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Eliana

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About Eliana

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  1. Thank you for creating this amazing course! I'm not sure I even had a clue what Film Noir was before this began. 100+ movies later, I'm definitely getting the hang of it. Any other amazing classes in the works??? Eliana
  2. -- Describe the noir elements, in terms of style and substance, in this opening sequence. We learn immediately that the movie will unfold in a peaceful small town neighborhood embarrassing goodness and hope -- far from the darkness of the noir universe. As the music dies down, Howard begins to scratch away a dark blot on the window. He seems puzzled and mildly disgusted. He dumps black mop water which looks like blood. He calls to Mrs. Warren who does not answer. When he opens the closet to stow the mop, we know that he has discovered why she failed to answer. Howard is so frightened by what he sees that he runs away immediately without even turning off the running water. In the noir world, fear is all encompassing. What is in Howard's past that creates such immediate panic? In his haste, did he leave finger prints on the hammer that he put away before he left? He does not even take time to remove the obvious traces of his presence -- his name written on a list and on the note with the $5. Who set this scene? Is it coincidence or did someone know that Howard would be there to innocently fall into a trap? Perhaps Mrs. Warren expected to be out, but can we really believe that such a coincidence would happen in the noir world? In any case, Howard is afraid. He runs toward the rail yard, crossing the tracks and leaps into a boxcar. Where is he headed? What began as a cheerful morning full of hope and salvation and caring has quickly been shadowed by fear. -- What do you make of the film opening with the Salvation Army band playing and the prominent Salvation Army sign in that first shot? Goodness and tranquility is about to be shattered. Perhaps Mrs. Warren has hired Howard in an act of charity. Perhaps he has a past that she was aware of. -- Even though it is set in 1918, how does this scene reveal some of the typical noir themes of the 1950s? Action begins quickly. There is a psychologically intriguing element to Howard's panicked flight which we can expect the movie to explore more fully. The train tracks and train are common noir elements. The speeding locomotive the Howard envisions tells us something about his dark memories or fears.
  3. -- How is Hitchcock's rhythm and purposes different in this opening sequence, from other films noir such as Kiss Me Deadly or The Hitch-Hiker? Kiss Me Deadly and The Hitch-hiker immediately overwhelm the viewer with dread, fear and characters embroiled in conflict. Hitchcock takes a more leisurely pace in introducing the dark elements of the story. Hitchcock introduces two characters whose paths are about to cross using a study in contrasts. His first character is dressed flamboyantly (multicolored shoes, pinstripe pants, lobster tie with his name on it)apparently in an effort to draw attention to himself. He has no boundaries. The second character, filmed in such a way that his path crisscrosses the first, is conservatively dressed, controlled, private and reserved. The viewer knows from the moment that their shoes touch that the movie is about to bring them together. The music established a humorous and playful mood with repetitive musical expressions designed to tweek the viewers curiosity. -- What are the noir elements that you notice in the opening of this film? Either in terms of style or substance? Much is hidden and much is revealed symbolically. Elements of Noir style include use of close ups showing only briskly walking feet, camera angles which cross the paths of characters, and a lengthy and nonverbal introduction the first scene. As the credits roll, suspense is introduced by the musical score. The brightly lit archway as the taxi enters perhaps emphasizing that the film is going to move towards darkness. -- Do you agree or disagree that Alfred Hitchcock should be considered a "special case" in discussion of film noir? Why or why not? So far, we know only that demographically, Hitchcock does not seem to fit into certain arbitrary categories. This does not, however, render him unique. If he is to be considered a "special case" this must reflect his work. More investigation is necessary. Sent from my iPhone
  4. The opening scene in Kiss Me Deadly seems to be a mirror image of Dark Passage. Thematically, they are very similar -- protagonist having escaped confinement seeks help to hitch-hike past a police roadblock. However, the opening scenes could hardly be more different: male vs. female, day vs. night, controlled vs. frantic, crisp POV cinematography vs. what appear to be hastily composed shots, concealed in vehicle vs. nearly naked and exposed, rescuer is kind vs. threatening, conventional credits vs. reversed roll. It seems too similar and yet too different to be coincidence.
  5. Johnny Belinda. (Some spoilers) My first inclination would have been to agree with those who have concluded that "Johnny Belinda" should not be considered a noir film. The viewer is so drawn to the warmth of Belinda and the doctor, that it is easy to overlook the noir treatment given to desperate desire and willful wrongdoing on the part of many characters in the film. However, on watching for a second time, the noir elements come through more clearly. The cinematography in the film is clearly influenced by the noir movement. While Belinda is bathed in light through most scenes in the movie, other characters are often filmed in deep shadow. Common film noir elements are often used in the film. Of particular note are the scene in which Belinda's father sits framed in a doorway cleaning the rifle that Belinda will later use to shoot Locky. Other examples are the storm which anticipates Locky's visit to the farm, the mise en scène at the town meeting, and the scenes at the cliff side. Perhaps this film marks a shift in style requiring a broader definition of film noir. I have no problem broadening my definition.
  6. Burning the post-midnight oil again.... I remember estimating that I would be spending 4-8 hrs a week on this course. Ha! It's taking 25-30 to watch the movies. Then there are the lectures, the readings, the "5 minutes" of daily darkness, taking notes on the readings for the quizzes, the podcasts, the background readings, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I'm not complaining because I am really enjoying this, but speaking of heists....
  7. Interesting. I saw her movements as lovingly preparing lunch for someone, although it isn't clear at first who it is for. It seemed to represent a break in the drudgery of her work -- something to look forward to. I will have to watch this again to see if I note the feelings of dread you mentioned. One of the interesting things about Film Noir seems to be a degree of ambiguity. There are many details of the story in this film that are left to viewers imagination.
  8. I just watched M. The thing that struck me most was all the cigarette smoke. It seemed to symbolize chaos and confusion that swirls around the police and government officials as they investigate. When the begger sorts the remains of cigarette and cigar butts so systematically, it represents a shift to the criminal approach to finding the murderer. The dialogue in the trial scene was incredible.
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