag waving. The dialogue serves as a reminder that the President is one of us, and it also reminds people that Americans have always been willing to stand in the gap for each other in time of war.

3. Without the White House scene at the beginning, the context is lost. Curtiz is doing everything he can to prove what a great country America is through the patriotic themes and storyline.  This idea would be lost and becomes just another biographical sketch without the White House scene setting the stage for the final scenes of the movie. This becomes particularly noticeable when one looks at the song in the play I’d Rather Be Right, “Off the Record”. After stating various ideas and thoughts that should not be printed, Cohan as played by Cagney looks directly at the camera in a close up and explains how the Axis powers are going to be defeated which is for the record.  It was a message to the American people;we Americans would fight until liberty was obtained for all involved. That segways back into the White House scene. Because it appears at both the beginning and the end of the film, the audience is left with no doubts as to what America stands for, who we are, and why we fight.

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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. What can be more american than the White House? The paintings of prior presidents, the flags, famous ships and all. It just screams American values.

Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. From speaking with a minority race (an African American butler) to another somewhat oppressed race Irish-Americans, as well as the unifying white male in power, even as a Democrat as well as a relative that was a Republican president brings out money to buy war bonds.

Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. I feel that the continuity of the film wouldn't have worked without the setting in the oval office. The parade, while showing the flag might not have given the biopic feel to the film.

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  1. The scenes are overtly patriotic, starting with a setting in the White House which includes a walk up the stairs past Washington and other presidents, then going to the literal flag waving parade scene. The dialogue is very purposeful, hinting at cross party unity in one line, while ina other, it sets up unity between races while simultaneously reminding viewers of Cohen's American songbook.
  2. As mentioned in my first answer, the dialogue is wonderfully written to accomplish many things at once. Almost every line hints at the ideals and beliefs that most Americans value--freedom, liberty, and interestingly, opportunity. It's interesting at how purposeful the dialogue is to speak to so many different ethnic and immigrant groups, celebrating them as part of a collective one. That encourages wartime collaboration and promoted national harmony.
  3. This opening works better in he sense that this movie is also a biography or biopic. Yet even as a musical, the opening gets so much out of the way in a short scene that then allows the scene that follows to focus on music and celebration. In writing this, I was reminded by the opening of the stage production of The Phantom of the Opera. That's a bookend opening, where the speak-singing dialogue explains in a similar what who his story is about and like Yankee, then breaks time and space with boisterous music.

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I was struck by how much Cohen was looking around the White House as he climbs the steps and enters the Oval Office.  His actions are of awe and reverence, very much in line with patriotism of the 1940s. That's such an extreme when I compare it with the current flippant attitude toward government and just about everything in today's movies.  To me it seems so out of place, but for 1942 it was gold.

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1. The conversation with the butler as Cohan goes for his audience with FDR, the presidential portraits, flashback to the parades of his childhood, etc. 

2. It wouldnt have been as effective if not for the opening sequence and conversation with FDR. What really got me was FDR saying “You Irish Americans carry your love of country like a flag.....” 

3. Opening with the FDR chat sets the scene for starting the bio in flashback.

A note: I always enjoyed this biopic but now as an adult I view the whole patriotism thing differently.

We've got a president looking to stay out of WWII knowing what was happening in Europe to insure his re-election!

A government responsible for turning away a ship of 938 Jews trying to escape the Nazi - the final signal for the Nazis to go foreward to do the worst. 

Antisemitism and racism at an all time high. 

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The African American servant speaking of patriotism speaks to the fact that all Americans were being called upon to defend and protect America. The paintings of the past Presidents on the walls of the staircase show an appreciation and respect for the history of America. The proliferation of flags in the parade scene and just the fact of a parade with soldiers and young people and small town America all speak to patriotism. The conversation with Roosevelt where the President brings up the fact that Irishmen were known for their love of country and how Cohan talks then about his family's love for America. All of these things make the audience member feel a common pride in being American. I believe the opening in the office of the President serves the movie well and leads to the story in a better way than just starting with the parade. 

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 Seeing all the pictures of ships and other Naval props, (the clock on FDR's desk), I'm guessing might be to bring to mind the attack on Pearl Harbor and why we're at war, in the first place. Of course, the White House butler mentioning he saw the show that introduced the song Grand Old Flag and how it was still a great song so many years later shows a major mention of Patriotism. 

