Production Reflection

I really enjoyed working on this production with the class. I feel like I personally learned a lot about the work it takes in film production; like directing, filming, creating the screenplay, and I wish I learned more in editing the final product. Sadly I had a conflicting schedule with our filming schedule so I feel I didn’t learn as much as I could have, however I did try my best to help with the film when I could. This experience has made me really want to learn more about the film industry and process.

I really think the final product turned out as good as it could have, given the extent of our abilities and access to the proper facilities. Examples of this include; lighting. Overall the lighting was consistent except in a specific sequence where Julia comes to Brian’s apartment, in which the back-to-back shots went from dark to light and back to dark. To be more specific, the shot where Brian opens his wine, pours it into a glass, takes his first sip and hears a knock at the door is all shot with very dark lighting. It is easy to note how dark it was because as he walks out of shot and it cuts to the next shot of him answering the door, the lighting from inside is obviously way lighter, and the lighting (darker than inside but still not as dark as the previous shot) from outside makes the shot even more confusing. Then we cut back to very dark lighting, the couch scene where Julia sits first and motions for Brian to sit with her.

This was not beneficial in the film because it confuses the audience where it’s supposed to be easy for them to piece together where the characters are and focus on what they’re talking about, not the difference in lighting. We really took into account what Tellote, Altman, Place and Peterson had to say about the characteristics of the genre. Place and Peterson define key lighting as, “the key light is the primary source of illumination, directed on the character usually from high and to one side of the camera. The key is generally a hard direct light that produces sharply defined shadows.” The lighting other than that, and the lab scene, was cleverly decided to keep dark with very low-key lighting in order to create an eerie mood to the film that is often connected to noir films. The style is also recreated here through our use of flashback and voiceover. Tellote defines narration as “a voice in present time introduces and then comments on a scene from the past, so that we see as if through the narrator’s mind’s eye”.

These two techniques are consistently used in classic noir film, in order to further develop characters’ individual storylines as well as develop the plot as a whole. Based on this we decided to use the combination with flashback and voiceover in the beginning of the film because we wanted to make it clear to the audience that something bad was going to happen, and that this character that is shown, is narrating it to the audience.

We’ve been discussing lately over the argument of whether noir is in fact a genre or if it’s simply just a style.

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What makes this movie interesting is how it combines the attitude of Bogart classic detective noir films in a modern high school setting, like The Maltese Falcon. What really contributed to this film as a noir was the variation in characters. There’s Brendan, who is played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, that resembles a heroic detective conscionable like Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon). And he’s definitely not the only tough guy in the film, being that there is a huge drug and crime kingpin; examples include, Tug an eccentric thug who is basically there for physical threat, and the Pin who would be a tough guy but who actually can and does get slapped around. Like Casper Gutman and Wilmer Cook who is Gutman’s ‘punk-kid enforcer’. There’s also the character who represents authority in the film. Usually it’s played by the police contrary to the private detective main character, but in this film the role is filled by the high school principal who constantly warns/ makes threats to the main character. Particularly there is a most interesting character, who conveniently is never really too invested in the actions that are taking place in the film, who knows, sees, or guesses right about everything that is going on. Brendan’s friend, Brain, sits by the sidelines never getting into the open. In The Maltese Falcon it’s Effie, Sam Spade’s devoted but never too involved assistant. The best comparison to be made between these two films is how the story is never really clear while it progresses, but both of the films provide depth in character behavior, action or events, and great dialogue.






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Rough Outline for Pitch

TH rough outline of key scene / pitch for 5 minute or less scene. What would be in it and flesh it out.


What if there was a man  who JUST got killed and the murderer was a  woman. She is caught doing it, and detectives chase her in this long fleshed out chase scene, and we as an audience don’t know if she got away or not.

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Film Aspects “Third Man”

What single scenes from the films we’ve seen have most embodied the aspects of noir, and why?

In The Third Man we see the ‘formal characteristics of noir’ represented throughout the film so much it becomes a part of the narrative. The camera works with multiple angles and challenges the effect that light has when unveiling something the audience does not expect. The film really presents these aspects during several chase scenes. In the scene where Holly Martins finds Harry to be alive, he finds out at the same moment the audience does. The audience does not learn any information before, or at least nothing that hinted at Harry being alive, so they didn’t know it was coming. In particular, the lighting that was chosen to unveil the surprise of Harry’s status of life went from only being able to see his feet and everything else black going to a bright light directly on his face.

In another scene Holly Martins is running from two men and a parrot, going out of a window, across destroyed buildings, and under a bridge/tunnel. The camera angles during this support the idea that there is a chase going on, however other than that there is no actual correlation between the shots. It is up to the audience to assemble between the cuts and decide where the characters are in place.


Some men will do anything for a buck or a lay.


