Billy Wilder first draft

Patrick Hart

Cinema Studies and Film Production

Directors Project First Draft

A Commentary on Humanity

 

Hollywood in the 1940s is gilded with the monumental names of Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Wells, and John Ford. While he received considerable success within the filmmaking industry, Billy Wilder has transformed into but a household name in the 21st century. Now only revered by cinema historians and film junkies, much of his work has gone forgotten. However, after glancing deeper into his intricate and turbulent history his true brilliance at capturing human nature and emotion through plot, mise en scene, and script become glaring. Billy Wilder came to the United States in 1934 as a member of the European diaspora in Hollywood. Wilder slowly garnered attention and then, in the 1940s, bursted into the cinema scene with Double Indemnity, The Major and the Minor, and Sunset Boulevard. Considered as one of the early Auteurs Wilder created films that satirized human nature and desire that aligned with popular international sentiment at the time. He and his films have served as cultural icons and have laid the foundation for many film themes that we see throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Nevertheless, Wilder devised satires against humanity

A direct correlation can be drawn from Wilder’s early experiences and his general film mood. The basis for Wilder’s bleak early life almost entirely stemmed from Germany’s rise to power in the 1930s and World War II. Born into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1906 Wilder first interacted with American culture through stories that his mother, who had lived in America as a child. His mother even nicknamed him Billy after Buffalo Bill. Directors, especially in the 1940s, were cultural images on the international scale. It is possible to say that Billy Wilder first gained a desire to become an American filmmaker at this time; he wanted to embody and learn the American experience and becoming a filmmaker encapsulates all of those needs. As of 1926, after becoming infatuated and almost obsessed with American culture, Wilder made the decision to drop his pursuit for a law degree and become a journalist. From there his career later brought him to Berlin. In Germany he began to write for films, but as he was Jewish, he fled in 1933 to Paris and later came to the United States in 1934. Wilder’s mother, grandmother, and step-father all died in the Holocaust. Given all that he experienced, he expresses his human sentiment through his films. Generally, he made gloomy films that portrayed humans to be inherently bad. Furthermore, many of his films end with all the characters dying. For example, in Double Indemnity (1944) the main character, and protagonist in a way, Walter Neff dies completely alone. After Phyllis Dietrichson, his partner, attempts murder on Neff, he proceeds to kill her only after she had expressed emotion “for the first time”. Neff later dies in his office, alone and knowing that Dietrichson had never loved him and only used him. Given that he experienced such a tragic and devastating young life, he expressed his sentiments through the movies that he made.

Rififi Response

Firstly, this article was written in 1956 which is awesome. For the most part, Mr. Crowther hit the nail on the head. He wrote that “Mr. Dassun staged it like a ballet” and I believe this is a great way of putting the film into words. The 30 minute silent moment is well choreographed, beautiful, surprising, and tantalizing. Dassin leaves us with more anticipation every minute that passes.  I also enjoyed that he stated that we feel as if we “participate” in the heist, we are given an in depth close up look and the editing and script make us feel tense as well. For example, Crowther recognizes the time (clocks and watches) dynamic during the talk-less section of the movie. Nevertheless, I agree with him on that we are made to like the bad guys very much. As he wrote, the characters go across the spectrum, each having different qualities that we find appealing. It is difficult to not like at least 1 character as they are all very different. Anyways, this write up is pretty fitting and spot on; well done by Bosley Crowther.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9806EFDF133EE63ABC4E53DFB066838D649EDE

 

Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca film festival is a festival that began in Tribeca New York city, however, in 2006 Tribeca expanded into Manhattan because they were running out of space because they were showing so many movies. Nevertheless, the festival began in 2002 and since then has screened 1400 international films from 80 countries, and thousands upon thousands of American films. The festival has generated 750 million dollars in economic activity in New York and much of Tribeca’s development of the past 15 years is attributed to Tribeca because of the money it brings in. Nevertheless, the festival is put on by a New York based production company founded by Robert DeNiro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff that is named Tribeca Films. The mission of the festival is to bring indie films to an international and national audience. They do this by screening a ton of independent films at the festival. Also, Tribeca has achieved this goal through internet screenings. They have created a streaming service so you can watch films, interviews, panel discussions, etc from an ongoing festival or a previous one.