I grew up watching this film, and it took me years to realize what was meant when the stage manager told Jerry Cohan to change or else he might be ripped to shreds. It was July 4th!  America's Birthday, not Ireland. Though having Jerry put a mini flag in his baby boy's fist was wonderful to support Irish Americans. 

My feeling on the opening was that the director wanted people to see that this was a present day film, but with memories and reminiscing on how George grew up proud to be an American. If he started it out with the 4th of July parade and George's birth, it might just be seen only as a biography picture. 

 

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1.  The pictures of the past influential people (Presidents?) on the wall along the ascending staircase promotes American values by showing people who helped to build America to that point.  The wide, open, spacious sets used to resemble the White House shows how grand and prominent America is.  The ships and painting of ships promotes American values by thing back to the discovery of America and a tribute to our pioneers.  The parade with flags, patriotic parades and uniforms promotes being proud of your country.

2.  Dialogue is in the screenplay to boost American morale with lines such as "I haven't changed my ways." when the president asked if he was still the same "Yankee Doodle Dandy."  Another line showing support for America was when Cohan told the president that his dad left to fight the civil war when he was 13.

3.  If it opened with the 4th of July Parade scene I think the movie would have sets a different mood, it would have led the audience to focus more on a war movie instead of focusing on the biographical story of a person.  

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1) This promotes American values by one, when we see the camera move up the stairs, we see the photos on the wall of the different political figures, presidents and generals who either changed or shaped this country by what they said or what they have done or did. Then we see ( which it is) the oval office in which in the background you can see the two American flags and the different photos of ships and just other different things to then seeing the parade for the Fourth of July.

2) " I was a pretty cocky kid in those days, pretty cocky kid. Make a Yankeyoadandydo, always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." " You carry your love for country like a flag." "I inherited that, got that from my father. He ran away to the Civil War when he was 13." All of those and I know there was more, show the pride and dedication they wanted to show in this scene, especially when we saw the flash back to the Fourth of July parade and his father doing there show for it.

3) Frankly this one I don't really know, I both believe that the parade and the oval office are very important, although I would think it would show a little more 'strong' impact showing the Fourth of July parade, knowing how that day solidifies an important time in history as a country and how we fought for our freedom and independence, but then again its the office, the oval office of the United States President and seeing all the photos of the great men that came before, so I believe either way it impacts the film.    

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1) Walking by the portraits of the past presidents, going to the oval office, numerous uses of flags in the scene stood out to me.

2)One example is the butler telling Cohen about seeing him sing about the grand old flag.

3). I think starting out in the oval office works better as they are setting it up to look back on what happened. 

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I do not think that the opening of the film would be as effective if it opened with the fourth of july parade instead of the FDR scene. 

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Off topic but could someone please tell me what is the significance or symbolism of what looks like a stuffed bunny to the right of the lamp on Roosevelt's desk? 

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FDR tells how Cohen is spreading patriotism to the other 47 states and he quotes the news papers.  Cohen then mentions that the papers had a Party opinion of the President and upon reflection to RI, that more states are coming.  Flag waving and cheering was a great way to make the audience feel that they too were a party of something...to feel the unity and pride that was being portrayed in the scenes.

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1. 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.

We see the past presidents portraits as Cohan ascends the stairway, the flags - down to the one on Cohan’s lapel. There are pictures of ships & nautical items around the office, possibly that could are representative of the past victories the country had. The intimate meeting with the president is complete patriotism and nationalism that would be a setting to boost the morale of the movie audience.  

2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.

At the beginning of the clip, the WH butler begins telling Cohan how he wanted to see him again - how 37 years ago Teddy Roosevelt got him in to see his performance... “you was singin’ and dancin’ all about the grand ol’ flag.” Cohan answers “it was a good old song in it’s day” and the butler answers, “yes sir it was, and it’s just as good today as it ever was.”  

Cohan and FDR discuss his portrayal of the president in his new show and what the press has said, Cohan mentions being nervous, and in this we’re shown he is like an average man and meeting the president, giving the audience the idea it could be them.

