Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Singin' in the Rain

We watched Singin' in the Rain as part of our Film project. Anyone who knows me will know just how much I love this film so it was a great treat to watch it with the kids as part of an educational project. Apart from watching it because I love it, I knew it was a good way for the kids to understand the difficulties involved when studios started to make talking pictures. It's really interesting to see how they could film 3 films at the same time and build sets alongside when there was no sound recording going on. We discussed how sound technology was still very new in 1927 and that they have made massive advances in microphones since. They enjoyed pretending to be Lina Lamont talking into a bush and doing the 'no,no,no' 'yes,yes,yes' bit:0)

We talked about how a lot of silent movie stars didn't transfer well to talking films and how they still use different people to be the voice of someone else, usually for singing. We talked about The Jazz Singer  being the first talking picture and how musicals became very popular. The Panda Boy really enjoyed himself trying to copy all the dancing - luckily he stopped short at trying to do the backflips that Donald O'Connor does in Make 'em Laugh. Phew!

After that, seeing as how I've got a Gene Kelly boxset and it wasn't that late yet, we watched The Three Musketeers. Well, you'll never guess what I noticed. There's a scene in which Gene Kelly/D'Artagnan has a good old swashbuckley fight on some stairs knocking a bloke over the banister, swings off a chandelier, and throws somebody over a balcony rail into a pond, pretty much the same as in The Royal Rascal starring Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont. So I checked and realised that the black and white silent movie clips ARE the same pieces of film interspersed with Lina shots. At one point, if you pause the DVD you can see Lana Turner stood in the doorway, just before they cut to Jean Hagan/Lina. Of course, I realise that cinema goers of 1951 would probably have been very much aware of this, but it gave us something else to talk about, how films reference each other and why, how the two sections were edited diffferently and how the continuity errors in the black and white mock up version make it obvious. A fine way to spend a Sunday evening :0)

Other than that, The Girl has moved onto Year 3 in MEP, practically filled a shoebox for OperationChristmas child, been to Brownies, had a cornet lesson and started learning some theory for her exam, watched another episode of The Story of Film (with one or two clips edited out by me - a bit too graphic blood-and-guts type stuff), read a book about nouns, added a paragraph to her letter for her penfriend and helped prepare a marrow for making chutney - not necessarily in that order. Meanwhile, (not necessarily at the same time or in the same order) the Boy has read a book with me about Edison inventing the phonograph, made a clay walkie-talkie model, done a jigsaw, a page of maths, 2 pages of his handwriting book, been to Beavers and got 2 new badges for me to sew on.

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