Thursday, 24 October 2013

thriller analysis old

Analysis of an old thriller opening sequence.

The opening sequence that i have analysed is from an early silent movie called ‘The Bat’ which is a very early silent film based on a broadway play, produced by Roland west in 1926.
The opening sequence at first starts of with a black and white screen with the film title and producers name displayed over a grey background, the typography is rather standard but a little bit spooky. There are no idents, funding titles or tableaus, this conveys what films where like in the 1920s era. Next there is a large list of important figures in the production of the film with some common titles like ‘photographer’ and ‘score director’ but also some uncommon ones that i'm not familiar with like ‘continuity’ and ‘settings.’ There is score however, which I suspect would be played live when the footage was rolling-it is tense and vibrant, starting of calm and progressing to violins and church organs which give it a very distinct feel of early horror. The next screen we see is of the ‘players'-actors I assume, which shows a lengthy list of about 15 different names and their characters. There is then something I have never seen before in a film, a slide which say's “Can you keep a secret? Don't reveal the identity of “The Bat”. Future audiences will fully enjoy this mystery play if left to find out for themselves.” Thats effectively saying don't spoil the film for anyone who hasn't seen it, which is very unique and useful.

The first image we get is of two shining lights and a black background, which creates suspense already, as the screen brightens the two lights form a bats eyes and the rest of its body, the bat is rather scary, this fades to a scenic view of possibly New York which has connotations of a large, policed, economic city, with a full moon out which also adds to the suspense in making it scary as it has connotations of darkness, uncertainty and fright. The next shot is another written slide, which sets the story and possible enigma’s. The man sitting down is very bland, and creepy as seen by his acting of his eyes rolling around, the audience would be looking trying to understand what is about to happen and what to expect, so a level of anticipation is produced. All the actors are dressed in the clothes of that time, the police uniform seems very militaristic. The camera shots and angles are very basic, there are many medium shots and little edits.

I have also analysed (Collateral 2004) with Tom cruise.

There are two shots happening at the same time showing where the two characters are and them on their way to meet each other, this is very effective for the story. There are simple swipe transitions to show the lapse of time which stops the shots from getting dull. Typography is also very different and unique with a gold colour and thin font. The score isn't to fast paced, but not to relaxed, its relatively upbeat and pleasant, could definately entrance the viewer ready for the main events of the film. Simple but effective and to the point,

How this might influence my movie?
I most of all have learnt the importance of score during the title sequence, i am considering wether to make the whole project just a stand alone title sequence, with both titles and action sequences that don't reveal to much but are also tense.

Opening Sequence conventions

Right at the beginning of a title sequence you will usually get the idents, funding titles, production companies and then a list of the most important roles in creating the film usually including the director, producer, executive producer, top billing actors. Sometimes in some films as seen in one of the early James Bond's the whole list of people involved in the production is displayed including not so prioritised camera men, lighting, make up, and other less profound roles. Sometimes the title sequence will also tell a story and set the mood.

The purpose of an opening sequence is to put people in the zone of the movie, play with their emotions and introduce them to the characters, its also a good place for red herrings to be popped up. Essentially, the intro is designed to draw all attention onto the screen in an immersion of the films world; titles have the exact same effect, however there is a limit on what exactly you should do for a title sequence, however they do also serve the role to generate focus of the audience onto the screen, done through careful selection of score, typography and iconography. Mise en scene, cinematography are less common but are still used in mini stand alone sequences. The score in particular is important as it is the most influential in setting the mood, it can be played through out idents, funding titles and tableau's which means that the audiences mood can be altered with out any actual visual material.
Each opening sequence is significantly different and can create a different type of mood depending on how it is structured and how the score is used.

David Ziolkowski

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