History of Cinema 2

December 10th, 2010


Posted by therant in Uncategorized

Written on the Wind is a film directed by Douglas Sirk in 1956 under Universal Pictures. I chose this film because I felt it had class, style, innovation, quality shots and character issues that were easy to relate to. Choosing one particular scene was slightly difficult because I believe there are many quality scenes to choose from. For example, the scene when Mitch and Kyle first interact with Lucy speaks volumes on the relationship between the men and their personalities. When Kyle and Lucy are in the cockpit of the airplane there is a lot of dialogue that is very revealing about the movie and where it’s headed. The fight at the bar after the men are notified by the bartender that Marilee is there. The manner in which the fight plays out. We also learn a lot from the dialogue between Mitch and Marilee in the following scene. Other great scenes I could have chosen are Marilee and Lucy first interaction, the nightmare Kyle has while he’s drunk in bed or Kyle and his doctor inside the store with big signs with the word DRUGS all around. My point is that Written on the Wind has a lot of very good scenes throughout the entire film. It is more than just the directing and screenwriting, it’s the acting, the subtle hints in the body language, the settings, the costumes, the tone of voice, and the objects they choose to hold. I found the film to be very well crafted and it became a movie I reference to a lot.

I chose my scene not because I felt it embodied the film as a whole. I chose it because it instantly grabbed my attention. The colors, the music, the pace, the non-dialogue but loud message it conveyed. The scene, in my opinion, begins when Mitch tells Mr. Hadley “your being to hard on yourself” and in the background we hear a car pull up into the driveway. The police officers have brought Marilee home and she walks into the room not speaking to anyone dragging her mink across the floor and up the stairs. As the camera angle switches to the top of the staircase we get a close up of a look of content on the face of Marilee, she knows that this act will draw the attention she desires. The man from the gas station is directly in front of the camera as Mr. Hadley is sitting questioning him about how he met his daughter; Mitch is in the background standing looking on. As the man from the gas station begins reveals to Mr. Hadley that his daughter is a “tramp”, the director decides to light the man up brightly and have some of the light shine on the shaded Mr. Hadley. As if he were saying that the dialogue is shedding some light on the situation. Mitch is seen in the background observing but as the verbal exchange is going on, his subtle facial expressions reveals that he knows that what is being said is true. The shot that follows has Mr. Hadley jump out of his seat and saying “I’m asking you!” there is a fire visible in the lower left corner that symbolizes his anger. Though Mr. Hadley reaches for the gun in anger, the close up reveals him letting go of the weapon the moment Mitch grabs his hand. Mr. Hadley trusts Mitch’s instinct incredibly. The one thing that bothers me about this scene is that I don’t really understand why the man was brought in with Marilee by the cops. If what Marilee and the man were doing was consensual, why are the police involved? Throughout the scene the actors and camera is placed perfectly so that everyone is visible. For example, as Mitch tells the man from the gas station to “keep it quiet” in front of the police officer everyone is in frame, including Mr. Hadley who sits in the background with his head down in sadness. A blue light reflects from the outside unto the face of Marilee who is watching from her window in a medium close up. The police officers and the man walk towards and into the police car and drive off. Marilee, knowing that all is going as she planned walks away from the window and lights her cigarette from the flame she’s started in the fireplace. She grabs a picture of Mitch and plays her wild Latin Salsa Jazz music, which is placed in between plants that resemble red hearts. She delightfully dances with her devilish thoughts, spinning and undressing in front of the picture placed above a liquor cabinet of glass. We know she undresses but we can’t see much, because what’s under the dress is only for the eyes of Mitch. The music is heard in a distance as Mr. Hadley in a medium close up gets up and makes his wake towards the stairs. The camera angle shifts but it doesn’t switch, in this long take we see Mitch still with gun in hand contemplating and putting it away in the drawer. The music than explodes and Marilee is wearing a pink or very light red gown dancing and spinning. The father makes his way up the stairs while he grabs the bannister for support. Marilee continues to dance in between the plants with the heart shaped leaves and the red telephone with the Chinese head sculpture next to it. The harder she dances the weaker Mr. Hadley’s steps get. It’s as if she beating him to death with the movement of her legs and hips. Close up of Mr. Hadley’s hand on the banister holding on weakly and then letting go, tumbling down the red carpet on the stairs and falling face down covered by his arms in defeat and shame. A long shot of Mitch sprinting across the room as the music peaks in volume and strength is shown with the camera moving to a close up of Mr. Hadley dead on the floor. A medium close up of Lucy covering her face in disbelief. The music continues to play violently with Marilee dancing at the same violent pace and finally sitting down in joy of her mischief. As the music winds down to its grand finale, Lucy follows the pace perfectly as she looks down in disbelief of what has occurred. I really like the music chosen for this entire sequence of shots because I feel that it plays very well to the four different points of views and characters. It fits well in the cross cutting between Marilee and her father. It fits well when Mitch rushes out and across to the room to a fallen Mr. Hadley, and it feels appropriate as Lucy looks on. All four characters are in different mind states but the music keeps them unified.

