Acting and Acting Styles – North by Northwest

North by Northwest

By Alfred Hitchcock

Cary Grant, James Mason, Eva Marie Saint

Acting and Acting Styles

According to Goodykoontz & Jacobs, some of the main classifications of actors/actresses are impersonators, interpreters, commentators, personalities, wild cards, characters, and stars. For this blog I am using the film “North by Northwest’ by Alfred Hitchcock. I have selected Cary Grant, James Mason, and Eva Marie Saint from this film to complete this assignment. Above is a photograph of these actors and actress from this film. In this film Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, Eva Marie Saint plays Eve Kendall, and James Mason plays Phillip Vandamm.

First and easiest is Cary Grant who is Roger O. Thornhill in this film. According to Goodykoontz & Jacobs, Cary Grant is a personality actor. (2014, Ch. 5.5, Table 5.1) I agree with this assessment, because Cary Grant has an outgoing and upbeat personality. This is great for this role. Cary Grant does an excellent job of playing a character that is lost or oblivious to certain aspects of a film.

Next, I discuss classification of Eva Marie Saint. Before her role in North by Northwest, she may have been considered a personality actress. In this film Eva Marie played a great role as a spy in this film. This was outside her normal role, and I believe this was when she started becoming more of an “Interpreter.” Eva Marie Saint definitely became a Star eventually, and played roles later in her life such as superman’s adopted mother in “Superman Returns” (2006).

Finally, James Mason plays a “bad guy” in “North by Northwest. This is James Mason’s typical role. Although I have not seen many of Mason’s films because a lot of them were British films, I believe he is a personality actor. According to Jim Beaver, James Mason normally generally plays the role of “…protagonists of a decidedly hard-bitten or melancholy stripe…”

Below is a video of these actors and actress interacting:

References

Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman. (1959). North by Northwest. Photo retrieved from:

          http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1250787584/tt0053125

Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman. (1959). “North by Northwest”. Production

Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Goodykoontz, B., Jacobs C. P. (2014). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, Ca:

Bridgepoint Education Inc.

Beaver, J. James Mason: Mini Biography. Retrieved from:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000051/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm

Sound Evaluation of North by Northwest by Alfred Hitchcock

North by Northwest

By Alfred Hitchcock

North by Northwest

Sound

          There are three main categories of sound within a film: dialogue, sound effects, and music. Dialogue is simply the characters talking to each other, generally from a script. Sound effects can be a wide range of sounds heard by the audience. Examples of sound effects are gunshot sounds, tire screeches, and dripping water. Lastly, the music of a film, commonly referred to as the soundtrack, is actually called the “music score,” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014, Ch. 8.4). The soundtrack is actually a strip of data on a roll of film, which is stored and read in a number of different methods.

Additionally, there is a subdivision of these three types of sound in a film. These two subdivisions are diegetic and non-diegetic. Diegetic sounds are supposed to be in the film and are heard by the actors. An example of this is a scream in a horror film. While the audience hears the scream, so do the characters in the film. A non-diegetic sound is only heard by the audience. Examples of non-diegetic sounds are external narration or spooky music in a horror film (not heard by the characters).

The film I have selected for evaluation of sound is “North by Northwest,” which is a film released in March of 1959 and was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The first production of sound on a film strip was in 1923, and theaters began installing sound systems in 1928. Although, this film was released in 1959 and the sound in this film was a bit rudimentary, it is important to evaluate and watch to see how far films have come. You can observe a short and famous clip from this movie below:

North by Northwest does not have external narration and I do not recall any non-diegetic sounds other than the few short music scores in certain scenes. This movie does have basic sound effects. In the scene above, you can hear all the sound effects of Thornhill running, brushing through the cornfield, and gun fire on the soundtrack. This may seem rudimentary, but was advanced for its time. This film has a few short music scores as you can observe in the clip above. Commonly in the thriller genre today, you will hear music scores in scenes such as this where a character is running for their life. This creates suspense and keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, and this film has none. In this scene there is only sound after the plane crashes into the tanker truck. This music as the explosion occurs creates a mood of suspense and relief that Thornhill is alive.

