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About BabetteSM

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  1. "Do you see evidence, even in the film's opening scenes, for Foster Hirsch's assessment that the dialogue in this film sounds like a "parody of the hard-boiled school" or that "noir conventions are being burlesqued"?" Most of this fits the standard noir opening. Train arriving, night time shoot, the men get off the train, one in a standard trench coat. Hearing the dialogue does sound like a parody. Detective Walter Brown's quick words on the "dish," and the descriptive language actually make you smile, because you feel as if you've heard these words before in so many other noir films. You sort of feel you've heard it said better in other films as well. The one thing you do feel though is the two men's relationship. By Walter brushing off the cigar ash, you can tell these men have been together for a while and that they take care of one another... perhaps Walter takes care of the other Detective almost as a son to a father. That kind of moment cements their relationship and feels far from a parody.
  2. "Discuss the role of time and timing in this scene." At the beginning of this film we are watching a carefully crafted heist being planned. Not just down to hours, but minutes and seconds. We can also see that he's been timing and planning for a week. We can tell by his smirk that he's very confident in his plan. He has it down to a routine at this point. We can see he thinks it's time to move and operate his plan, but will he succeed? Or will his timing be all for naught? You can time openings of bank and when deliveries, but can once you involve individuals, who have their own ideas, is any plan "perfect?"
  3. "Compare and contrast how director Karlson shoots and stages the boxing scene as a contrast of styles between cinema and television." Karlson shows how awful TV when compared to cinema. Karlson creates a cinematic fight scene that grabs us and pulls us into how the boxer is feeling. You can see the blows coming, almost feel the pain Ernie is feeling. It is quick and brutal, but as we pull back we and see that this is television sequence we are placed outside the ring. We are no longer part of the match, but merely spectators. Karlson seems to be saying, in cinema you can be part of the action, but in television you merely watch the action unfold.
  4. "Discuss the scene in terms of its acting and staging? In this brief scene, what do you see as the interpersonal relationships between Sam (Heflin), Walter (Douglas), and Martha (Stanwyck)? If you have seen the entire film, avoid larger points about the plot, and focus simply on what you are seeing just in this scene." I've seen this movie, several times... this scene is so tense and fraught with meaning it makes you uncomfortable. You wonder what, "For old times sake," really means. What is in the past? You can feel Walter's sense of unease and a slight inferiority complex in comparison to Sam. You almost see him shrink next to Sam. You can tell that Martha controls Walter and that whatever is in the past weighs on Walter and that Martha probably uses it against him. Sam seems to be a larger than life kind of person in Walter and Martha's lives. You can clearly feel the attraction between Martha and Sam, but see that it is a bigger feeling for Martha than Sam who just flirts, but for Martha you can sense she has always thought of Sam and what her future might have been had she actually gone on that circus train.
  5. "Why do you think unexpected incidents involving innocent people (such as today's couple) was such a popular postwar theme?" I believe that why this format was so popular is the same reason it is popular today. We all want to know how we would react if such a situation were thrust upon us. We watch the characters and say, "I wouldn't do that," but do we REALLY know if we would react another way? Also, I think we like watching how people react when put into certain situations. We like to watch them either rise above, but it is so much more thrilling to watch the darker side come out and hope that that darker side wouldn't live within us if we encountered such a scenario.
  6. Knowing this film, and it's not one of my favorites, I find it too edgy for me... Walker's character is just beyond creepy. Still, watching the beginning through "Film Noir" eyes has made me see things I would never noticed before. You watch two pairs of shoes, one flashy and one just standard getting on the train. It already tells you a lot about the characters. The wing tips give you the sense of someone who likes to show off, or appear bigger than they are. The regular dress shoes make you feel as if this person is standard, not so much to take notice of. One pair says, "Look at me," and the other says, "I'm just doing my thing, no need to notice me at all." Which is surprising when you also once you meet the two men, The one with regular shoes is a huge tennis star and the wing tipped fellow is just a "regular" man. I also like the train tracks, I never really looked at them before, but what I dug was the fact that the tracks go straight and then come to a fork. It is the meeting of these two men that puts it on a path of the track on the right side, but how easy it could have been for the train to take the left track, if only these two men had never met.
  7. Running down long backstreets, driving down long desolate highways, long dark drives in paddy wagons and walks down long deserted corridors, all these things cause the audience to think, "Where are we going?" "What has happened to this character?". When will we discover what has gone wrong?". The building of questions and suspense, as well as the feeling that we are shadows of the people we are following, creates a feeling of dread and anxiety. We want the film to start and to find the answers, to solve or figure out what has gone wrong and hopefully have it fixed, although in the back of our minds there is the niggling reality that there may not be a solution.