In conclusion, when I first laid eyes on this scene and how the colors, music and dancing exploded off the screen I was taken by how a four minute series of shots captured and stole the show. But like i mentioned earlier, there are plenty of meaningful moments throughout the picture which could have led to better arguments about the film as a whole. I very much enjoyed every aspect of the four minutes and hope to one day see more clever work on film like this in modern day cinema minus the digital enhancements.

December 9th, 2010

Written on the.. Costume.

Posted by therant in Uncategorized

After viewing Written on the Wind in class, I wondered if anyone saw Marylee wear an outfit twice in 2 different scenes and time. First, she is seen by the river remembering (hearing voices) her childhood with Mitch and Kyle. Later after Kyle dies, Marylee is seen wearing the same outfit trying to convince Mitch that she can testify in court and send him to jail. The scene ends with Mitch saying “How far we have come from the river” and Marylee walks away in tears. . Now, Marylee’s character doesnt look like the type of girl that would wear the same outfit twice. So I have come to the conclusion that the scene where Marylee is by the river remembering (hearing voices, crazy) her childhood is either after Kyle dies and says his last words, “I will be waiting by the river” or after she leaves the room after talking to Mitch. In post production it probably didnt make much sense or ruined the flow of the story to include the river scene immediately after Kyle dies or right before court begins. So the director squeezed the scene in the middle of the film. Did anyone have similar thoughts?

November 26th, 2010

Similar but different.

Posted by therant in Uncategorized

While viewing the movie Breathless and learning about how this Director and this particular Genre of films likes to be creative with the filming and editing, I was reminded of one of my favorite movies, by one of my favorite directors. If you seen this movie you will know why I was reminded.. The bad editing, the old style, the awkward conversations.. well, its thanksgiving and I am a little buzzed.. but when I begin to think of something and my OCD kicks in.. i have to statisfy..

Death Proof

The first half of the movie has so much bad continuation that it reminded me of the 80’s movies i group up on.. it gave it authenticity.