For our festival, I think it would be good to screen indie movies because there are so many good movies that go unheard of because they do not have the financial support that a large production company brings. Screening indie movies could also give a glance into a widely unknown part of the film industry that many do not know about. Tribeca also has discussions and interviews with people who work in the film industry. I think it would be awesome to shed light on the film industry and how it functions.

The audience is comprised of a wide range of people. Many indie film junkies make their way up, but the festival has gained so much popularity in recent years that a pretty diverse audience attends. In the past few years, Tribeca has attracted a group interested in technology as they have created a virtual reality exhibit that shows movies and games with virtual reality goggles. At this point, because of the streaming service, anyone, anywhere can watch the festival so the spectrum of the audience has grown greatly.

https://tribecafilm.com/festival

 

Tribeca Film Festival Expands to Include Tribeca Film and Tribeca Film Festival Virtual

 

Singin’ in the Rain

Singin’ in the Rain was a fun watch and a great all around movie. A few scenes impressed me. Firstly, the tap dancing scene that spanned around 3 minutes was taken only in a few shots (3ish?)! I enjoyed how a cohesive image that flowed really well was created by making that decision. I also liked how grande they made the movie out to be. They portrayed the “Hollywood” life how we all would expect it to be but displaying the lavish parties, and the nice suits, etc. The camera movement, in the singing parts were particularly impressive. Like I said above a few of the singing parts were taken in extremely lengthy shots. Within these long (time) shots there was crabbing, tracking, zooming, etc. In these shots I noticed a diverse usage of shot types and movements all in 1 shot. I enjoyed that aspect probably the most.

Super 8

At this point im pretty set on doing a chase scene on a dirt road by my house. I think im going to have a man running from a car, but then have the scene develop into a on foot chase. Im not sure which time period I want to have the film based on. I think an old style would look pretty cool given the black and white and also the fact that the movie has no sound. Nevertheless, I am excited to venture on into my first filmmaking experience!

Recreating Scenes from FilmGrab

I did three scenes because I wasn’t pleased with the overall quality of the images.

#1
Title: Spider

Year:2002

Director: David Cronenburg

Original Image:

16105

My remake:

unnamed

 

#2: p.s. I lied because I couldnt think of the name at the time but this is actually my favorite movie

Title of film: The Aviator

Year: 2004

Director: Martin Scorsese

Original:

61-eyes

Remake:

unnamed (2)

Extra fun one:

Title of film: The Shining

Year: 1980

Director: Stanley Kubrick

OG

54-heres-johnny

Remake

unnamed (1)

Spring and All

Spring and All is an omniscient description of a road and the fields surrounding it. The poem begins with the recognition of the road: it is the “road to the contagious hospital”. Williams was a doctor for a large portion of his life, perhaps he recreated this scene from an experience he had while he was in medicine. Nevertheless, the reader immediately receives a sense of bitterness. It is a “contagious” hospital or a place where people with contagious diseases are sent. These hospitals were invariably prevalent in the 20th century as medicine was not nearly at the same degree of excellence as it is now. This place of frequent death becomes surrounded by more gloomy elements as the poem progresses. “blue mottled clouds”, “cold winds”, and a “waste of broad muddy fields brown with dried weeds standing and falling” enter the scene to further galvanize the sense of bleakness. In the following Williams indicates a sense of life by telling of “reddish” and “purplish” twigs. However, the place is still devoid of life, the colors are marked by an “ish” at the end telling that they still are dull. After giving a shimmering sign of life, the spectator notices how under the bushes there are “dead, brown leaves”. Then, a “lifeless… sluggish” spring comes. Soon they, or plants, “enter the world naked”, however the plants are surrounded by a cold but familiar wind. At this stage, Williams has begun to brighten up the scene; now life has appeared and although they are bare, plants appear. Soon more growth emerges: “grass”, “wildcarrot”, and “one by one objects are defined”. At the end of the poem the plants finally strengthen as they “grip down”, also life enters once the plants “begin to awaken”.

