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Everything posted by a.casey1790

  1. Unlike the other film noir scenes we've seen, this twist of fate seems to be a blessing at first. They suddenly fell into a bag of money! It was only when we they realize that the money was meant for someone else that they are suddenly involved in something illegal that things go wrong. Twists of fate were common in film noir though they became increasing prevalent in the Cold War, where Communists were anywhere and there was no one you could really trust.
  2. For starters, this is my favorite Hitchcock movie. Now, on to the discussion: Unlike Kiss Me Deadly and Hitch-Hiker, there is no sense of urgency in this beginning scene. It is a simple ordinary scene of an ordinary day: two people taking a train. And yet, we sense that these two men are going to be interconnected and important to each other in this story. When the men get out of their cabs and walk to the train, the shots keep cutting, making it seem that the men are walking toward each other rather than to the train. Then cut to the crisscrossing tracks and finally the criss cross legs before we meet these two men. And yet they are different. The first man has fancy shoes, an expensive suitcase, and a stripped suit. The other man has tennis shoes, a shabby suitcase, and a solid suit. One of my favorite things about Hitchcock and his use of film noir is that he uses regular and familiar film noir forms and themes as MacGuffins, not important to the true telling of his story. In Notorious, the main characters are fighting Nazism by trying to find film in wine bottles. And yet we don't care about that; we care about the story of the two characters. In North by Northwest, there are spies and film and Communists and yet we don't care about that either. Hitchcock used common film noir themes to move past them and into deeper stories.
  3. This is the first of the Daily Doses that takes place inside. But it does continue the theme of moving and not knowing where you're going or why. When we end at the Homicide division we feel the fear and bleakness or the other daily doses. We should feel security and safe that the main character is in the presence of police, yet they seem to be against him. They already expect him, we don't know why, and they don't seem the least bit shocked that Frank is coming in to announce that he was murdered, a charge which shocks the audience. Something tells us that the police can't be trusted. Then who can? We see the theme of alienation and loneliness. Frank is surrounded by men and yet by saying that he was murdered he immediately sets himself apart from the police. He is completely alone in this tale. This scene also shows a man under the sentence of death. Here it is almost literal. Frank states he has been murdered, though he is living and breathing and explaining his tale.
  4. The confusing opening immediately alarms the audience. We are not sure what is going on but we know something wrong because there are sirens and given how loud they are it means that we are in some form of emergency vehicle and that's never good. When the van stops, we are called tramps and ordered out by a terse voice. This is not good. We can tell that the main character is feeling that as much as we are. She clearly has never been to prison before because she is frozen and scared in the van when told to get out. The group of women move as one to look at the last look of freedom, indicating uniformity and that they are equal in this situation. This fits the Warner Brothers house style of amazing toughness and realism. The movies are generally darker than the other studios. There is no sugar coating this situation, the dialogue is tough and real and there is no room for fear or emotion.
  5. This scene reminded me of why my mother always told me never to pick up hitchhikers. She told me of a time when she used to hitchhike with her friends and how it was the norm until it wasn't. Now I understand why it rapidly grew out of style. This scene depicts several themes of film noir, such as alienation and loneliness, randomness of fate, and chaos, violence, paranoia. The first theme of alienation and loneliness depicts both the killer and his captives. The killer is alone because he is a killer. He has no friends or companions, compared to the two men who have each other throughout this ordeal. This is shown by the lighting. The two men are always in light while the killer is almost always in shadow. He does not seem to like the world or the people in it so he is alone in his contempt. The two men are alienated and alone through this man's actions. There is no one to help them when they are held up at gun point and robbed and who knows what else by this lunatic. This scene also depicts randomness of fate. It just happens to be these two men that stop to help the hitchhiker, only because his car ran out of gas. It is all just blind chance. Finally the scene demonstrates the theme of chaos, violence, and paranoia, prevalent in the 1950s with the fear of communism and the cold war. The ordinary act of helping a man that has run out of gas as turned into a nightmare and could happen to anyone. This scene is similar to Kiss Me Deadly in that there is someone hitching a ride from someone else in the middle of the night and they have ulterior motives. The two people running, the woman and the hitchhiker use whatever tools at their disposal to gain control of the situation and get the driver to do what they want (the woman offers her body, the hitchhiker uses his gun). Yet the difference is we are told what the woman is running from and what her motives are, she wants to escape an asylum. We are not told what the hitchhiker's motives are, only that he is a wanted man and, in his own words, he "likes to shoot".
