Film analysis project #2

       Billy Wilder’s  1944 film double indemnity is a prime example of the “the male gaze”. The fact that is also a film Noir film makes it a good example as well. Phyliss’s character depends on the “male gaze” for the simple fact that she is a spider woman. To be a spider woman you must be able to trap men into a web of lies which most of the time involves sexual exploitation of the woman.  The camera angles for the introduction scene when Walter met Phyliss are clearly from a male perspective. The female character is being looking at as a sexual symbol and she knows it and is using it to further build her character and the motive of the character.

       The scene starts off with a low shot from Walter’s point of view from the bottom looking up to the staircase. Phyliss is walking to the staircase  and stops in the door way of the hall way in just a towel. The shot turns to a medium shot as she walks slowly to the staircase balcony as Walter identifies himself. She asks him “anything I can do” in a suggestive manner, and the camera cuts to a close up reaction of Walter smiling.  He is looking at her as a object and the spider woman she is, chooses to dance with the idea. Walter mentions the fact that she is not covered and if she wants to get covered, the camera cuts to a low angle medium shot of her with a slight smile on her face. There then is a close up low angle of Phyliss as she reveals that she is sun bathing and states “if your wait until I put something on i’ll be right down”. There were many references to the fact that she does not have cloths on, which plays on the females sexuality and the male eyes being perception of the view.

       There is also another woman in the scene which is the maid Nettie.  They are both females but completely opposite which makes the sexually so much more powerful for Phyliss. The maid being un glamorous, having such an agressive personality,a bit of attitude all brings more attention to Phyliss’s exterior.  The camera barely shows the maid for this scene while Phyliss is there because we are looking out of Walters gaze and its 100% on Phyliss’s physical appearance. You also see Walter’s reaction to Phyliss statements, again with no view of the maid. This shows that Walter is using  getting webbed in and that she knows it so her focus is on the man to retain him.

       As Phyliss is getting dressed Walter says  that he is thinking of that “dame” upstairs and how she looked at him . He also states how he wants to see her again withi out the silly staircase in between them. This goes to show how he just sees her as a object of viewing pleasure just by the way he referred to her. His statement also lets it be known that he is aware that she is accepting of the male gaze because of the way she looked at him in return. As Walter is speaking of her the camera cuts to a close up of Phyliss’s legs through the railing as she comes down the steps. You notice she has a ankle bracelet on, and when she reaches the bottom the camera travels up the rest of her body as if a man was looking at her. When the camera stops at her upper half you notice she is still buttoning up her dress. Phyliss then proceeds to put lip stick on in the mirror in front of Walter. these are all things she could have done upstairs but she chose not to and is aware of the femaleness behind it. These small little parts are bringing attention to different parts of her body.

       When both characters enter the living room, our spider woman sits on the couch in which the camera is framed around her. The legs are being shown in a crossed position exposing the ankle bracelet more. When Walter compliments the bracelet she uncrosses her legs. Phyliss then next gets up walks around asking insurance questions and when she sits again with the legs crossed which causes Walter to comment on the bracelet again.  The camera is framed as if we are looking from Walters perspective because all we see is his back as he’s seated mainly. 

        I found the ending of this scene to be very interesting because of the blatant flirting between the two. Walter is there for her husband which he forgets and Phyliss is toying with Walter because he has capabilities she wants for her web.   When Walter is flirting she tells him the speed limit is 45 and he’s doing 90. Walter’s response was for her to get off her motorcycle and give him a ticket which she states she’ll give him a warning. Walter proceeds to say suppose the warning doesn’t take in which she responds then she’ll wack him. His answer to that was suppose he cries and lays his head on her shoulder, she responded with how bout me husbands shoulder.  The scene ends with Walter saying ” same chair same anklet”  Phyliss answers ” I wonder if I know what you mean” which leads to him saying ” I wonder if you wonder”. This scene shows Phyliss using her sexuality  or femaleness as power. She is teasing Walter and Walter is taking the bait  with a smile upon his face.

       The point being made is that woman is a threatening sexual being who in the end in the result of it will be punished. She is a spider woman who is building a web which soon will be the death of her. Being that the camera is attentive to her from a male’s point of view, when she ends up being punished the audience shoudln’t feel bad because they feel deceived like the man. The “male gaze’ was evident in this scene but it was also evident that the female was fully aware of it and used it to her advantage.


       The initial introduction of this film and the credit was very omnimous with the choice of music and gave a suspensful feel.  Knowing the styles of Alfred Hitchcock, the first scene wasted no time to aware who directed the film. The first scene was Sam  and Marian finishing having sex. The man was shirtless and the woman was in her bra and panties kissing in bed. I found it to be ironic that they was saying how the next time they will see each other it will be respectable. Your learn that Sam is divorced and must send alimony and you could see that Marian was going to be by his side.