This poem is a simple description of the seasons. However, Williams has put nature under the microscope to portray the implications of changing seasons. Williams personifies the plants to further describe the how nature is affected by the seasons. Through the wildlife, one can find a gloomy description of the seasons. Williams paints winter as a time of utter gloominess. Spring is first depicted as stolid and static, however Williams leaves the reader with a hope of vitalization when the plants “begin to awaken”. In total, Williams crafts a poem with a form of transcendentalism never seen. Rather than romanticizing nature, Williams explores pointing out the melancholy aspects of nature. As a result, Williams created a new form that played a role in the modernism movement in poetry.

Poetry Through the Ages

T.S. Elliot’s “From Tradition and the Individual Talent” beautifully sums up the meaning of poetry and what it comes from. In this post I look deeper into part II of the essay and hope to uncover the meaning.

The second part of the essay describes how a poet crafts a poem and what makes a poet remarkable. He starts out by claiming what is wrong with the analyzation of poetry. He claims that the “confused” newspapers and critics only consider the poets. He uses the words “confused” and “sussurus” to suggest that the two don’t know what they are doing; they only create a buzzing or murmuring rather than articulating their thoughts. Later he says that if we don’t follow the “guidelines” of reading poetry, but rather look for enjoyment in poetry, we won’t find it. He states these two things to point out that poetry is a homogenous thing. As Elliot says that poetry is “a living whole of all poetry that has ever been written.” In doing this he points out that to enjoy poetry one must understand the part, whole and the connection between the two. To truly understand a poem the reader must connect the poem to other poems and other authors. If that is achieved one can truly understand the poem’s significance based on its place in all of poetry.

He later tells of the significance of the author of the poetry. A good author is not good because he or she has experienced more. However, what makes one author better than another is the authors ability to present the poetry in a medium that makes the reader “feel”. He uses a metaphor to explain this better. He describes a chemical reaction using platinum as a catalyst. The platinum is unchanged through the reaction but instigates it’s beginning. He is stating that a great author is “separate” from the experience while he writes it. To write good poetry there should not be outside influence from other experiences the author has had. Also, after the “reaction” or writing has occurred the author is unaffected by the writing of the poem.

Later he describes how a good poet turns seemingly bland emotions into intricate ones. A good poet doesn’t describe complex emotions he has experienced. Instead, he turns ordinary ones into feeling that are not emotions at all. A great poet creates things that have never been seen before from everyday things, without changing the meaning. As a result, a poet creates a “tranquil” experience that isn’t just a recollection of events.

He finishes by telling of consciousness in poetry. A good poet is conscious at times and unconscious at times; bad poets do the opposite. Due to this, bad poets are often what he calls “personal”. He describes how this is bad because poetry is an escape from personality and emotions.

Now, this essay is important because it describes the essence of poetry. It encompasses all facets of literature and gives a guideline to decipher whether a poem or poet is good. It also gives an approach to writing poetry for people who are lost. Overall, the essay wonderfully describes how poetry is written and the significance of poetry.

 

 

Huck Finn: Racist or Not?

Based on the perpetual use of the “N” word throughout the book, any sensible being would consider Huck Finn to be a racist novel. With Jim being a main character, and the only man of color in the story, we only can look towards Jim to decipher whether the book is racist or not. From the beginning to the end Huck, and others, refer to Jim using solely racial slurs. However, the depiction of Jim and Huck’s treatment to Jim suggests that the novel is not prejudiced.