After an evaluation of the sound in this film, it is my impression that the sounds are very realistic. The technology at this time was focused on making a film sound realistic. Today’s films have more non-diegetic sounds to create more of an emotional impact on the viewer. The suspenseful music in this film does contribute to the theme of the film. The film is about Thornhill trying to clear his name and solve the mystery. There are scenes with mysterious music also that contribute to the theme. These two types of music also contribute to the genre of the film. Suspenseful and slow/mysterious music contribute to the genre of a mystery thriller, which are the genres this movie falls into.

References

 Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman. (1959). North by Northwest. Photo retrieved from:

http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2209393664/tt0053125

Alfred Hitchcock, Ernest Lehman. (1959). “North by Northwest”. Production

Company: Metro- Goldwyn-Mayer

Goodykoontz, B., Jacobs C. P. (2014). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, Ca:

Bridgepoint Education Inc.

“Sin City” – Lighting

Sin City

1

The film I have selected for lighting is Sin City. I have selected this film because the lighting in this film is very interesting. This film is outside the norm and is mostly black and white. There are a couple areas where they use color and one of them is the use of blood in certain scenes.

One scene where I really noticed the lighting is the character Goldie and her sister. Both girls have long golden hair. The cinematographer, Robert Rodriguez, places lights behind the actresses. This backlighting really puts an emphasis on the long golden locks. Which and to the beauty and reinforces the character. The picture above you can see the long golden locks reinforced by the backlighting.

Other characters have high-key lighting on them, and some have oil on their skin. Oils with high-key lighting creates a shine on the face/skin on one side of the actor/actress. This is great for the this mostly black and white type of film.

Another tool the cinematographer uses is the focus lighting on the eyes of actors/actresses. This brings out the eyes and facial expression of the character. This is great for films such as “Sin City,” where they have an all-star cast. The picture below shows this technique.

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I believe if the lighting choices would have been different and not highlighted the certain area as they did the film would not have the same effect on the audience. Black and white films in today’s day and age of graphics and high definition can very easily become boring. The lighting and shadows in this film assist in making this film exciting and modern.

References

Frank Miller. (2005). Sin City. Photo retrieved from:

http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/sin-city/images/2477802/title/sin-city-wallpaper

Frank Miller. (2005). Sin City. Photo retrieved from:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/UPyFd_wvnYo/maxresdefault.jpg

Frank Miller. (2005). Sin City. Embedded video retrieved from retrieved from:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/MnMZeDmfgmU

Week One Blog

Gladiator

gladiator-screenplay1-600x253

The movie I have selected is and will always be one of my all time favorites. The movie Gladiator was released in the year 2000. I believe this movie was one of the greatest movies of the 20th century. The story is by David Franzoni. This movie was directed by Ridley Scott. Some of the famous actors of this movie are Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, and Richard Harris.

This story is the story of a general who was betrayed by the the son of the Emperor. The son killed his father to become Cesar after his father was going to give Maximus (Main Character, played by Russell Crowe) power to return the power of Rome to the Senate. Maximus’ family was killed and he was left for dead.   Maximus was found and sold into slavery for fight as a gladiator. Maximus had two purposes in life, revenge and to fulfill the wishes of a dying man, the late Cesar. Maximus returned to Rome to fight in the coliseum and was soon discovered alive by the current Cesar, who had thought him dead. Maximus as a slave was able to win the favor of the Roman people and become more powerful than the Cesar of Rome.

This video clip is when Maximus is discovered alive, as a great man and not just a slave by all of Rome. Maximus swears his vengeance

This film is presented chronologically. This aesthetic choice contributed to the emotional impact on the audience, because Maximus dies at the end. If this film was filmed non-linearly the audience would not get the same impact by his death and the same meaning of the film. I believe that are ways the producer could make this film good with a non-linearly presentation, but the way it was has a very powerful message of the nature of mankind and the ability for mankind to do great things. This film was true to itself in that it shows the goods and bads of human nature.

References

Ridley Scott. (2000). Gladiator. Photos retrieved from:

http://actfourscreenplays.com/screenwriting-blog/gladiator-screenplay/

Ridley Scott. (2000). Gladiator. Embedded video retrieved from retrieved from:

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