      The scene that stood out to me was when secretary Marian was at her job and Tom was there flirting with her. He was speaking to her and her boss about buying a house in cash for his young daughter who recently got married .  This would be a reason for Marian to be jealous because of her situation with Sam. When she went home with the cash instead of depositing it in the bank, I liked the close up shot and the money and the suitcase filled with cloths. With that shot in mind she is getting dressed and there is non diegetic sound which is suspenseful, because you know what shes plotting to do.

      I enjoyed the scenes once Marian began to be on the run with the money.  While driving she ran into her boss George Lawry, the non diegetic sound playing during her chase scenes was such a crucial  part because it was so hard and omnimous with a lot of brass strings. The scene with the officer stood out to me also , because of the close up on his face and theres no eye contact because of the dark shades. I felt the shades and the hat was neccessary to not be able to see who he was , the important thing was what he was which is authority. I thought it was creative how while Marian was driving , the conversations was being played as non diegetic sound between dealership/cop , George Lawry/Tom/receptionist. They are all discussing and discovering that she stole the money, but i found it interesting that Marian’s face starts to become sinister to the convo’s as if it is diegetic sound.

     There then is a shift into the movie where things took a left turn. Marian ends up satying at the Bates motel.  We are introduced to Norman Bates who seems nervous around this woman yet comfortable at the same time , asking her to have dinner with him.  The house in which the “mother” is located is pitch black with a bright luminous light from the window.  The dinner scene is very important because we learn who Norman is as a person . He has a fascination with birds, he tells Marian she eats like a bird, theres birds on the wall, he says he likes to stuff birds as a hobby also. He sheds light on the relationship with his mother also. “boys best friend is his mother”  and “son is a poor substitue for a  lover”.  There is a close up shot of him speaking of hismother, with the birds surrounding in deep focus.

       Other stand out scenes was the killing of Marian which wasnt graphic but effective.The way the camera cut up the shot of the knife and a piece of her body, which never showed contact  and also the shrill “eek eek” music. When “Norman” reached the scene in shock he knocked over the picutre of a bird. Thekilling of the Investegator  was strange but effective. When he was stabbed  the way he fell down the steps in the floating manner was so unrealistic but effective. The movie overall was very interesting with how things played out with the story line.  It was a very interrestingconcept of Norman playing his deceased mother when carrying out murders. It was creative in the ending how we see Norman but his mother is the narrative in his head. The camera then does a trick showing her corpse faded into his face.

Written in the wind

       This 1956 Douglas Sirk film was a very vibrant film in terms of color.  The film was a melo-drama and at times had a cheesy feel to it, especially the intro with the wind blowing the calender pages (hence the title).  The movie had some artificial elements to it such as the driving  in beginning scene and some of the coloring.  The scene in the plane when Kyle was driving & talking to Lucy ,to me the plane  felt like a prop and wasnt authentic. I liked the hotel scene because the colors popped  with pinks, and purples a contrast to the screenings we normally see.

      The was a huge pattern of non diegetic sound & music throughout the film which sometimes was used as a theme or carry out a scenario more. Some examples of this is the hotel scene when Lucy  noticed the very lavish hotel room Kyle provided , there was non diegetic love music. Also the character of Mary Lee, each time she entered a scene she had very seductive theme music.  Another example is the scene when Lucy found Kyles gun , the non diegetic sound was so ominous , over the top and loud.  I have two diegetic  sound examples, the first one was the bar scene when kyle and Mitch faught the man for Mary Lee.  The Jukebox was playing music that some what accompanied the fight scene. THe second example was when Mary lee wasdancing to the fast drum music as her father walked up the steps. It thought it was done well with the reverse shot for this to tie these two scenarios together.

      There was a play on female characters which was good girl vs bad girl between Lucy & Marry Lee.  The scene where they first interact  was very catty, Mary lee tells Lucy “condolences for your marriage”.  Also when Lucy was slapped by Kyle she fell to floor as a helpless victim but when he slapped Mary Lee she stood there with shock which turned to  a pleased grin.

      I noticed another pattern which was some mirror reflections. Some examples: Lucy in the hotel in the beginning with Mitch & Kyle, Lucy & Mary Lee talking in the room while Lucy does hair,  Mitch carrying a drunken Kyle,  Mirror showing druken Kyle leave after he attacked Lucy & mirror reflection of Lucy as she layed strucken on the floor.

      Overall the movie was entertaining some things was over dramatic but it’s expected in this genre.  I found it to be funny how fast Kyle and Mitch fell in love with Lucy. Each time they professed their love to her it was followed with a passionate kiss. Also when i found out Lucy had a miscarriage from the slap to the face, i felt it was over the top to make her loose the baby.