Film Analysis Paper#2: Pyscho

To the audience the camera is the voyeur displaying the plot.  The film Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1960 from Paramount pictures had interesting camera elements; they perceptively assisted in twisting the plot. The narrative consisted of a young woman named Marion Crane who wants to escape her life, which leads her to escape with a stack of cash and visiting the Bates Motel. However, Marion ends up murdered in the shower by Norman Bates, the Hotel owner. Marion’s sister Lila and boy friend Sam try to disassemble what happened to her. In Psycho (Paramount, 1960) when Lila Crane and Sam Loomis talk to Sheriff Al Chambers and his wife Mrs. Chambers, it appears that Mrs. Chambers is two characters. Hitchcock uses depth of field to explain power, applies attention-grabbing camera angles, types of edits, and lighting to communicate the idea of the shadowy and abnormal world of “Psycho”.

Each camera used in this scene from Psycho uses depth of field to illustrate authority. The first camera on Lila, Sam, and Mrs. Chambers has Sam in the foreground and Mrs. Chambers in the background. Having Sam in the foreground conveys the authority his character has. Mrs. Chambers seemed farther away in the background, which explains her non-authoritative character. The other camera has Sheriff Chambers in the foreground and Mrs. Chambers in the background. In this shot Mrs. Chambers is still farther away, but Sheriff Chambers appears bigger because he is closer to the camera, demonstrating the power he has. Conversely, the camera angles exemplify a sense of confusion.

The camera angles in this scene suggest a sense of perplexity. The scene begins with an establishing shot of all four characters.  Expressing the existence of placement of the characters in the space. There are two cameras that are angled next to each other. The establishing shot illustrates to the audience that all four characters are standing close to each other. Nevertheless, the way the cameras are angled makes it seem that the characters are standing farther from each other. This is possible because of the types of edits used.  This technique made it seem that Mrs. Chambers is two people because of the camera angles and the editing between the two shots. The rapid cutting between the two cameras and the space made it appear that Mrs. Chambers was not in continuity with each shot. Her head is turned differently sometimes from one shot to another, which can look as if she is two characters. The use of lead room in the shots assists in the distortion. In the three shot frame Mrs. Chambers has no lead room. On the other hand, in the two shot frame Mrs. Chambers does have some lead room. Conferring the uncertainty that Mrs. Chambers seems to be two characters. Providing these shots of different lead rooms bestows a feeling of perplexity. This gives us a distorted view of perception, which helps support the idea of the dark and twisted world of “Psycho”. Lighting in this scene also sustained the technique of misrepresentation.

Lighting in the whole film was low-key lighting. Low-key lighting in Psycho gave the movie a film noir style. However, I feel the lighting in this scene was used to distort the perception of where Mrs. Chambers is in relation to the space. In the two shot frame with her husband the light is brighter on her and coming from a right angle, providing an understanding of her aerial position. In contrast, the reverse three shot frame showed a darker light on Mrs. Chambers. This misconception makes the audience have mistrust in the shots continuity, leaving the viewer mystified about the reality of the world of “Psycho”.

The film in its entirety gives you a scared and baffled understanding of the world of “Psycho”. The use of depth of field in this scene demonstrates control and compelling camera angles, editing, and the lighting communicates the dark and twisted world of “Psycho”. The techniques that were used in the whole motion picture help support a sense of uncertainty.

Playback Time: Bollywood Film Songs

Playback Time was interesting to read. I did not know that Bollywood films are films with songs and dancing. I never knew that even if a film hero in an Indian film is escaping a bloody battle he could be seen singing a love duet in the next scene. The similarity from Bollywood films and Hollywood films are the music from the films spread out from the cinema. The music in Bollywood films  extends to many other areas of India. This is also happening with Hollywood films for example, Disney films. It was fascinating to read that voices in the Bollywood film songs were pre-recorded with classical trained singers. In American musicals on Broadway the characters sing to express their mood. In Bollywood films the characters music was used to express the mood of the character(s).

