Archive for the ‘mdjoyce’ Category

“My I Live at the PO” Outline

  1. Subject of film
    1. Plot
      1. i.       “Why I Live at the P.O.” is told from the point of view of the elder daughter, Sister, of a small family living in a small town in Mississippi. It’s the Fourth of July and the younger sister, Stella-Rondo, has just come back home to China Grove with a two-year-old daughter. When Stella-Rondo claims the little girl, Shirley T., is adopted, Sister begins to question Stella-Rondo’s marriage situation. Stella-Rondo is furious with Sister for suggesting that the child isn’t adopted because that would mean that she was conceived before the marriage. Stella-Rondo commences turning the family against Sister, who before the arrival of Stella-Rondo, got along fine with everyone.
    2. Genre
      1. i.      feature length serious comedy
  2. Characters
    1. Sister
    2. Stella-Rondo
    3. Shirley T.
    4. Mama
    5. Papa-Daddy
    6. Uncle Rondo
  3. Music
    1. Music of the time period. Played on radio, TV, or record player in scene
  4. Setting/Location
    1. Small town Mississippi in the 1950’s. Days surrounding the Fourth of July
    2. To be shot on location in a house
  5. Two Key Scenes
    1. Fire Crackers
      1. i.      Characters
        1. all
        2. ii.      Shots
          1. Back and forth between Sister sleeping in bed and feet tip-toeing down the hall
          2. Outside of house
          3. Sister screaming in bed as fire crackers go off
          4. All rushing to room. First argument between Sister and rest of family
        3. iii.      Camera angles
          1. Above shot of Sister in bed. Portrait style
          2. Forward shot of house. Trees on the left and house on the right
          3. Forward shot looking up at Sister in bed. Fire crackers going off in front of her (on the floor)
        4. iv.      Color
          1. Bluish hue
        5. v.      Sound
          1. Silence
          2. Screaming and fire crackers
          3. Loud argument
        6. vi.      Props
          1. Fire crackers
          2. Bed sheets and pillow
        7. vii.      Costumes
          1. Bedclothes
            1. Nightgown and robe for the females
            2. PJ pants and shirt for males
        8. viii.      Dialogue
          1. Family arguing
    2. Closing scene of movie
      1. i.      Characters
        1. Sister
        2. ii.      Shots
          1. Sister in small backroom at PO with a few open boxes around her. Kneeling on floor unpacking boxes while humming. Takes out a misplaced pacifier. Looks at it then throws it back into box. Starts talking to herself about her good for nothing sister. Goes to another box and takes out a plant. Put it on windowsill and fiddles with it. Talking to herself about how her family will miss her but she’ll never go back. Repeats line several times while looking out of window.
        3. iii.      Camera angles
          1. Camera follows Sister as she unpacks the box
          2. Close up on pacifier and Sister’s face
          3. Follow Sister to window
          4. Camera looks in open window at Sister and fades out
        4. iv.      Color
          1. Muted tones. Pacifier will be a bright color.
        5. v.      Sound
          1. Sister humming incoherent tune and talking
          2. Everything else is quiet
        6. vi.      Props
          1. Boxes
          2. Pacifier
          3. Plants
        7. vii.      Costume
          1. Collared button up dress. Plain
        8. viii.      Dialogue
          1. Sister talking to herself

Read Full Post »

Union Men

The group of miners stands together and looks up at the company men who are standing on a ledge near the mouth of the mine. It’s dark and the miners’ backs are turned toward the audience. It’s not clear which ethnicity, white, black, or Italian, the company tried to sneak into the mines for a night shift because the men are standing in the dark. It appears as though most of the men are wearing mining gear but because of the darkness, it’s hard to tell which race is wearing the gear. One of the company workers, who is standing in a patch of light, frowns down at the workers. Everyone is still and quiet, waiting for something to happen.