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Last Seduction

Bridget/Wendy fits the ‘femme fatale’ category effortlessly. As a woman who takes no orders from anyone, cares about no one’s feelings or motives other than her own, and does not mind stepping on any one’s toes in order to get what she wants. As Christopher defines it a ‘femme fatale’ character must desire 1 in 3 (or in this case all three) things: “lust for exciting sex, a desire for wealth and the power it brings, and a need to control everything and everyone around her” (162). We see this with Bridget in her sex scenes with Mike, her need to keep the money stole, and her endless manipulation with the men in her life. The Last Seduction is obviously similar to Double Indemnity in the way the main female character manipulates men to do her bidding however unaware of her ulterior motives. The differences in these films as well as the main female characters in my opinion is that the set up for the storyline develops much quicker in Double Indemnity while in The Last Seduction she doesn’t convince Mike to commit murder for her until almost the end of the film (85:00), however in the beginning of the film her husband has just sold drugs for a large amount of money of which we are led to believe was her plan all along. Both films also have the male characters go over the plan in a car before they attempt to commit murder. By the end however is one where both films go in opposite directions, where one ends in the mastermind woman getting away with everything, and the other ends in death.














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Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle is a film that includes classic elements of film noir. It includes robbery, deception, and even murder. It also has Angela and Doll, the only female characters in the film yet neither really belong to the ‘femme fatale’ category. Angela is presented as the sexual object of one of the main male character’s affection. In the Into the Labyrinth article Christopher describes at first glance “a sleek young woman with long dark hair, a cream-colored dress, low-cut and sashed”(1) which also describes our introduction to Angela in The Asphalt Jungle. Doll isn’t a part of the ‘femme fatale’ category either but falls into Christopher’s description of another kind of female representation in noir, of which can also be seen in Into the Labyrinth. He says that women are critical in the field of noir, just as men, and that for this particular type (the “Beatrice-type”) she is “almost too good to be true. Nurturing to a fault, loyal beyond the bounds of common sense, she is like the faithful guide who appears suddenly in a nightmare” (20). Doll follows Dix faithfully until his demise. Even though he treats her carelessly, she still insists on loving him and that she can be of use to him in his time of need; for example during 1:33:02 “What can you do?” (Dix) “I can drive!” (Doll). I love that part, even though the character personally annoys me, because it’s a feminine character sticking up for herself and her man, even though he’s in denial of not needing medical help.
















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Student Designed

Students will compare and contrast noir films of their choice. One from class as well as one from outside. If they choose to compare and contrast a film from class and a different media text, one aside from film, that is also alright. For example, a novel, graphic novel, TV show, etc. Anything the student can make an argument for as “noir”.

  • Compare and Contrasting must include: thematic elements such as mis-en-scene, lighting, camera angles, editing techniques, narrative themes, and visual motifs.
  • To further develop the student’s project, they could include background information about the separate films. For example: what was going on in the world during the time they were filming or when the film was being released, fun facts about the actors or stuff that occurred over filming.
  • Evaluation Criteria: the student’s comprehension of the film tactics, the effort and completion of the description they put in to discussing the film.
  • Proposal is due Feb 23rd by class. After this, must have meeting with Brett some time before final project, which is due on March 24th. Students will each do a powerpoint presentation comparing and contrasting, which must last 10-15 minutes each.
  • Weighting: 20-30% course grade.


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Compare and Contrasting Films of the Noir

Film noir. Possible Project

Say we watch Maltese Falcon. Then we watch another one of Humphrey Bogart’s films, because why not. We could even watch multiple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall films since they’re in so many together; making it more interesting looking at the same actors’ performances. Then compare and contrast the films, but not just based off of the actors’ performance. There is many things to look at, including directing style, subtext, genre and the role the genre takes in the film itself. I would especially like to look at what was going on in the world during the time the film was made and released.

Q: Could this film be a different media text? (a book, a play, etc.)

Q: Which came first? The film Citizen Kane or the comic The Spirit. Both basically defining the fundamentals of noir.


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Understanding Noir

Learning about Film Noir.

I guess I’m here because I just want to learn more about the film industry. I’ve recently been watching older movies from the 30’s and 50’s more.

A particular assignment that could support my increasing understanding of Noir.

Watch Noir and not Noir films, talk about what makes them noir or not during class, and understand the backstory of the film as well/ what was going on in the world during that time.


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Analysis of something

Assignments I’ve liked and stuff

For another film class I took we focused on viewing and analyzing Western/Noir films. I enjoyed watching films for the first time like The Big Sleep and Bringing up Baby in addition to High Noon and Stagecoach. For the class it was mostly film analysis of different aspects: We looked at each film’s characteristics, film as a narrative, the techniques. Since we as a class were all of 2 people we couldn’t really slack off in class discussion.


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