Car Crash

October 22nd, 2010


Posted by therant in Uncategorized

Fritz Lang is the Director of M for Murder created in 1931(Nero Film GmbH). His visual interpretations combined with storyline and pace of the movie are some of my favorite that I have seen on black and white film. At first glance this movie is about a town in Germany being terrorized by a killer who preys on little kids. As the movie reaches its ending, Lang makes a social statement about criminals, murderers, families, victims, the justice system and the psychological labels behind norms and morals through the means of visual and dialogue. I chose the opening scene to start my analysis because it gives a quick example of how the murderer in this film operates and at the same time, how the family of the victim goes through the emotions of desperation, fright and anxiety as they worry that their child has been targeted. My second analysis deals with the reasoning of the killer and mob mentality of the people judging him. Is it our moral duty to put this man in jail or in a psycho ward? Is it our duty to society to exterminate him and people like him or to place him in quarantine, risk him escaping and repeating his malicious offenses? The film succeeds, in my opinion, with a in depth look and understanding of one particular complicated issue that humanity has dealt with throughout its existence. My overall analysis isnt about seeking an answer to the matter but rather describe the methods Lang went about in making his statement.
We are introduced to the world of M by Fritz Lang, with a birds eye view of a little girl standing inside a circle of many other little girls, she is singing a horrible little tune about being aware of a nasty man in black that will take each one of them away, which implies harm. I think this is purposely done because Lang wants to make it clear how relevant kidnapping has become in this particular society. I find it proper, yet ironic that small children are the one’s singing this playground tune when they are the targeted victims. Adults, who are the parents of these children, are constantly being reminded innocently of this act, we know this because we see and hear a woman yell out from above to the children below to stop singing “that awful song”. That same woman than admits to the cleaning woman that she’s heard enough of that song and the cleaning woman tells her that hearing the kids sing the song lets her know that atleast they are still nearby and out of harms way, a bitter sweet compromise. That particular scene is introduced with a high angle long shot of the woman tiredly going up the stairs, arriving at the door and dropping her clothes off to the other woman, the camera tracks in closer as the door opens, they begin to speak and we as viewers are taken inside the apartment by a match on action edit as soon as they are done. The laundry woman is shown multi tasking, the stove is on and food is cooking in the pots, she works hard hand washing clothes as she is bent over her work area, a medium close up of a clock that has struck noon is displayed and she seems happy that the time has come. Lang gives us some clues to what or whom the woman may be waiting for and what is to come as the story unfolds, a long shot of a school and grown adults who may be parents stand outside waiting patiently, a medium long shot of a young girl out of school who almost walks unto oncoming traffic and a police officer that arrives moments later to assist her cross the street is shown. I find a lot of hidden meaning in that short one shot take, children unknowingly will walk into dangers way if the law isnt there to protect and assist them. A medium low angle shot of the woman actively and lovingly waiting is setting the table with plates and silverware for a meal, the same little girl is bouncing her ball alone innocently down the street and unto a sign that reads “reward for Murderer” in a close up. We are then finally introduced to the danger that lurks in the form of a shadow, a shadow inside the frame of the “rewards” poster, a shadow that has a voice interested in the name of little girl. Artistically, I was very much drawn to how Lang visually placed the shadow on top of the poster seeking his arrest and how the combination of both visuals interprets danger to the viewer. In the following takes, the woman now becomes known as the caring mother as she asks the children walking up the stairs if “Elsie came home” with them. There is a small sense of danger already established as we see a high angle long shot of the back of a whistling man buying a balloon for little Elsie and the mother’s constant dissapointment everytime she hears someone other than her Elsie at her door. By doing these actions during these takes, the high angle shot of the empty staircase, the second close up of the clock, the medium shot of the woman worried as she looks out the window as she shouts for “Elsie!”, the lonely, empty echoes of her voice through the downward staircases, a room with barely any garments occupying the hangers, an empty chair at the table with untouched table settings, children no longer singing, Lang has succeeded in adding the proper suspense to the opening scene. Then Lang adds some cold, quiet disturbing visuals to imply that little Elsie Beckmann has been victimized, the ball she once happily bounced rolls slowely from the right to the left of the frame in what seems to be a grassy setting, the balloon she once held moves past the power lines above head, quietly drifiting away in the air. Ironically, little Elsie Beckmann’s mother was the least bothered by the song the children sang, yet by the end of the scene she was the most affected by what it stood for.
A few shots later we hear the same whistle and we see the back of a man writing a letter to the newspapers letting them know that he will continue on with his plans, but what speaks to me in high volumes and at the same time makes my skin curl about this scene is how soft the man’s hands seem. They seem to have no manly features, they dont seem strong, the knuckles are barely visable, they are very pale and a bit chubby. These hands remind me of someone who has never done any manual work, ever played sports, doesnt know how to fight, as if these were the hands of someone limited to society’s norms and difficulties. I believe Lang saw some similarities in what I see and thats why we are introduced to them with an over the shoulder close up shot of a halway lit letter and the hands perfectly lit.