  6. There are several themes introduced in Kiss Me Deadly. The first is of a woman (Christina) who will do anything to avoid confinement, both literal and metaphorical. When we first see her she throws herself in the path of an oncoming car, risking her own life, in the hope that a car will stop. Then she offers her body to Mike in exchange for him not turning her over to the police. In this case, her confinement is literal, she has escaped from an asylum. The second theme is of a man who will do bad things for a woman. We see this first when Mike grudgingly gives Christina a ride, he opens the door for her though he clearly doesn't want to give her a ride. Later he makes a rape joke and states it is her fault and that he should throw her out. Finally, Mike does not turn Christina over to the police when he discovers she is an escapee. This is going to lead to more things leading to his own demise. Finally there is an implicit theme of sex in this film. Christina is naked except for a trench coat, Mike is driving a phallic shaped car, we see them in the darkened car and only hear Christina's gasping, and Christina offers herself sexually to Mike in exchange for keeping his mouth shut.
  7. This was a spectacular entrance. We think the man Cotten is talking to is simply just another spy. All we see are his feet, and a cat in between them. The only reason we see his face is because a woman is annoyed by Cotten’s shouting turning her light on in her apartment. The revelation of Welles is sudden and therefore the impact is more powerful. The man we thought was dead is standing there across the street! Then just as suddenly, the light in the apartment goes out and he disappears. The on location shooting adds to the realism of the scene. We believe that we are in Vienna, in a street, chasing a man into a square. Yet Reed abuses the formalist distortion of angles to the point where nothing is standing upright, not windows, or doorways. We chase shadows on the walls rather than real people and the shadows disappear in a way that real people can’t. Normal footsteps surround us and we are not sure where they are coming from. We constantly feel that we are being watched, understandable in a square where there are nothing but buildings with lots of dark windows. The camera is only horizontal when Cotten is trying to convince the other two men that what happened really happened. Finally, the use of fog when they open the trap door leading down the dark stairs is clearly formalistic.
  8. When we first meet Frank he is rather happy go lucky. Calm about no job, interesting philosophy on life. We first see his face through a car window. We see a “Man Wanted” sign. Frank thinks it means a new job or something, though he’s not interested. Then we see the police drive by and the “Man Wanted” sign takes on a criminal meaning, like a wanted poster. The location seems to be on a soundstage, with the valley below seeming green scene. Frank’s character is happy to do things for the owner, like watching the hamburger so he can tend to another customer. The lighting has black X’s like prison bars or barbed wire across Frank as he sits at the counter, foreshadowing future events. Then the tone shifts with the first camera movement. The camera tracks a lipstick rolling down the floor. The angle shifts to diagonal as it follows the lipstick’s path backwards to its owner: a pair of white open-toed high heels. We shoot back to Frank’s reaction then to what he’s reacting to: a gorgeous woman. The film noir low key lighting of the actress makes her more seductive and yet unattainable. We don’t know anything about this woman except that she’s gorgeous and has an odd look in her eye at Frank. That “Man Wanted” sign takes on sexual undertones immediately. There is a diagonal angle to how they are facing each other. Absolutely no words are spoken and there is a serious power struggle. Frank bows to Cora when he picks up the lipstick. Yet he refuses to give it to her; before when he was happy to do things for others, now he refuses to walk over to her to give her the lipstick. She walks over, takes it, and then walks back to the doorway. Rather than close the door right away, she pauses and lets him watch her put the lipstick on, adding sexual tension to the scene, and then closing the door. Only then does he realize that the hamburger he told the owner he would watch, is burning.
  9. Peter Lorre enters the scene calmly, unconcerned, talking to himself. He enters the room to find it completely trashed. Then enters Sydney Greenstreet, also calmly, unconcerned, yet holding a gun. Both had a slow-walking pace. The camera angle is shot diagonally so with Peter always facing Sydney at an angel and vice versa. The lighting is always behind the actor, lit from a lamp in the corner, which stays in focus with the two actors when they are seated. The telephone is always in focus too, and is even commented on by Sydney when Peter reaches for it. There is a slow tracking shot to a close-up of Sydney attempting to assume additional power over Peter, besides holding the gun on him. The close-up is done at a low angle so that Sydney towers over the audience, indicating he has power, he is in control of the situation. An indication that is refuted by Peter’s behavior after the close-up. In a horizontal normal close-up and then a normal, non-angler long shot, Peter is smiling and acting normally. He lights a cigarette and leans back with a smile, showing no fear of Sydney. This is definitely a power struggle between the two characters only shown through camera angle and lighting, in addition to actions. The dialogue is witty and sarcastic given the situation and adds humor to the situation.
