Category Archives: Assignments

1984

The book 1984 by George Orwell is about  a low ranking member of the ruling Party a nation called Oceania. His name is Winston Smith, he is very unhappy on how things are run especially since he works for the Ministry of Truth. As the book goes on he meets a dark hair girl named Julia which he falls in love with. In this society they have thought police and other monitering ways to control and brainwash the people. Eventually Smith gets caught by a spy and sent to a room that no one wants to go to. Finally this is called rom 101 where they manage to brainwash him causing him to be nothing but another puppet of society.

Personally this is one of my favorite novels. It shows you how there is no such thing as a “perfect” society and that the government plays a big role in our lives. I can see how this is tied to film noir because of its dark, authoritative society.

 

Brazil and 1984

Its quite clear to see that the film Brazil was based off 1984. Although in my opinion 1984 had more of a story line to it then Brazil. If both works you see a totalitarian government who is watching over its city and punishing people who do not follow their rules. In 1984 we have Winston who works for the ministry of records changing documents to suite the needs of the Government and in Brazil we have Sam Lowry who also works at a department of documents.

Both main characters are meant to start off boring and have a boring life until they meet a catalyst for example in 1984 Winston meets Julia and in Brazil Sam meets Jill and Mr Tuttle. After meeting these people the main character begins to change and want to do more then just records but want to go against this “perfect” society.

Shadow Play(Now in Color!) : 1984 and Brazil

While calling 1984 Noir may be debatable, it’s obvious that the novel highly influenced the 1985 film, Brazil. In fact, it was almost named 1984 and a 1/2, according to Terry Gilliam.┬áSet in ‘somewhere in the 20th century’ Brazil follows the life of Sam Lowry. While 1984 is set in a dystopian┬áfuture, Brazil is technically set in the present. Aspects of 1984 can be found throughout the movie. An example are the screens found in almost every room. In 1984, the public is always under the watchful eye of telescreens. In Brazil, the public is always staring at one screen or another. In addition, the controlling power in Brazil is the ministry of information. This is similar to ministries found in 1984: The Ministry of Truth┬á, The┬áMinistry of Peace┬á, The ┬áMinistry of Love, and The┬áMinistry of Plenty. Another example of the similarities between the two works is the separation of classes. In 1984, Winston Smith has hope┬áin the proles, which are a step below his class. In Brazil, Sam Lowry leaves the automated, glistening portion of┬á his city to give a check to the impoverished Mrs. Buttle. Mrs. Buttle’s portion of the similar doesn’t look too far from modern day, reinforcing the belief that ‘Brazil’ could happen anytime soon.

Brazil and 1984

There are plenty of similarities between 1984 and Brazil. TV’s are present everywhere in the movie, similar to the telescreens from the book. Also in the film, there are ministries like the Ministry of Information and Ministry of Defense. Along with the guns and weapons being displayed in a public place where kids and even nuns don’t mind them, there are signs that say “The Truth Shall Make You Free”, “Be Safe, Be Suspicious”, and “Information Is The Key To Prosperity”. These sound ┬ájust like the sayings of the Party from 1984: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

Security guards, security machines, and cameras are seen everywhere just like the thought police could be anywhere and anyone. Children mimic the actions and want to be just like the police in both the movie and book. The people are always being watched. Danger is something that is the norm to both societies. Whether there’s bombs exploding on Oceania or at a restaurant with Sam and his mother, both medias show that the people are so accustomed to these disasters that they just ignore it.

Sam Lowry and Jill Layton are obviously akin to Winston Smith and Julia, both pairs having very similar traits. Sam and Smith are both passive, shy men but also very smart and sympathetic and only become more lively when they meet their respective “femme fatale”. They also both dream about her and of being free. Jill and Julia are strong-willed, courageous, loud mouthed, rebels while also being kindhearted.

I also noticed some similarities between this movie and the other noirs we’ve watched. The wide-angle lens shots are similar to those from The Set-Up┬áto portray the awkwardness and uncomfortableness of certain characters. Dream states are a big part of this film as well as Murder, My Sweet. There are also the gritty, ugly settings of the streets vs. the classy, rich, elegant settings of the higher class society; themes that are always present in noirs, although the ones in Brazil┬áare much more exaggerated of course.

Shadow Play: The Set-up (1949)

 

Our latest film took a break from the gumshoe and/or heist scheme with The Set-up.

The movie focuses on a boxer past his prime named Stoker. While Stoker is struggling

to become a champ, his girlfriend Julie wants to settle down. Stoker’s focus is on the

match, and the money he can make from it. Unbeknownst to him, his manager has a

deal with a Big shot named Little Boy. Little Boy has big money riding on Stoker’s fight,

and has paid his manager off to make sure Stoker loses. As the movie unfolds, it seems

like no one is in Stoker’s corner. The characters all seem to have their own agendas.

Like in other films seen this semester, one of the best parts of the film is the setting. The

bright lights of paradise city and Hotel cozy contrast well with the dark alleyways and

locker rooms of the center. Stoker’s match takes center stage from the moment it starts.

