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The scene I chose to discuss is a complex scene in which Douglas Sirk shows us into the minds of a bunch of the main characters.  The scene where the daughter Marylee is dancing in her room, she tunes the world out, including her father.  The way the scene is set up, it was as if the louder the music got, the quicker her fathers heart rate got, and it’s as if she literally dances her father to his own death.   I believe this is an important scene in the film, and that Douglas Sirk is trying to convey a message to his audience, to reach them on a more emotional level.  He cuts from character to character in this scene to show the different emotions and hardships that are all going on at once.

In this scene, it seems as if the music Marylee is playing has entranced her father as he slowly gets up from his chair to go to her room.  We started off in Marylee’s room as she unwinds after a drunken mishap.  She starts to slowly increase speed as the music she turns on starts off slowly.  We cut to the father in his study with Mitch as he slowly stands up to go talk to his daughter.  As well as the music, we see that he too starts off slowly, as if his heartbeat is at the moment slow and calm.  A close up on his face shows that he seems to be in pain, we don’t know yet if it’s becaue he’s about to have an important conversation with his daughter, or it’s because he isn’t feeling well.  The close up of him standing up allows the audience to see him as just as important as the previous scene of his daughter dancing about.

We also see Mitch in this scene, as he trys desperately to help out the father, he takes the gun from him and holds it importantly in his hand, as if the father has past on the role of keeper of the house.  The camera follows his hands holding the gun as he walks to the desk and places the gun in a safe drawer.  I feel this represents Mitch taking his new found role as leader of the house with cautiousness, and he intends to keep them all safe by putting the gun in a safe place.  The way these scenes have unfolded allows the audience to enter the mindset of each of the actors in the scene.  We see happiness and carelessness in the daughter, we see importance and determination in the father that he must talk to his daughter and begin to control her.  Mitch has now been given a new role in the house and he ponders on this new gift.

We briefly enter back into Marylee’s room as the music gets louder and faster.  It quickly cuts to the father gaining speed on going to her room.  It’s as if his heartbeat is starting to gain speed.  We cut from scene to scene to take the audience into two different things happening at once.  We see the importance of both at the same time.  There is then a close up of the fathers hand on the banister, almost like its his last grasp of breath, and represents how he has had a grasp of being the main person in this family up until the very moment that he falls down the stairs and dies.  The only two that seem to run to the fathers aid are Mitch and his daughter in law Lucy.   It cuts to a smile on Marylee’s face, as if shes proud of dancing her father to his own death. 

The scene seems to slowly gain speed, the way we switch from cut to cut and we look at the emotions of several different characters at once.  The daughter doesn’t seem to care of her previous actions, and with the fathers last chance to control her, he falls to his death.  A close up of him grapsing the banister creates a sense that he tries to control his daughter one last time, but of course fails because that is what their life has been all about lately, failure.


Psycho found its name for a reason.  Alfred Hitchcocks films should basically surround themselves and should be a direct result of this films name.  Alfred Hitchcock is well known for creating films that infiltrate the psychy of the audiences mind.  It’s his way of capturing anyone who is watching it, and it is why he became such a well known and loved director.  Psycho was quite an interesting film.  It definately reached me on a whole different level.  I’m not really a horror movie fan, and I don’t watch too many of them, and watching this film I realized all over again why I don’t watch them.  Because of the stalker-esque man/woman who kills all the people in the film is a huge reason why I don’t like these sort of films.  It definately scared me, which I feel was Hitchcock’s main hope.  The famous shower scene was definately breathtaking, and not in a beautiful way.  The cinematography for this scene was well done, with the different camera angles.  One in particular that reached out to me was the close-up of the woman’s eye and her face smashed against the floor of the bathroom.  It was especially creepy which is what the audience should be feeling at this point.  They should be scared and they should be watching the film intensely at this point, and that is what happened to me.

Written on the Wind

Let me just start of by saying that I am obsessed with this movie now.  At first I didn’t think I was going to like it because I had never heard of it before, and I didn’t know anything about the movie really.  But ever since we watched it in class, I’ve been trying desperately to look for the movie in every store to buy it.  I was deeply influenced by this film because I feel like I really connected with the film.  I loved the storyline of the film and how the main character Mitch feels the need to rescue Lucy who he secretly has feelings for.  He sees that Lucy is in a bad way in her new marriage to his best friend, and he knows that he is no good for Lucy.  I feel like the only reason Mitch sticks around the house is to make sure that Lucy is ok and protected.  The family that she marries into seems to be quite unstable with her new sister-in-law drinking all the time, sleeping with random men, and going after Mitch throughout most of the film. 

Because this film was a melodrama, it was no surprise that Douglas Sirk had a lot of color added to the film and that the costume on each character had meaning to it.  The emotions within the film were also highly exhaggerated because that is what melodramas are all about.  They are about emphasis on pretty much any kind of emotion or of anything that can create an emotion on its audience like the vibrant colors that were used.  I noticed also that Douglas Sirk (who directed Written on the Wind) does this in a lot of his films, such as All that Heaven Allows and also in Imitation of Life.  I think I have officially become a huge fan of Douglas Sirk’s work.  I’ve seen each of these three films, and I loved each and every one of them.

