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FilmWoman5

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  1. I second everything said here! I love film noir and this course has definitely deepened my understanding. Thank you so much for providing the course! Never, never leave Noir Country!
  2. Well, his choice of Wagner is a pretty obvious reference to the Nazis and Hitler, in particular. The scene takes place in a prison, which isn't unlike a concentration camp. Especially when the warden beats inmates to extract information. The darkness of the room, the closeups of the men, and the music combine to make the scene tense and claustrophobic. The idea that the prison journalist cannot escape the beating ties in with the hopelessness of existential philosophy. Ironically, the warden gets no information from the beaten man. In fact, he's way too sure of himself. I've never seen this film, but I'd love to check it out now!
  3. The lighting in this scene is so surreal. I love the way it intermittently reveals and hides the bad guys' faces. You don't have to see the guy being beaten up. Just the sound and swinging light do the trick. The swinging light gives the scene a precarious feel, as if the whole world in the movie has become unsteady. Almost as if the viewer is experiencing the beat-down. And I thought that was a young Raymond Burr! Oh, man. He could play a heavy like no one's business.
  4. The nameless city could be any place. This fits well with the noir oeuvre of nameless men living lives of quiet desperation in urban settings. The name "Asphalt Jungle" suggests that cities are uncivilized places, with concrete instead of undergrowth and trees. Dix is obviously dangerous and well-connected with the criminal element. Or, at the very least, not willing to go down without a fight. I love the staring contest between Dix and the police and eye witness. It ratchets up the tension in that scene. And you know from Dix's reaction when the eye witness says he can't identify him that he's guilty of something.
  5. The score is seductive, as is Florence on the phone with Julien. The music insinuates through the scene and underscores the alienation between the characters, who seek intimacy and freedom. Each character in the scene is trapped in a glass enclosure, and the music seems to signify an intensity of feeling between them which has grown over time, leading to a point at which they must act in order to be together. There is an ominous cast to the score, as well. The dialogue, mise-en-scene, and music all together suggest Julien will be doing something he'll later regret in order to have Florence and his freedom from ordinary life. The idioms of jazz mesh well with those of film noir, because (among other things) both can have a dreamlike quality, with ominous undertones.
  6. The opening with the Salvation Army and the plain surroundings the handyman works in are both emblematic of the ordinary life of the typical noir protagonist. One who is down at heel, to some extent. Certainly not wealthy or powerful. There are many film noir elements in this scene, including the ordinary surroundings, the shock of the handyman seeing the dead woman, the shots of running across a landscape (as the camera pulls back, so that he becomes smaller and smaller in a wide expanse of urban landscape, the sound and motion of the train, and the almost hallucinatory shot of the train at the end. I've never seen this film, but I want to now.
  7. There is something a bit cornball about the dialogue between the men. Words like "dame" and "I know what she looks like" are almost parody of hardboiled film noir dialogue. There's also a slight, but discernible difference between the two men. The one farthest from the camera seems to be less noir (toughened) than the one closest to the camera. The train is such a common trait in film noir that audiences probably thought, "Dear God. It's another one of those movies with a train!" The dark and light shadows in the scene are typical film noir, underscoring that the film is a sort of sendup of the style/genre.
  8. The documentary style opening lends itself well to the film noir style of "Kansas City Confidential". Even the title seems lurid and sensational. The emphasis on time is a common noir element. In "D.O.A.", for instance, the protagonist, Bigelow, was working against the clock to find his own murderer. Heists are great subjects for film noir, for various reasons. Among them are the criminal element, the desire to make money fast, the emphasis on timing and calculation, and the knowledge that the heist will no doubt fail (as suggested by the opening titles), leading to imprisonment or death for the conspirators.
