About Perfecting the New Gangster & Bonnie and Clyde:

As the reading states, there were several corrections to the original script and I am glad there were. The final script was so much more appealing and focused more attention towards the couple and not the crooks. I found it interesting how the process of correcting this script went on. So many corrections could have driven this film towards another concept, but it was all for the best and for the same cause. Originally the script called for a more bad-ass Bonnie, which is not bad, but this new version of Bonnie helped out so much in accomplishing the connection between the couple and the audience. Having this couple fight over things that regular couples fight about, makes it all more realistic; not that regular couples fight about sharing the stolen money with “family”, but the problems can be connected to similar ones encountered in our daily lives. The fact that Clyde was impotent made them even more appealing and realistic because we see their human sides and faults. They are not perfect bank robbers that have it all planned but just go along and deal with things as they come. What I also thought was amazing was the approval from the MPAA. The film was very well portrayed and the ideas were communicated well enough without the need of excessive sex or violent scenes.

As for the movie, I thought it was a very well shot, scripted, edited production. Some scenes stand out in the way they were manipulated to give us a different feeling, compared to the other action scenes where everything happens so quickly. Most of the film spends its time showing us how the gang grows and the relation they have with society. Very little is spent in other perspectives, giving us this closeness that make us sad when we see our heroes go down. The peculiar flaws in the main characters also help in connecting the audience with the gang. The film does not intend at any moment to portray the perfect hero, the one that shoots everyone and never gets shot or simply does not have a life but just lives for vengeance or corruption. In all, I did wish that the couple would have escaped and lived happily ever after in Canada or Mexico, but I understand that this tragic finale is part of the whole style of gangster films and without tragedies like this one then it would all just be too ideal.

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About Hitchcock & Vertigo:

Suspense is incredibly important in Hitchcock’s movies, and he has become a master at portraying this with small movements on behalf of the actors. Its as if subliminal messages were sent through actions and behaviors that give a different sense than the one being communicated with the dialogue. Things like this are hard to acknowledge in the moment but they all work towards achieving that feeling we get when we want to know what is going to happen in the following scenes. Another key feature to highlight in his films is that many of them are capable of achieving clarity and intent without recruiting to explanatory dialogue. The most noticeable explanatory dialogue that exists in Vertigo is when Judy states to the audience that she and Madeline are the same. This changes our suspense from one thing to another. Now knowing that she is the same, we can focus on what Stewart’s reaction will be and what he would do when he finds out. Many other details are given away just because of the plot itself and not because the character is telling us what to know.

About Vertigo there is so much to say. The incredible twist that blew me away or the amount of hints and clues all hidden to build up this great tension towards the final fall of Judy. Through out the movie it is noticeable how the female characters act differently according to their role on the story. One seems to be more of a motherly figure while the other one is so seductive and mysterious. The way in which they achieve this I thought was marvelous. All the thought that was put into this perspective was amazing. In the beginning it all seems too slow and the story seemed a little too uninteresting and unbelievable, but as the facts unfold the entire plot gathers a deeper meaning. Personal problems are described and unfold as everyone begins to see the light in this evil plan. My only complain was that Judy should have not died, several other things could have happened to her that would have made the story a bit more believable, by letting her die the story gained this feeling of melodrama that was too much for what had happened to Stewart.

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About Douglas Sirk & Written on the Wind:

I found it interesting how Douglas Sirk never felt at home and still managed to leave such a footprint on the film industry. This gave him a great advantage over other directors because he always saw the big flaws that were “crippling” America. I do agree that many things are breaking the fabric of our society but in the end its all part of the entire picture, just like in a movie, we need of the bad moments and tragedies to appreciate the good moments. Even though Sirk also had to work within the restrictions of the big production companies, he also acknowledged that it was important to make things that would bring profits. Finding the balance between art and entertainment is what I see that Sirk was good at. As he mentioned on the biography “I never had to look too hard to find a part of myself in them”, them being his characters. He knew that the flaws in all of us are a common thing and this gave it an element of connection between the audience and the story being portrayed, this is in essence both entertaining and an art form, to show the flaws in such way that people would feel like they could learn something.

On his work “Written on the Wind”, I found that the structure in society that drives everyone to madness or eventually to depart from it, seemed too rigid. This is awfully similar to his personal story, about leaving Germany because society their drove him to find a better place to express his art (even though he never made America his true home). The rich seem to be carrying a huge weight of history and expectancies that eventually corrode the soul of those that were “lucky” enough to have been born wealthy. In the other hand, you get the strong souls who deal with the problems honorably and try to spread this to those who need it, but eventually it seems like all their effort is worthless. It almost seems like everyone had a destiny and that even in the end when both Mitch and Lucy end up together, they are still tainted with their ugly past and can never forget what happened. So the end seems to play along with the required expectations of the big production companies but still maintains the essence of the real world and the flaws in all of us.

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About “Umberto D.”:

For a moment I had forgotten how depressing real life could be. This movie is exactly what I would not want to watch in a theater. I do acknowledge the fact that it is all about a movement that tends to show how crude the world is and forces the viewers to think about the regular daily life. My problem with this is that I don’t really need any more reality than what I get from “living”.  I find that going out to a theater and experiencing the work of many people in a few minutes should be a happy experience or at least a thrill or escape from reality. Umberto D. goes on the opposite direction. It aims to provide us with a clear example of a common problem. The long shots and focus on daily chores slow down the pace that we usually expect from modern movies, giving us more time to reflect upon the presented issues. Setting aside my dislikes about this depressing story, I also have to admire the quality of work achieved by such low budget films in which the actors are not professionals and the scripts were all thought out as the movie developed.

