Fast Talking High Waisted Laid Back Crime

Fast Talking High Waisted Laid Back Crime - Eric Gordon...

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Eric Gordon ETS-154 Paper 2 Due: 10/25/11 Joe Kappes Fast Talking, High Waisted, Laid Back Crime In the 1940’s and 1950’s Hollywood popular culture was dominated by the film genre known as Film Noir. This genre was characterized by stories of sex and crime. Guns and girls marked every film poster. Billy Wilder’s 1944 film Double Indemnity is a classic example of film noir. Rugged and unmarried Walter Neff is a successful insurance salesman who falls for the strikingly beautiful homicidal wife of one of his policy holders. Neff employs a smooth and snappy fast talking demeanor to win the woman, Phyllis Dietrichson, over but gets caught up in a plot to kill her husband and collect on the insurance policy. Although Walter Neff comes off as the perfectly typical sly and rugged male protagonist in film noir style, the movie is edited in way that downplays the dramatic and sexual tension built up by his dialogue and the score behind it. Although Neff talks and acts like the typical hard knock example of masculinity typical to the film noir protagonists, the incongruences that come from the editing give his actions less of a power stance. This portrays Neff’s emphasis on his relations with both Phyllis and Keyes above any focus on the crime. From the opening seconds of the film, there are already discrepancies in the interplay of sound and editing. The score behind the opening credits is solemn and dangerous setting a tone of suspense and suspicion. But as the car speeds angrily down the road through construction zones and red lights, the only edits are slower fades. Edits are often used to heighten the tension of scenes but this only happens with short, quick cuts. Instead the fades slow the action down. While the score builds dramatic tone, the edits keep the scene from being too exciting. Instead the audience witnesses the speeding car in somewhat curious and skeptical way. It is not tense
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because the editing plays against the sound. While this example does not involve Neff, it does
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course ETS 154 taught by Professor Hallas during the Fall '08 term at Syracuse.

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Fast Talking High Waisted Laid Back Crime - Eric Gordon...

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