Bonnie in Clyde was the most action-filled movie Iv’e seen all semster and although that doesn’t say much it was still an entertaining movie.  This movie is about a very short bank-robbing spree of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow and the rest of the Barrow Gang. What made Bonnie and Clyde so famous in history was the way they became famous at the time.  The Media unknowingly helped make the infamous couple famous by publishing pictures taken and the publishing of Bonnie’s last poem.

From the moment they are all united for the first time in the film the audience can’t help but like the Barrow Gang , they’re like one big awkward family at first but then they become a real family and you want to root for all of them (except for Blanche of course i was hopin someone’d shoot her from the first time she freaked out).  Even thought they rob banks you can still side with them because they prove their grudge is only with banks and “laws” they wish no harm to those who are in the banks grip.  They dont seem like evil bank robbers rather they are shown as trying to get back at the banks for the harm they have caused others. There is even a scene where they pick up a couple who’s car they robbed. At first the couple are wary of them since their fame of bank robbing murderes has spread.  Eventually the Barrow Gang befriends these people and we see that they are frielndly and amicable people regarless of their proffession of robbing banks.

In the end Bonnie and Clyde died in one of the longest and most brutal deaths i have ever seen and it is both unexpected and pretty sad.  Part of the scene is shot in slow motion and gives a more brutal effect as well as making the audiences despair that their heroes have met their end even worse.  In the end Bonnie and Clyde was a good and entertaining movie regardless of the heroes end and it was a good way to end a semester of film.

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In the book “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” there is a famous idea about how women are portrayed in film that is still being debated today.   The idea is that women are only in films for their “looked-at-ness” meaning that in film a woman’s role is just to be admired by the male lead and the audience.  This is what leads to the idea of the male gaze in cinema because as the male lead admires the woman in the film he is given a certain look by the cameras.  The director uses this look to make the audience experience how he is seeing the woman, making the audience see her through the male gaze as well.  Although the male gaze is more commonly used in film there still is another gaze.  This gaze is from the woman’s point of view as opposed to the man’s and it is called the “female gaze”.

The best example of the female gaze that I can think of happens in the Lady Eve with Barbara Stanwyck as Jean Harrington/Eve. This movie already tries to put more emphasis on the strength of women since Jean is obviously the stronger person in the relationship and also the one with the most control.  There is a scene where Jean is looking through her mirror at her would-be victim Charles narrating the attempts (and failures) of women trying to get his attention so he can “romance” them.  While doing this we get a glimpse of what she thinks Charles’ personality is like and we see that she thinks he is a little stuck up, but that is far from the truth and not the reason he won’t speak to these women.  What is blatantly obvious about this scene is that we are seeing Charles through Jean’s point of view.  The whole scene she is narrating while looking at her mirror it is like we are hearing what she thinks while she sees this man and never what Charles thinks.

Finally Charles gets up and is ready to leave and she continues narrating why she thinks he’s leaving as just as she passes by him she sticks out her leg and trips him and then she places all the blame on him.  This whole time the camera has been all about Jean; in the male gaze the camera first shows the character gazing looking at something, followed by it shifting to the point of view of the person gazing.   When the camera is set on her looking the background is blurred so that we only see her making her the subject another part of the gaze.   In the shot that shows what she’s looking at it is clear that she is looking into a mirror and we have a clear view of the reflection, everything is in full focus.

Jean shares all the characteristics of the male gaze in her “female gaze” although Charles is the male the story doesn’t seem to keep him as the main protagonist; at times it switches him out for Jean.  This has led me to the conclusion that the “female gaze” is nearly the same as the male gaze with one difference. The “female gaze” doesn’t make the man an object to be admired by the women in the audience it is more of an observation of his character.  The “female gaze” makes the audience look deeper into the inside of the man rather than the outside.  I also believe that the female gaze is not seen much because the character has to be a strong-willed or able to  take control of their situation. Since many films plot’s stories do not include a woman with these requirements we often do not get to
see the “female gaze”.