As they talked FDR mentioned remembering Cohan and his family, the Four Cohans, during the time he was attending school near Boston. Cohan says, "I was a pretty cocky kid back in those days, a pretty cocky kid, a real Yankee Doodle Dandy...always carrying a flag in a parade or following one." FDR: “I hope you haven’t out grown that habit.” Cohan: “not a chance.” FDR: “that’s one thing I’ve  always admired about you Irish Americans  - you carry your love of country like a flag right out in the open, a great quality." Cohan, "I inherited that, got that from my father, he ran away to the Civil War when he was 13, the proudest kid in the whole state of Massachusetts." FDR: “You’ve spent your life telling the other 47 sates what a great country it is... 

We are taken into his story, a parade, patriotic music playing and flags waving as soldiers go marching by.

3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer.

The story had to open at the end to draw the audience in and show why Cohan was a true patriot and the key role he played in providing patriotic songs and support to the country in the past. The audience needs to appreciate his life and why as it applies to the time period. It reinforces the need for patriotism with what the country was facing in WWII, at the time of their meeting. 

 

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1.) American patriotism is everywhere in this opening scene. To begin with, George walking side by side with an African American butler, not equals, but somehow you feel they are. They’re walking up a staircase lined with prominent American presidents. Implying our noble and patriotic beginnings. Once George enters the Oval Office there is a hushed awe as if George had just entered a scared place. Then, the flags. There’s that ever present flag over the characters shoulder and how the scene progresses with wall to wall flags during the flashback of the parade. All of these images point to America’s greatness and heroic past, there are even paintings of major ships lining the walls, emphisising our greatness at sea. 

2.) I cant find any specific lines, but in general there is conversation about family working together, running off to join the army to contribute in whatever way one can. How ethnically diverse groups added to the moral of the country. There is however an exchange between Cohan and Roosevelt that makes the president seem like the Everyman, “Why I was told that you knew all of the answers.” “There was A time I thought so, right now I wish I did.” “Yes, So do I.” In that brief exchange the audience gets to see and hear Roosevelt admit that he doesn’t have all the answers , he’s one of “us” leading a country into war still trying to find the answers. But he is still a great leader. 

3.) A biography is a biography, birth, life’s accomplishments, death, cut and dry and sometimes boring. But . . . If you start your biography, with the person being scrutinized at either their lowest lows or their highest heights, that grabs the audiences attention. Most movie goers at that time probably knew the famous George M. Cohan, (yankee doodle dandy). Not many may have known of his meager background. By starting this biopic with the Fourth of July parade you hit the audience full in the face with the good old red, white and blue, over and over and over again, overkill in my opinion, no place to go. It was done that way any number of times. The audience however with the nervous presidential meeting is being set up to eventually see that from small starts, great things can happen. There is much more to build from that scene and a patriotic and moral boosting musical unfolds. They know who George M. Cohan is and they know he reached the White House, now they want to know the “how”. 

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1.This movie is full of patriotic symbols. Many obvious like the flags and uniforms of the parade in Massachusetts, to even more subtle like the grandeur and splendor of the White House.  The play Cohan is starring in and wrote is about the current President, and he is concerned as to how the President will feel about his play. When he is summoned to the White House, it is with mixed emotions. I was struck by the pictures of boats on the wall when he meets the President. In reading about the movie, the production began right after Pearl Harbor, it is fitting then for the White House to have these images.  What also caught my eye was the stuffed rabbit on the desk. Wonder what that was for, or who it belonged to?

2.There are many pieces of dialogue that boost morale.  One I will mention is when the White House doorman stay to meet Mr. Cohan, their discussion talks about Grand Ole Flag. And the doorman mentions it is just as important today.  Pulling on those patriotic strings and rallying around our flag. And when President Roosevelt compliments Cohan on being Irish and wearing his patriotism, waving his flag out in the open. There are so many.

3.I like the flashback opening, it sets the tone and a sense of reverence with the President.  It begins with the current period and goes back so we can see Cohan’s growth and influence.  I think if the movie just began with the parade, the central character might be lost at first.  The family is such an integral part of the movie, the opening parade scene places emphasis on the father also. By starting with the flashback, we know to watch George’s evolution. The family helps to shape who he will become, but he is the focus. We get to watch how he got to this meeting with the President, it makes us what to know the “why”.