This film was quite interesting, and I feel was a direct result from the happenings of the Cold War.  The war at the time had just begun and created a sense of panic in the US.  Americans were afraid of Communism taking over and having a bad influence on us.  They were worried that secret Russian spys were coming to take over and paranoia struck our country.  This is the same thing that happened in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  The main male character and the main female character are basically on the run trying to run away from the aliens who are trying to invade their minds and make them take on the form of their new pods.  They become paranoid towards society because they are no longer safe and can’t tell who they can trust anymore.  It’s important to know that the timing of this film was right in line with the beginnign of the Cold War panic.  Its just like any other science fiction film in that they all create a sense of hysteria in society.  They seem to influence the audience to think that maybe our world is coming to an end.  A lot of the time, they are a direct influence of what is actually going on in the real world.  For example, when The Day After Tomorrow came out it was the beginning of the big problem with global warming and definately influenced the writing of this film.  Recently 2012 came out which was right after all hell broke loose about our world coming to an end in the year 2012 because of the Myan calendar.  What I’m trying to say is that most science fiction films are a direct influence from society.

            Orsen Welles had a deep focused mind; a mind that could create great films such as Touch of Evil, and Citizen Kane.  I’d like to choose a scene from Citizen Kane (Welles, RKO, 1941) to discuss how this incredible director and actor used formal elements to create his story on film.  His movies were so elaborate when it came to the cinematography, camera angles, and editing.  His films came to life with his constant use of deep focus and fade ins.  The scene that I would like to talk about is when Susan Alexander finally reads her review in the Inquirer which was said to be written by Jedediah Leland (really written by Charles Foster Kane), who is Charles’ soon to be ex-best friend.  Taking a look at the set up of the scene, it seems so bright, as if it could be a happy scene that’s about to unfold, however, it changes its course almost instantly with the use of camera angles and lighting.

            The scene begins and we see Susan Alexander Kane on the floor amongst a pile of newspapers containing her terrible review.  Charles Kane enters and dismisses the fact that she is so upset about the review.  As he opens the letter from Jedediah, Welles decides to use an over the shoulder shot, which gives a sense of empowerment that Charles has over Susan.  The camera is far away using depth of field to make Susan look inferior to Charles.  As the scene moves on and Susan gets more and more livid about the review, she decides that she doesn’t want to perform in the opera anymore, but Charles won’t take this.  He walks over to her as a dark cloud of shadow from Charles slowly takes over Susan.  Kane is standing up so tall in front of her and leaning over as if his shadow is falling off of him to engulf Susan.  Here Welles uses lighting to create a sense of power towards Charles Kane.  There is an over the shoulder shot using a downwards tilt from the camera to make Kane seem increasingly superior to Susan.  It creates a sense of seeing Susan as the little puppy dog that must do what her master says.  She then agrees to keep going with the opera show, even though she really doesn’t want to.

            With the use of different camera angles and certain lighting we get different feelings from the scene.  We feel scared for Susan as we see Charles make her his own little puppet.  The shadow that takes over her along with the angles of the camera essentially tells which position each character embodies.

Out of the Past

Now this movie is much more my type of film.  It had romance, it had secrecy it had suspense and it had tons of surprises.  Betrayal is a big word to use for this film.  Bailey betrays his boss by sleeping with his girl, and then the girl betrays Bailey by killing his partner and then dissapearing back to the man she was running from.  However, the entire time, the girl was killing all these men so that she and Bailey could finally be together in the end.  Romance is so powerful and so entrancing for a reason.  I believe that the real moral of this story is that love always conquers all.  In the end, love wins and evil loses and everyone must hold onto that.  There were so many times during the film that either Bailey or Kathie gave up on eachother because they really didn’t know if they could trust one another.  It was a mistake on their parts to not trust eachother because they forgot that their love was so strong in the beginning that nothing would tear them apart.  

My favorite part of the film was the deaf boy who was always there to help Bailey out.  He had such a small role in the movie, but his character was so important in the end.  He saves Baileys life, and keeps secrets for Bailey and is basically Bailey’s little sidekick.

Citizen Kane

This was the second time I have seen Citizen Kane.  The first time I really didn’t like it that much, and Professor Herzog was right when she said that the second time of watching this film makes it so much better.  I agree that this second time around was a better one.  I was able to see the different types of technical use of the camera and how it widened the horizon of the film so much.  In two different scenes Welles used depth of field to draw the audience into the seriousness and emotional feel of the story.  One of the scenes was in the beginning of the film where he was a kid playing in the snow, but we are inside with the parents signing their son’s life off to another man.  It gives so much tension added to the film, we see two different emotions happening at once, which is the happiness of the young Charles Kane playing and being a child, and then the seriousness of the decision his parents are making.  The other scene is towards the end when Susan is sitting in front of the big fireplace in the mansion doing her puzzle, and Kane is on the opposite side of the room standing up.  Welles uses an over the shoulder shot to show the depth and how Kane overpowers Susan as he looks down upon her.

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