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RR_Noir

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  1. Not having seen too many of Lang's films, I am very impressed with how skillfully he establishes a clear, vivid mood and tone in the opening scenes of both "M" and "Ministry of Fear." Specifically his use of shadowing and the absence of music (beyond the title credits). The lack of score does a fantastic job of highlighting the natural sounds of the world the characters inhabit, making them seem ominous and foreboding. The ticking clock is a case in point. Otherwise an innocuous sound, in Lang's hands it builds tension and signals potential doom--in "M" the child's death, in "Ministry of Fear"
  2. Interpreted through the lens of Nino's commentary, it's interesting how Marlow characterizes himself not as a police officer or detective, but a businessman concerned about his financial viability. Not consigned to abide by the bureaucratic protocol of traditional law enforcement officers, Marlow can make his own rules, skirting the lines between detective, profiteer, scoundrel, and boy scout. All of these qualities play out in the scene with Anne: how he locks the door to his office to trap her; how he sniffs out her lies; how he manhandles her into submission; how he speaks derisively of her
  3. The opening scene of "Laura" is fascinating in the way a) it announces at the outset the ostensible death of the character upon whom the film is named after, and for the way in which the camera scans the room, allowing the mise en scene (i.e. the apartment's furnishings) to inform our reading of Waldo Lydecker before we see him. I thought the point raised earlier in this forum about the connection between Lydecker's masks and his penchant toward voyeurism is interesting. I think it also foreshadows some of the duplicitous events that appear later in the picture, and which are hallmarks of the
  4. I think the use of POV does an effective job of getting the audience to feel the anxiety and apprehension experienced by Vincent Parry as he tries to make his escape. I kept wanting the camera to cut to a more omniscient perspective but it didn't, which worked, building the suspense. Personally, this kind of experimentation is one of the chief reasons I'm drawn to films noir. Despite the novelty of the POV technique, it does not feel forced, but rather perfectly consistent with the disorienting style of the genre.
  5. There is a lot happening in this opening scene, from Davis's cool-detached demeanour to the sudden outburst in violence, but what really stood out is the interplay between dark and light. As the clouds cover the moonlight, Davis stands defiantly over her victim. But as the clouds pass and the light breaks through she turns towards it startled. This scene speaks to the power of shadows in the film noir genre and their role in providing coverage to commit dark deeds.
  6. Film Noir avoids the "glossiness" of other Hollywood genres, and in its stead postulates a world of danger and darkness. The realism of this opening presents both in startling contrast. The speed of the train, the sweat and soot of the engineers, the camera's closeness to the tunnel walls all work together to project a sense of living on the edge, outside the mainstream.
  7. The absence of music establishes an immediate tone for the picture, imbuing it with a certain "reality" that makes the developing suspense all the more unsettling. The singing school children, the cookoo clock, the honking cars all work in tandem with the cross cutting between the peaceful, domestic setting of a mother preparing dinner for her daughter and the urban city where danger is constant presence. This, coupled with Lang's use of shadow (which clearly had an indelible impact on later noir pictures), establishes a wonderfully disorienting feeling of foreboding and doom. Can't wait to se
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