About Mitchell Mays-George

QC Student

Analysis Assignment #2 – Psycho Scene

Laura Mulvey’s theory “The Gaze” and Representations of Gender is a theory of her’s that identifies three “looks” or perspectives that occur in film dealing with relations of men and women. These “looks” are the perspective of the characters, the perspective of the spectator and the gaze of the camera. I feel that depending on the situation, it could go either way. Sometimes the male dominates the female in some cases and vice-versa in other cases, however generally a majority of the time the man and the male perspective seem to have the most influence in film. Such an example could be found in the film Psycho.

In the scene where Norman Bates and Marion Crane share supper at the Bates Motel, Norman tells Marion how she eats like a bird and says that birds eat a lot. The conversation in itself is ironic because most of the room they’re in is filled with stuffed birds and he also shares some stories of his hobby of stuffing animals. After that, he talks of how people are sometimes caught in traps they can’t get out of and that he was born in his trap, but doesn’t mind, which Marion then comments “you should mind it,” to which he then replies “Oh I do, but I say I don’t.” Marion then talks of the conversation she overheard between Norman and his “mother” then Norman goes onto say that he wishes he could tell her off and be free of her and that shes “ill” from having to deal with the death of his father as well as her lover. Marion inquires why doesn’t he put her someplace and Norman feels by “someplace” she means put her in a mental hospital, which seems to offend him greatly and almost subtly seems to drive him almost mad in a way and also says she just goes mad sometimes and that everyone goes mad sometimes. Marion then goes back to her room and undresses to get ready to take a shower, completely unaware that through a little peephole in the next room Norman stalks her. When Norman leaves to go to his house Marion gets completely undressed and gets in the shower where we see her getting herself washed up until she is then murdered and oddly enough as we come to find out later on in the film by Norman. What’s just as strange is how he constantly contradicted himself throughout most of their conversation and it’s almost as though he was stuttering while they were talking.

Norman seems to pour the charm by giving Marion kinda of a giving what he probably felt was a compliment by saying she eats like a bird and in a way almost tries to play the victim while in that he talks of how he has to constantly look after his mother and describing how bossy she is and won’t allow him to live his life. Marion’s expressions and reaction displays a kind of pity and compassion you would ordinarily find in a woman. Norman also throughout the conversation looks at her as though he were fixated with her and his fixation becomes more obvious as the scene continues, particularly when he sees her through the peephole. The way he gazes at her makes it seems as though he’s met an angel and thus feels lust for, but is unable to cope with or deal with those feelings because of the struggle with his split personality and his “mother” finds Marion as a threat to his well-being and that she must be removed from the picture. At this point the film shifts from the character of Marion Crane, who it seems the film would revolve around to Norman Bates, especially since Marion is murdered and that brings a certain curiosity about him and brings the question of who is he and what is he all about? In that sense from this point, he ends up becoming the most dominating figure in the film.

Breathless

Breathless or À bout de souffle, which literally means “at breath’s end” is a very interesting film. The role of man and woman in this film seems defined in a way that was more or less defined or interpreted for the times in that era. The character of Michel in the film is defined as a very dominating, cocky and powerful bad boy-like figure in the film particularly in terms of the way he treats women. Throughout the first part of the film he goes around sleeping with them, also steals money from them and even in some ways kinda talks down on them to degree. In the bedroom scene at Patricia’s apartment where he stole her key to hide from the police after a murder he’s committed, he tells Patricia of the many different kinds of women he’s slept with and calls some of them ugly and talking as if they were just a tease to him. Patricia on the other also has news of her own, telling Michel she’s pregnant, though from what I can tell, there’s no mention or even any knowledge or clue as to who the father is. After a while I didn’t think the film would really go anywhere from the bedroom scene at that point until they finally moved on to the next scene of the film.

La Jetée

La Jetée is a short film that deals with experimenting with time travel, something that has probably been a curiosity to the world for quite some time. In they use people as lab rats so they can “call past and future to the rescue of the present”. Each subject fails until they find a man who is able to endure the procedure. Most of his dreams are of a woman at on a boarding platform at Orly Airport where a man was killed. Next, he sees the a glimpse of the woman and him in a relationship and finally he’s shown a glimpse of the people of the future whom he requests be returned to the pre-war time of his childhood, where he not only meets the woman in his dreams, but also an emissary of his jailers who assassinates him. There’s a lot of irony in this film again with the wanting to see about time travel and also the fact that death that he saw as a child was his own death. The film is mostly of still images, more or less explicitly shows the expressions on the characters clearly and with the dramatic music in the background helps us understand for the most part what the characters are feeling/experiencing. They reminded me of an old saying that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” For me, the images helped give me a kind of connection to the world of the film and the characters in them as a reminder of the many adversities we have and face in our world.

