Film analysis

Joseph Russo
History of Cinema II
Film Analysis
10/22/10
My analysis of M (Fritz Lang, Nero Film, 1931) is extremely interesting because of the unique story about a child murderer who walks the streets of Germany preying on his next potential victims in this film. Fritz Lang’s masterpiece shows how one man can affect so many people that do not have a direct relation to him. Lang shows all the different angles like the true terror a parent goes through when their child goes missing, the law enforcement agents that are assigned to crack the case and find the perpetrator so it will be safe for children to walk the streets again, the killer and his compulsive whistling and deranged change in mannerism once he sees a child, and the street criminals that are being harassed by the police and whose businesses are being affected because this killer still roams the street. Fritz Lang made a brilliant film and uses the perfect components of film editing sound and camera angles to make this thriller into an influential film that includes the affect an event can have on the people it involves.
The scene I chose starts with a medium shot of the blind man on the street by his stand of balloons. The man is wearing the same outfit he wears throughout the movie a raggedy long coat and a worn hat with a sign around his neck that says blind. He holds his cane under his arm and balloons in his hand, he is waiting for people to buy his balloons and he seems content until he hears whistling the man realizes that he’s heard that same whistle before and once he hears that sound he stops and it triggers something in him. Lang uses Diegetic sound in this scene because not once do we see Hans Beckert the child murderer in this scene but he’s off the screen somewhere because we hear his infamous whistle that triggers the old blind man.
Once the old man realizes that the whistling he heard was the same that he heard on the day Elsie Beckman was murdered and a man came by his stand to buy balloons with a little girl. The man takes the cane from underneath his arm and as the whistling continues he starts walking towards where the noise is coming from, and as he does this the camera pans out into a long shot of the old man walking towards a bridge where he then calls out for a man he knows from working in the streets and as the man approaches him the whistling continues while the cameras move back to a medium shot. The old man asks the young man if he can see who is whistling and then he tells him to follow him because he believes that it may be Elsie Beckman’s murderer, and the man saw him talking to another young girl.
The camera cuts to the young man turning a corner and looking for the man they believe to be the killer as he sees Hans and a girl walk out of a candy store he hides behind a barrel and in a close up shot of his hand the viewer sees him mark his hand with the letter M in chalk and he walks by Hans putting his hand on his back leaving the mark of the M which stands for murderer. This scene when the man marks his hand with the letter M is on the movie poster it is in my opinion the single most important part of the film because it shows the identification of the child murderer who was being hunted by both law enforcement and the criminal underground whose businesses his crimes were affecting, there is no longer a mystery about who the man committing these crimes are and by marking him he makes it known to everyone who sees that M on his back.

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Psycho

Hitchcock’s masterpiece about a social misfit with a sick obsession with his mother. I love this movie and how Norman Bates dressed as his mother to kill, it really throws the viewer for a loop because when u see Marion getting killed the outline of the killer is that of an old woman. Norman has his mother’s skeleton propped up in a rocking chair in the basement and it leads the viewer to believe she is still alive and committing the murders.

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Black girl

Ousmane Sembene’s film from Senegal was really intriguing because Sembene got the idea for this movie after reading an article in a newspaper about a maid killing herself. Sembene wrote the movie around a tragic death of the young girl. He interprets why she might have took her own life, he shows how her white employers were extremely cruel to her. At the end the girls little brother follows the employer around in a mask that his sister had, it symbolizes of how this girl will haunt the man and his wife who treated her so poorly.

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film analysis 2

Joseph Russo

History of Cinema II

Film Analysis 2

Psycho

12/10/10

            For the second film analysis project I have chosen to analyze a scene from the film Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960). Alfred Hitchcock was the master of suspense and he was deeply influenced by Fritz Lang who directed M which was my first film analysis. The scene I have chosen from this classic film is when Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) watches Marion (Janet Leigh) getting undressed through a peep hole in the office of the Bates Motel. Psycho was a film that was shot in black and white. The lighting in this film shows the contrast between Norman Bates’ different moods especially in this scene. Norman is seen in the dark motel office as he walks over to the photograph that hides the peep hole and he looks into a brightly lit room where Marion is getting undressed, this could indicate the difference between dark and light, evil and innocent.