The fight is long and realistic, grabbing the audience’s attention. And there’s plenty of

little extras thrown in to the moment. Several members of Stoker’s audience become

memorable, from the betting couple to the man that seems to be eating nonstop. Stoker

goes through a change after seeing that Julie has not come to the match. Her empty

seat remains visible through the fight. While Stoker is fighting in the ring Julie is fighting

with her feelings. She wanders the city observing passerby. After seeing a rock’em

sock’em boxing toy, her mind goes back to Stoker. There’s s magnificent shot of Julie at

a overpass, as she rips up her ticket to the unfolding boxing match. The film is different

from others presented this term, but its those differences that make it memorable.

The Set-Up

The set-up film and the poem had many differences. The poem had a person named Pansy Jones while the movie had Stoker as its main protganonist. In the film Stokers manager arranged for a fight to be set up and stoker to lay down at the 3rd round after a punch. He did this without informing Stoker of his plans because he believed Stoker would lose regardless. The rounds went on and Tiger Nelson did a number on Stoker until they reached the 4th and final round where Stoker knocked out Tiger. When the manager saw Stoker had a chance he left the arena. After the fight Little Boy went to see Stoker and basically threatened him. Stoker being fearful tried to run away and leave the arena through a different exit but they found him. He fought back but he was out numbered then he punched Little Boy and thats when they decided to break his hand with a brick. In the end the wife claimed he got what he wanted which was him to win the fight and she got what she wanted which was him to stop fighting.

The film had many clips of crowds and the crowd mentality. We see alot of aggression in the crowd towards the boxers. Also in the end the numbers game on Stoker really took him out. It shows how powerful a crowd can be because had Little Boy gone alone to rough up Stoker I’m sure he would of lost.

Asphalt Jungle

Asphalt Jungle is a variation of the types of film noir we have normally watched in this class. This noir was based on a heist rather then a specific person who was a detective. The main protagonist Dix was hired to be a body guard for the heist his job was to make sure they got out safely without any human interference. Unlike other film noir’s he was not convinced to do this by a femme fatale he did it because he wanted the money for the job. They complete the heist successfully but do not all come out healthy as the driver was shot in the process of getting out. They are then double crossed by the people who were set to buy the jewels from them and the story takes a bit of a turn from a successful heist. Now the police are after the man who set up the heist and find out about the man who wanted to buy the jewels.

I liked this movie the most of all the ones we watched because there was never really a solid victory. The characters never had a strong confidence in what they were doing and it showed. This swayed my belief that main protagonist in film noirs lacked emotion and were extremely confident in themselves.

Murder My Sweet

Murder My Sweet was probably the most confusing, but in a positive way of all the films we have seen so far. The twists and turn to create an effect of mystery was endless from the start of the film. Like most of the film noir films we have sampled so far, the plot starts with the main protagonist, Philip recollecting the event via flashback effect. Like most film noirs, this was built on the basis of mystery and skeptics. Philip was hired by an ex-con to find his long lost missing girlfriend. This was the beginning of spiraling events for Philip. Throughout the film it has kept the audience on the edge of their seat. Philip gets drugged and roughed up, there is not one but two femme fatales and countless amounts of murders and mysteries. The main mystery from the very start was who was the missing girlfriend, Velma that he was suppose to find. This was lead on up until near the very end, which showed that Helen, the wife was the person he was looking for all along. Helen or Velma turns out to be a mass murderer and a crook in her own right. In the end it seemed that the good finally prevails in this film, and the protagonist actually ends up with a femme fatale in the end, which was the step-daughter of Helen/Velma, Ann. I felt this was done due to the current events of the time, which was after the Great Depression and during WW2.

Murder My Sweet

This was a very interesting movie with good intertwining story lines. It began with the detectives first client who was a big man looking for someone. The detective listened and received a description of who he was looking for. The big man takes him out to drink and gets into a fight then somewhat forgets who the detective is and what hes doing for him for a moment. This showed the┬á big man isn’t very smart and seems to be easily convinced. The detective later had a man enter his office who was telling him about a trade off for a Jade necklace and wanted the detective to help him but the detective wanted no part until the man started waving his money around. The detective later asissts the man in his venture only to be knocked out and see his client beaten to death. The detective then decided to look into this mystery and started snooping around until the end of the film where the criminal was revealed to be the person he was looking for all along for the big man.┬áThis movie was much more entertaining in comparison to the other film noirs we have watched in the class.

The Asphalt Jungle

The asphalt jungle was different from the other Noir films we have seen thus fair. In terms of atmosphere, lighting and personas it was all Noir but there was a very distinct difference. The difference was that the main character was not a detective looking to solve a case but a known criminal looking for a get-rich-quick-scheme to buy back the horse his family lost. Another distinct difference is the absence of a femme fatale. Dix is motivated by nothing other than his own ambitions. In film noir the femme fatal for the most part is involved with the protagonist’s demise but this time he is killed of his own accord. But it has to be said that the roles of the femme fatale could have been given to male counterparts. Dix was double crossed by the lawyer that Doc approached for the financing of the heist and Dix grows very fond of Doc towards the end of their adventure. The absence of a femme fatal would have something to do with this film being about actual villains committing a crime rather than a detective trying to get to the bottom of a crime.