Firstly, Jim is portrayed as an all around good person. In the second half of the book, Huck calls Jim a “good nigger” multiple times. Jim always would always let Huck sleep while ” it was his turn”(211) to keep watch. Towards the end, Jim helped Tom after he got shot and nursed him. Jim even sacrificed his freedom to help Tom. Jim performed the ultimate sacrifice for Tom: a chance at relapsing into slavery. He also protected Huck by “never let[ting] on to know me [Huck]”(289). Yet, Jim requests the bare minimum, only “bread and water”(289). To put these things in other terms, Jim is a stand-up man. He is fair; caring; and doesn’t cede anything if it will hurt others.

http://twain.lib.virginia.edu/wilson/slavery/hfslav16.jpg

Furthermore, the friendship Jim and Huck develop crushes any thoughts of racism. Although he didn’t realize until later in the book Huck comes to find that he values Jim a great deal. In chapter 31 Huck is unsure whether he should turn Jim in or not. He learned in sunday school that anyone who helps “nigger[s] goes to everlasting fire”. However, Huck refuses to turn in Jim he would rather “go to hell”(246) than hurt Jim. This shows the significance of Jim in Huck’s life. Huck, willingly, would bear eternal pain instead of turning in Jim. Another example of their friendship is when Huck thought that Jim had been sold. Upon hearing this information, Huck “begun to cry”(248). The reason as to why the friendship has so much importance is because Huck is the protagonist of the novel. Due to this, the mere fact that Jim is a great friend of Huck puts down the thought of racism; the entire novel contains a story of a runaway slave and a white boy.

Nevertheless, the book is not racist. Once one looks ” beyond the word ‘nigger'” it is glaring that the novel, actually, involves a great deal of satire towards slavery. In many different scenes Twain describes how horrible it would be for Jim to go back to slavery, multiple scenes talk of how great Jim is. Fittingly, the book ends with Jim being “prime” and treated excellently. Twain did this to leave a lasting impression that Jim is good, in fact, excellent.

 

Sources:

http://vc.bridgew.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1166&context=br_rev

 

A Glimpse Into Huck Finn

In a brief glance one may think that Huckleberry Finn is a rudimentary character and nothing more. However, after analysis it can be found that Huck Finn presents a more intricate character with defining facets. However, his most important trait is his impartiality towards all. This can be found through close examination of Huck’s reactions towards the environment he is in, and the people he interacts with.

Throughout the first half of the novel Huck resides in multiple, distinct, areas. To begin, he lives with Widow Douglass. Finn absolutely detests living with her in the start of his residence there. He describes it as: “so lonesome I[Huck] wished I was dead”, “I did wish I had company”. The scenery also indicates how Finn feels: the leaves “rustled… ever so mournful”. A pervasive scene of death in the paragraph further suggests that Huck despises his situation: “I was dead… somebody that was dead… somebody that was going to die… a ghost”. Nevertheless, Huck abhors the Widow’s household. However, the later comes to like it. The “Widow’s ways” slowly grow on him, “they warn’t so raspy on me[Huck]. He later “could stand school” and “liked the new [ways]. This same structure reappears several times throughout the book. When Huck’s surroundings change he does not acclimate well in the beginning. However, he later comes to terms with his living arrangements and enjoys them. He encounters all walks of life: poverty, wealth, river life, hunter trapper life, etc. But not one area stands out to Huck, he has impartiality towards all which shows that he adapts easily and is happy anywhere.

The perpetual theme of impartialness also manifests itself in Huck’s treatment towards others that are close to him. Huck is not mean individual, he instead presents himself with the same conduct to all. An example is his relationship with Jim. Jim, a slave who was owned by Widow Douglass, receives as much respect as any other character in the book. Finn describes him as “smart”, “good”; Huck evens develops a strong friendship with Jim. But he also is as respectful towards Jim as to Buck, Widow Douglass, the Duke and the King, etc. This shows that he is unbiased of backgrounds and complies with everyone close to him.

Nevertheless, the defining feature of Huck is that he is unprejudiced, which is demonstrated in both his surroundings and his interactions with others. This general respect reveals that Huck represents a protagonist and an overall good person.