Answer the following question using roughly two pages. Write using 1” margins, double spaced, and size 12 Times or Times New Roman font.
Conduct a full formal analysis of a one to-three-minute segment from either The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey 1937) or To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch 1942).
Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s created an “assembly line” mode of efficient film production based in coherence and seamlessness, with “continuity editing” serving as the driving logic for this type of filmmaking.
For this paper, you will analyze a short segment from either film and make an argument about how it demonstrates these characteristics of the Classical Hollywood Style.
In order to do so, you will need to correctly use at least three relevant formal terms (i.e., shot types, categories of sound, terms for editing and camera movement) in order to analyze the scene in depth.
Shot types – long shot, medium-long shot, medium shot, medium close-up, close-up, extreme close-up
Categories of sound – diegetic sound, onscreen diegetic sound, offscreen diegetic sound, internal diegetic sound, external diegetic sound, non-diegetic sound
Terms for editing – traditional cut, shot/reverse shot, eyeline match
Camera movement – tracking shot, panning shot, crane shot, zoom
You will need an introduction and a conclusion that frame your analysis with a clear argument, complete with a thesis statement. Your argument needs to show insight into what the film is doing.
An example of a bad thesis statement would be: “Through shots, The Immigrant shows us that Charlie is out of money.”
Ax example of a good thesis would be: “By establishing the space of the restaurant and cutting between the activities of the wait staff and The Trampâ€s (Charlie Chaplin) table, The Immigrant creates a sense of comic suspense about whether The Little Tramp will be able to pay for his meal.”
Per the prompt, you are not merely analyzing a segment of one of these films. It needs to be a complete essay in which you use your analysis to present a coherent argument about what the film, or at least the scene, is accomplishing in your introduction and conclusion.
Here is a guiding set of questions to form an argument that frames your analysis: What does the filmmaker accomplish by using all these formal tools together in terms of a) the filmâ€s narrative, b) the emotional resonance of the scene (how is it meant to make the viewer feel?), and/or c) in the development of the filmâ€s characters?
Don’t go over one-to-three minutes of screen time, as this presents plenty of material for a two-page paper. Focusing on smaller segments will allow you to demonstrate your skills in film analysis with greater precision and detail.
If the scene lasts longer than three minutes (as is often the case), write about the one-to-three minutes that you find most important.
There is no wrong or right scene to analyze between these two films, and any segment from either of these films is eligible.
Link for To Be or Not to Be:
I could not find a link for The Awful Truth.
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