The final 15 minutes of the film are my absolute favorite among all the movies I have ever seen, the manner in which the story unravels, the superb acting, the murderer’s reasoning, his begging, the dialogue between his accusers and him,the lighting and cinemtaic style in which it is shot. There is dark humor to the killer’s genuine indignation at being tried by a bunch of bums and criminals, that they’ll kill him “in cold blood” the way he likes to kill little girls, but they are not like him or rather, from the killer’s perspective, he is not like them. They kill for money, he kills from compulsion. Everyone is equally driven, this is consistent with the way characters are almost always eating, smoking, drinking – indulging in some vice.
The scene opens up with exterior long shots of the old factory of Kunz and Levi, the place is abondoned. Then there is another long shot of three men who drag the murderer out of his holding cell and down the stairs into a dark basement where there is an intimidating crowd waiting to judge him. This crowd is full of people whom the murderer has had a direct and indirect contact with. The quiet that fills the room is genius, Lang then has the murderer yell out for Help! Frantically. When the blind witness arrives, the murderer recognizes him and is shown the balloon which he used to lure little Elsie Beckmann. The over the shot angle over the balloon is nicely done to convey the fear that the murderer begins to walk away from. I enjoyed the actors facial expressions very much, I felt he was casted perfectly for this role and in particular this scene. His eyes open in astonishment and fear as the close ups of the posters of the missing children are in frame. The murderer admits innocently that he “never even knew them”, quickly realizing that what he just said sounded self incriminating. He makes a dash for th exit and we are shown him running up the stairs as three men try to pull him away from the door, his face in forceful desperation, the side angle medium shot shows one man clinging to his back, the other man pulling on his arms and the man on top of the staircase hitting his hands so that the murderer may let go of the door. This example is to show how bad he wants to escape the outcome of his actions. He yells, “you have no right to treat me this way”, the crowd yells for revenge and blood. The crime boss silences the crowd by stating that “you will get your rights, we are all law experts here” a close up mixed with a tracking to the right of the faces of the people in the crowd show men who have had there share of run ins with the law. Though the murderer is being accused by the underworld and the people he has affected, he is still given rights and a lawyer. I found this amusing because normally gangsters and criminals take each other out with guns, Lang this time decided to make it more civilized and humorous. The crime boss makes some very good points, he wants to “render” the killer “harmless” and the only way he see’s it fit is if the killer were dead.Why?because he knows that if the killer is handed over to the law, he would be labeled crazy, sent to an asylum, either pardoned or escape, then he is free with a “law protected pass” to kill again because of his mental illness – the crime boss wants to make all that dissappear, by making the killer dissappear. Harsh, yet to certain degree, solves the problem. In a medium close up, the killer rebuttles with “I cant help what I do” he is tormented by not having control, the voices, an “evil thing” inside him, “its there all the time… following me, silently.. pursuing myself, I want to escape from myself! But its impossible” and as he is explaining, Lang jumps to medium close ups of some people in the crowd agreeing with what the killer is saying, they nod as if to say “i agree because I go through the same thoughts”, he wants to show that inside this mob thats accusing, there are some who can relate. The killer continues with “I have to obey it..the ghosts of the children hes harmed, always there, except wne I do it” he comes out of this physical trance that clearly shows the man in insane. He admits to not remembering what he’s done, he even says “who will believe me? How could I have done that?” after he reads the posters of the murders. The crime boss passes judgement with a statement saying that someone who admits to murdering because he cant help himsself has pronounced his own death sentence, but Lang has the actor stand up among people who are sitting, use his hands among people who are still, to show the authority he has over the room. The defense lawyer then interjects, Lang shoots him from a distance and I find it hilarious that his opening statement has to do with the crime bosses warrants for three murder’s. I believe the lawyers character is basically saying, “he who has no sin cast the first stone” but in his own way, Lang is proving that even people with simialar offenses are quick to forget theirs and quicker to point out yours. The lawyer also makes a valid point, it is in the killers obsession that he cannot be punished, he doesnt need an executioner he needs a doctor, no one can kill a man who is not responsible for his actions, the crowd laughs at his valid reason of the law. Among the crowd, someones mother stands up and speaks on behalf of the victims families, she says “you must not have kids, but if you only knew what its like to lose one..ask them what it was like, those days and nights now knowing what happened..ask the mothers!”. Lang films her standing among the crowd in medium long shot, the close up of the faces in the crowd listening with compassion, the woman sitting next to her, rubbing her arm as to soother the pain. All the parties in the final scene have excellent valid points and thats what makes this matter so difficult to judge but Lang succeeds in giving everyone an opportunity to speak and to be shot showing the proper emotion.
In conclusion, I strongly believe Lang is saying we can’t help what we do. Most of us are as driven to be normal as a few of us to be abnormal. A few of these are driven to do evil. No one is virtuous. Maybe some deserve more compassion than others. Maybe some deserve punishment.The last word goes to the grieving mothers: “This won’t bring back our children. We, too, should keep a closer watch on our children”. The shot selection he takes are brilliant in capturing the essence of the emotions of the actors in the final scene. He is also artistic in the way he mentions visually without dialogue.

