Movie course – analysis

The Assignment:

Please demonstrate your knowledge of the influence of Orson Welles by citing an example of a trick shot from BOTH The Best Years of Our Lives AND a modern film.  Please also post a link from the modern film example to show your point.  In your analysis, tell me why you believe your examples qualify as a trick shot.

This assignment is not a lengthy writing exercise and should be easily done in a page.  Please save it as a PDF file.

This is due by the date indicated in the syllabus and Due Dates document.

There are plenty of really creative “trick” shots in modern movies that originated in how Orson Welles and Gregg Tolland thought movies should look like.  Think about City Lights, It Happened One Night or Casablanca.  They are shot very straightforwardly with the camera simply capturing the action.  Welles and Tolland changed all that by creating the idea of a showman director who will do tricks with the camera that create a whole different experience for the audience that they could never get, say, from watching a stage play.

A trick shot is NOT a pan or a tilt or wind blowing through somebodys hair.  Nor is it a stunt.  It is a shot unlike others because it uses highly creative visual imagination and great skill to accomplish.  A long, unbroken take can qualify as can the creative use of split screening, fast/slow motion, shooting through walls. Orson Welles created the whole trick shot showcase in Citizen Kane.

LinkLook at the shot above, from Citizen Kane, as the camera soars over the rooftop, through a sign, through glass and finally descending down into a close up.

LinkThe example above is the opening scene from Welles’ Touch of Evil. It’s a long, unbroken take.

LinkA more modern example that’s commonly seen is the Jaws dolly zoom. Spot it in the clip above.

LinkIn this clip above, we have all kinds of trick photography such as slow motion and fast motion, stylized costuming, stylized color correction, etc.  It is an artistic leap way beyond It Happened One Night and is a direct child of Welles’ concepts of what a movie could and should be.

The influence of Welles is all over film, it should not be hard to find some really fascinating examples! Try to have some fun with this one.

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