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About Kathleen

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  • Birthday October 16

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    Canvas Network: Film Noir, Slapstick
  1. Spanking was an acceptable form of punishment. The remake was made by a woman, Alice Guy Blache, who remade many Lumiere films in learning the industry for herself. Perhaps she felt retaliation (an eye for an eye - or in this case an eye full of water for an eye full of water) for punishment would be a better ending or may have fit her personality.
  2. I loved this clip (either version) because it was Lumiere showing the lighter side of everyday life.
  3. This golden girl creates trouble right from the start. Like Christina in Kiss Me Deadly, who was also a blonde, Jane almost causes a car crash but then takes over to drive like a bat out of hell. The lighting accentuates the golden tones in Jane's hair unlike the key lighting on Christina. At first I thought the "thing" tossed into the back seat might have been a bomb. Undoubtedly that is exactly what the director wanted the audiences at that time to be thinking to enhance the tension. First scare: possible bomb; second scare: threat from unknown assailants. This is life played out on the large scale of the silver screen. And Jane, the female, will take charge and fix things also like real life because the women who had to go to work when the men went to war now must stay home and be in charge of the family.
  4. The saying that begins, "Oh what a tangled web we weave," is what I think when I see the train tracks criss cross. When I think of a Hitchcock film, I think suspense - not noir. I believe Hitchcock is a special case because he uses sounds, music, lighting and costume to depict ordinary people as ordinary people in ordinary circumstances and does not create the illusions that we usually see in noir. He does not put the characters in black to show their noir hearts. In this scene we see the two men in different colors than we would expect in a noir film. They board a train but unlike the loud and raucous train in La Bete Humaine, this train is just a train. The music and scenery has a gentle nature to it just as the zither music in The Third Man is unlike what we expect for a film noir.
  5. This film noir personifies existential despair. A doomed man walking a long, somewhat dimly lit hallway. Although there may be people in the building, we do not see anyone. Like the open roads in the previous clips, this long walk down an empty hallway exemplifies the helplessness of this man's situation. He is alone literally and figuratively. The music sets the tone with the forcefulness and crashing cymbals. The hallways are lit so that the shadows create diagonal lines across the floor. Time is of the essence. We do not see a clock in this scene but we are told that there is very little time left. The shadow of the fan creates and X. No-one seems shocked or concerned. The movie is now to be told as a flashback - narration ensues. Similar to Stranger on the Third Floor, Frank is not a detective but is desperate to find out who the murderer is. Frank has a mission in life to clear himself of his own murder.
  6. Usually we see men in prison. The darkness and enclosed feeling from this opening scene allowing us to see the rest of the world as we are taken away from it through only the small, screened window and hearing the shrieking siren tells us we are in for a horrible experience. The look of anguish, fear, curiosity and helplessness on the woman's face as she looks at the building helps us to understand what we may never (hopefully) feel about her present existence. We expect to see men - rough and tough - scowling at the building and putting up a gruff exterior but now in this changed world we will see it through a woman's eyes. Then we turn to look at the road we left behind. Filled with fast, moving vehicles coming and going and going on with their lives. We are about to enter a different world.
  7. The mood is set by the background music - somber and perhaps tense. The music stops when the pistol is shown and the real tension begins. We see the antagonist only in shadow even as he ducks into the car keeping his face hidden from us in the darkness. Even after all the faces are shown with diffused key lighting, his face is still moving in and out of the shadows. This is unlike many of the films noir where we see the central character in a spotlight of key lighting to show us exactly who we are up against. The opening of Kiss Me Deadly and this scene are similar because we know we are on an open country road that is infrequently travelled. Both give us the sense that we are alone; we cannot call for help and we cannot expect help to find us. They are also both shot in close and mid range to keep the feeling of intimacy and loneliness. Unlike Kiss Me Deadly with Christina in full light and moving to show desperation and tension, we feel the tension in the music, the somber lighting, the dark clothing, the wind blowing dirt on the dark worn boots. We have a sense of grittiness in this scene.
  8. This is true desperation, madness, and hopefulness. The credits are moving us down the road of noir showing us just enough into the future to see the constant stream of clues. Christina is not the typical asylum escapee. She is naked under a trench coat but modest. She is not disheveled and acting wild and demented. Mike is upset and mildly gruff but a decent person. We are not shown much more than the road, the characters (spotlight on Christina), and the car which is typical for a film noir. The radio is playing a great song for film noir, "I'd rather have the blues," by Nat King Cole. We don't know where we have been, where we are now, nor where we are going. We also don't know why Mike wants to help Christina. She's like a lost kitten.
  9. Orson Welles standing in the dark only to be seen when a single light is turned on. And then off again. Then he disappears completely. It would drive me insane if I had a friend as fiendish as Lime. And what a name! Orson was right to showcase himself with a spotlight and grin. It isn't that the shots are angled; they didn't need to be since the streets and buildings are. The use of lighting is especially effective because of the contrast of the wall being so well lit but the street above is not. Even the cat is black and white. Shadows are devious. The sound of his feet stamping seemed odd as if he was moving in two directions. I love the happy music in the midst of the despair and loneliness that pervades this film. Everything about the film seems formalistic in the realistic settings. Lime is an odd character with an odd running shadow who naturally vanishes down a spiral staircase underneath the city. This film uses all of the techniques we have been learning. The light and shadow, strange zither music, canted angle shots, close-ups, characters hiding in the shadow, and mystery.