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Invasion of the Body Snatchers was an exciting and scary film. I enjoyed the plot of the film. The way the story unfolded from start to finish was exciting because of the restricted narration. Restricted narration is the main character or characters are in every scene. This form of story telling allows the audience to learn with the main character(s). The film beginning in a flashback of what happened gives the audience a sense of confusion. Viewers then want to know more about what materialize. Any film that starts out in this form uses restricted narration well. I found the shots in the film to also be motivating to what is going on. Point of view shots unlock some of the mysteries in the film such as, the scene when Dr. Bennell is looking at the green leaf pods in their factory. It presented the audience and Dr. Bennell with information of what is being done to people. Using point of view shots in this way assists in using restricted narration. The only thing about the story that I did not like was that it had an open ending. I wanted to know if the police would stop the invaders.

Citizen Kane one of the greatest films of all time

Citizen Kane is one of the most beloved films of all time. It is hard to believe that the script had to be cut down for budgetary purposes. It was interesting to read that because of the budgetary situation they had to improvise sets because of the construction delays. This shows that Welles is one of the greatest artist of all times because he was able to take the situation given to him and work around it.  Welles uses intriguing camera techniques to put emphases on certain shots. Welles uses the depth of field in each shot with creative motivation to apply the narrative. The article Oren Welles and Gregg Toland: Their Collaboration discuses that Welles and Toland agreed on everything even the idea of “realism” which was to make the film seem more like real life then a film. This I feel is an important element because it helps you to escape reality better. In the interview with Orson Welles it was interesting to read that so many people contributed to Citizen Kane. Usually when too any people give ideas the project is destroyed. It was wonderful that Citizen Kane turned out to be so famous even though so many were involved in the filming process.

Hi Everyone

Hi Everyone,

I am a Media Studies major at Queens College. I love film and television so much it is my passion.  I love to analyze film structure and television narratives. I hope to work on a television show as a producer or director. Acting is another one of my passions that I love to discuss and learn about. I hope you will like my blogs during the semester.

La Jetee: Still Photograph

The film La Jetee directed by Chris Marker was a fascinating film. I had never seen anything directed like this before. At first I was perplexed about what was happening. When you have photographs instead of moving images I feel you pay more attention to what is going on in the frame. During the course of the film their is one shot that is a moving image. Which I did not realize the first time I watch this film. The book A Short History of Film by Wheeler Winston Dixon and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster says, “La Jetee, a short time travel science fiction film composed almost entirely of stills photographs (there is only one moving shot in the film, which is almost imperceptible)” (251). Each photograph is stylized so wonderfully that you do not notice the movement in this one shot. The only criticism I have to make is the voice of the narrator is monotone, which distracts you from the story.  I will never forget this film.

Psycho’s Sound

Psycho is a film loved by many people all over the world. Alfred Hitchcock uses wonderful techniques throughout the film. I enjoyed Hitchcock’s use of diegetic sound such as, in the scene when Marion Crane is driving in her car to escape her life with a wad of cash. Marion hears voices of people in her life telling her things. The sound is still originating from the source within the world of the film. Alternatively Hitchcock uses non- diegetic sound. Throughout the film scary music is used, which the characters in the film cannot hear but the viewers can. The use of nondiegetic sound in Psycho does not exist within the films narrative but has an important effect on the audience.

Scene Analysis Paper #1: The Lady Eve

The production elements of a film assist the viewers to become involved in the character’s world. The film The Lady Eve directed by Preston Sturges and released in 1941 from Paramount pictures had production elements that helped the audience understand the plot. The plot consists of a rich girl and her father who set out to rip off a man named Charles, but the girl, Jean falls in love with Charles and goes to great depth to have him in a battle of the sexes. The film did break the Hays Production Code of 1930 because of their use of sexual references. In The Lady Eve, the scene, when all the women in the dining hall are looking at Charles, employs great camera techniques, assisting in understanding the sexual content in the relationship between men and women. The camera angles give us a perspective of space on the screen. The lighting is elegant to accommodate the richness of the atmosphere.

