Classical Hollywood Narration and The Maltese Falcon
Being that of a Classic Hollywood film, John Huston’s work “The Maltese Falcon” is an exemplar (and subsequently a subverter) of classical hollywood narrative. A film noir where the character’s motivations are as fluid and complex as the genre is known to be. A film whose narrative in of itself keeps the viewer guessing, and plot points are slowly pieced together by the viewer to discover the greater story at hand. It’s through these areas that “The Maltese Falcon” is a viewer’s guide to classical Hollywood narrative. In classic film noir fashion, The Maltese Falcon follows; unpredictable and impeccable detective Sam Spade on the case to discover the mysterious falcon statue. Sam’s overall motivation in the story is simple; uncover the secrets of this case and find out who is behind the murders of Archer and Thursby. While that is the story at hand, the plot of The Maltese Falcon has the viewer believe that Spade wants the Falcon for himself, or at the very least wanting the profits from its sale. From the elusive way Spade talks to Gutman and Cairo about the Falcon, the viewer is slowly convinced of this idea. However it isn’t until the climax where someone is able to be blamed for the murders (Spades initial goal) that Spade flips his act and frames O'Shaughnessy for the murders, having fooled Gutman and Cairo with a fake falcon. Having mentioned O'Shaughnessy, it’s important to point out that her character’s
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In the film, A Bronx Tale (1993) directed by Robert De Niro, the character Calogero Anello played by Lilo Brancato, demonstrates cinematic language. The cinematic language uses various visual codes in cinematic storytelling to convey the meaning of a film. The components of cinematic storytelling are portrayed through various techniques such as, camera movement, mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound, editing, and etc. within a film’s frame to help tell the story. The main character Calogero faces many obstacles throughout the film, but they mostly result in a battle of trying to receive acceptance from his father, Lorenzo Anello played by Robert De Niro. Through the course of the film, the director accordingly uses the setting of the film
Francis Ford Coppola directed the gangster crime drama film, The Godfather (1972), inspired by the novel of the same name, written by Author Mario Puzo. The film plays out in the beginning how Don Corleone declined to join the narcotics business with notorious drug lord Sollozzo. With this in mind, one of the greatest gangster films created by a man who decided to lead, and not follows. Moreover, explaining the formalist approach for this film which covers an array of elements that include plot structure, camera techniques, editing, mise en scene, and sound. The following film critique will analyze “The Godfather,” beginning by utilizing the formalist approach theory, camera technique and sound gradually introducing additional theories
By all accounts, this movie reflects and highlights this interplay that exists between film and American Culture. As the world was riddled with battles and darkness, the movies of this time period reflected this sinister reality. Death was a major reality during this time period in America and it was no less a reality in The Maltese Falcon. The audience watches as the main character, Sam Spade, becomes involved in a grand scheme surrounding a priceless statue. Same Spade and his partner Miles Archer, both private investigators, meet a seductive and secretive woman named Ruth Wonderly who claims she is looking for her missing sister who is mixed up with a man named Floyd Thursby. As the movie continues, Spade receives news that Archer was murdered and is later accosted by a man who demands that he locate an irreplaceable statue (the Maltese Falcon). The story unfolds as Spade finds himself entangled in a dark and dangerous web of crime in which his only option is to find the Maltese Falcon, which is one thing they all seem to want. A dark and realistic outlook and mise-en-scene is not the only thing that linked this movie to the respective time period however. Also reflective of the time period is film noir’s dark, sexual, and seductive portrayal of
Chinatown is based on Roman Polanski’s lifeworks. Polanski’s goal is to emphasizes the meaning of how cinematography is made, and how it inspires by understanding the concept of setting, lighting, and how the image is captured. This film was released in 1974 by director of Roman Polanski to focus on private investigator J.J. Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson to investigate the elements behind the truth. Polanski’s goal is to emphasize the audience to give an ominous feeling of the main character, J.J. Gittes and his point of view by showing in color instead of black and white pictures. Due to these reasons, Polanski wanted to use Panavision to give a flawed vision about the past, which the story is set in the years of 1937. Polanski states, “a traditional detective story with a new, modern shape” for Paramount picture. (1) This paper focuses on the film Chinatown which is neo-noir, not only because of the setting, but the concept of cinematography that connects duplicates occurrences together that describe three categories: background of the cinematographer, point of view of the main character, and the interpretation of the ending scenes.
Film Noir was extremely trendy during the 1940’s. People were captivated by the way it expresses a mood of disillusionment and indistinctness between good and evil. Film Noir have key elements; crime, mystery, an anti-hero, femme fatale, and chiaroscuro lighting and camera angles. The Maltese Falcon is an example of film noir because of the usage of camera angles, lighting and ominous settings, as well as sinister characters as Samuel Spade, the anti-hero on a quest for meaning, who encounters the death of his partner but does not show any signs of remorse but instead for his greed for riches.