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This clip conveys the patriotic style from the get-go. It is all set up in a way to show the ideals of the American Dream. We see Cohan and the Butler making their way up the stairs, alluding optimism. The downward camera angle gives us the perspective of moving onwards and upwards beyond the terrors of war. There are large portraits of American Presidents which establishes a sense of nobility. The White House appears very homely with pictures, flowers, plants, furniture, fireplace etc. The first shot we see in the flashback is of an American flag.

The dialogue supports the scene design. Although the Butler is supposed to be off duty he wants to meet Cohan out of sheer respect. He tells Cohan that the song Grand Old Flag is “just as good today as it ever was.” President Roosevelt makes Cohan feel completely welcome saying “we understand each other perfectly” and that Cohan’s “love of country” is a “great quality”. Cohan is depicted as a very patriotic person who has been busy “telling other 47 states” that America is a great country. These phrases reflect the sense of American unity – working together for the greater good.

The flashback technique effectively conveys Cohan’s lifespan and the White House scene gives the plot a sense of importance and drama. If the movie began with the parade it might have established a more light-hearted and theatrical style to the movie.

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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.  

  • There are flags, bunting, military parades and the the theater that dad is performing is is the Colony Theater.  This speaks to the 13 colonies and how Americans stuck together to get through the Revolutionary War and Civil War. We can get through this too.  

Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.

  • I think the speech between the President and George talks about how great this country is and it’s people.  The parade shows people happily waving the flag not in defeat but in happiness.  

Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer.

  • At first, I thought it might not make much difference but now I think it could have brought this scene down a bit.  At a military parade, it could remind everyone that their loved ones were fighting in a war.  Starting in the Office reminds them what we as Americans were fighting for.   

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Last week knocked me for loop! Glad to be getting back on track and caught up this week!

1. 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.

It doesn’t get much more patriot than the White House. Flags, portraits of past presidents. It’s hard not to think of American values in a scene set like this.

2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. 

The conversation with the servant was interesting. It was as if the servant’s own patriotism couldn’t be repressed. The mention of Teddy Roosevelt showed that his love of country was long-held rather than in response to the war. The same for Cohan - mentioning that he inherited his patriotism from his father. I thought it was interesting that Cohan seemed to minimize it a nit when he talked about being a young cocky kid, but FDR assures him it’s an admirable quality. them mention of Irish-American patriotism was interesting too; like a reminder that whether born in America or not, very person’s love of America is equally great.

3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. 

Opening at the White House gives us a “full circle” feel. We start here, we travel through Cohan’s life and end neatly back where we started. I like that gives the whole movie a storyteller feel.

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  1. 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.  As George is walking up the stairs, we see large portraits of past Presidents on the walls. The lighting indicates it was late in the evening and it is quiet other than the conversation between George and the butler. The office is filled with nautical paintings, model ships, and even the desk clock is in the shape of a ship's wheel. We see George's reminiscence of the parade, which, from the first frame of the scene, overwhelms us with the number of flags waving while the soldiers march by.
  2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.  There were two lines that explicitly indicated patriotism. Both were spoken by FDR: "That's the one thing I've always loved about you Irish-Americans: you carry your love for your country like a flag, right out in the open.  It's a great quality." This tells us that if we are to be a patriot, we must show it! We must always indicate our love for our country, no matter where we are, where we came from. Who we are should always include "patriot". The second line of dialogue spoken by FDR regarding Cohan's patriotism was, "So you spent your life telling the other 47 states what a great country it is." This makes it sound as though the driving force for Cohan's travels around the country were to spread patriotism, as though his career which took him on the road was secondary to his love for the United States.
  3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. Had the film opened with the flashback of the parade, we would not have seen the older Cohan interact with the President of the United States in such a friendly, casual manner. In a way, we are told how it all works out in those first few moments: Cohan is a successful actor with a long career, performing his patriotic duty by portraying the President in a hit show. Having Cohan narrate the beginning of the flashback as he begins to tell the President his origins, shows us very economically how far he has come, from his humble beginnings in the theater to casual, late night, post-performance chats at the White House.

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