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mrish88

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About mrish88

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  1. This scene from the Killers starts with a realistically shot scene at a dinner, but then transitions into a formalist scene in The Swede's apartment. When we first see Ole "Swede" Anderson, his face is hidden by shadow. In contrast, Nick (the young man who runs to warn the Swede) is brightly lit. The darkness around Anderson symbolizes whatever crime he once committed. Since he is tired of running from his past, the shadow also represents his fate at the hands of the Killers. However, the shadow could represent knowledge. Nick's shadow is cast over the Swede signifying the one piece of information the Swede lacks, the Killers' appearances. However, the Swede is bathed in darkness because he already knows enough about the Killers, and whatever crime that brought them to town. The Swede has enough knowledge and turns down the offer of more. To put it in a more symbolic way, Nick brings the Swede more shadow, but the Swede refuses it. He has plenty.
  2. I don't subscribe to TCM. Is there somewhere that I can watch The Letter and Journey into Fear? These seem really fascinating.
  3. La Bete Humaine used several POV shots, but they were always outside of the train. This made me feel as if I were hanging to the side of the train, about to loose my grip and fall. Every time the train went under an arch, or through a tunnel, I ducked feeling as if my head were about to hit the bricks. When the second train approaches from the opposite direction I thought the two trains would collide. I felt powerless, and I wondered how much control the conductors had over the train. It seemed as if the train were a bull and the two conductors were only trying to hang on. When the train started the final turn, it seemed like it was going too fast. I felt as the train would derail. The train is the perfect metaphor for the world of noir. The life of each noir character is moving too fast to control. They have no control on where they end up, only on how fast they get there. At any moment their life could derail, or they might get thrown from the ride.
  4. The POV shot of Dark Passage was an inventive way to not show Bogart's face until after his plastic surgery. This was a better option than bad makeup or casting two actors for the same role. With this method we get Bogart for the whole movie, and it puts the audience into Bogart's head. We see what he sees, and we hear his thoughts. When he attacks the driver, we get a feeling that it is us who is throwing the punches. The audience for this movie is mostly law-abiding citizens, innocent people. Bogart's character, Vincent Parry, is similarly an innocent person. However, he is put into a situation where he is convicted of a crime and then escapes the prison. This is the same experience that the audience has with the POV shot. We are innocent people forced into the experiences of a wanted man. We are forced to consider what we would do if we were in Parry's shoes. Would we attack the driver? Would we escape from the prison in the first place? However, sometimes experimental techniques are less than perfect. For example, when Bogart is in the car, he turns his head just after the driver asks, "Where'd you get them pants?" We see what looks like a cross-fade. Cross-fades normally indicate a passage of time, but here it seems as no time has passed. This is just the next moment of the conversation. This is probably to hide a flaw. With a POV shot they couldn't make a cut without creating a jump cut, or jumping out of the POV. However, there was some problem that forced this cross-fade; a forgotten line for instance. This suggests that POV is better served in a limited fashion. The best example I can think of is the numerous POV shots in Silence of the Lambs.
  5. The opening scene of the Letter starts with a calm pan across a plantation. People are playing games, taking naps, and listening to music. The sequence is actually relaxing. Then the tranquility is destroyed by what seems to be a crime of passion and hate. Bette Davis's character shoots the man six times, emptying the gun, and even pulls the trigger a seventh time. This doesn't seem to be self defense; the man is running away from the shooter. Davis isn't trying to wound the man, and the look on her face as she is firing is a look of cold hatred. After the gun is empty, Davis's facial expression changes to a look of surprise and horror. A "What have I done?" look, or maybe a "How am I going to get away with this?" look. This was not planned. It was a spontaneous eruption of murderous intention. This scene pairs the normal and the abnormal, the lawful and the criminal. This juxtaposition is mirrored in the cinematography, the use of light and shadow. Davis stands over her victim for a moment as her shadow is cast over the body. If shadow represents evil or criminality, then the shadow over the body represents Davis's crime and light represents judgement. This is why she looks at the moon with a look of madness. The moon seems to be condemning her. This use of light and shadow as a symbolic representation of a person's internal struggle with right and wrong seems to be a growing trend in film noir. I can see it's beginnings with M and see it in numerous other films noir.
  6. Fritz Lang expertly builds tension and dread by pairing the mundane goings-on of a town with the crimes that set the town on edge. Lang does this twice. First, the children are playing a normal kids game, but are singing a gruesome song about a child murder. The second example is the little girl bouncing her ball against a wanted poster. In both of these examples, the children are doing what they probably do everyday. They are having fun seemingly without a care in the world. However, the movie uses the song and the wanted poster to remind us that children have died and more children will die. This forces the audience into the position of the parents of the kids. We worry for their safety. Another aspect of the opening that builds tension is the second woman, the Mother. When we see her she is exhausted. When she says the line, "As long as we can hear 'em singing, at least we know they're still there," the Mother seems almost defeated. It seems she has been dealing with this depressing reality for too long a time. At that moment she is separated from her child and it seems like she spends most of her day filled with worry and fear over here daughter's well-being. When the audience sees that in her, we begin to feel the same way. The last thing we see in the clip is the shadow of a man. We only see his shadow, not his face. This builds mystery around his identity adding to the tension. We know that this is the child murderer, because his coming was foretold by the children's song. The song goes, "Just you wait, it won't be long. The man in black will soon be here." Almost four minutes later the man in black shows up.
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