Author Topic: Sandy Faces the Music  (Read 9917 times)

MartinTeller

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2012, 06:37:36 PM »
This list is from a box set of 50 classical musicals given to me recently. I won't write down all the titles I haven't seen yet, but will start with a few.

I think you're going to find most of these to be disappointing.  Those 50-film box sets are always unrestored prints of public domain movies that no one really cares about.  But usually there's a few gems in them, albeit with lousy transfers.

Sandy

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2012, 08:11:26 PM »
This list is from a box set of 50 classical musicals given to me recently. I won't write down all the titles I haven't seen yet, but will start with a few.

I think you're going to find most of these to be disappointing.  Those 50-film box sets are always unrestored prints of public domain movies that no one really cares about.  But usually there's a few gems in them, albeit with lousy transfers.

I believe you are right. Maybe I'll revise it to only those that get a 6 or higher on IMDb. All-American Co-Ed was 4.9  :)--and that seems generous.
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Sandy

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2012, 10:10:13 AM »
So how do the girls eventually find out there's boys amongst them (the 5 o'clock shadow not being a big enough give away)? It must've been something pretty obvious. I'd guess but it'd be crude, lol.

I thought at least the unveiling would be interesting, but the guy's wig gets caught during a show he's performing with the girls.  :P The fraternity sent in their most clean shaven of the lot--still an awkward looking girl IMO. I probably need to put my signature in bold while doing this marathon. Since I need to purge this movie from my memory, I've been watching The Merchant of of Venice on YouTube. Not the best source, but I'm desperate--and thanks again for letting me know about it.  :)
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smirnoff

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2012, 04:08:41 PM »
I'm surprised it's available. Enjoy :)

Sandy

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2012, 09:50:49 AM »
I'm surprised it's available. Enjoy :)

I'm finding that it's not complete, but at least its a start.
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Sandy

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2012, 10:28:46 AM »
Gigi




I’ve spent much of my life not liking Gigi. To be more precise, I was disgusted by the men’s attitudes and infuriated with the women’s behavior. In the Most Hated Musicals Thread, I wrote, “With her grandmother and aunt's help up the steps, Gigi laid herself on the altar of second class citizenship. She had the chance to be formidable, but blew it.” I kind of resented her for caving and had similar reactions to the endings of Taming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Annie Get Your Gun. Where’s the conviction? Where are the strong women role models? After watching the film again last week, I softened my feelings towards the grandmother. I hadn’t noticed how she had tried to inform Gigi about what she was getting herself into. A weak attempt maybe, but for someone who knew no other life pursuit, the grandmother did make an effort. Besides my overwhelming distaste for Gigi’s reversal decision, I found the story and music to be, for the most part, a bore.  There was little forward movement and the songs, though luckily shorter than song renditions in Kiss Me Kate, were uninteresting or worse, creepy.

Enter Dual Focus Narrative. My textbook for the semester is Rick Altman’s The American Film Musical, a wordy treatise on the theory of genre analysis. With the Dual Focus concept, he managed to turn on a light bulb over my head and walk me through a movie that I thought I had seen and understood, and said, “Forget everything you think you know and look at this from a different standpoint.” I’d become comfortable with the protagonist driven story and expected to follow along as plot points begat plot points. Sometimes I complained about the predictability, but I still liked the linear style.

The idea of parallelism as a “different principle of organization” was something I hadn’t really considered before, but I was intrigued, and by the end of the chapter Altman had sold me on the concept. Vincente Minnelli wasn’t wandering around haphazardly, fitting in songs willy-nilly. The scenes were very precisely choreographed to mirror Gaston and Gigi’s experiences and the montage scenes took on elevated meaning as they illustrated their similar predicaments. With the male/female, wealthy/beautiful, child/adult dichotomies all explored, the film turned into a much more interesting piece. I had dismissed it because of my convictions, but I had missed out because of my ignorance.

Dual Focus Narrative opens up a whole new way of looking at a film as psychology, sociology, history and ethics come into play while two characters slowly make their way to reconciliation. Even though I still don't like Gigi, I'm now aware that there is more to it than I had given it credit for.

