The Classical Hollywood Narrative Structure Essay

The Classical Hollywood Narrative Structure Essay

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Describe the classical Hollywood narrative structure. Use examples from the film Shadow of a Doubt to illustrate the structure.
There are three acts in the classical Hollywood narrative structure. The first being Equilibrium (Belton, 2005). Equilibrium is where life for these characters follow normal daily routine. The second act is known as Disruption (Belton). Where normal affairs are changed by an incident. Finally, the last act is known as Restoration (Belton). Where life returns to a normality having changed or progressed from the incident.
The film Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock, 1943) starts with an introduction to Charlie Oakley. We see he is a shifty man with a dark secret and a need to flee his current situation. A man of mystery and intrigue. We meet the Newton family living an average and comfortable life. Their current standing is our Equilibrium. However, the character of Charlotte ‘Charlie’ wants change. If by some telepathic miracle, as portrayed by the film, she and her Uncle usher in the Second Act of Disruption. Uncle Charlie travels to his sister Emma’s house. His coming “disrupts” the normal everyday lives of the Newtons. Young Charlie soon becomes suspicious that Uncle Charlie has a secret. After young Charlie figures out her Uncle’s secret, the police arrest the wrong suspect, and Uncle Charlie ends his visit; We enter the Final Act of Restoration. Uncle Charlie attempts to push young Charlie off the train, but unfortunately for him, he ends up falling off the train to be struck by another. Thus, ending his murder spree, wrapping up the conflict for young Charlie, while still keeping Uncle Charlie’s image intact for the rest of the family.
Describe the primary formal elements (style) of Classical Hollywood fi...


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...k secret, he’s well liked, but someone finds him suspicious. It has all been done before and I have seen it pan out a thousand different ways.
Despite this, the characters developed in a way where I felt empathy towards them. I didn’t want Emma to see her brother differently and the young children needed their “cool” uncle. I watched the film with care as I wanted to see how Hitchcock could simultaneously bring justice to the antagonist while not destroying the family we grew fond of. We realize the importance of Uncle Charlie as we see Emma breakdown when she learns he is leaving. The viewers understand that this family relies on Emma’s wellbeing. If she was to learn of Charlie’s evil-doings that would be the end of her sanity. The climactic death of Charlie answered my question. The antagonist gets justice while our protagonist family doesn’t get destroyed as well.

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