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The plot of this film is a simple one, about an old man living in poverty trying to sustain himself and his dog. This old man (Umberto) is about to be thrown out of his lodging by his heartless landlady who pays no heed to the things that could happen to him if he is thrown out onto the streets. seriuously what kind of souless bitch would though a man she used to call grandpa out on the street, BUT thats beside the point.  The movie goes on to show that to stay in this disgusting dirty old room that he’s called home for twenty years he begins to sells what few belongings he has. He goes to a charity hospitals and soup kitchens to try to save money. The only two people who he cares about are a young maid who lives in the room right across from him and his dog Flike.

Unfortunantely the maid (Maria Pia Casilio) and him cant possibly help each other as each has to many problems of their own. Maria seems to be following the same doomed path that Umberto is on as she is a  pregnant, unwed, teenager. She seems to be unaware of the fact that she will probably go through what Umberto is going through and  probably worse with a child. At one point because the y can’t really help each other Maria does not pay attention to Umberto’s dog, who she was supposed to watch, and eventually loses his dog. After desperate searching Umbeto finds Flike at the pound (after, of course, showing how little a man thinks of his dog being put down) and finally when things seem like they’re getting better he is forced out of his room.

Finally at the end of the film out on the streets defeated, Umberto tired of the fight tries to end his life by walking in front of an oncoming train with his dog in hand.  This was not his intention at first as he tried to find the dog a new, better home  but the dog not knwing of his master’s intentions was loyal to him until the end.  Or so it seemed as right before the train was to hit the dog in fear wriggles his way out of his arms and inadvertedly diverts him away from the path of the train.  The end of the film is Umberto gaining back the trust of his dog and playing with it down an alley in the park.

The movie from beginning to end is just the sad things that Umberto has to go through just to pay the rent on his home.  The whole time a person watches and they want to root for him they realize that even if he does get enough money he has to go through the same troubles the next month and the month after that.  the film plays on the viewer’s emotions as they wish that everything will end well for this character but they realize that he is fighting a losing battle and that he will never win it.  The film always gives a dreadful feeling as if death is lurking around the corner for these characters.

Umberto D is a great film and depicts very well the hard times people had to face in Italy at this time as well as make the viewer feel pain and sadness for what is happening there.

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Citizen Kane (Dir. Orson Welles, RKO, 1941)

Final Scene

Time: (108:03-111:09)

Setting: Charles Foster Kane’s castle home where people are deciding what to do with his belongings and the meaning of Rosebud is discovered.

Shot #1: (LS, High Angle, Above.) A man is conversing with a group of people on his findings on the meaning of the word “Rosebud” (Charles Foster Kane’s final word) and what he believes it is.  As he speaks to the group the camera begins to pull back away from the group of people showing the massive amount of personal property Charles had.  during this time the man says that “Mr. Kane is a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it”. he follows by saying that “…maybe Rosebud is something that he couldn’t have or that he lost”.  He then assumes that Rosebud is just another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that was Mr. Kane’s life.  the camera pulls back even higher putting into better view the background and making the group seem smaller and smaller. The background is the massive amounts of items Mr. Kane owned giving the idea that these are also pieces in the jigsaw puzzle each having their own meaning. Fade out.

Shot #2: (ELS, High Angle, Above) Fade in, There is a giant room filled with what looks like thousands of boxes, statues and other objects. The camera moves forward passing above the items and begins to move in closer the reason for which is obviously to reveal some hidden item in the midst of the items. Deep tense diegetic music plays as the camera slows down and at the center of the shot there is a sled. The camera begins to zoom in and a figure can be seen on the sled but before it is recognizable a person comes into the shot and pulls the sled out of the shot.

Shot #3: (LS, Eye-level, Straight on) There is a open furnace with someone ordering people to throw the “junk” into it. As the sled is being thrown into the furnace the camera zooms into the furnace door revealing what it says on the sled, the music intensifies. Fade out.