  10. The clip starts off with the popular noir theme of a voice over narration by the male protagonist. It sets the scene and informs the audience that they are about to meet the femme important to the story. The movie appears to be shot on location so that the audience sees landmarks and markers that tells them, in addition to the narration, where we are. We first meet our protagonist by the back, we don’t see his face until he is just about to enter the cantina, so his face is in shadow. We see it in light once he is seated at his table, facing the door. When we first see the femme, she is also in shadow, entering the cantina. We don’t see her face fully until she is seated facing the protagonist. She is engulfed in shadow from the doorway and from her hat. These two characters are opposites. They sit on the opposite sides of a table. She is dressed in light, he is dressed in dark. They are both sarcastic and witty and clearly attracted to each other, from the dialogue. The seen is light with low-key lighting, a further emphasis on light and dark opposition already set by the costume of the characters. Each character has a side of their face in shadow, indicating secrets and hiding something.
  11. Well the first way Hawks establishes Bogart as Marlowe is by him saying his name at the door. Besides that, he is wearing the clothes Marlowe describes in the chapter. He is unimpressed by the wealth,though he says he's calling on four million dollars, not on the person who has the four million dollars. He is very attracted to women and has no problem flirting with them, even if they are the daughter of the man he has come to see. He is unembarrassed at the butler seeing him holding the daughter and makes a sarcastic comment about "weaning her" afterward. He clearly does not care what others think. Marlowe and Spade are very similar but it seems that Spade was more guarded than Marlowe; Marlowe comes across as a little more carefree with his attitude or opinions.
  12. Throughout this clip there are hints of trouble lying ahead. The voice over dropped phrases such as California is "entirely dependent" on the farm workers to harvest their crops, meaning that the farm workers technically have the upper hand. They describe the farm workers as "mostly following their country's laws and ours" indicating that there are some who don't and therefore could cause a problem. And finally they talk about the illegal workers who steal the earnings of the legal ones and call it a great "injustice". It is setting the stage for an explosion between legals and illegals. One of the visuals that really caught my attention was the workers waiting for their visas. They are crammed together behind wire and it looks like they're animals in a cage, trapped. It makes it seem like this movie is based on a true story or depicting a true story which makes it more poignant and emotional.
  13. I have seen this movie and I didn't particularly enjoy it but the opening is the best. We start off in a diner just like the painting of the Nighthawks and yet something is wrong. There are no customers except one man and the manager. In fact, a walk-in customer is thrown out. Odd. The normal scene has undertones of something abnormal going on. The high contrast and use of shadows has Lang written all over it. What was especially interesting is that the character all this action is revolving around (The Swede) is never seen. Even when the boy enters his hotel room, the Swede is lying there completely in shadow (We know later that he is dead). I liked the use of the music. It seemed to follow the boy from the restaurant to the hotel room and it seemed to echo his every step. It heightens until he reaches the room and then stops. The scene started with realism. A real diner, shot on location it seems, with natural acting. But as the boy goes to warn the Swede, we see less realism and more formalism, there are more shadows and nighttime. Visible reality is challenged when the boy is talking to the Swede, in shadow, under the impression the man is still alive, yet in reality he is dead.
  14. I've never seen this movie but this scene seemed to summarize the plot. We have a sweet girl named Gilda who is putting on a show for the crowd. The movie starts with a man seeming to be startled that there is music starting. It's clear he is not expecting this girl to perform but she does. There are closeups only on Gilda throughout the performance and she is smiling and seems to be having the time of her life, thoroughly enjoying herself. Every move she makes seems to suggest sex, even something as simple as taking off her glove. She's clearly acting for the crowd, even when the song is over and she throws her glove at a patron, then her necklace. And then asks them to take off her dress. This is extremely risque in the 40s. The men are loving it but this is the 40s depiction of a modern day stripper show. There are some hints of deeper meaning throughout the performance. The song is about a girl who leads to destruction wherever she goes, from an earthquake to a man being shot. And given what happens after the song, where she confronts her husband it seems that she is telling him that she can cause trouble for him if she wants and this performance was just the beginning. She humiliated this man with her behavior and she did it for a reason. The scene ends with the same character it starts with, her husband, so clearly this performance was directed towards him.
  15. This is film noir with it's subversion of the typical family dynamic and it's getting around the Hollywood Code. A teenage girl had sex out of wedlock and convinced a man she was pregnant only to blackmail him into paying her off. That is truly scandalous in the 40s and 50s and it's amazing the Code let it happen. The two woman are portrayed in similar costumes, let the Veda is wearing a large white flower, usually symbolizing innocence and purity; here worn ironically as the girl is neither innocent nor pure. The scene start with Veda lower than Mildred, indicating the mother having power over the daughter. We know that is about to change. The two women stand equally when Veda reveals her true self to her other and then runs to the stairs. During the stair scene the power shifts, Veda over her mother, slapping her when she tears up the check and ruins Veda's plans. Yet they are equal again when Mildred throws Veda out of the house.
