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About ArianaRosel15

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  1. I'm not sure I can agree with Canby saying something is missing from today's comedy, because that sounds like saying that today's comedies are somehow less. The difference I see, is essentially my part as the viewer. Today's films are performances for us, the audience. In "A Dog's Life" as in many of Chaplin's films, we aren't so much the audience as we are in on the gag. We can see what Chaplin is doing when he's sneaking bits of cake of the counter, or slipping through holes in a fence to evade the cops. We're co-conspirators with Chaplin. We're almost part of the gag. I feel more involved in Chaplin's gags because I feel part of the performance not just a nameless, faceless member of the audience. And, that, I think is missing from today's comedy.
  2. This opening scene in Elevator to the Gallows, could be the first scene in any of a dozen different genres, except for that incredible jazz score. Two lovers on the phone making plans to run away together and be free, sounds so happy and hopeful. What could possibly go wrong? Then, the first notes play, and we are instantly transported to the dark shadowy world of film noir. The music is powerfully lonely and sad. Nothing visually suggests that this love affair is going to go horribly wrong, but Miles Davis' haunting score gives us all the clues we need to know that this isn't the hopefully optimistic accompaniment of a new beginning, it's the mournful soundtrack of the end of the line.
  3. I see a lot of familiar noir elements in the way Howard is framed in the opening shots of Beware My Lovely. We first see him through a screen, a broken screen. He's patched it, but he is clearly shown as a man on the fringes of society in this shot, a man on the outside looking in. As we follow Howard inside the house, the significance of the Salvation Army Band becomes clear, in that we are to think about people falling on hard times. Times appear so hard for Howard that he is "reduced" to performing menial tasks around the house for a woman more well off than he. The shot where he opens the closet door blocking our view so that we can only watch him in the mirror, is classic noir depth of field and could hint that maybe we're not seeing all of Howard's character, perhaps what we are watching is only a small reflection of who the man is really. This scene also evokes the classic noir sense of foreboding. It may be bright and full of light, but Howard keeps looking for his employer and the sense of wrongness is there from the first time he calls her name. I think this is also an example of noir sort of running its course. Howard's discovery of the corpse isn't as shocking as it could have been, because we know what's coming, not specifically a body but something bad is going to happen, it always does. Howard racing away from the house and jumping on to a departing train is showing us a familiar set up of a character being hurtled towards a dark fate because of one wrong opened door.
  4. The detective in this scene from Narrow Margin know what to expect from our femme fatale, just like the audience. It's almost like we are sharing an inside joke with the characters. As if to say, we've both been here before and we know what this "dame," this "60 cent dish" is all about. We've seen the trains, the back seats of cabs, the trench coats and dark city streets before. This opening scene seems to say that we know where this is going, so hold our bags because it's only going to be an hour before this story is over and the train leaves the station.
  5. Strangers on a Train is dramatically different from many of the other films noir we've watched, in that it is so light and airy. The scene begins in a crowded, bright train station. We aren't immediately gripped by panic, as in Kiss Me Deadly. The pace of this scene is so normal, passengers moving purposefully towards their destination, not the death knell pace like we saw in D.O.A. There is a vague sense of something about to happen as both sets of shoes are walking towards each other, two men on a crash course of sorts. And the train turning down the tracks, gives a sense of something choosing a specific fate for these characters, a fate that is somehow out of their own hands. This opening is a perfect example of how Hitchcock doesn't merely operate within the bounds of film noir, but he takes those elements and makes them something completely different, something altogether his own. We've discussed how film noir isn't really a genre, but I think a Hitchcock film certainly is in it's own genre.
  6. This opening is perfect for a film about a women's prison because we are Eleanor Parker. We are caged inside the transport van, looking out through a barred window trying to figure out where we are going and why. When the van arrives at it's destination and the guard says "end of the line" it's as if he's speaking directly to us. As we gaze for the last time at the outside world, our faces mirror the look of horror and dread on Eleanor Parker's face. We are just as terrified as she, asking what are we doing in this awful place and isn't this some sort of mistake. It really seems as though we are starting at the end of the line, where so many films noir come to a close, Caged is just beginning. In typical WB fashion, there are no glamorous movie stars and wide sweeping shots, just real people in cramped quarters facing a very bleak future. Films noir so often toy with the concept of fate, as in one false move or one chance encounter can change the course of a person's life. I'm left wondering what happened to bring these women to this prison and is their any hope? Great first scene, very film noir with its vague feeling of dread, and very like The Hitch-Hiker and Kiss Me Deadly in that the first few moments have left us with many more questions than answers
  7. Instead of being the "desperate flip side" to the Maltese Falcon, this opening scene actually reminded me a bit of that film. Mike is nearly run off the road by a woman who is clearly afraid of something. By his casual attitude and way he speaks to her, he doesn't seem overly compassionate, but, this reminds me of Sam Spade saying that when a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. Mike seems resigned to the fact that when a woman is running down the side of the road, so desperate to escape something that she's not even wearing shoes, he's supposed to do something about it. He's not sure if he's made a mistake or not, he's not sure if he might still throw this woman off a cliff instead of helping her, but for the moment, they're in this together and he's going to let things play out.
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