Hollywood cinema is primarily subjected to telling stories. The inclination of Hollywood narratives comes not just from good chronicles but from good story telling. The following essay will discuss Hollywood’s commercial aesthetic as applied to storytelling, expand on the characteristics of the “principles of classical film narration” and evaluate alternative modes of narration and other deviations from the classical mode.
Whenever books are adapted for film, changes inevitably have to be made. The medium of film offers several advantages and disadvantages over the book: it is not as adept at exploring the inner workings of people - it cannot explore their minds so easily; however, the added visual and audio capabilities of film open whole new areas of the imagination which, in the hands of a competent writer-director, can more than compensate.
The critically acclaimed film, Goodfellas, is a gangster crime drama that features an incredible amount of talent. Household names such as: Robert De Niro (Jimmy Conway), Joe Pesci (Tommy DeVito), Paul Sorvino (Paul Cicero), and promising stars like Ray Liotta (Henry Hill) and Lorraine Bracco (Karen Hill), attracted numerous Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. That type of cast power, linked with the signature talent of Martin Scorsese as a director, made for cinematic gold. Unquestionably, the actors and actresses did an excellent job augmenting the verisimilitude of this film and compelling audiences to empathize with their characters. But the cinematography in this film plays just as large a role in having audiences feel what the characters are feeling at a specific moment. Through the use of freeze frames, we learn of significant moments that shape Henry into the man that he is. By means of first-person narration we are able to know exactly what is going through a particular character’s mind. Finally, wonderful editing made great use of point of view and multiple jump cuts, which added to the sensation that we are undergoing the same experiences as the characters on screen. I will go into further detail and specify scenes that convey these elements as the essay progresses. Altogether, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas effectively depicts paramount scenes and allows the audience to empathize with the characters by virtue of stylistic editing and cinematography.
Samuel Spade of The Maltese Falcon novel by Dashiell Hammett is quite different from Samuel Spade of “The Maltese Falcon” motion picture. The book was written a good decade before that version of the movie was produced and in a much more casual time period. The novel focuses on making Sam out to be a more complex character than the movie does. He is not just “the good guy” as he is portrayed more so in the movie. The time period may have had a lot to do with the differences between the 1941 movie and the book, published in 1929. The first thing to consider is that the late 1920’s were a much more relaxed, party era, while the early 1940’s were an era of strict decorum. While
In Dashiell Hammet’s The Maltese Falcon, the "black bird" serves as a crucial link connecting Sam Spade and Brigid O’ Shaughnessy. The black bird functions as the structural bond of Spade and Brigid’s relationship because it represents their greed and desire for wealth. Hammet points out that the Brigid’s greed for the bird causes her to utilize detective Spade as a tool: "Help me, Mr. Spade. Help me because I need help so badly, and because if you don’t where will I find anyone who can, no matter how willing?" (Hammet 35). This quotation illustrates Brigid’s submissiveness and dependency on Mr. Spade to help her. But later she becomes the dominant figure when she utilizes her monetary wealth to her advantage: “She opened
Many time in our lives, we have seen the transformation of novels into movies. Some of them are equal to the novel, few are superior, and most are inferior. Why is this? Why is it that a story that was surely to be one of the best written stories ever, could turn out to be Hollywood flops? One reason is that in many transformations, the main characters are changed, some the way they look, others the way they act. On top of this, scenes are cut out and plot is even changed. In this essay, I will discuss some of the changes made to the characters of the Maltese Falcon as they make their transformation to the ?big screen.?
Film Noir, a term coined by the French to describe a style of film characterized by dark themes, storylines, and visuals, has been influencing cinematic industries since the 1940’s. With roots in German expressionistic films and Italian postwar documentaries, film noir has made its way into American film as well, particularly identified in mob and crime pictures. However, such settings are not exclusive to American film noir. One noteworthy example is Billy Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard, which follows the foreboding tale of Joe Gillis, the desperate-for-success protagonist, who finds himself in the fatal grips of the disillusioned femme fatale Norma Desmond. Not only does the storyline’s heavy subject matter and typical character
The debate over Casablanca and Citizen Kane has been a classic argument between film critics and historians alike, and this is because both of these pieces are timeless pictures that have managed to captivate audiences well after their era. On a broad spectrum analysis this is an apples and oranges debate as the two films both have great cinematographic value but for different reasons. However, the real question at hand is which film is the greatest? Which film transformed the future of American film making? It is these questions that I as many others have, will attempt to answer in the following essay as I explain why I believe Citizen Kane is the greatest film ever made.
Being one of the world’s most popular art forms, it was inevitable that these archetypes would find their way into film as well. In this essay I will argue that the