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Comparing Film Techniques: Rear Window vs. Unforgiven

Terms used in the paper

How to identify an important theme or issue in two specific films we have watched.

A systematic approach to training actors that was developed by Konstanti Stanislavski. It trains an actor’s thoughts and will to achieve a better understanding of the reasoning and thoughts of a character. Major roles: A function or part performed especially in a particular operation or process played a major role in the negotiations, especially for cinema. Bit players: An actor with a small or unimportant role that, none the less, briefly interacts with the main cast verbally; sometimes referred to as an “Under-five.” Alienation effect: Also known as the “Estrangement” or “Distancing” effect, it encompasses technique that acts to distance the audience from the characters they watch. Despite this, it seeks to build the audience’s intellectual understanding of the character without driving them away.

The amount of footage used to capture a specific scene. Master shot: An entire shot, from start to finish, that keeps the characters in question in view during an emotional or dramatic scene. It is often, but not always, a Long-shot.

The camera “cutting” away from one action to another that is happening at the same time. It is often used to show the simultaneity of two actions, but this is not a requirement. Montage sequence: A collection of short, sequential shots that is used to quickly show the passage of time.

The usage of shots that seem out of place, or confusing, when compared to normal depictions of narrative. Almost always seems to have no smooth or logical flow to the scenes, but uses them to elicit an emotion or act as a metaphor. Eyeline match cut: A shot that shows the character in questions looking at something, and then cuts to the object that is being observed.

Two sequential shots taken in the same scene and of the same subject; both being from mildly differing angles. It is usually used to portray the passage of time in a quick “jump.” Method acting: A selection of both training and rehearsal techniques that are aimed towards creating a more believable performance by the actor. The actor in question acts, dresses, and otherwise takes on the mannerisms of a character in their daily routine in an attempt to better understand their role. Stand-ins: A person who, for one reason or another, steps in briefly to take the place of an actor and help get lighting and composition set up while an actor is absent. The stand -in does not actually have to look like the actor; as this is simply to make sure the set, lights, and cameras are all properly aligned for the actual scene.


A non-speaking and otherwise silent role that only appears in the background of a shot or shots. Editing: The process of taking, moving, removing, combining, and otherwise changing shots in order to create a finished motion picture. Rough cut: Originating from the early days of Cinema, when film stock was physically cut with scissors and reassembled, the rough cut is the first draft of a film. The one in which it begins to take on the aspects of the final product, but has much more editing to go through. Shot/reverse method: Where one character is shown looking at another, and then said character looking back towards the first. Often, but not always, via a cut between the two figures looking in the direction of another, but not both being present on screen.

An editing technique in which shots are juxtaposed in an often fast-paced fashion that compresses time and conveys a lot of information in a relatively short period. Content curve: A style of editing seeking to achieve a feel of sequential and smooth flow to what viewers witness on screen.

A rule in Cinematography that states how two characters should maintain the same right to left orientation in relation to one another. Graphic match cut: A cut between two different shots that juxtaposes graphical similarities between the two.

Usually referring to an actor being associated with a certain role, set of roles, or type of character, but may also be the choosing of actors which have the same traits, characteristics, or same racial/ethnic background as a certain character. Minor roles: plays 'supporting' roles for major roles. They contribute and are usually non-vocal.

A brief appearance (or voiced line) of a more famous actor in a Movie, tv show, or other visual media.

An abrupt transition from one scene to another; it may be trivial or of great importance to the specific actions or actions taking place.

Narrative that does not follow a traditional path and is “fragmented” into differing scenes and points that are out of order, or even seemingly unrelated.

Where a film’s narrative is interrupted by scenes that represent flashbacks, things happening in a different place at the same time, or other interruptions that have to do with the overall story.

The comparison of two unrelated images that are believed to have, or can be interpreted as, having similar thematic meanings.

The combination of semi-related or related shots (Or different components from the same shot.) into a sequence that shows the consistency of the story or message across all of them.

Where one shot cuts to another, portraying an action that is being, or has been, committed by the subject of the first shot. Point-of-view editing: An angled shot that shows us a scene from the characters point off view; as if we are looking out of their eyes, or witnessing the scene ourselves in their stead.

Both are usage of a black circle to close a scene. The Iris-in being a small circle that expands to cover the screen, and an Iris-out being a circle that closes in on the image from the sides to block out the view. (These are all the terms to use. You can also use dolly-in, dolly out, or other camera techniques to do the scene comparison.) Basically, take a scene from Rear Window, like where Jefferie is confronted by his neighbor for spying on him, and compare it to a scene in Unforgiven (1992). The scene where Will is about to shoot Little Bill should be fitting to compare to in terms of violence and film techniques. Use as much detail for these scenes as possible and compare them. The guidelines for the paper should help, but most importantly, please do use the terms and other fitting terms that may be significant for this paper.

Bridget Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon and Lisa Fremont in Rear Window are both important female characters. They help with understanding Sam and Jefferies.

Bridget Shaughnessy (The Maltese Falcon) and Lisa Fremont (Rear Window) both challenge masculine norms through their participation in crime. However, mise-en-scéne and shot type objectify and therefore contain their threat to masculinity differently: medium and long shots emphasize how Lisa’s sense of agency in Lars’ apartment (the ability to pry and steal) is still contained because Jefferies is the one gazing while close-up shots, costumes, and props disempower Bridget by only allowing her to use sexuality passively.

The body of the paper should prove the validity of your thesis statement. In order to do so effectively, you will need to organize your ideas while also providing plenty of details from the two films. Practically, this means you need closely to analyze at least two different scenes (one from each film). Details might include some of the information you’ve been gathering in the scene analysis activities along with dialogue and basic plot elements.

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