Camera techniques are setting up the main idea of the plot. The scene begins with a crane camera movement, an establishing shot to show the relationship of where everyone is in the room. The camera moves in closer to the public by showing the bar tender and waiters. Using shallow depth of field establishes the foreground in focus and the background out of focus. Advising the viewers where they should center their attention. It helps the spectators to understand what is happening outside of the main characters. The scene then cuts to Charles reading his book. Sturges chose to use crosscutting between characters.Giving the viewers the sexual tension between one man and many women. As a result of, having the scene choreographed this way edifies to the audience the concept of the film, the battle of the sexes, men verses women. However, the use of point of view shots helps us to see inside the mind of one woman. Jean uses a mirror to look at Charles; she narrates what is going on through the mirror, in a point of view shot. Using point of view shots communicates the sexual content of who can capture the man. The camera angles focus on screen space and the 180-degree rule, which confers to the audience the understanding of space.

Camera angles are an important element in commutating on screen. The Lady Eve uses camera angles to show space within the shot. When Charles is sitting at the table he looks up at each woman that is gawking at him. The camera is angled with the proper nose room to give him enough space to look at the woman, giving the viewers an understanding of off screen space. Sturges follows the 180-degree rule. The camera cuts at the proper line of action so the viewers know where everyone is in his line of view, providing the audience with the correct direction. Conversely, lighting in this scene helps to establish understanding of the battle of the sexes.

Lighting is an element that creates mood. Lighting in this scene is high key lighting with slow falloff. High key lighting establishes high energy with soft shadows. There are plenty of attached shadows in this scene, which in my opinion,creates a romantic atmosphere. The lighting helped position the idea that all the women in the room weren’t compatible with Charles, only Jean. Soft shadows are around every woman expect for Jean. Lighting around Jean is flat lighting with no soft shadows; helping to reinforce the romantic element in the film.

In the year 1941 people dealt with the depression and this lighthearted film helped them forget about their troubles. This is still true today, viewers watch films to forget about their difficulties. This scene from The Lady Eve shows the point that women are always in competition with each other over who attracts the man. This setting uses great camera method, which supports the argument of the sexual content in the bond between men and women. Camera positions give us viewpoints of on screen and off screen space. The diffused lighting provides for a rich atmosphere. Elements of film making give us a voyeuristic point of view, helping us understand the story.

Film as an escape and The Lady Eve

Film and television continues to be my way of escaping life. This is why I love film and television so much. Film has been societies escape from reality since the start of moving pictures. Film helped people get through the depression in the 1930’s. According to the article by Patricia Mellencamp, “Warner Bother’s films were made for and about the working class.” This helped society to cope with the depression. I feel I would not be able to survive my life sometimes without film and television to relate to and help me escape. The article discusses the film Golddiggers and that the film sympathized with issues of unemployment and homelessness. This film is another great example of media helping people have a diversion from the world. The one thing I do not like about film and television is it can portray women as sex symbols. Film can draw a picture of what a woman should look like such as, tall, skinny, and blond.  This can have a negative effect on women audiences. The article discuses that in the film Golddiggers women must forever be young but men can grow old. Even in the 1930’s women were meant to have a certain way of appearing to society.

It is difficult to make a film without any delays and mistakes. The article  “Sturges: Genius at Work” by James Harvey discusses that during the filming of Lady Eve Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck were hysterical during the filming of a love scene and that it took them four takes to get it correct. The article states that Storages loved to joke on set, I feel that helps the filming process along. Sturges has interesting point of view shots in the film The Lady Eve. The scene when the character Jean looks through her “camera device” is a wonderful point of view shot using frame with a frame technique. I feel it is always attention grabbing to view what a character see. Storages is a great director and I love the film The Lady Eve.

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