September 28th, 2010

Lady Eve… Guy Dweeb.

Posted by therant in Uncategorized

When we first started watching Lady Eve in class, I really felt that eventually I would run into a movie I didnt like.. this is the one. Though, I found the female character and her card shark father amusing, it wasnt enough for me to like the movie in its entirety. The male lead was played by, in my opinion, a fool, an idiot of a character with no real personality. My only favorite scenes of him was when he was a walking disaster in his home towards the end of the movie. His face reminded me of “Bewitched” husband.. I think his name was Dick York. I would have to watch this movie again to give it a more thorough opinion, but for now.. I felt it was lack luster and a movie I could easily skip over if I was choosing movies to watch.

September 17th, 2010

“With No Heart and No Brain.. Your Gonna Need it”

Posted by therant in Uncategorized

Another long boring entry, but I cant help it.. i get so many ideas.. i need to work on a new style of blogging.. in the mean time.. here it is.

James Cagney.. James Cagney.. James Cagney.. I repeated to myself, I know I have heard that name before.. but I knew that I never watched any of his movies… I couldnt even recall an image of his face.. I kept drawing up images of Humprey Bogart and looney tune depictions of gangsters from the 1930’s. I knew the stereotype of the accent was of the people during that era, but I wasnt at all familiar with the values of the time. “The Public Enemy” directed by (I have no idea, but will after some research) puts on display the values, fashion, politics, environment and attitudes of the public of that era. The film starts with a foreword by Warner Bros Pictures Inc, stating that “it is in the ambition of the authors to honestly depict an environment that exists today.. of american life, rather than glorify the hoodlum or the criminal”.. Now, I dont know if Warner Bros puts this statement out to give themselves some credibility towards authenticity towards their work on screen or if they actually have an ambition to change the direction in which society was moving towards (all these big companies are bloodsuckers, its ironic to me how they criticize others for bloodsucking).

When the movie opens up we are taken through images of the environment that our main characters grow up in, a community that loves its alcohol and beer consumption, even the kids of 1909 are drinking out of a beer by the bucket, leading them to do drunk mischief. I may be wrong but I think during this time, children were working in factories with little rights or protection from the employers that exploit them. I think during the 1930’s there were laws placed to regulate and protect the lives of children in the work place. Tom Powers and his buddy Matt Doyle were always more advanced than the other boys when it came to being mischievious, it led them to a world of hustling, thieving, money making and rebellious attitudes in a organized form known as gangsters. When they were first introduced to their first job for putty nose, they were a little reluctant to do it.. but the power of handling a gun for the first time helped motivate them.

I liked how the director started with 1909 and then jumped to a few years later and a few years later after that, always showing how the boys were evolving in their environment, giving insight to the viewer of the adventures they were in. Most of the movie is shot very simple, with not much fancy camera work. The director uses camera shots that work, nothing experimental, just the proper shots tell the story fluidly. For some reason, I really like the scene when Patty and Tom are in the bar and become friends by doing a favor for each other.. I like when Patty spits over his shoulder and you here it land in the bucket, then tells them that the boys can count on him, Tom then agrees and spits over his shoulder, also landing in the bucket.. This spitting.. it must have meant something during that era.. something cool maybe?? something tough??

Tom and Mike are brothers, but since young they both have always been on opposite sides. During the scene where Tom finds out his brother has enlisted into the Marines, he learns that Tom has been into some crooked work, the director pulls in to a close up, over the shoulder shots and then pulls out into a ¾ shot to show the tension, Mike ends up punching his brother in the face and making his way out of the room. The scene after that is somewhat informative, in the sense that the director shows people all putting there priorities and responsibilities to the side for the desire of “booze”, people are drinking and carrying it by the loads. I like how Patty, in the scene following, is telling the boys that the time has come to make a move in selling booze, but while hes doing it, he is stuffing his face with chips, so much that hes talking with his mouth full.. like a greedy pig.

