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Toni Boger

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Everything posted by Toni Boger

  1. You make a really excellent point about how the silent film created this need for these comedic pioneers (Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, etc.) to really sell their slapstick comedy. In their minds, as they were trying to plan how they gag would play out, they had to think, Okay, you (my audience) can't hear what's going on, so you have to see what's going on. So, what you see has to be exaggerated and over-the-top enough to get the point across to your audience. And there was no technology to fake any of the physical comedy -- it was all very real and often very dangerous. I can't help but think of t
  2. I agree with your assertion that all slapstick isn't violent. I Love Lucy also came to mind for me. Slapstick is often physical and most certainly over the top, but it isn't always violent, and Lucille Ball is the perfect example of it. I'm thinking not only of the conveyer belt scene, but also her ballet class: exaggerated and physical, sure, but not really violent.
  3. I love Buster Keaton as well! And I definitely can't mention Keaton without at least mentioning another great favorite of mine, Harold Lloyd. You make a really excellent point about part of the fun being the uncertainty about when the tables will turn between the victim and the victor. This shifting balance of (for lack of a better term) power is always so fascinating to watch, whether it's in a 45 second clip, like the one we saw today between a gardener and a tricky youngster, or the never-ending yet always entertaining antics between Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. You never know w
  4. The Daily Doses have been incredibly helpful in introducing me important points in the course without doing it in an overwhelming way. Plus, I absolutely appreciated the suggestions Dr. Edwards provided for the different angles and approaches I could take with each film clip. I've thoroughly enjoyed this film noir class over the summer, and I find it quite hard to believe it's nearly over.
  5. You're so right about how this scene highlight's Burr's brutality. How fantastic is he in this scene? The way he stands motionless while watching Steve get beaten to a pulp, all the while with that light swinging above, is absolutely terrifying. I'm not sure which is scarier -- the swinging light or Burr's motionlessness. And we believe him when he uses the broken bottle as a threat to Steve's wife. We see no hint or trace of Perry Mason here. Also, what a great point about the light being like a metronome! I thought something similar.
  6. The desolation you mention is what really struck me about this clip. Other than Dix Handley and the police car playing a game of hide-and-seek, we see no other people until the 1:30 mark. And the city is clearly unforgiving with its bland landscapes and no signs of real life or joy to speak of. That kind of desolation and isolation really reminds me about our discussions on existentialism and that we are alone. But the clip makes some interesting turns and leaves me with more questions than answers, specifically, who is this guy and what kind of power does he actually hold?
  7. I felt that pang, too. It was a pang of loneliness and aching to be with that person you love. Jazz is such a great communicator of that feeling, and I think the major reason for that is because it embraces improvisation. You can "go" whichever way you're feeling with the song. If you're feeling that aching pang, you go with it. If you're feeling happy, you go with it. You don't have the same rigidness you do with other genres of music, especially with the scores we've heard in the other Daily Doses.
  8. I was thinking very similarly to you with this clip. What made him feel like the most reasonable response to finding this body was running away from town as fast as possible? Finding a dead body is terrifying and shocking, but why was it enough for him to leave without telling anyone what happened? What's his backstory? I have more questions than answers with this scene.
  9. This is such a great point. I can't think of one heist film where everything goes off exactly as planned and those involved get exactly what they want and live happily ever after. A parody of a heist film does, though -- Tower Heist from a few years ago -- how ironic! It really just goes to show that one of the major themes in film noir continued to resonate in films well after it was considered to have ended. No matter how carefully the characters plan, even down to the last second, fate and some unseen forces always have a way to step in and mess up even the most carefully detailed plan
  10. I also couldn't help but think of WWII when watching this scene. Men were glorified for fighting not that long ago in this film's universe, and at this point when the film is made, fighting is something from the past and that glory is far gone, much like Ernie's boxing glory being a relic of the past. It definitely makes the audience think about society's changing expectations for men at that point in time (and yes, also now). What should their role be now? And how do these changing roles affect a person's confidence and perception of himself or herself? It's a question both men and women
  11. There were two things that struck me in today's film clip. The first was the arch casting the long shadow on the characters coming in to the train station. They're quite literally enveloped in darkness, which gives us an uneasy feeling as Hitchcock foreshadows that something will happen. The second thing was the train tracks and the numerous, different ways the train could go. Hitchcock uses trains in many of his films (The Lady Vanishes and North by Northwest, for example), but I took the view of the train going down the tracks as a symbol. Much like any human being's life, each track is
  12. The major thing that stuck out to me in this clip is that Frank Bigelow's walk is long, slow, and with purpose. There's no quick way to get where he's going, a thinly veiled metaphor for life. He's a man on a solo mission, but when we see his face after meeting the detective to report his own murder (which is itself a riveting moment), this man's mission isn't a happy or would lead him toward anything resembling happiness. He looks defeated, and he's alone in every sense of the word. It definitely plays into this week's Existential themes of loneliness and dread. Whatever happened to lead him
  13. You make a really excellent point about how much different Hammer is when compared to someone else like Nick Charles. It's clear that this "tough guy" type of detective/private investigator has evolved so much in just the matter of a few years. Charles is so funny and is clearly written (in the films, at least) to be someone who's there to provide some comic relief. There's nothing funny about Hammer. He's all business and serious, much in the same way that Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade are, but there's something almost more sinister about him than those two.
