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The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)

The film I decided on for my scene analysis was The Wizard of Oz. I analyzed the scene near the end of the film when Dorothy is about to leave with the Wizard of Oz in a hot air balloon. But before she is able to leave her dog runs off, and is then left in the Land of Oz with no way back to Kansas. At this point the good witch arrives to help Dorothy return home. She must then say goodbye to her friends the lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow. Finally the scene concludes and so does the film when Dorothy wakes up and is back in Kansas with her family.

I chose this particular scene from the film for a few crucial purposes. The main purpose being that it is in this scene we are provided closure within the film. This scene wraps up the adventure that has taken place throughout the film while simultaneously providing us with unifying information about the deeper significance of the mise-en-scene that was employed during the film. Through the mise-en-scene in this scene it is able to create a solid conclusion to a re0ccuring pattern in the film. It is open for conjecture, but I believe that the constant use of green throughout the film is representative to money. Since the film was produced shortly after the Great Depression and Dorothy is from a farming family it is easy to assume that money was in short supply. Throughout the film I found this to be a deeper meaning to the seemingly lighted hearted tale of the film.  However I feel that the mise-en-scene for this particular scene strongly re-enforces this meaning because of Emerald City being entirely green and rather grand itself, with all the people dressed in green as well. Additionally when the scene eventually transitions from Dorothy being in the Land of Oz to back on the farm there is an interesting transition in color and filming technique. The scene transitions from the colorful world of Oz to sepia or black and white world on the farm. This is also obvious in the beginning of the film as well. Finally, this scene enables to definitively establish a connection between characters in the Land of Oz and Dorothy’s family back on the farm. I feel like this is important because you think there is some connection from the beginning but you are unsure until this scene.

The editing within The Wizard of Oz is subtle but intentionally so and it works well in this scene. In the beginning of the scene the camera is zoomed out establishing the shot for the initial setting for the scene in order to grasp the viewer’s attention right away. What you see is a mass of people surrounding the hot air balloon. And before you even know that the Oz is the center of attention the air balloon is used to draw the audiences’ attention to the center of the crowd. Then as the Oz begins to speak the camera moves across the crowd towards that Oz and eventually focuses on him. You can clearly see the Oz is the center of attention due to his location and the fact everyone is facing him. In combination these things give the effect that the Oz is in control. I like to use the term “ring leader” from a circus because of the words see on the hot air balloon “State Fair”. And as the all powerful Oz I think it is an appropriate linkage easily made. Moving forward when Todo (Dorothy’s dog) reacts with the cat the director uses the shot reverse shot between the dog and the cat. I think this editing technique was purposely utilized to foreshadow events that hinged upon the reaction between the cat and dog. The tension created between the two animals later causes tension for Dorothy. As a result of chasing Todo Dorothy misses her chance to get home.

The mise-en-scene of The Wizard of Oz I felt was extremely unique in terms of the color in which the film was shot. This scene is also able to capture this aspect. The director uses bright colors in order to depict the world of Oz which highly contrasts with the sepia or black and white world portrayed on the farm. I think this film is one of the few to use two completely different techniques in film color. And the high contrast this creates really sells the aspect of two different worlds to the audience and makes you buy into it. In combination with the color contrast in each setting also contributed to the mise-en-scene. In the Land of Oz which was filmed in color was also the imaginary world in which unrealistic things could happen. And life on the farm was filmed in sepia which was the realistic world. This contributes, in my opinion, to the audiences thinking that the Land of Oz is more fantastic and fun. It serves as an escape from boring reality that is every day normal life. I also want to comment on how I believe that the ruby slippers become a McGuffin throughout the plot. In beginning of the film Dorothy acquires the slippers and the Witch of the West appears and wants the shoes for herself. And continuing after this the witch continues to pursue Dorothy in order to obtain the shoes. So at first the film seems to be driven by the pursuit of the red slippers but by the end the slippers are not the main focus. Dorothy’s endeavor to get home and the lessons she has learned take over as the central focus points. The slippers in the end enable her to get home.

The image of the pink bubble floating through the air captures the strong cinematography within the film. I feel like this is one of many representations within the film that depicts the unique cinematography. The moment the pink bubble enters the scene its’ color immediately breaks up the background of all green. I think symbolize hope in a sense that not all, is lost. And Dorothy will be able to get home. The whole film has an almost magical element to it that is constantly evident within the film. The point at which the good witch appears, I think the editing was wonderfully done in order to keep her sudden appearance as smooth as possible. I think be able to accomplish was truly great for its time. I think the film was extremely well constructed.