  8. Yikes! The opening scene already makes you feel as if you are "caged" with the other women in the dark. They tiny little screen with it's bars and lines already give you the feeling of confinement and claustrophobia. It makes you want to scream for air. Then the sun blinding the terrified, bored, hardened faces really fits in with the WB's "house style" of realism. Everything Eleanor Parker looks at has lines or "bars" in it...the windows, the archway the gate looking out onto the street. Everything gives the feeling of being behind bars before the characters have even entered a jail cell. Dark and depressing.
  9. The lighting in this opening scene is so focused and comes from what seems to be one, maybe two sources. The whole driving portion only mainly catches O'Brien's face. The source seems to come up from some where under the dash by the glove compartment. It barely picks up the other actor and keeps the actor in the backseat in complete darkness until he leans forward. It gives you a feeling of isolation, that what is happening in this car is a bubble and gives the scene a sense of claustrophobia. You feel as if they can't escape this criminal whose face suddenly looms out of the darkness at you. The same sense happens as they turn off the road and then there is again only one light source that barely covers the criminal behind the men. Again, you get the feeling that they are truly alone and at the mercy of a mad man with a gun. Part of you keeps saying, "These guys are so gonna die."
  10. Wow! Talk about an opening that grates on your nerves. The beginning credits go by pretty slowly, but then pick up speed, all the while Cloris Leachman is crying and gasping in the background. Behind that is Nat King Cole's heavenly voice singing, "I'd rather have the blues than be dead.". I kept waiting for the credits to be done just so we could figure out why she was crying or to make her stop. It really made my skin crawl. The short break in credits before showing the director was such a fake out. You're not sure why she's out on the road, and only in a trench coat, at first you think the same as the Mike Hammer, that her date "thought NO was a three letter word," but then you arrive at the road block and realize she's an escapee from an insane asylum. Why Mike Hammer protects her is something we will just have to wait to find out. I will tell you this... the opening scene really weirds me out.
  11. This scene is simply wonderful. You are watching two actors, well honed in their craft and comfortable with one another on screen. Lorre's entrance is slowly paced, but the music under tells a different story. He enters his apartment and is struck by the mess and replies, "That's funny." Of course it isn't, and then Greenstreet materializes from the other room, weapon in hand. The banter between the two is quick and wonderful. Lorre's character doesn't seem scared as much as put out that his room has been destroyed and even peevishly exclaims that he only wants to go to bed. The seating arrangement is telling in the scene as Greenstreet is much higher than Lorrie during the scene, but Lorre's character even lowers himself even further by reclining back. The lighting is interesting, making it seem dark around the edges, but the light behind Lorre casts a bizarre pattern on the wall and creates an surreal feel to the entire interrogation. All in all a small, gritty and wonderful scene.
  12. When you see Jane Geer enter it is as if she is in a picture frame. Entering from the sunlit street accentuates her figure and the importance of her character. Everything else that has been shown on the screen has led up to this fateful moment. It could almost be labeled "Out of the Light and into the Darkness." Out of the Past sets up every aspect of film noir that would influence films after, sharp lines, shadows on the walls, documentary style shooting leading us into the story, and narration would all be used in future films. The seedy feel of characters and under belly of places would all follow in other films as well. IT sets up the femme fatal and the man trapped in her web. This scene has all you could want in a film noir and makes you want for more.
  13. The opening scene of The Big Sleep sets up Marlowe as a well dressed, college educated man, but one who is experienced, who didn't like working within the DA's system. and is hardened. He also isn't impressed with the wealth. The "nod" to Chandler's writing is the lovely "display" handkerchief in Marlowe's breast pocket. In the first sequence we can see that Marlowe has done his background work on the family and is prepared to meet his potential client, but is off putting about his own background.
  14. The opening sequence of this film, by the fly over, gives you the feeling that America is great. We are a wide open country, bountiful and ready for all to partake in its bounty. The diagonal footage is reflected in the fence at the border where migrant farm workers wait for legal entry. The music and footage causes the viewer to feel as if we looking at a documentary on agriculture and the migrant worker in America. After this scene the footage becomes much darker and music deepens causing the viewer to realize that all may not be as it seems. The narration makes you realize that there is a dark under belly to this vast vision of American and it's migrant workers. It sets you up to want to see this "true" story of what happens to it's characters.
  15. The opening of the Killers moves so slowly and menacingly. The realism of the set and its surroundings make you feel as if this is occurring right now and could happen anywhere. You do feel as if the employees in the diner are lucky to be alive. When the worker runs to the Swede's apartment we enter a formal set. Swede is half hidden by a slice of shadow that covers his face. At first it seems as if the Swede is dead already and the kid leaning over him feels as if someone is looking into a coffin at a dead man. Not being able to see the Swede's face, and hearing the tone of his voice, spoken from the shadows, gives the viewer a feeling of futility. You want to know why this character has given up and what brought him to this point of just waiting for his death. The small room is confining and oppressive in it feel. The whole feel at the beginning is of dread and futility and how did the character reach this point.
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