A qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog

“The Gaze” and Representations of Gender:

Double Indemnity is a 1944 film. Directed and written by Billy Wilder. The genres are film-noir, crime and thriller. Starred Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson. The film is based on a well experienced salesman, who sells insurance and comes across a young seductive woman who is looking to get rich off the next man. Phyllis (Barbara Stanwyck) is a young creative wife seizes the opportunity to get rich off of her husband by committing insurance fraud. Walter Neff (Fred Mac Murray) becomes caught in this tangled web of lies, deceit, fraud and murder.

 I would like to focus on a scene in the beginning of “Double Indemnity”, when Walter Neff comes into Phyllis Dietrichson home and the two characters meet unexpectedly.  Phyllis Dietrichson has come to the top of the stairs in her towel from sun bathing and Walter Neff was only stopping by to try and speak to Mr. Dietrichson about insurance.

In the scene Phyllis Dietrichson is standing there with her long blonde shiny hair and only in a towel, flirting with this strange man that is much younger than her husband. The entire film is from the male gaze, it dresses the female character to be sexually attractive and always having a seductive stance. She had a pair of sunglasses in her hand and barely holding up her towel around her body, making it look like she want it to fall “accidentally” in front of Walter Neff.

Phyllis Dietrichson is standing at the top of the steps which looks like a balcony; the railings are very decorative giving the character Phyllis a look like she is on top of a pedestal. The camera first view is at the first level where Walter Neff stands giving a long shot, looking up towards the second level where Phyllis Dietrichson comes out into the glowing sunlight. Phyllis voice is in a seductive tone and she speaks slowly, which makes her sound more interested in Mr. Neff’s insurance that he was trying to sell to her husband.

The camera closes up on Phyllis Dietrichson, especially when she steps closer into the light and directly at the railing, looking down at Walter. The camera is still on the first level, low angle and long take, looking up at Phyllis Dietrichson. The “Male gaze”, is all over her look and surroundings. Male Gaze is allowing her character to become dominate by looking up at her and not equal like everyone else in the film who all meets eye to eye. Phyllis character is persuaded to be special and more important than the other women who are showed throughout the film.

 The lighting surrounding Phyllis is from a window, there is a shadow of the window, which is casted around her slightly but not directly on her, where she’s standing in the sun light and you can see the shadow of the window on her arm. The light surrounding Phyllis and the background is a very dark shadow. I believe it depicts what her character really stands for, meaning a murderer, thief and a black widow. The sun gleaming on her directly is what we the audience see and what the “Male Gaze” quickly falls for when seeing an attractive women.

The filmmaker created this view for the audience to depict Phyllis character as this seductive, evil symbol. The “Male Gaze” plays a large role in this scene, allowing the audience “males” to give into this fantasy of an attractive villain. I think the director Billy Wilder was successful in creating this view allowing the audience to depict Phyllis Dietrichson character.

December 9th, 2011 at 6:02 am | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Eclipse of the Sun Virgin is a 1967, 16mm, 17minute film; directed by George Kuchar. The film is based on dealing with a poignant self-identity and the feeling of void between pornography. The short film was filmed in the late 1960’s, in this era a lot was going on with politics, social surroundings and economics.

The short film is set in a small apartment. There is little speaking between the characters and a variety of music and sound in the background of the film. There are a lot of visual aspects of the characters mainly focusing on George Kuchar. Observing the way the film was shot there are a lot of shots and cuts in all the scenes.
I think this film is based around maturity physically and emotionally in some ways, for example in the beginning of the film the camera is focused on a
slightly attractive guy and then the camera cuts to George who is not so much attractive looking.

In the short clip the camera, switches back and forth between the more attractive guy and George Kuchar; the camera take by
take would focus on the face then the neck, clothes and the way the button up shirt is open on the attractive guy making him look cool. The camera then
begins to focus on George and the many changes he make in his clothing trying to look cool by wearing a leather jacket. Eclipse of the Sun Virgin, is based
on identity and trying to find how to look more uncomfortable and cool, when actually seems even more uncomfortable.

