Three Different, but Alike

         Just about all movies make some sort of impact. Some may be just a flash of something that inspires an actor, director, or screenplay writer. The movies I will discuss today all make a significant impact on the movie industry in one way or another. The three movies are Napoleon, Citizen Kane, and Bonnie and Clyde. Though they may appear different, they have all touched lives with their cinematography and stories.

        Napoleon, directed in 1927 by Abel Gance, is a movie based on the life of Napoleon. This epic movie had a large impact in the form of cinematography. What stood out most about this film was the three film shots that they played together to attempt to capture the "widescreen effect." When dealing with the topic of Napoleon, war is definitely involved. For the director to get his audience to understand to full scale the effects of war, he created these famous shots.

        The movie about bank robbers was Bonnie and Clyde, directed in 1967 by Arthur Penn. This was the only color movie viewed in class. The movie was about how Clyde (Warren Beatty) happened upon Bonnie (Fay Dunaway). She was only a small-town country girl. Bonnie was afraid her life would go nowhere so she joined up with Clyde, a self-professed robber of banks. When she did a few jobs in the beginning there was no going back to her old lifestyle. Soon they joined with a gas station attendant, C. W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard), Clyde's brother, Buck (Gene Hackman), and his brother's wife, Blanche (Estelle Parsons), to form an infamous gang. Overall this is truly a love story. It is doomed from the beginning with their choice of lifestyle, being a group of bank robbers. The foreshadowing that occurs is the poem Bonnie writes about themselves that they publish in a newspaper. The poem discusses their death. Death does seem to come all too quick as their gang starts dying off. Bonnie and Clyde meet their demise when C. W. Moss's father (Dub Taylor) sets them up. The thing that most fascinates me is something I read in David A. Cook's book, A History of Narrative Film. None of the contemporary movie reviewers liked it. In fact they tore it apart in their article reviews.

        Nevertheless, this movie has had an important impact because it has been one of the few movies for which moviegoers overcame the initial movie reviewers and decided for themselves what type of movie it was. Also, the cinematography was also very excellent for the day. Though part of the saddest section of the move, when Bonnie and Clyde were shot, there were some great spots of cinematography. When the four cameras slowed down and showed all angles, I though this to be very interesting. It emphasized the drama surrounding this point in the movie. I thought this movie to be one of the better ones viewed in class.

        Another movie I was impressed with Citizen Kane, directed in 1941 by Orson Welles. The movie was about an eccentric man, Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) that grew up to own many printing presses and other companies. It seems sometimes that successful men are driven insane from publicity and other excesses. I was reminded of similarities that occur in the movie The Aviator. I love how the storyline of Citizen Kane was set up like an investigation to find out the meaning of his final word, "Rosebud." It turns out Rosebud was the name of his childhood sled and the secret was never discovered by anyone in the movie. The usage of shadowing and lighting was amazing in this movie. The difference was breathtaking to view. No wonder people have always looked to this movie, not only for its great storyline but also for its impressive cinematography by Gregg Toland.

        Though these three films may appear different due to their storylines and dates of release, these movies have greatly influenced cinematography and cinematic history. These movies have made an impression on myself, and I hope I can augment the knowledge I have gained from this class.

Kristin Windsor

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