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tlovko

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  1. The establishing shot shows the location (Sternwood Mansion) with a close-up shot of the plaque on the door - from Marlowe's point of view. The name Sternwood evokes a sense of seriousness. Next, the camera cuts to a detail shot of a man's hand - thumb, pressing the door bell, bringing the viewer into the action. "A Guide to Narratological Film Analysis" article, Marlowe's introduction of himself is nondiegetic - speech coming from a source not located in the current scene. When Marlowe appears, he looks sharp in a dark suit, white shirt and tie. He looks, "...neat, clean, shaved and sober," the nod to Chandler. Marlowe appears more polished than his counterpart Spade, who even in suit and tie looks a bit rough around the edges. Marlowe is composed, but you sense that he guards his keen awareness of his surroundings. He is cool and clever in his banter with who we suspect to be the femme fatale (by her somewhat risque clothing and bold flirting). Although, I suspect his is just a bit taken aback when she falls into his arms - embarrassed to be "exposed" in front of the butler. As the scene transitions to the hot-house where he meets the General (an old, weak man who can only enjoy life vicariously) Marlowe reveals only what he wishes for the General to know - impressing with his credentials and warning with his revelations about being fired. The hot-house environment foreshadows how the action in the film is beginning to heat up, The reference to the orchids - a comparison to the fragility of man (the General) and the corruption of his sweet daughters, perhaps. Having not seen the film in its entirety, I cannot speak to its contribution to films noir, but the clip contains many noir elements.
  2. What mood or atmosphere - through the visual design and the voiceover narration is being established in this realistic documentary sequence? What impressed me most in the opening scene was the juxtaposition of the dramatic and suspenseful musical score and the pleasant, Travel Talk-like diction of the narrator. Visually, the wide-angle aerial view of the landscape, with its orderly vertical and horizontal lines, appeared bleak and prison-campish. Again, a juxtaposition to the narrator’s description of a fertile landscape. Conflict. What do you think documentary realism adds to the evolution and increased range of the film noir style? Documentary realism draws the viewer into the film like a newsreel reports true crime. It shows real places in nature that the audience can personally relate to. Rather than being limited to the seedy bars and shady cities, Film Noir could move into natural environments where real crime happens every day - not just in the usual places (clubs, casinos, underbelly of the city). In what ways can the opening of Border Incident be considered an important contribution to the film noir style? Many film noir motifs were present - the constricting cross-hatch shadows of the chain-linked fence obscuring the faces of the Mexicans. The warning signs at the border eliciting an air of the forbidden - prison-camp feeling. An important contribution of Border Incident (I’ve only viewed the clip), would be how it incorporated realism about something that actually happened..
  3. Rita Hayworth as Gilda, mesmerizes her audience with her powers of seduction as she sings. She appears to be enjoyed the pleasure of her own sensuality and takes on the persona of "Mame." She seduces the men in the audience with her provocative strip-tease-like dance. They are like puppets and she is pulling the strings. The musical sequence flows with her movements - emphasizing her voluptuous hair-tossing and hip bumps. It's as if she is controlling the instruments and the rhythm. Music, in film noir enhances and imbues a film with the sexy slide of a trombone, drumbeat to body rhythms and the squeal of the sax, as in "Gilda." Steamy Latin beats give a hint of danger and excitement. Eerily romantic and haunting themes, as in "Laura" work together with the cinematography to evoke emotions of foreboding, suspense, doom and surprise all crucial elements to the film noir style.
  4. In the opening scene of Ministry of Fear, the swinging pendulum and clock movement foreshadows something to come - something unknown, perhaps danger. Ray Milland is waiting for time, time is wasting. He watches the clock tick off minutes with an expression of suppressed anxiety.There is a sense of urgency to be released to be released. The ivy-covered wall outside the asylum show age and neglect - time waits for no one. In comparison, M opens with a more subtle movement of time - the child circling clockwise while pointing her hand toward the children in the circle, landing on the one to be eliminated from the game. Much like a clock ticking off minutes to doom, And, the cuckoo clock signaling a shift in the monotonous movement of the day. Both films use clock/time to build suspense and foreshadow some inevitable evil. In Ministry of Fear, Lang use of the clock with its sharp outlines evokes a feeling of doom. It is out of one's control. The opening scene projects the dark, shadowy imagery, the hollow sounds, and the claustrophobic feel (barred windows, dark room, spiked gate) that I associate with film noir.
  5. From the short clip of Murder, My Sweet, Marlowe appears polished, smug and quick-witted in comparison to say, Bogart's gritty and jaded Spade (whom I prefer). The scene shows the film noir bravado of the male/detective who is confident that he has one-up on the woman.
  6. In the opening scene of M, Lang uses classic techniques of film noir such as a somber tone (the dark, almost tomb-like or underworld play area of the children); disillusionment - the innocence of childhood in the face of evil and the oppressed mothers; the cuckoo clock signalling the march of time in a hopeless word. Some warning signs of trouble are indicated by the clock, the empty stair landing, and the child almost running in front of a car. The scene of the murderer's shadowed image in front of the poster is most ironic, and creepy.
  7. The clip of the train sequence evokes a sense of urgency. The rushing sound of the train over the tracks, the screeching - almost screaming - of the whistle, the stark black and white contrasts of images felt dangerous. And yet, the two men working in tandem seemed confident, even relaxed.
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