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MartinTeller

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2012, 10:42:30 AM »
The idea of parallelism as a “different principle of organization” was something I hadn’t really considered before, but I was intrigued, and by the end of the chapter Altman had sold me on the concept. Vincente Minnelli wasn’t wandering around haphazardly, fitting in songs willy-nilly. The scenes were very precisely choreographed to mirror Gaston and Gigi’s experiences and the montage scenes took on elevated meaning as they illustrated their similar predicaments. With the male/female, wealthy/beautiful, child/adult dichotomies all explored, the film turned into a much more interesting piece. I had dismissed it because of my convictions, but I had missed out because of my ignorance.

Dual Focus Narrative opens up a whole new way of looking at a film as psychology, sociology, history and ethics come into play while two characters slowly make their way to reconciliation. Even though I still don't like Gigi, I'm now aware that there is more to it than I had given it credit for.

I love this, especially the bolded part.  It makes me happy to see people embracing different ways of looking at movies.  I'm not familiar with Dual Focus Narrative, can you elaborate a bit on the fundamentals of it?


My old review of Gigi sounds rather shallow and embarassing now, but I'll post it anyway:

Quote
Kind of a poor man's My Fair Lady.  It's a period film about a girl growing up and becoming sophisticated, it's got a Lerner & Loewe score, it's got a guy who can't really sing that well so he talks through most of his lyrics (Rex Harrison/Louis Jordan).  When it doesn't have is that magnificent quality, and doesn't hold up as well as My Fair Lady (or other Minnelli musicals like An American in Paris or Meet Me in St. Louis).  But it does have Maurice Chevalier, delightful once again as a character both charming and pervy (few things are creepier than a 70 year-old Chevalier singing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls").  Nothing else really stands out, but it's all done well enough.  Leslie Caron is cute, the sets and costumes are serviceable, and if few of the songs are very memorable, at least none of them are obnoxious.  And another plus: no boring ballet sequence.  Rating: 7

Sandy

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2012, 11:32:58 AM »
Your review is exactly how I feel, so we can be shallow and embarrassing together. :)  I'm only a few chapters into the textbook, so please excuse the rudimentary attempt.

The traditional narrative is like A --> B--> C--> ...    Where the protagonist's actions and motivations (cause and effect) move the scenes forward.

The Dual-Focus Narrative focuses more on the opposite or dividing factors of two characters, male/female, poor/rich, child/adult and pairs scenes back to back to illustrate them. Added into the mix are the parallels or similarities they are both experiencing which move them closer and closer til the resolve.

So it might look something like A/B (Gigi being told to clean up for her lessons--showing her as a child/Gaston executing a transaction--showing him as an adult), C/C (Gaston singing "It's a Bore," followed by Gigi singing "I Don't Understand the Parisians"--both unhappy with their situations).

I think I'll let Altman elucidate:

We alternate between the male focus and the female focus, working our way though a prepackaged love story whose dynamic principle remains the difference between male and female. Each segment must be understood not in terms of the segments to which it is causally related but by comparison to the segment which it parallels... Whereas the traditional approach to narrative assumes that structure grows out of pot, the dual-focus structure of the film musical derives from character.

Hope that's helpful. Maybe soon I'll understand it more.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 11:37:19 AM by Sandy »
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sdedalus

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2012, 11:46:38 AM »
That sounds really interesting.  I read half of Altman's Film/Genre when I was in school and have been meaning to pick it up again, along with his musicals book.

Bondo

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Re: Sandy Faces the Music
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2012, 11:48:00 AM »
I looked back at my Gigi review and didn't find anything useful. Mostly I just ranted about how a film that mediocre could have won more Oscars than any other film at that point and how it spoke poorly to how good films "used to be." Now my memory isn't good enough to really overlay the parallel structure and rethink it. As far as I'm concerned, the high point was "Thank Heaven" and it was all downhill from there. It's one of those things where just because a film is trying to do something interesting formally, doesn't mean it is doing it well.
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