In class some people complained about scenes not having dialogue in it and it seemed boring to them, I disagree, in this film, as the boys and friends are robbing a warehouse of alcohol and running the liquid into an empty gasoline truck, there is no dialogue, but I think it works perfectly because the images tell the story as much as any words can.. and thats the artistic job of the director. I really like the slang and language of the time, I think it was very witty. I can see why James Cagney was so popular, he was tough, rebellious and an individual with his own beliefs and ideas and I think it shows in his personality and acting. As I watch the movie again on Veoh.com, I notice that the editing was on point during the switch of the camera angle/shots within the scene… this either means that the actors could repeat the same exact motions over and over again for the cameras or they had numerous cameras recording at once. I prefer to have numerous cameras at once shooting from different angles but its harder to control what each records but a director cant be at numerous places at one time, unless you work inside a studio with numerous monitors for the cameras. I wonder why movies of today dont use the dissolve to move from scene to scene like the movies of old. During the scene when the family is having dinner and there is huge keg in the middle of the table (like the elephan in the room) and Mike gets up and says he knows what Tom’s been up to, I nearly cried laughing at mikes accent of the 1930’s, there is a good point to be made of that scene, Mike says that Tom is making a living off other peoples blood, but Tom rebuttles back, that Mike is also living off the blood of people while being in the marines.

I wonder if how Tom acted when he slapped the piece of fruit in his girls face was the attitude of most men during that time, if he portrayed accurately how men were encouraged to be. As the scene played out, I was reminded of RAGING BULL, Robert Deniro’s character was abusive too and I think it was a few years after this movie took place. A person of Tom’s values and personality isnt interested in love more than lust, his friend matt says it perfectly, “he isnt the marrying kind”. His second girlfriend in the movie says something insightful about Tom too, she stops him halfway as he tries to leave the room, the camera pulls in to a medium close up, she says, “your spoiled boy tommy, you want things and your not content until you got them… you dont give, you take”, then she orders him to stay with the right tone that he obeys.

 I really enjoyed how the offscreens death of Putty Nose was used, while he sang, Matt is on screen and his eyes follow the sound of Putty Nose’s dead body fall unto the piano after he is shot by Tom. After Nails Nathan dies, the boys kill the horse, which I found very funny.. they hide out in Patty’s place and they hand over there guns and money, Tom got drunk and it reminded me a lot of when SCARFACE was so coked out of his mind that he lost his focus… leading to his downfall. I didnt understand why Patty’s girl slept with Tom, was the director trying to say that there is no loyalty among these kind of people.. or did the girl set Tom up knowing that after he found out they slept together he would storm out the house into the hands of the other gang. I thought the way Tom was able to swindle the guns from the Gun store was funny, but idiotic on the part of the owner. Going into the last scene I had a gut feeling that he would seek revenge with the guns and go into the other gangs hideout shooting, I knew he would get hurt too.. what I didnt expect is the director and the writer to allow Tom to say, as he fell, “I aint so tough”… throughout the whole movie he was extremely confident in all his actions and then he says this.. its as if the gangster realizes that his life living the way he was living isnt as good as he tought it was.. but I have a feeling the writer wrote that line for the viewer to have a fear or to realize that the consequences of gangster life is more than one could handle. The following scene is Patty coming to the Tom’s home telling Mike that Tom has been kidnapped and he told Burns Gang that if they bring back Tom he would leave town and the Burns Gang could have the whole racket. But I have a feeling that Patty gave Tom up in a deal to quit the war among the Gangs, which brings me back to a previous theory that I think the director is trying to say… there is no loyalty among these people. The film ends with Tom’s hospitalized body tied up and falling on his face as Mike opens the front door.. I find that there is some symbolism there.. then comes my least favorite part of the film… it closes the same way it opens up, with a black screen that has words that say… “ The end of Tom Powers is the end of every hoodlum, The Public Enemy is not a man nor is it a character, it is a problem that sooner or later WE the public must solve”. I still find it very hard to believe that the director and Warner Bros were all concerned in what direction America of the 1930’s was headed. The years that followed, film companies made tons of money off the glorified portrayel of Gangsters.

The overall production of this movie was $151,000 dollars, (either flixster or ImdB) and I believe it, the costumes, the props, the sets, the multiple cameras, the extras, for that era, It was a big production and at that time the amount of money spend was a WHOLE LOT of money.

In Conclusion, The Public Enemy wasnt my favorite movie and in my opinion wasnt nearly as good as M.. but the production value was very good and I was introduced to a remarkable actor of his time.. James Cagney.