Eclipse of the Sun Virgin (1967) youtube

December 8th, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

All That Heaven Allows is a 1955 film, 89 minutes long, Technicolor the film presents a lot of vibrant colors and artificial scenery. The film was directed by Douglas Sirk, Screenplay Peg Fenwick and Story by Edna L. Lee. The film starred Rock Hudson, Jane Wyman and Agnes Moorehead. The film is based around the
social classes and gender roles of the 1950’s, women of a certain class are suppose to be with men within there class and if a women is with a man lower
than her class she is disrespected.

The story is about a high class widow, living alone in her home; she only associates with her friends in her circle, everyone is associated with the private country club. Carry Scott is a high class woman that is frowned upon about being alone; many of her friends suggest she purchase a television to keep her company.

Carry Scott (Jane Wyman) lives the perfect American Dream in a suburban town where everyone knows each other.  Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson) works for Carry Scott as her gardener he becomes very helpful to Carry Scott since her children are now grown and moved out.

Carry Scott, a lonely widow opens up to Ron by offering him lemonade and even try to invite him in her house, all of this seems very uncomfortable to Ron but the two become very fond of one another. Carry’s feelings about Ron begin to grow but they try to keep their relationship discreet; Carry’s friends and children have no idea that she has made a new friend and when they find out about Ron, Carry becomes scolded
by her small society of friends and  the entire town.

All That Heaven Allows (Clip)

December 8th, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Mitch Wayne is known to be the perfect gentlemen;he’s the best friend of Oil Tycoons son, known as Kyle Hadley who is known as the playboy and a spoiled brat. Mitch Wayne meets a young Lucy Moore anexecutive secretary; he later introduces her to his playboy friend Kyle. Mitch Wayne is the trust worthy friend that everyone can lean on and trust. In the film observing Mitch Wayne’s character, he is comfortable being the sidekick and the one everyone can turn too. He doesn’t complain and is everything that someone could look for in a best friend. The odd things I have observed about Mitch’s character is that every time he’s about to succeed or do something for himself he gives that opportunity away to the Hadley family. The Hadley family is Oil Tycoons who don’t necessarily how be responsible and expects everyone to fix their issues.

December 6th, 2011 at 8:45 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Michel Poiccard, a young man who is a well known car thief, he  ends up killing a police officer and on the run from the authorities. Michel Poiccard lives his life on the edge  and only lives for “Today”, he doesn’t really think too much about the actions he make. Michel main focus is to get the money that his friend owes him and fleed to Italy to live his life. Michel runs around trying to find his friend throughout Paris, France. The entire time he ends up missing his friend by seconds which lessens Michel to get out of France. The end of the film is tragic because the entire time Michel is diving and hiding from the police his friend and the American Girl,Patricia Franchini, which he falls for has turn their backs on him. Michel tries running when he shot several times because thats all he knows, he thinks as long as he runs he will get where he wants to go but hes finally caught and only makes it down the block where he finally realizes that its too late he lost and they all have won.

December 6th, 2011 at 8:19 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

    Psycho is an extraodinary film. A young secrectary steals $40,000 from her employer believing that she will finally have the chance to live the life she have always dreamed of with her boyfriend. The scene where Marion Crane is packing her clothes, her body language presents the look of guilt and excitment in her face and stance. The guilt begins to set in her mind when her boss sees her in her car at the red light. I really liked how the camera set on Marion Cranes face as she drives; her face gives off a blink look and her eyes constantly blinking and at times not blinking at all gives away her guilt. The voiceover of what Marion is thinking in her mind allows the audience to recognize that she has lost her MIND!!!; which led her to the first place(The Bates Motel) she thought she could be alittle safe from guilt and the world, has ended up being the most dangerous place and the last place she would be alive.

December 6th, 2011 at 7:55 am | Comments & Trackbacks (2) | Permalink

Citizen Kane: Scene:
The reporter is in the room with Charles Kane’s ex-wife and the waiter at the restaurant.
The reporter is in the pay phone booth and Charles Kane’s ex wife is grieving
at the table as the waiter stands over her.

