View a feature film made between 1940 – 1970
First Paper Assignment: Film One (F1)
Part 1: View a feature film made between 1940 – 1970 you have not seen before (or will see later in this class) by a great director. Many directors were active both before and after 1970 so make sure you see a pre-1970 FEATURE fiction film.
Suggestion: American directors such as Frank Capra, George Cukor, John Ford, George Stevens, Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, or William Wyler. Foreign directors such as Ingmar Bergman (Swedish), Luis BuÃ±uel (Spanish), Claude Chabrol (French), Federico Fellini (Italian), Akira Kurosawa (Japanese), Lina Wertmuller (German) or the British team known as “The Archers” made up of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. For other possibilities, try: http://www.filmsite.org/directors.html Comment on the specific film you saw in terms of its genre and the quality of the film itself. Pay attention to the camerawork (cinematography) the editing (montage) and the sound (including music). What did you like and what did you dislike? Why do you like the things you like, and why do you dislike the things you dislike? Finally, is the film successful in creating a work of fiction using the craft of filmmaking and considering when it was made? (Note: This is not the same question as whether or not you liked it. It is entirely possible to like a film that you are aware is not very good.)
Part 2: Draw some general conclusions about the work of the director and one of the main actors or actresses. For example let us say you watched the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. Did you like David Lean as a filmmaker? Explain your answer. Did you like Peter – Toole in the role of Larwrence? Why, or why not?
End with your overall impression of the film, including how you see it as an example of the its genre and time period.
PARTS ONE AND TWO SHOULD BE PRESENTED AS A SINGLE ESSAY!
Part 3: On a separate page, insert the heading “My Criteria for Quality in Film.” Under that heading, propose four general statements indicative of your personal taste in movies. These statements should be numbered (1) through (4), and they should be written as complete sentences or a short paragraph. For example, if you commented in your essay that you liked the acting because it was realistic and you liked the script because it had a happy ending, you could propose these two statements as criteria for quality: “(1) Excellent movies feature realistic acting. (2) A movie is more likely to be good if it ends happily.” Think about and then explain what words such as good, excellent, and effective actually mean. Be sure to save your “My Criteria” page to your hard drive you will be resubmitting an expanded version of it with for the second paper later in this course.
‘Witness for the Prosecution’ (1957) by Billy Wilder
The movie ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ (1957) under the directorship of Billy Wilder was produced in 1957, presenting a legal drama scene. The trial in the court is a broad experience with numerous dramatic events unfolding from one point to another. There are several things that I liked in the movie. The film has brilliant pacing, with the viewers being introduced to Roberts and Miss Plimsoll, his nurse, at the beginning of the movie. Roberts despises the lifestyle changes and treats Ms. Plimsoll through a litany of arrogant words, despite showing humorous actions while tasked with monitoring his health conditions. Every story’s scenes have different paces but all interest as a unified piece that shows a flow of events from one point to another. Vole is introduced to Roberts hence the case well presented in the film. Throughout the film, the director uses the exposition elements, which are used effectively in providing additional for the audience. The film presents twists and turns through the case, with the trial being presented most naturally, earning the attention of the audience while at the same time adding various artistic components.
The director ensured that the film continuously maintains the comedic and dramatic tone. The director does not make the film sound serious before the viewer’s eyes viewer but makes sure that the taste of comedy and drama is felt throughout the movie. Billy balanced the elements of drama through the various humorous sequences involving Miss Plimsoll and Roberts. This is seen when Robert’s mischiefs are exposed. This created interesting and entertaining planning of the film that is not gothic as expected in a courtroom. The projection of the sounds is a representation of dramatic elements, with strong punches and pauses. When Vole is questioned about his involvement in the murder, he strongly says, “I didn’t do it… I didn’t kill her…I never killed anybody”. Tyrone Power acting as Vole uses his sound projection, pauses, and vigorous expressions to show the emotional turmoil he is in for the involvement with the murder. The cinematography is impressive, with the director ensures that some of the film sequences are shot using a low-key light style. The shot emphasizes the key characters and the narrative beats that are regularly communicated through the respective moments. The main thing I don’t like in the film is the continuous use of high intonation in the speeches, especially for the defending team, including Roberts and Vole. Even though it is a drama and comic film, the director overused the intonation.
The movie successfully used cinematographic elements to effectively create the work of fiction. The variety of shots throughout the film brought idealism into the film, giving the audience a real taste of a fictional work from Billy. The director uses the “screening tactic” when Roberts reflects through his monocle and numerous close up shots that encapsulated the emotions of the characters. The director also employed the over-the-shoulder shots, close foci, and broad focus of the courtroom to make the fictional content appear a reality. The fictional item is also presented through the director’s tactic in displaying the flashback that directly connects with the current time of the film. Considering the time when the movie was published, the director successfully created a fictional product through cinematographic elements.