film analysis

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Newspaper headlines and stories are used throughout the film as transitional devices that drive the plot while relating directly to Peter’s role as reporter. POV shots of characters reading along are used frequently to provide the audience with story information found in these newspaper headlines. Peter first recognizes Ellie from her photo on the front page, setting the story in motion. When the newspaper reads “Daughter of Banker Still Missing!: $10,000 Reward Offered”, Oscar Shapeley threatens to call the police and return Ellie to her father. In direct cause and effect, Peter and Ellie are forced to leave the bus and take off on foot. As the story progresses, the newspaper headlines change accordingly, directly related to the film’s action. The use of newspaper headlines contributes to the film’s unity, providing story information while motivating the characters through the narrative. The application of cinematographic properties are crucial in telling of the film’s story. Mobile framing is used to follow the characters through the on-screen space. As the actors move, the camera moves with them. In this character dominated genre, characters are always in focus at the centre of the frame. There is little separation from onscreen and off-screen space. Like most classical films, It Happened One Night conforms to the 180-degree rule with little deviation. One side of the narrative space is filmed, not crossing the axis of action to avoid disorienting the audience. For example, bus interiors are often shot from one angle and direction, moving along a steady, horizontal axis as if the camera is looking through the window. Any elements inferred off-screen are always confirmed in the following shot. The majority of the shots used thro... ... middle of paper ... ... costume becomes central. Though modesty remains intact, playing with camera angle, shots, cuts, light and shadow sexually charges this scene. It Happened One Night conforms to the conventions of form and style of classic Hollywood cinema. The film’s style must draw attention to characters’ emotional and psychological content. In this film, characters, narrative progression, unity, clarity, and closure are most important, and all other elements must operate in a complementary way. Realism in film style, such as costuming, setting, lighting, and sound, offers the viewer the escapist experiences demanded of a Depression Era film, creating the illusion that the action is unfolding in a real space and time. The film’s mis-en-scène, cinematographic properties, and editing work together formulaically to deliver the entertaining experience of the iconic romantic comedy.

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