Shot #4:  (CU, Eye-level, Straight on) Fade into sled, the music is still intenswe, it is revealed that rosebud is the name of the sled that Charles Kane used to play with at his home when he was a little boy before his parents gave up custody of him to someone else.  Rosebud symbolizes a simple time of happiness in his childhood that was lost to him. HIs life was different after he was given to someone else and the sled is a remionder of the time before he was taken and probably one of his most innocent happy moments. The sled then begins burning and the camera zooms in.  As the camera zooms in closer the markings and name Rosebud burns away, then screen fades to black.

Shot #5: (LS, Low Angle) Fade in. Charles Foster Kane’s castle-home from the outside.  It is dark and cloudy out and black smoke can be seen coming out of the chimney. The tense music is still being played the camera tilts upto where the smoke is rising, the diegetic music peaks.  The smoke symbolizes what is left of Kane his items that hold his memories and ambitions, the things he collected all his life all figuratively and literaly go up in smoke. Fade out

Shot #6 (Close up,Straight on, Camera lowers from higher up) Fade in, the musics drops down to very soft.  A fence and is shown and the camera tilts lower and lower we see a sign which reads “No Trespassing”. This sign is at the beginning of the film as well,  and it is not only boundaries of his estate, but also symbolizes his atitude to his friends and everyone else in the world. Kane died alone because he kicked anyone who he felt crossed him out of his life never realizing it was his fault to begin with.Fade out.

The director also uses a Baroque style in this entire scene to portray the drama of the end of the intense life that this man lived and how even in death people wanted to know more about his life. the director used more fades than cuts in this scene and I believe that this gave a better flow to the shots.  The director also used low lighting throughout the film and in this seen to give it not a dark feeling but a sad one.

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In the 1930s films that were “all-talking” were still just being introduced into the world of cinematography.  Before the 1930s there weren’t full length feature films just shorts. In Europe the first full length “talkie”, as they were nicknamed,  was released in 1928 called The Crimson Circle.  The movie was dubbed over into many different languages around Europe and even in America.

This is the reason M is such a technological marvel for its time period.  M is Fritz Lang’s first attempt to enter the new sound era and his last fim which makes the film even more impressive.  M depicts the dangers and uncertanties of Germany during its time.  Lang takes full advantage of the new sound technologies. (spoiler) Such as his use of the whistle as the killers trademark very creative as this represents the new opportunites sound in film provide.

Films at this time were completely silent unless audible dialouge or sound effects were completely necessary.  it is because of this that M is sort of a bridge between the silent era and the age of sound in film

 

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Double Indemnity is a savvy thriller from the good old noir days of cinema. I was born 50 years after the days of noir in cinema but i have always like the dark mysterious setting that they have always had. Double Indemnity is certainly no exception and if not it is one of the best examples of this classic style of film.

Doubel Indemnity is about a soft spoken insurance representative who becomes part of a murder to claim the man’s life insurance after he falls for the femme-fatale.  however the plan backfires when one of his colleague starts to pick up on his trail.

Walter Neff is the protagonist and anti-hero of this film.  He’s is a person who murders a man for money and so he can have his woman yet makes the audience still want to root for him and still care about what happens to him.  When watching the film, the complex crime that Neff was trying to pull off amazed me and he was doing it for this woman who was obviously going to turn on him added suspense but what i enjoyed the most was the fast paced dialogue. Its not something that is seen infilms know-adays and is native to these kind of Noir films.  The way that Walter Neff speaks especially makes the scenes more     exciting

This film also has an idea that is new to film in the 1940s, the femme fatale. Phyllis Dietrichson is a manipulative devious woman who only wants one thing…money.  she is the strong woman in this film and manipulates the weak man (Neff) into doing what she desires with her feminene wiles. Although the movie does have a wierd way of showing this as he does not look like a man driven to murder by love, and Phyllis just seems cold in the relationship. Later after shooting him but not fatally she opens up and says she does care more about their relationship than the money.  After the murder the little romance that could be seen completely dissapeared.

Still Double Indemnity is a great film filled with dark humor and suspense and is a great example of the noir film era.

 

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