  • Framing: LS, long take

The
reporter who is the man mysterious character is speaking with the Charles Kane
second ex wife. She sits at the closed deserted restaurant, the waiter walks
over to the drunken women and the reporter realizes that he cannot get any
information from her about “Rosebud”. The reporter goes into the phone both,
the voices of the characters fade out and the reporters conversation is low but
enough to hear. The camera take this long shot while everything I going on all
at the same time.

  • Camera Placement? High Angle, Long take,
    Straight on:

The
camera is at high angle in the corner. The camera is position straight down and
towards the characters.

  • Description:

Charles
Kane’s ex wife is sitting at the table crying, miserable and drunk. The waiter
is trying to console her and nicely let her know that its closing time. In the
background the chairs of the restaurant are flipped over on top of the tables.    The reporter has made a phone call
reporting what information he did receive from Charles Kane’s ex wife.

  • Composition:

The
camera gives off an illusion that the characters are lined up. The reporter is
close and almost directly close and under the camera. The waiter is standing
off to the side and the ex-wife sitting at the table almost behind the waiter.
The ex wife in this shot is observed to be less important then the characters
in the shot. The film is black and whit. The tone is full of miserable, uncaring
attitude and mood toward Charles Kane death and of the grieving, mad ex wife.

  • Lighting:

The
lighting in the scene is dark when closed up to the camera and cast of light in
the back where the ex wife is sitting and waiter is standing. The surroundings
of the light is also dark.

  • Depth of Field:

The
camera angle is high angle. The characters behind the reports in the phone
booth are portrayed to be furtherer from the reporter then they actually are.

  • Sound:

The
sound in the scene seems to drown out. The only sound is phone the reporter in
the phone booth.

  • Shot Duration: Long Shot.
  • Transitions to the next shot:

Dissolves:
Pulling away from the shot where the reporter first meets with Charles Kane’s
ex wife and their short conversation. The shot dissolves away from that seen
and leaves the ex wife in the background; while the reporter becomes the
important character in the scene and their conversation is over, the reporter
going into the booth ends that voice and focus of the ex wife.

In
the film especially important scenes in the film continue to repeat shots like
this one. In the scene where Charles Kane is celebrating, I have notice most of
the angles of the camera seem to be only kept in the corner and everyone in the
cameras view seem to be in a triangular stance. The camera always shot three
people and usually the second and third person in this angle was usually in the
back, and was less important with not having been heard in the scene or being heard
but seen in the scene. The characters all took turns speaking, their body
language and changing positions caught my attention along with the cornered
camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 17th, 2011 at 6:17 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

http://ddk19.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/citizen-kane-1941/Citizen Kane (1941) RKO Radio Pictures and Mercury Production film by Orson Welles. Film  is 119 minutes and Directed by Orson Welles, Written by Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz. The film starred Orson Welles, JosephCotton and Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead.

Citizen Kane is a film about a story of a man that people in his life know of but actually does not know who he is and where he came from. Charles Foster Kane is an “All American” man who had everything andknew how to get what he wanted through his persuasive ways and open personality. In the entire film the man who was on top of the world was knownto be the loneliest man in the world.

In the beginning of the film Charles Foster Kane isbeing introduced over a radio voice and news paper articles. Throughout the film pieces of his “person life” is being exposed through disclosed documentsand by word of mouth from those who worked close to him or from a previous miserable marriages.

The main part of this film was Charles Foster Kane’s final word when he died was a name “Rose Bud” and everything else that surrounded around his castle known as “Xandau”, which was enormous and would never be finishedbeing built. “Xandau” wasn’t a home it was more observed as a museum with millions of items from around the world that was collected.

