Bonnie and Clyde

I have always heard so much about this movie and never gotten around to seeing it until we watched it in class. definitely my favorite of the semester, but then again i do fall into the target audience of the film. It’s of of the first films to be considered part of the New Hollywood era along with others like the graduate and easy rider.

the cast in this movie is quite impressive, most of which had their careers really take off because of this film.
the film sets new standards with the amount of sex and violence portrayed, appealing to younger generations and setting precedents for future films to come.

I love the ending to the film, i am a big fan to the down beat endings of new hollywood films. it’s just much more real. even though they are criminals we are sort of rooting for them the whole movie. but then they get what is coming and all shot up. its crazy! the good kind of crazy.

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Psycho response

I love this movie, seeing it in class was my 4th time seeing it and i feel like it gets better every time. Hitchcock is brilliant with his use of high and low angle shots in the scene of the conversation in the parlor with the stuffed birds all about the room. the large bird of prey backing up Norman and the small defenseless bird along side Vera Miles’ character. and of course his use of point of view shots during the famous shower scene, putting the viewer behind the eyes of a psycho killer, and again as we watch the car sink into the swamp from his POV. it is awesome.

Hitchcock created a whole new kind of monster in horror films. we dont only have vampires zombies to worry about now, we have to be afraid of that quiet guy down the road. so good.

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Extra Credit #3- The Graduate

The Graduate – Ending

The New Hollywood or Post-Classical Hollywood period of film began in the mid 1960s and ran until the early 1980s.  Directors at this time were younger, many out of college with degrees in film, well polished in their craft.  Movies of this period tended to me aimed at a younger generation. The subject matter and style strayed slightly from Hollywood classics and gave these films a fresh new feel, which attracted young viewers at a low point in box office sales.  Mike Nichol’s “The Graduate” is one of the most successful films of this period and one of the most widely acclaimed of all time.

Like most Post-Classical Hollywood films “The Graduate” is geared towards a younger audience, it can be considered one of the first “teen” movies.  The film is centered a round Benjamin Braddock, a 21-year-old who is “a little worried about his future”, a problem that many young Americans could and can relate to.  Also his sexual escapades and interesting love life would attract anyone, especially young people to this film.  The movie takes on very serious topics and themes such as what to do with one’s future, having an affair with a married woman, marriage, and communication issues while lightening the mood with comedy.  This mixing of genre makes the film a more typical “date movie” for younger audiences it is a combination of drama, romance and comedy.  Mixing of genres was common in all Post-Classical Hollywood films, an influence from French New Wave filmmaking.

The ending to “The Graduate” is what truly sets it apart from typical Hollywood films.  Benjamin finally takes initiative and does something, he wins back his woman and they ride off together into the sunset.  it seems to be the triumphant “love conquers all” ending that everyone hopes for. Usually this would be the happy ending everybody watching wanted.  But this film stays true to reality; it is honest about what would really happen.  In the last shot of the film they sit next to each other on the bus as it drives away and they are smiling about their accomplishment, slowly their smiles begin to fade, Ben’s first and as Elaine looks to Ben to share the moment and sees that he does not look back to her and his joy quickly faded, her smile disappears as well and they have sort of a “Now what?” look on their face as “The Sound of Silence” fades the movie into the credits.  “Now what?” is right.  They both just left behind their families and everything they had for each other, Elaine was not even positive she wanted to marry Ben.  Ben has never been sure about anything in his life, what makes this any different, who knows if their new love can last, most likely it won’t.  Plus, Ben was too late, Elaine is technically married already, the ceremony ended.  This open-ended and sort of downbeat ending is true to the New Hollywood genre and true to reality.  It is a satirical take on all of the perfect endings portrayed in Hollywood.  Benjamin is left in the same place he was in the beginning of the movie, still unsure of his future but now with a bride, so he is probably worse off than he started now being responsible for two, nothing need be said, “The Sound of Silence” reinforces this.

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Film Analysis #2 – Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho was a new kind of horror film, before it the subject of fear was usually some kind of monster.  For instance Dracula, The Mummy or Frankenstein’s Monster which often were symbols for bigger political issues in society.  In Psycho for the first time the thing we are supposed to be afriad of is something much closer, like the creepy neighbor down the road.  In the scene where Norman Bates cleans up the murder scene and hides the car with all of the evidence in the swamp displays Hitchcock’s manipulation of the viewer in getting them to relate with Norman, the Killer.

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1-This is where the viewer thinks that Norman has just seen the body and what “mother” has done.  He reacts like most people would after finding a dead woman in the bathroom, shocked.  At this point we do not know he is actually the killer but if we watch carefully Hitchcock makes no real attempt to hide it.  Norman is most often shot at a low angle like he is here, this portrays him as someone in control and someone to be feared, he is shot as the aggressor, not a victim, even though he acts more like a victim.