September 9th, 2010

M… for Murder

Posted by therant in Uncategorized

Being a student a Queens College for a while now has taught me that the first day of class is filled with valueable information about the upcoming semester. Sure, having the syllabus helps but the professors personal input on certain topics is always one of the best tools if you want to get ahead of the curve.. I, unfortuneatly was.. um, held up and couldnt make it.

Being that I am so close to finishing my time here, I began to get nervouse of falling back on getting “ahead of the curve”, so I wrote a few emails, downloaded a few documents, signed up and linked up a few blogs. A came across the title to the movie the class saw on the first day and I did what most people do when they hunt for information.. I Googled. Luckily, I found it right away streaming for free on InternetArchives.com.

M is a black and white german movie based around the 1930’s (I think)I am not sure the name of the director but I think I remember something about Alfred Hitchcock being his student or protege or just simply studying the German directors style. The movie opens up in Germany and someone has committed a murder. The victim, or should I say victims, are german children being kidnapped from the street by force or by tricking them with treats. We are then introduced to how newspapers (media) plays a part in sculpting public perception and attitudes to the events taking place. I saw that the germans of that time had a Mob Mentality. Nothing is worse that when a Mob gets out of control, it can snowball very quickly. People grow suspicious of each other and begin to blame and accuse one another of being the murderer. I really like that I am captured and able to follow this black and white movie, the shots are simple but flow fluidly telling a story visually as well as having artistic style. The characters in the movie are well crafted too, specially the murderer. I heard that famous whistle as a child watching Looney Tunes (makes me think of the possibility of how culturally filled that cartoon or cartoons of that era might have been), but never thought that it was created from a german movie. The police officers, the public and the family of the victims are created well because each group operates, thinks and has different opinions from one another. The creator must have had to thought them out carefully, he must have incorporated the general feelings, thoughts, biases, opinions and attitudes from the people of his era into each group in order to have the viewing audience feel a sense of credibility. Good writers are able to capture that in order for viewers to relate. One of my favorite comedic moments in the movie was when the police raided an underground bar and when the top ranking official made it down the stairs, the public began chanting his name to make fun of him.. LOH-MANN! LOH-MANN! LOH-MANN!! .. I also enjoyed very much when the underground and government officials were having there meetings in different places but possibly at the same time, the director was able to jump in and out of conversation and location and intertwine the scenes as if to say both worlds are similar and have issues in common.

I really liked the use of shadows in this film, though not many, I still felt that when used it served the right purpose. I really really liked when the murderer saw a childs reflection in the mirror while  he was looking through the glass. I liked it because when he turned to his left side, we were able to see his reflection from the glass as his mind was changing from civilian to crazy whistling stalker/kidnapper, as if the director was saying that this reflection is his inner evil emerging. The arrow and spinning “thing” in the background in the same scene was also very artistic in my opinion. When the beggers were hot on the murderer’s trail was also a favorite. The style the director decided to shoot the scenes helped build the suspense and when the police officers were reviewing the “Protokoll” report, the images on the screen told of material being reviewed.

I must say that the final 15 minutes of the film are my absolute favorite among all the movies I have ever seen, the way the story unravels, the acting, the murderer’s reasoning (psychological) his pleading and begging, the dialogue and the style in which it is artistically shot. The murderer gives an honest in depth look into his madness and admits to being a compulsive killer due to his psychological problems, the man judging him gives insight to what germans of that era must have felt (people today still feel very simialar, death penalty), do the morally correct action is to quarantine him away from the public because he is a threat to civilization, but the man judging takes an extremist stance which is to eliminate him completely from society by death. The questions that follow after the lawyer speaks in this same scene, all give validation to why the man should die  rather than cared for in an asylum(but religion teaches us to not kill and religion is deeply embeded in our society and cultures). Law, Morality and Family values are all found in these last 10 minutes of the movie. The irony is the same men judging the murderer are also criminals, thieves, murderers and felons.

 I havent watched many black and white films.. M has left a lasting impression on me.

September 8th, 2010

ahem .. ahem.. testing 1.. 2..

Posted by therant in Uncategorized

Hello classmates, I hope I was able to set this blog up properly.. I hope to read all your blogs and leave comments on most..

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