The use of sound in this scene contributes to the viewers experience by seemingly leading them in one direction but ultimately changing that direction. In the opening of the scene the music used is jovial and the crowd is happily cheering which gives the viewers a sense of relief that everything is going to work. The cheering of the crowd is ambient sound used to enhance the emotion from the viewer. Ironically it does not, and this fun use of sound is rather deceiving. We watch as the hot air balloon starts to float away as the viewer I think that Dorothy will still be able to catch it until the point in such she screams. Once this scream occurred however this is the point in which the audience realizes that she has missed her chance. After Dorothy has missed her opportunity the music changes to a more sullen tone. It’s slower and evokes a sense of empathy from the audience as Dorothy talks with her friends and they try to get her to stay. But then that music immediately cuts out when Dorothy makes the decisive decision that she wants to go home. Her tone is a bit more rigid and finite. Continuing after this a softer music starts in and with the light, up lifting sound our hope is once again renewed that Dorothy will get home. There was one last change in music when Dorothy was finally being transported home. It was a whir of sounds creating the feeling with in the audience that something out of the ordinary was occurring allowing Dorothy to be transported home. Once this had happened the audience was aware that she was finally making it home.

The Wizard of Oz was a unique film that utilized techniques in color to create a wonderful story that played in between realism and antirealism to produce an enjoyable and creative film for it time.


The Wizard of Oz




Works Cited

Fleming, Victor. The Wizard of Oz. 1939








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Quartier de la Madeleine

Of all the short films Quartier De La Madeleine, in my opinion, exercises the use of sound such as dialogue (which there is a lack of), music, ambience, and effect tracks in the most creative way. The music in the opening jump cuts helps to achieve an eerie effect in the beginning helping to set the mood and derive a sense of ominousness from the audience. When Elijah is introduced on screen the music changes a bit and it caused me as the audience to feel unsure about what is occurring on screen. The music was able to create mixed emotions as to how I should feel, whether I should feel calm with little anticipation or if I should be on edge ready for some sort of visceral reaction.  Which I quite enjoyed as it made the film less predictable and therefore for me more entertaining and enjoyable to watch. But the reason this particular short film stood out the most to me was the lack of dialogue between the characters. And yet even with this lack of a seemingly important use of sound, I still feel that the film powerfully expressed the emotions of the characters without verbalizing them. And I feel that if there was dialogue it would have taken away from how the characters expressed their emotions and therefore made it less moving and even less unique as a product. The human scream that was employed in the film served as the first indicator that this was a darker film than the previous ones. I think the director did a good job with the use of sound in order to make the audience feel comfortable yet still have that feeling of suspense due to the music and the mysterious and well placed scream. The sound also really played into primal urges as well. For example how the vampire growls and sniffs this is not a standard expectation from a human actor. Yet it does it part in conveying the situation to the audience. I feel like this adds to the connection that love can be instinctual and uninhibited.


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Response to Suspiria

Using Bordwell’s The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice he asserts that there are a few criteria that must be present in order to classify a film as an art film. By interpreting his criteria I will apply it to Suspiria in order to see if we can classify it as an art film according to Bordwell’s standards. The first criteria Bordwell mention defines art films as going against the “norm” simply put. Art films are not characterized by normal cause-effect of events. In my opinion I think the plot of Suspiria does not follow this strict cause-effect pattern which is easily and more frequently seen in mainstream action films. Bordwell describes non-art films in the sense that the main character focuses solely on the target, while art films do not share this focus and are more lackadaisical in the progression from one circumstance to the next. I think Suspiria proceeds in just such a fashion. From the very beginning when the main character Suzy is introduced in the airport, it seems as if we are just watching a day in a person’s life. There doesn’t seem to be any since of urgency in whatever Suzy’s plans are. In high pace action films such as Crank , for example, there always seems to be a feeling of impatience and high levels of stress in response to the film’s plot. This is not the case in Suspiria, the series of events flow in an almost care free fashion. Only the use of sound seems to in engage your other senses in order to create the effect of feeling fear or uncertainty which I experienced in the opening scene of Suspiria. In accordance with Bordwell’s article another criteria for an art film is its attention to an audiences reactions in response to the film and not necessarily the action occurring in the film. Art films focus on invoking emotional or possibly even physical responses to the film. In Suspiria the scene in which the woman is attacked in the bathroom, violently killed than hung, gave me a chills and created a fearful response. In addition the sound contributed to building this sense of fear as well. The manipulation of the pitch, frequency, loudness, and amplitude all played an important role in producing the sound the director wanted for each scene. The sound was crucial component of the film ability to evoke emotional responses to the film.  Now once the woman had been stabbed to death, I felt it a been redundant to hang her but I think the director intentionally incorporated this in order to make the audience feel uncomfortable and scared by the image of the woman’s hanging bloody body. And I think it served its purpose well, as a viewer I was extremely uncomfortable with this scene. The next scene in which all the girls are forced to sleep in the dance studio, the sound here creates a very eerie feeling and for me it was hard to determine if the sound was external sound or if it was only for the audience to hear. I feel that only the audience heard this creepy track of music otherwise I believe there would have been more fear portrayed by the actors. The last criteria by Bordwell I want to focus on that Suspiria does portray is open-endedness. At the end of the film you see Suzy escaping the burning school, and there is no clarity as to any sort of resolution to the film. You are left to ponder about if the so called “witches” died, whether or not there were other students in the building, and whether or not the authorities were called to handle the matter. So from the criteria outlined by Bordwell, I think of Suspiria as an art film in its own right, I didn’t think art films have to fall into a particular genre in order to be considered art.



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Hello world!

Hi, I’m Amanda.

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