  9. • Compare and contrast how director Karlson shoots and stages the boxing scene as a contrast of styles between cinema and television. Karlson provides the visceral thrill of a cinematic POV in the boxing ring, only to pull back to a view of the boxing match on television. The effect is distancing. I felt it immediately when that scene was shown on TV in the boxer and his wife's dingy room. • Discuss the scene’s social commentary in the interactions between Ernie (John Payne) and Pauline (Peggie Castle). Their interaction reflects the anxiety men felt at that time about their ability to "make it big". This desire is fueled by women's desire to be with a man who can provide her the best. At least, that's the view taken at the time. This, in itself, shows how materialistic and clingy women were viewed during the highly conventional 1950s. • What are some of the noir elements in this scene, either in terms of style or substance? The visceral thrill of being in the ring, the hard luck circumstances of the couple, the disdain with which Castle treats Payne, and the overall message that life isn't fair are all noir elements in the scene.
  10. The staging and acting suggest that Heflin and Stanwyck's characters knew each other quite well before this scene. Douglas seems vaguely threatened by Heflin's presence and closeness to his wife. By thanking him for his wife, he seems to suggest that the two may have been an item at one point, but that Heflin cut his ties with Stanwyck, in order to get on with his life elsewhere, perhaps. I have seen the movie and all I'll say is that it's a great example of film noir. I highly recommend it!
  11. This scene starts so dark and anonymous. All you see are a car and headlights. The driver is an anonymous anyman. I think this reflects the anxiety and paranoia of the times. Who could you trust? What would happen to you if some crazy person happened to throw something in your car? How should you react? The tension is palpable, when these things happen to the couple, who could be any couple in the audience. What really felt noir-ish was the way the woman reacted. Instead of the man, she took charge and drove off with the money. This seems to suggest that the woman may be bored with conventional relationships and normal everyday life. It also hints that women can be impulsive and make rasher decisions than men. I think this reflects, not only the bounds of conventional womanhood at the time, but also the anxiety men felt post-WWII about their place as family breadwinners and decisionmakers.
  12. Hitchcock's rhythm and purpose was not only to create suspense -- and he was the "Master of Suspense" -- but to suggest a duality between the two characters who meet on the train. In order to do this, Hitchcock used elements of film noir, including 1) the contrasting light and dark slanting stripes across the screen, 2) the focus on the mens' feet and luggage, which give them an air of anonymity, and 3) the clear contrast in their clothing. I noticed the music seemed to underscore Bruno's tendency toward an excessive, even bizarre, style of dress, as opposed to the music used for Guy, who is dressed more conservatively.
  13. This opening scene starts off with the main character walking down long, dark hallways. They all look the same, with dim lights at regular intervals, instilling a sense of dread and almost a lackluster quality to the man's life. Right away, you get the feeling the guy's got problems. The music has a relentless beat that matches the non-stop and equally relentless pace of the man down the halls. When he reaches the "Homicide Division" door, its representation and the words indicate he's in trouble. However, that feeling of doom and paranoia increases greatly when the detective asks him if he's Frank Bigelow. The fact that he already knows his name is creepy to say the least and suggests he may have done something to bring troubles on himself. This sets us up for one of the most depressing of films noir. Being essentially dead and unable to change the outcome, Frank Bigelow (in a sense) represents us all, in a world where nothing lasts forever.
  14. The opening scene is claustrophobic, because it's not only dark, but the bars give the viewer a feeling of being imprisoned. The barred window is also very small, surrounded by darkness to the point of almost dwarfing or overwhelming the small window with the dark. There is also realism in the scene, including the sound effects (the traffic, the sirens, etc.) and the women huddling together, taking one last look (which the audience sees from their POV) before filing into the women's prison. The prison itself is daunting to look at -- all brick and stone -- like an ancient fortress in which the women are fated to be held captive.
  15. The light and darkness in The Hitchhiker's opening scene shrouds the killer in shadow. By only seeing his legs first, then starting the reveal with a shot of the gun, the audience is cued to the danger of the anonymous stranger the two men in the car try to help. The shot of the two men in the front seat exchanging glances underscores the tension of the scene. Like Kiss Me Deadly, the opening scene involves a car and a hitchhiker. However, in Kiss Me Deadly, the hitchhiker is a victim, as opposed to The Hitchhiker, in which the title character victimizes the guys who pick him up.
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