The Tale Of An Outsider

The Outsider (1951) is a story of a very shy girl named Susan Jane, who is an outsider and has a fear of making friends and feels people think badly of her and that she’ll never make friends, a feeling I daresay I know all to well. I have Social Anxiety Disorder and have always had a hard time making and keeping friends, largely due to my past experiences with people socially. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments I felt I would never make friends. I hardly ever get the chance to have fun and socialize with others, even when I’m confident enough to ask or be involved. I usually end up getting hurt. The film ends without us fully knowing if everything worked out well in Susan’s case, but it does feel like a life lesson, just not one I’m sure I’m capable of learning or adhering to. So needless to say, this short film really hit home with me. Like Susan, I’d give anything to have a real friend. But definitely a great film I everyone can probably learn from.

Analysis Assignment #1 – Scene from Double Indemnity

Double Indemnity is a film that brings its own irony and drama while at the same time attempts to show message about society and the world at large. One very touching, yet concerning scene in the film is where Walter Neff and Lola Dietrichson meet one night to try and relax a little in light of the horrible events that have occurred. Mostly this scene appears to have been done in straight-angle with some very dramatic close-ups as well almost as if with the intent to reveal the depth of tension and revelation in a very honest and more direct to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The 1st shot of the scene shows a long take of them walking in a forest-like spot nearby what appears to be a play or musical taking place, then they sit on the ground. Walter is in the foreground smoking a cigarette, while Lola is in the background with her head turn looking at the play. Her distance from the camera and the way her head’s turned lets you know without even looking at or in her face that there’s something obviously bothering her and that she feels powerless to do anything about it. Then you for sure when Walter asks her “Why are you crying?” Then Lola not only reveals that she fears her boyfriend Nino Zachetti, who she has seen paying visits to Phyllis “night after night” was involved in the plot with to kill her father, then the scene cuts to Walter who shows concern and curiosity in his eyes. Then Lola also reveals she believes Phyllis is not only responsible for playing a part in her father’s murder, but also her mother. She mentions the day she died, Phyllis gave a menacing look and gave the same look the night her father was killed. During their conversation, a series of cuts and long takes occur to show the dramatic intensity of the scene along with the ominous tone of music in the background as well as the tone of the characters expressions and dialogue.

The close-up of Walter in this scene shows worry and concern, plus curiosity as to Nino’s purpose on his face and you can tell by looking at his reaction that the wheels in his head were turning. This is probably used to help us understand and even sympathize with not just Lola Dietrichson, but also with Walter Neff, not so much to condone the murder he committed, but  to show us he also has his caring side, especially to Lola, who also suspects and is concerned about what Phyllis is capable of. Then the next morning, he checks his colleague Barton Keye’s Dictaphone reports and finds his fears have been justified and that Nino and Phyllis are involved with each other. And again, a close-up of Walter reveals his true feelings, now of anger and betrayal by the woman he loved and thought really loved him. Then he calls Phyllis and says he’ll meet her at 11 p.m. After he gets off the phone with her, there’s a feeling of uncertainty and mystery as to what he’s going to do, that and he no idea of what awaits him as to what Phyllis’ intentions are, but what we do know is somehow some way, he’ll confront her and also try to make sure she and Nino take the fall for the crime.

This scene probably one of the most powerful scenes in the film because it helps the characters and the audience better understand the big picture of Phyllis’ actions and purpose. She’s basically a prostitute out to cheat and steal from any man she comes across, especially if they’re rich and succeeds at deceiving nearly everyone in her path, except Lola and Barton.