            The scene begins with Nondiegetic music playing as Norman Bates enters the office of the Bates Motel. As the door closes behind Norman, Hitchcock uses a medium shot of Anthony Perkins. Norman Bates pauses for a moment and slowly walks across the office passing a stuffed bird and a window. Bates looks extremely unsure of himself as he walks over towards the wall where multiple picture frames sit. Norman Bates stopped by this wall facing the camera with a stuffed bird on the table in front of him and a stuffed owl perched in the corner of the ceiling above him. He looks down as if he is ashamed of what he may do next, than without moving his head he looks to his right at the picture frame against the wall as if there is something there that only he knows about.

            Norman Bates than looks around the room briefly and all of this is being done in a medium shot. He looks back over at the frame and he nervously swallows as he faces the picture frame he looks at it for a brief second with and then removes the frame. As he removes the frame the nondiegetic music slows down becomes significantly less in volume and Hitchcock captures this with a medium close-up over the shoulder of Bates while the viewer sees there is a hole in his side of the wall with a tiny hole inside it with a bright light in it. Norman moves his head close to the hole to look through it, while the director is using a close-up shot of Norman as he peeks in on Marion’s room as she is getting undressed and unknowingly is being watched. While Norman is watching her, the background music picks up in a higher pitch and moves faster, his eyes do not blink as if he is focused, fascinated and fixated on this woman.

            The director cuts to the woman changing through the hole with a medium shot of her undressing and then back to Norman watching her with an extreme close-up of his eye fixated o her, scanning her up and down and following her all the while he still will not blink as if he is afraid he will miss a split second of it. Marion covers up with a robe and leaves the view of the peep hole and by her doing this Norman backs away from the hole and reaches for the frame to cover it back up while Hitchcock returns to a medium close-up shot of Bates as he faces the camera and looks around the room once more focusing on something off camera. Norman looks to the right sternly and the music changes as he storms out of the office and up the stairs back to his house as if he is on a mission .

            Alfred Hitchcock directed many of my favorite movies of the suspense genre. Psycho shows the disturbance of a man who is a social misfit and in the scene I chose it really showed the viewer the perversion of Norman Bates. Bates was a voyeur who knew that watching her was wrong and you can tell this by the pauses he takes before removing the frame and how he looks around to see if anyone is watching him. There is a hesitation in him because he knows it’s wrong but he can’t control his obsessions, he can’t help but look, he needs to look. This is a classic case of a killer needing to have power over the victim.

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Umberto D.

I have never been a fan of foreign films but this class has helped me broaden the way i view films. I would normally shy away from watching a foreign language film because i find the subtitles to be extremely annoying and they take away from the film experience but in this Italian film i really felt for Umberto and i couldn’t imagine what it was like to walk a day in his shoes having no family or friends to rely on the closest person to him was the maid, but he found true companionship in his pet dog Flike. I am a firm believer that a dog could be man’s best friend and that their bond was truely unbreakable because Flike knows that it was wrong for Umberto to stand by the train and scare him like that but he loved him just like Umberto loved the dog and he forgave himm because they were all eachother had.

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The Public Enemy

Just recently i was watching an episode of The Sopranos where the film The Public Enemy was featured and it had me thinking that i never posted about it. I really love this film it’s one of my favorite films of the gangster genre. William Wellman did a great job of portraying Tom Powers as a young man who rises to power in the criminal underworld by showing the glorification of the gangster the nice suits, fancy cars, and how Tom Powers would always flash his money around and give handouts to his mother. The glorification of Tom Powers is what we usually see about gangster films and how they are living large but Wellman also showed us the flipside where Tom in a rage tried seeking revenge for his bestfriends murder and in doing so it caused his demise

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