2-Norman does not take much time to react, he immediately knows what to do, as if this has happened before.  Still shot at a low angle here he closes the door and turns of the lights.

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3-With the lights out now we begin to see the typical high contrast, low key lighting common to horror films.  Norman lays out the shower curtain to wrap the body in and we see his shadow towering over it, further depicting him as evil but the viewer has already identified with him from his initial reaction and is now in fight or flight mode along side him.

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4-Here we see Norman finish wrapping the body before he takes it out to the car.  He is completely in shadow again placing him on the “dark side”.  It was not “ok” to show viewers how to commit a murder and get away with it at this point in time, it was very new for a film to show this, it wasn’t like CSI now a days where viewers learn how to commit a different crime and cover their tracks every week.

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5-Skipping ahead a bit Norman has put the body in the car and now scans the room for any remaining evidence.  he sees the news paper which we know has the stolen money inside it but he does not.  The paper represents the first crime committed in the film (if we are not counting Lila sleeping with a man out of wedlock which was a crime by society’s standards) Lila stealing the money, that is now longer relevant considering the larger circumstances now at hand.  Because of the human love of money the viewers cringe as Norman takes the news paper and tosses it in the car along with the body and her other belongings, yet we did not have nearly as strong a reaction for he body being tossed away.

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6-Norman drives the car belonging to Ms. Crane off into the night.

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7-This shot started with a close up of the license plate and then the car pulls away and we see Norman pushing it into the swamp.

8-Now we see Norman watching and hoping that the car sinks down into the swam.  the viewer cannot help but feel the same thing and share his emotion.  half of his face is cast in shadow, the half that is an accomplis to murder (well actually the murderer) and the other half in light that the audience wants to still think is an innocent man protecting his mother.

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9-The car stops dead in the swamp for a few seconds at before we see Norman’s reaction everyone’s heart stops.  all of a sudden the viewer is in panic, we want the car to go down, we want Norman to succeed, but he is the bad guy!

10/11-In these two shots we see Norman nervously stare at the car and look around to see if anyone else is here watching, he is trying to plot his next move and figure out what to do if it doesnt go down.  at the same time the viewer is scrambling to figure out the same thing.

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12-We see that the car does go down into the swamp.  notice also the whole time we are watching the car it is from a POV shot, not an over the shoulder but we are forced to see things in the same way Norman is seeing them, forced by Hitchcock to be in his shoes.

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13-Finally we see Normans relieved smile, the evidence is gone and he is safe.  the viewer cannot help but share that sense of relief with him.  Yet we should be able to tell by the way he is shot and also the title of the film that something is off about him, that he is the killer.  Yet somehow Hitchcock is able to blind our eyes and make us feel what Norman feels.

This film was very different in how it brings the viewer to the same level as the criminal.  Before this good and evil was much more black and white.  Without us realizing it Hitchcock has through camera angles and lighting made us as the viewer put our better judgement aside and sympathize with a psycho.

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Extra Credit #2 Casablanca

Casablanca French Anthem

This clip is from Michael Curtiz’ 1942 masterpiece Casablanca. The film takes place in the town of Casablanca, an unoccupied town in Morocco and popular location for french refugees from WWII.

Casablanca is a product of the studio system in Hollywood, released at the peak of the system.  At this time when so many films were being produced, this being just one of them it is surprising how good it is and the success it has had.  It is arguably the best movie of all time contending with Welles’ Citizen Kane. (I pick Casablanca, but both are awesome).  Though produced along with other films of the studio system it stands in a class of it’s own.  It is extremely socially and culturally relevant to the time, dealing with the effects of WWII.  It stands the test of time because of its themes of lost love and morality, which will always be relevant.  The film crosses a number of genres which was uncommon in the 1940’s.  It can be considered a drama, romance, war movie, and also shows a number of film-noir elements though cant quite be grouped into that category.

In this clip we see a group of Nazi officers in Rick’s club singing the German anthem.  though Rick, the former freedom fighter has now become a neutral bystander in the war, we see the beginnings of his revived patriotism as he gives the go ahead for the band to start La Marseillaise. as the band starts solemn mood in the bar changes as the customers rise to their feet, over powering the voices of the Nazis with their own anthem.  it is a very emotional scene today, i can only imagine the response it stirred at its release in 1942 in the heart of the war.  Towards the end of the scene we see Ingrid Bergman’s (Ilsa’s) face of love and approval for her new man Victor adding to the love triangle drama.

There are a lot of shadows in the club, showing the influence of german expressionist lighting.  The most important way the lighting is used in this scene is when Rick appears, coming out of the shadows.  it is symbolic of his neutral stance in the war.  he comes out of that and back into the light as he give the nod of approval.