My Views on “Prelude To War”

The film “Prelude To War” is 1 of 7 of the Why We Fight war films ted by Frank Capra, who also directed the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Capra created the films as a response to the attack on Pearl Harbor and to show his support for the war, even himself enlisting in the army 4 days after the attack. Much of “Prelude To War” contains many close-up scenes showing soldiers gearing up for action and weapons being prepared. There was also a short scene showing a bell with the word Liberty on it, which also helps to explain not just the purpose of the film, but the purpose of America’s involvement in the world: Liberty and also basically saying if you want peace, prepare for war. The film also does its best to convince people that they are different than those in Germany and doing so by trying to show and say that the people in Germany who sided with Axis Powers have no free will or minds of their own and is basically ruled by tyranny, while America is the ideal place to be free and the best place to live. I believe in that sense the film was powerful and very convincing to get many people to do their part in whatever way they can to help support the war.

Citizen Kane – Scene Observation

The scene I found intriguing was the ending of the film. I found it ironic that while the characters in the film never found out what Rosebud meant, we the audience did. First, it shows a High-angle shot of Charles Foster Kane’s property that’s about to be incinerated. Then we see one of the workers pick up a sled and thrown in the incinerator. As the camera does a close-up to the burning sled, we see the burning sled say the name Rosebud, then the movie ends where it began in that it shows an extreme close-up of  the gate with the no trespassing sign and an in-depth look of the house from a view. I believe that maybe besides the irony, the filmmakers were trying to show us that some things are precious to some people as well as sacred and maybe there are just some things we like to keep to ourselves. Also the way it was filmed might have been to give it more of a dramatic impact and feel to the movie, which I feel definitely worked out. Also, the ending the gate and view of the house makes me feel that Charles Foster Kane was a very guarded and closed man, as probably expressed through some of the other character’s stories of him. I think this had to be the most powerful scene in the film because it could probably give some insight into who we are and what we value in our lives.

My Thoughts On M (1931 Film)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfAVYa6H4s8

    The movie begins in Berlin in a courtyard of an apartment building with showing kids playing and singing. This starts the movie off with easing of the mind and a breath of fresh air, also watching this beginning scene is reminiscent of childhood and how it can be fun. Next, a woman walks by with a load of laundry to load and orders them to stop in a very cranky tone, then proceeds to finish washing her laundry. She then hears her daughter, Elsie Beckmann’s friends coming home and asks where Elsie is. Unknown to her Elsie is kidnapped and murdered by a man who preys on children. At first we’re only shown a shadow silhouette of the man behind the murder and only see Elsie’s ball rolling out the shadows of long grass, thus again giving the feeling of suspense and mystery. She becomes increasingly worried as no one knows where she is and she shouts for her frantically. The still quiet and empty scenes that are shown as she calls Elsie’s name gives off a chilling feel of drama and suspense. This scene shows the hard realities of life and how it can also at times be very frightening.

    The next day, the newspapers report more murderers occurring around the nation. As such, panic ensues and nearly everyone begins to accuse one another of being the person responsible for the murders and everyone fears instability will run rampant. This also puts fear on the underworld who feel this serial killer will ruin their businesses as the police have staged several raids and interrogating any and every lowlife to get to the bottom of these murders. This subtly shows the same kind of fear and issues in societies such as the United States were experiencing similar fears with the Great Depression with the economy in a very terrifying state panicking many people during that time period and also allowed some underworld businesses to thrive through some of their illegal activities, which gives some irony on the underworld leaders in the movie worry about one little serial killer making the plot of the film more engaging in it’s own way.

    A blind balloon salesman remembers hearing a strange, eerie whistling tune from the killer, which is his calling card to lure the children to him, making him like a Pied Piper of Berlin. Later in the film, the killer whistles the same tune near blind balloon salesman, who immediately alerts one of his friends who enlists the help of others to keep tabs on him. One of them writes a large M on his hand and makes it seem as though he accidentally trips to place it on the killer’s shoulder. Eventually the killer discovers he’s being followed and attempts to escape only to caught by Der Schränker’s team. Then he’s placed before a gangster-like court system and tries to make an insanity plea to them, but most of the gangsters still feel he’s better off dead. But before they try to kill him, the police discover and break into their place after getting the location of the gangster’s whereabouts from one of the other gangsters caught in the building the killer and gangsters were, Franz.

    The movie ends with no resolve to how the criminal was dealt with in order to pay for his actions, which leads viewers to draw their own possible conclusion of what could happen as well as form and express their own thoughts on what should have happened leaving yet another mystery to solve. I enjoyed the irony and the mystery. It made the movie that much more intriguing to me.