  16. This film and M both contained German Expressionism. There is high contrast between black and white and clear shadows on the pendulum. The clock reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum". The character is waiting for the pendulum to swing down and finally slice him in half and the wait is so agonizing that near the end the character begs the pendulum to hit him so that the waiting and anticipation will end. The protagonist is clearly waiting for something to happen and is going mad with the waiting, shown by the way he grabbed the arms of his chair. What I most enjoyed was the fact that the audience wasn't sure what was going on with this character until the gate where we heard the doctor tell the protagonist to stay away from the police and as he walks away we see that he was in an asylum.
  17. This detective does not seem to mind doing anything to finish his jobs. Once he gets paid he is determined to find whatever he's looking for. He clearly does not care that much for people. He ignored the elevator man and barely looked at him. He was brusque and rude with the girl until she said something that captured his attention. Once she had it, he locked the door behind her and wouldn't let her leave until she told him what she knew. He also rifled through her purse. He doesn't seem to care that a woman is dead, he just wants to find the jade, what he was paid to do. He is clearly amoral, which fits well with the film noir style of amoral characters that do wrong things, sometimes for the right reasons.
  18. You can learn a lot about a man by his things. In Waldo's case, we are introduced to a gaudy, lavish, opulent world of priceless artifacts that envelop the apartment. It is clearly designed to impress the audience and anyone who comes to visit and yet the only thing that he Waldo comments on is the clock. He doesn't tell us anything about any of the other items that we see, even when McPherson touches an artifact, Waldo merely says that it's priceless and that he shouldn't touch it. We can tell that these two men are going to be important to the story, but already our narration is unreliable. We won't know anything about what's going on except from the words of Waldo, who is a professional writer and therefore unreliable. Obviously he is going to change Laura's story to fix it for his benefit. McPherson even shows us that he is unreliable by correcting Waldo's writing of another criminal story and how a man was killed. He even says that this crime is similar to Laura's and therefore Waldo's opinion of what happened to Laura is probably wrong. This is an interesting concept to the film noir style, genre, movement, whatever by starting the narration at the beginning of the story. The crime has already happened, a girl has been murdered, and someone is trying to find out who did it but this world-weary detective does not really care about what happened; he's viewing it as just another case at the moment.
  19. Okay, before I say anything I just need to state that the sound was not fully functioning on my computer so I couldn't hear the dialogue very well. I felt this was a truly successful use of 1st person POV, though I would have preferred entire first person. They left us in the barrel for a little bit while he took his shirt off and I would have liked the entire thing in this filming style. I also liked voice over in the head, which obviously needed to be done with the POV. I really liked the sounds of the police before seeing them. We're not sure what was going on but we know that we don't want the police involved.
  20. One of my favorite Bette Davis movies. This opening is one of the best I've ever seen, if only because it makes you want to see the movie if only to answer the questions it raises: who are these people, why is she shooting him, is he her husband, what did he do, did he deserve it? It contributes to film noir by telling the audience that murder can happen anywhere at any time for any reason, even in places that seem like paradise.
  21. What struck me was the lack of dialogue. There was no dialogue between the two characters throughout the entire opening. In fact the only noise was a grunt to do work together and that came two minutes and twenty seconds into the shot. Another was the lack of music. Music almost always starts a movie after the movie logo, yet here there was no music until three minutes and thirteen seconds into the shot.
  22. The words that come to mind are innocence versus experience. We have children turning horrible events into a game as a way to comprehend what is taking place in the world. They are too innocent to fully understand that they are in danger so they invent a game to deal with it, similar to "Ring Around the Rosy" coming from children during The Black Plague. The mothers, however, have experience and therefore are disgusted and horrified at the game that the children are playing. Another example is the girl playing ball against the wanted poster for the child murderer. She uses the poster as a game, a way to play ball with herself, while the adults watching the film are reading the poster and learning about missing children and that there is a criminal on the loose. Also, it seems the director is making a good use of senses other than sight. For example, we heard sounds before we saw where the sounds came from. We heard the song the children sing before we see the children. We heard the cuckoo clock ring before we saw the clock and the time. We heard the bus honk before we saw it drive by. It seems senses other than sight are important. We don't see the murderer but we know he is nearby by his voice and his shadow. The opening seems to contribute to the style of film noir in that we know there is a crime. A criminal is on the loose and children are being kidnapped. Also the use of lighting for the killer's shadow.
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