  14. I completely agree with you in how Reed chose to introduce Harry Lime to the audience. Having him lurk in the shadows with a cat and then have a spotlight shine on him, quite literally, is genius. The cat is also a nice touch as well; I can't help but think of that comedic stereotype of "villains" in certain films in that they have cats. But Lime's entrance actually reminds me a bit of Gene Tierney's entrance in Laura in that both characters are supposed to be dead but are, in fact, very much alive. This really is a fantastic scene in a fantastic movie. I'm a huge Joseph Cotten fan and th
  15. There's definitely a major element of foreshadowing in this clip. The first is when Frank speaks with the cop and the cop mentions that he pulled over the district attorney. The district attorney telling Frank he may see him again takes on a whole new meaning after we receive that piece of information; by the time his story is over, this isn't going to be the only run-in Frank has with the law. The second is the intense attraction between Cora and Frank. There's no doubt that there's an instant connection between the two, but that burnt hamburger! Such a beautiful metaphor with it sizzling and
  16. Jane Greer really is a great femme fatale in this scene and in the film, even if she doesn't come off as one right away like we've seen in some of the other films; Rita Hayworth in Gilda comes to mind, for example -- you know right away her character is trouble for the leading man. Greer employs the same coolness and air of mystery that's become so closely associated with the whole idea of a femme fatale, but there's something different in her air, something that resembles sadness and loneliness. The whole idea of loneliness and isolation is definitely a film noir trait, as we covered in last
  17. I loved that line about the orchids and thought something really similar! I've seen the movie before -- I've also read Chandler's book -- but I never noticed that line and its connection to noir until I started this course.
  18. This is a really great point. We're looking at WWII and its effects a lot in this course, and there is no doubt that WWII had a major effect on film noir. But I've often wondered about the influence of WWI on the writers who wrote and created this hard-boiled new kind of detective we see so often in film noir. Hammett enlisted to serve in WWI but didn't experience much action because he contracted the Spanish flu; Chandler actually served in the trenches and had lots of personal issues before he really jumped into writing in the 30s. It's interesting to think about how WWI influenced their wri
  19. I also couldn't help but notice the shapes and lines in this clip. There were so many straight lines and very little deviation, until we get to the linked fence. The fence most definitely provided an ominous presence in this clip, and I believe Mann and Alton envisioned something symbolic about oppression with these men essentially behind a cage. There was no warmth, only coldness in every sense of the word "cold." A general question for all -- who does the voiceover for this clip? It sounds like James. A FitzPatrick to me; he was known as "The Voice of the Globe" from around the 1930s un
  20. You're totally right about noticing her dress and gloves being black. That had to have been a very conscious choice by the director and the costume designer. White is often a symbol of innocence and purity, and we can tell in even such a short clip that Gilda is neither of those things. But she owns being neither pure nor innocent in that number, and that's a huge reason why she's so seductive in this scene.
  21. This is probably one of my favorite observations I've read so far. I never thought about the girl pointing as acting like a clock, but that's a really great point. The thing Lang does well in both films (even though Hollywood's influence shows in the opening credits for Ministry of Fear with actual credits and a musical score) is taking seemingly ordinary things -- e.g., children playing a game or a swinging pendulum on a clock -- and infusing them with a sense that something is going to happen, even if we don't quite know what that is yet.
  22. I'm really glad I'm not the only one who thought how much of a contrast Philip Marlowe is to Nick Charles. Charles is always drinking on screen, and he's the lovable but sharp, witty detective who loves an elaborate unveiling of the "whodunit." Marlowe is so much more serious and to the point. He's also sharp and witty, but there's nothing that shouts lovable about him in this scene. I completely agree with you about the difference in how Charles and Marlowe get physical. Charles did end up punching his wife to get her out of the line of fire, but that whole scene had more of a comedic un
  23. I totally agree with you about this scene crucial and important. Having seen the movie before, I know that Preminger gives us a lot of information and foreshadowing about what's to come. It leads us to asking questions which come in to play as the film continues. Why does this man remember the weekend Laura died? What makes it stick out to him so much? Why are we hearing about these clocks? Why does he snootily refer to Dana Andrews' character as "another one of those detectives?" And why is he so intent on watching the detective? And that's just within the first minute and a half! As we l
  24. I agree with you about the POV working better in Lady in the Lake. Although I can understand the usefulness of having it for a good chunk of the film (until after we see the big reveal of Humphrey Bogart's character having plastic surgery), it just doesn't add an element of mystery or suspense for me. I know who it is -- it is not a surprise. WIth Lady in the Lake, you really felt like you were in Marlowe's shoes, blows to the head and all.
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