“Rose Bud” many thought was a women that he may havefell in love with secretly outside of his marriages. The sad thing about this film was even though many of the people whom surrounded him around his entire life of being rich and famous know one actually knew him as a person “personally”and he never allowed anyone close enough to him to know his history and secrets. Charles Foster Kane made sure everyone in his circle was surrounded by his ambiguous personality and his reputation with owning many newspapers as well as trying to run for president which he failed but always kept trying to accomplish.

It’s sad to see that “Rose Bud” was a slay which Charles Foster Kane use to play with as a child when he was poor and unknown to the world. Even the main character (the reporter) who was trying to investigate “Charles Foster Kane’s” life could never figure out a man well known to the world was really a “stranger” to everyone. Charles Foster Kane’s house will never be finished being built as like his story of who he really is will never be told.

Citizen Kane, in the film I have notice most of the angles of the camera seem to be only kept in the corner and everyone in the cameras view seem to be in a triangular stance. The camera always shot three people and the third person in this angle was usually in the back and was less important. The characters all took turns speaking and their body language and changing positions caught my attention along with the cornered camera. In the film when a group of individuals were shown in one shot, tricks with the camera were made; like the glare in the window during the newspaper celebration was shown. Charles Foster Kane was dancing with the band and dancers. While he was shot in the window glare, the camera closed up on the two men visually and audio keeping Charles Foster Kane well seen behind them and heard around them.

 

September 21st, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

http://annyas.com/screenshots/updates/the-lady-eve-1941/The Lady Eve (1941), Paramount Pictures Production.94 minutes, Black and white film. Directed and written by Preston Surges, based on Monckton Hoffe story. The filmed starred Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck and Charles Coburn.

The film is about a man name Charles who’s a scientist that studies snakes, after spending a year in the amazon he decides to return home. Charles boards a ship that can take him to his destination and upon boarding the ship someone mysteriously drops an apple on his head.  Jean the main character sees Charles boarding the ship and simply becomes infatuated with this handsome man but in a mean and strange way so she hits him with an apple for the fun of his reaction.

In the scene where Charles is having dinner, he sits at a table reading his book and does not realize too much how the many women come to him one by one trying to gain his attention by dropping things in front of Charles table, introducing themselves and flirting at the same time or just being clumsy. Jean as she sits at the next table she pays attention to every move the women make as well as Charles confused expressions. As the women walks by Jean tell a little story as if she knows what each of the women tries to make their move. Jean is watching the entire “act” through her pocket mirror while sitting with Colonel Harrington. Jean seems to enjoy the crazy things that other women do to try to get a man’s attention knowing that all of the women fail. Jean has her own way of getting Charles.

September 21st, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (4) | Permalink

Public Enemy (1931) Warner Brothers. Production.  The film is 83 minutes, black and white.film was directed by William Wellman, written by Kubec Glasmon and John Bright.The filmed starred James Cagney, Edward Woods and Jean Harlow, Joan Blondell.

In this film it’s based on two young men named Tom Powers and Matt Doyle they started out being mischievous little boys who ran the streets into their young adult years their 20’s becoming dangerous mobsters and a part of a gang who run the streets and everyone around them. The two young men, who are best friends, do everything together from stealing from companies and cheating people to picking up girls,partying and living the wild life.

Tom Powers and Matt Doyle think they are living on top of the world by selling illegal booze to all the local bars and bringing home lots of cash. In the scene where Tom and Matt bring home a huge keg for Toms brother Mike’s homecoming dinner show an example of how Tom and Matt live their lives on the edge and illegally since alcohol was banned they knew how to get that keg and put the large keg in the middle of the dinning room table; this made the whole dinner experience look and feel awkward. The awkward feeling gave some way of how Tom and Matt basically lived their wild lives awkward and as outlaws.

In the entire film it seem like the police had less to no control with the situations where people where getting robbed and shot at, the police were the most afraid than the average civilians shown in the film.

Tom and Matt enjoy the surreal life of being in control, bootlegging and shooting up everything around them. Reality hits the young men. When the people they thought they could of trust, easily turns on them and other gangs actually have hits on the men make them suffer and get rid of them by killing them both.

 

September 21st, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink