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About AcmeBookShop

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  • Birthday 09/04/1980

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    St. Louis, MO
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    Film: From Criterion to Classic, B, Horror, Sci-Fi... pretty much all types; Comics; Literature; Visual Art, Music
  1. The opening narration is very straight to the point as it gives us factual information about California's Imperial Valley and the braceros who work in the farm fields. There is little emotional intonation until the line "But there are OTHER braceros..." At that point the narrator's tone gets more serious, and the previously light score becomes darker sounding, too. The clip ends with a kind of citation. The narrator tells the listener that the information given has come from the U.S. Dept. of Justice. This factoid, along with docu-realistic style of narration and visual footage used give the film's opening a weight and a seriousness. These are not just fictional characters, but people who really work those California fields whose experiences may just be like those we are about to see.
  2. The most obvious feature of this scene is the staging of the two women, Veda and Mildred. Mildred starts the scene at the highest eye level, while Veda is lounging and reclining. As the motion carries on, both women stand side by side at full profile. Eventually Veda climbs the stairs and takes a dominant position to her mother. Then Mildred slaps her daughter and takes dominance back. Notice the women's dress and silhouettes as well. The style of dress is very similar, dark fabric and similar cuts of garment suggest a similarity (even though Crawford has those shoulders, also showing her dominance). Vida's outfit is tailored however, while Mildred's is less form fitting suggesting a more age appropriate style of clothing. This also heightens when Vida call her mother a "frump." Vida even has a flower on her jacket as an accessory. This can suggest youth as well, or a detail showing that Veda cares more about aesthetics and "beauty," while Mildred is a more hardworking woman who is practical and less concerned with frivolous things.
  3. Wow, wow, wow! Haven't watched this film in a while, but can one ever get tired Of Rita Hayworth's performance? The most clothed strip tease I've ever seen, but what pure sexuality. One is worried Rita might even pop out of her dress in several places. The way she is framed by the camera in one shot, you would swear (seen out of context) that she wasn't wearing a stitch. The lyrics of the song portray this sexual energy, as well. We hear of Mame, a woman whose femininity and sexuality brought down civilizations and slew men... Talk about a femme-fatale! As the scene progresses we see the character explain that everyone in the club knows what she really is. It starts to get a bit darker from there and unfortunately, her female prowess is put into check, but who could ever forget that electric performance? We know why those convicts in Shawshank went so crazy for Rita and her performance in Gilda.
  4. I've already seen this great film, so I already have quite a formed opinion of Waldo Leydecker. What always strikes me in this opening is his arrogance-- The obvious personal museum of treasures, but also his receiving the detective in the bathtub?!? Anyone else would have excused a guest, dressed, and then had the conversation. His popmposity is apparent in his manner of speaking and what he says as well. When McPherson points out that he misreported facts concerning a murder, Leydecker claims that his version must have been better. What a nerve! This guy oozes class, but even more so he oozes grossly overfed ego. Such a memorable character. And for those who have seen the film (spoilers), I was always intrigued by his relationship with Laura. Clearly he wants to possess her like one of his treasures, but is the attraction physical at all? He seems to love and hate her at the same time. Is it because she rejects his affections, or is it that he truly wants to be Laura or in the very least is jealous of all the male attention that Laura attracts?
  5. The lack of fluidity and some camera motions do date this usage of POV shot(which has sadly been so overused in the past decade or so), but I still find it fairly effective. To me, there is always a tension to this kind of perspective because, as a viewer, I am forced to look through someone else's eyes, but I have no control on where they look or what they look at. It forces the viewer to give up some control. And obviously it helps us feel more allied with the Bogart character. The police aren't just chasing him, but us as well. I really liked this movie when I watched it for the first time several months ago. The only thing that was tough for me was believing thay the Perry character could look like his picture in the paper and still have that iconic Bogart voice. Today, it is impossible to separate that voice from Bogart's face.
  6. I mainly get a sense of, what at the time, would be more realism in depiction. There are several shots which are fairly shaky and give the viewer a sense of being on an actual train, not on a set piece. The two actors seem to convey with their actions and their gestural communication that they really are doing a job, really are driving the engine. I can't tell as a layperson if these men are actors or simply men who did this job for a living. Then of course there is the darkness. The train plunges into the dark tunnel, casting the audience into the dark, until we see a crescent of light growing in the corner. Then we are brought back into the light to see another train coming towards us. Tension is increased as the front of "our" train comes visually into contact with the train coming towards us. As we approach the station the muic swells and continues to build dramatic tension. There is a slight feeling of isolation to the opening. We only see the two men. Why is the station they arrive at empty? The train can also be a symbol of technology/science/progress and shows human influence in the environment, while still making the men driving the engine seem rather small when compared to the engine itself.
  7. Okay, maybe it's the fact that I've seen too many horror movies, or maybe it's my modern cynicism, but I don't find the opening to Fritz Lang's "M" that ominous, atleast not right away. There is a definite tension, established by the angles used in cinematography and the lack of score (causing the sound cues that are there to pop out), but the one word I keep thinking of is juxtaposition. Lang seems to be showing a tad bit of a sense of humor, as is most evident in the children's song/rhyme. In a very simple, sing-song, playful style the child tells about the man in black and child murder. As the second woman says, she doesn't care what the children sing about so long as she can hear them. Come on, I would prefer my child not sing about murder when there is a killer on the loose. Also, when the little girl is bouncing her ball against the sign, as a viewer I was slightly annoyed. Maybe this doesn't work as well for an audience reading English subtitles at the bottom of the screen, but the little girl is bouncing her ball right infront of what the camera has directed the viewer to look at (and for the original German audience, read). So again there is tension, but a slightly off humor to it. It's like Lang is taunting us. Here is a sign, that the camera's motion, framing, and focus tell us are important, but there is a little gnat flying in front of us, the child's ball to distract us. It is only when the man's shadow appears on the sign, that the doom sinks in, to me. We know who the man is and we can suspect what his actions will be. Then the ignorance of innocence makes it all too sad-- the careless children singing so freely of such horrible things, the little girl disregarding the sign right in front of her clearly telling her of the danger ahead. This scene reminds me a lot of Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" with it's mundane, everyday setting being interrupted by the train that pulls into town and the shadow it casts across the frame.
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