This particular scene represents the resilience of the people in Casablanca but outside the parameters of the film it is the resilience and power of good in the world.

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EXTRA CREDIT

Scene from Double Indemnity

This is a famous scene from Billy Wilder’s film-noir classic Double Indemnity. The film was released in 1944, WWII was raging on but the film does not directly address it.  This particular film noir was a bit early to examine the political struggle of capitalism against communism and focuses much more on the themes of gender norms and sexuality.  the way that Wilder addresses the effects of the war is through the use of Phyllis Dietrichson as the femme-fatal.  During the war many women had to step up out of the home and take the jobs of men that were out fighting.  At the war’s end it was patriotic for women to return jobs to the men then home from war.  the role shift was temporary but there was much anxiety in the minds of men that women were becoming more independent and ready to start taking on male roles in society, threatening their jobs and way of life.  it is this fear that is addressed in film noir through the femme fatal.  within the genre woman attempt to break out of their gender role in society and ambition drives them to use sexuality and manipulation to get whatever they want, always leading to their demise and often the demise of the emasculated man they deceived (as is the case in Double Indemnity).

the film was made during the classical Hollywood period but like many other film-noirs it is not a product of the studio system.  The noir genre was one of the first to begin shooting on location for production.  this film is shot throughout Los Angeles.

In this clip much of what makes film-noir a unique genre is personified.  We see the German Expressionist influence with the low key and high contrast lighting and use of shadows.  we see Neff’s silhouette as he enters the home and the shadows of the blinds accross him as he enters the living room.

This is the first time we see Phyllis on screen and it is telling of her character from the beginning.  though it may be common now and even in earlier films, during the 1940’s hollywood films were highly censored.  Any reference to sex had to be discreet and allude censors.  that is where film noir thrived, in having such strong sexual themes while hiding them beneath the surface.  In Barbra Stanwyck’s first appearance she is not only wrapped in a towel but we are looking up at her from the bottom of the stairs and she is greeting a stranger.  this is highly suggestive for the time period and no classy woman would ever do such a thing.

The end of this scene is filled with sexual innuendos within the dialogue.  Walter comments on her anklet and then begins to hit on her, knowing  she is a married woman.  The jargon about the speed limit is all code to get by the censors. Brilliant.  Neff disregards the fact that Phyllis is married makes him less of a man.  back in the day the ideal man was one that got married, settled down had a few kids and a steady job to support the family.  having sexual relationships out of wedlock was a big no no.  Walter Neff is the opposite of the ideal man in the 40’s, his dialogue and interest shown in this scene towards Phyllis is just the beginning sign of his demise.

the noir elements of this scene were pushing the limit in it’s time though now they seem quite tame.  I still think it’s awesome.

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the public enemy

i hope doing these reviews late counts for something haha

i actually dont have much to say about public enemy because i cant remember many technical aspects of it. i enjoyed it because it was pretty bad ass.

thought it was interesting for the time how the guy got taken advantage of by the other guy’s wife when he was drunk. i know it was before censorship and stuff so they got away with it. i just sorta had this idea (probably because if the censorship that followed) that people were just cleaner back then and that kinda stuff wasn’t even much of a thought, everyone was an upstanding citizen. i mean i am sure it went on, you just never saw it. it was interesting it see it on film in that time.

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how do i get the class blogroll on my blog?

answers?

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“M”

M was aight. i appreciate how ahead if its time it was and it did have a lot of good aspects but it also dragged a bunch toward the middle i felt. understood people back in the day had a longer attention span though.

i liked the theme of maral ambiguty brought out. everybody isa criminal of some sort whether they are a common theif, gangster, or just a bad mother. yet they are all after the murderer, who supposedly is sick in the head. is it different if he cant help it? if he doesnt have as much of a choice in the crime he commits? thought provoking…

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Wayyyyy late post on Out of the Past… my bad.

so i am in a film noir class currently with Cornell and have really grown to love the genre.  ironically this isn’t my favorite noir though it is said to be the most film noir of all film noirs.  I think that is why i don’t like it as much.  every aspect of film noir is taken to the extreme and obvious.

Jeff’s ambiguous morals are so up front, he is portrayed as a good man but works for the bad guys.  Kathie is the the most diabolical and self motivated fem fatal ever (besides maybe Veda in mildred pierce, but its debatable weather she is the real fem fatal in that film).

the crimes in the film and details of who jeff is working for in his past are a bit ambiguous as they should be.  idk i found myself just not really caring or drawn in by the film.

i do love the ending of the film though where the mute boy tells anne that jeff was running off with kathie.  He lied, which isnt moral, but it was so she could get on with her life which is a good thing.  it sort of encompasses the real theme of the film and noir which is morality.

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