The camera shifts to show the front of the workers. One man moves forward from the side of the screen toward the middle and throws down his shovel, saying that he will not work. He then says something in Italian and the Italians cheer. Though it wasn’t absolutely clear which ethnicity he belongs to while he was standing with the other men, it’s now obvious that he’s Italian. After the Italian man throws down his shovel, other men begin to follow suit. The camera has shifted again and shows the group from the side. More and more men move into the light and the audience sees that the men are from all three backgrounds.

This scene symbolizes the beginning of the union between the three races. At the beginning of the scene they have not united, but the audience knows that they will unite because they are standing together in the dark. They are indistinguishable from one another whereas the company man is standing alone in the light. It’s easy to see who he is. He is highlighted. The workers see him and realize who their true enemy is – the company. Throwing down their shovels they agree to band together to defeat the company.

Read Full Post »

Blue Deliverance

In one scene in the 1972 movie Deliverance, director John Boorman uses a blue filter to make it look like the scene takes place at night. The use of this technique detracts from the emotion Boorman is trying to convey.

As Ed begins to climb a cliff to look for a man who may have shot and killed Drew, the screen turns blue. The intensity of the situation immediately starts to evaporate due to the use of this special effect. The filter makes the untamed Cahulawassee River look like a bubbling witches brew straight out of Macbeth. The camera zooms in on Ed’s pained face as he’s climbing. Again, a shot that should enforce the seriousness of the situation detracts from it instead. The filter gives Ed and the rocks he’s clinging to have taken on a bluish hue. He could, of course, be very cold from having just spent time being tossed around by the river, or sad over the recent death of Drew. If he is blue for one of these reasons then Boorman went a little too far to prove the point. When Ed reaches the top and stops to breathe, glowing trees can be seen in the background. The closeness of Ed’s face in the shot suggests that the audience pay attention to him because he is preparing himself to do something he wouldn’t otherwise be thinking about – killing a man. Even though his face takes up most of the screen, the blue filter has highlighted the trees. Who wants to look at solemn Ed when there are glowing trees just behind him? They are just too interesting. Instead of creating a sense of fear and anxiety the filter makes the scene slightly amusing. Again the intensity of the situation is lost because of the blue filter.

Though it is true that using a blue filter to make it look like night was a good technique to use while making a movie in 1970s, the effect is distracting to the more technologically advanced audiences of today.

Read Full Post »

They call me Mr. Tibbs

In the 1967 movie In the Heat of the Night Virgil Tibbs, a black homicide detective working in Philadelphia, faces racial prejudice while visiting Sparta, Mississippi.

At the beginning of the film a white officer unjustly arrests Tibbs for a murder he didn’t commit. It is obvious that the reason for his arrest is the color of his skin. When the head of the Sparta police, Gillespie, realizes that Tibbs is a talented homicide detective he reluctantly asks Tibbs to help solve the murder case. Tibbs later gives a rational explanation for the innocence of the man who was recently arrested for murder, Chief Gillespie feels threatened. He ordered the arrest and doesn’t like Tibbs correcting him. He turns to Tibbs and tries to intimidate and belittle him saying, “Virgil – That’s a funny name for a niggra boy that comes from Philadelphia. What do they call you up there?” The camera focuses on Tibbs’s face as he forcefully delivers his answering line: “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” His tone of voice and the stern look in his eyes makes it clear that Tibbs expects people to treat him with respect. Gillespie has shown disrespect by slighting Tibbs by referring to him as simply Virgil. Tibbs has strong character and the force of his voice when speaking to Gillespie makes Gillespie angry. At that time in the South it was dangerous for a black man to talk back to a white man, particularly the chief of police. Being the chief of the police force, Gillespie is used to having people follow his orders and does not like to be questioned. Tibbs, a man who Gillespie sees as inferior because Tibbs is black, stands up to him in front of the other officers. The camera captures Gillespie’s expression which shows he has made a mistake and feels angry and foolish for being proven wrong by a black man.

Though many people in Sparta dislike and threaten Tibbs, he eventually becomes friends with and gains the respect of Chief Gillespie and the other officers.

Read Full Post »