  10. Talk about getting burned! She enters wearing all white like Kathie Moffat. A wolf in sheep's clothing. She stands just inside the doorway somewhat in the shadows. Do I need to mention the tension? His entrance is marked by foreshadowing also. Given a ride by the district attorney and given the farewell greeting, "Maybe I'll be seeing you again."
  11. Peter Lorre walks in by himself, talking to himself, in a rather jovial mood. He portrays a lot of movement by tossing his hat up and down. He is well lit in a rather dim hallway. Our focus is strictly on Lorre. On the other hand, Sydney Greenstreet enters in a somber, straightforward walk with a bit of haste. The noir influence is seen in the upward angle as Greenstreet is speaking. And there is a light casting a prism of smaller lights like the flash of gunfire on the wall behind Lorre as his speech pattern is heightened to show intensity amidst the calm of Greenstreet's voice. The scene is startling and yet hypnotic because of the patterns of speech and the odd quality that Lorre seems upset and yet able to sit and light a cigarette. Ultimately we are drawn toward Greenstreet who is larger and more forboding (even without the gun) and is shot from below waist level looking up at him to show his power over Lorre and us. When the two are seen in the same shot, Lorre is now sitting but looking lower and smaller. Greenstreet had a similar role in Maltese Falcon. The chair he sat in was a rocker but had to be bolstered so Greenstreet could sit in it. The same angle of shooting him seated was the same as in this scene so as to show his power position.
  12. I noticed how everything we saw had straight lines: the road below and the tree and building. But then, as Jeff is on the bus everything starts to become angled and closed in. We can see everything in focus inside the cantina while Jeff is sitting alone. However, after the shooting closes in on Jeff and Kathie, everything else is out of focus. When Kathie enters she is all lightness like a virtuous girl, sweetness and innocence. Similar to westerns wherein the good wear white. She even seems to have a halo as she walks beneath the light fixture as she enters. This effect is not seen when she leaves the cantina, however. Kathie seems to have an indifferent, yet congenial attitude. There is a glimmer of darkness and desolation in her dark eyes as she is listening to Jeff. She leaves with the hint that Jeff might find her at the place she suggests he visit. Jeff seems like a laid back type. He needs to get something done but doesn't really care about when or how. He is patient. This is an important contribution because like savoir faire, noir is everywhere - even in Acapulco.
  13. Anthony Mann uses the same (or similar) typography for this film as he uses in the western The Man From Laramie. It resembles wood with its jagged edges and is slanted forward to show momentum. The documentary style has the same powerful voiceover that commands us to understand the importance of what we are about to witness. The quick pacing of the shots of the land below mirror the urgency of the narration as we hear words and phrases such as: runs through the desert, life-giving artery, wasteland, great, important, manpower, army of workers. No, this is not a bleak urban jungle; it is a bleak "wasteland" of vast open space inhabited by the "army of workers" toiling endlessly in the hot desert sun. This is another story of ordinary people that get swept up in inexorable circumstances. The imperative quality of the terse music over the opening credits and the brusque voice-over compels and warns us of what is about to take place. The realism of a documentary style brings the action closer to home. What is about to take place in this story could happen to any of us. It is not just a movie.
  14. This scene depicts the switch back and forth between realism and formalism as we are drawn into the diner and into the action within. First we are outside the diner, looking in just as the customer is outside looking in. However, we find ourselves seated at the end of the counter observing the killers conversing with the server. Then we become the server watching the killers leave but become observers when the server releases the hostages in the back room. As observer our sense of terror is enhanced by the music as the music becomes louder and increases tempo in unison with the friend running to warn "the Swede." The music comes to a crashing halt when the friend reaches the room. The door is opened to silence. The mood shifts. The Swede's voice is soft and low. We've been built up to be let down in resignation. Just as in "M" when the murderer is seen in silohette and silence fills the background; murder and death is a foregone conclusion at this point. Now we just watch as the story unfolds. I believe this is an important contribution to the film noir style because it shows us that no matter how much we want to see the friend reach the Swede in time to warn him and see the Swede take action to save himself, it would not be noir without the unusual twist that the Swede is not alarmed and will not act. Are we let down?
  15. Rita Hayworth is a talented actress playing Gilda as an untalented performer. Gilda is acting as the talent and putting on a show for Johnny. She wants to hurt him with her "act;" Gilda's ****-coo is designed to slew Johnny. And putting the "blame on Mame" seems to mirror her relationship with Johnny. I'm not sure I am clear yet about how music, or at least as it is used in this film, has influence on noir. Perhaps it contributes to the fact that these people are trying to hurt each other through music. Gilda certainly wants to use her style of dance and teasing the men in the audience to inflame Johnny.
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