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About Collaboration on ‘Citizen Kane’ & Excerpts from Citizen Kane:

Welles talked about so many little details that usually no one would notice, but it is interesting how the artist within him is always so careful about the most minimal details. I thought it was so nice how he described his work as being driven mostly by instinct. Many artists who are deeply involved in what they do, often express themselves about work as being something natural. Thinking about what to do in the field you work seems like a mistake for these people. The more they have to think about something, the more they know something is going wrong. One thing that does amaze me is how these people express themselves about their work. No matter how good their work is, they will always focus on the small things that went wrong. I suppose it normal since they were the creators and are deeply concerned about perfection. At least Welles is honest about it and acknowledges the fact that many people would not even notice the mistakes he focuses on.

About the essay it is clear that Toland did have much to do about the success of Citizen Kane. The major issue here was the fact that people felt like arguing about something that will never be clear in the first place. Many people are involved in making a movie. The script might have been good to begin with but the execution could have ruined the entire film. I believe that one person will never be responsible for the success of a film. Stating this I could also add that Welles should not under any circumstances be underestimated of the work he produced.

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About “Double Indemnity”:

The movie did seem to have a very fast pace, some things were difficult to understand but the idea got through well enough. Telling the story from one perspective might be a little hurtful for the audience. We only get one version and must believe everything that is told as we are not given any other opinions from others. The games that the characters play to one another immersed me in the movie and made it interesting. I wanted to know what the outcome was and several times I could feel that little guy strangling my stomach as the main characters were performing their corrupted plan. Many things are well thought out and the most astonishing symbol of the movie made me think a lot about the role of each character in the movie; when Walter helped Barton light his cigars it was a tool to send out a message, maybe Walter was always a key component in “enlightening” Barton’s mind. As Walter mentioned in the movie, the reason why Barton never got the full picture of the situation was because it was so close to him he could not see it. In the end Walter ends up in Barton’s positions, in need of some enlightening.

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About “Citizen Kane”:

Wonderful movie…I thought that the way it was developed was one of the best ways a movie could be done. To begin with the death of this unknown guy and to end with the vague figure of such an important yet mysterious character seemed to me so impressive. So much was told but barely anything could have belonged truly to the person that died alone. Many aspects of a life are shown through the eyes of the “closest” people around him, yet no one really knew what the last words meant. I thought the movie was going to finish without clarifying the meaning of “rosebud”. I was already making conclusions when the detective gave his speech about words not being able to describe a man like Kane. The meaning of this word just tells us how much of this guy was being kept a secret. People could only guess what rosebud meant. Even the butler who was the closest person to him during the last years in the mansion did not know what it meant. It just says so much with this anecdote. Being alone in this enormous place with very phew people and even then these people still don’t get a glimpse to who he really was. Several times we are given a very strong description about Charles and how he always wants love and never gives any back. We hear this from his friends and his second wife. It’s as if no one related   to him in a personal way. The initial detachment from his parents kept him detached from the rest of the world for his entire life. Many ironies are presented in this character and so many things can be learned from this film that it just seems like too much to learn from a film. One of the most captivating lessons from this film would be the amount of power society has over an individual, yet the individual may be an unknown entity to that same society that made it. Kane was made a wealthy man before he even had a notion of making money, and even after becoming so famous, no one really got to know him.

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About “The Public Enemy” and “The Lady Eve”:

I found “The Public Enemy” to be very entertaining even though it lacked many of the special effects for obvious reasons. The story is built very well. We see how the kid begins to have ambitions for small things and separates himself from a young age. Later on with the help of several bad influences this boy turns into a well trained and experienced crook. But he is not only a regular crook; this guy is out there to do more than just mess to society. This figure is built upon many contrary standards. He ends up having many things that maybe all of us would want to have, or be at some point. The problem is that we also get to see how things turn out to be. There is always a sweet spot in the story line where everything seems to work out perfectly for the gangster; this is not what I saw in this film. Throughout the entire narrative, the main character was involved in problems that did not fit into his plot. His brother always reminded him what a good civilian should be, and his relationships never really worked. What is quite noticeable is the rise and fall of an empire. It begins to spiral down as soon as the top figure gets too powerful. This is something that apparently is inescapable, a destiny for those who decide to do what society can only dream about doing.

In the other hand I thought “The Lady Eve” should have ended tragically as well. I found it too hard to believe that Charlie was indeed so easy to manipulate. Several times I thought that he just wanted to be manipulated and probably was smarter than what he seemed. The amounts of twists the movie takes kept me entertained and the ending was a little unexpected. I thought Jean should have learned a lesson in a better way. The outcome was too optimistic and she ended up having what she wanted even though her first intentions were to exploit Charlie’s fortune. Overall the movie did have great suspense and the plot was very well handled by the actors.­­

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About “M”:

The fact that several issues on the human psychology are reviewed on these anecdotes amazes me. I “M”, we are shown a whole new perspective (with some great filming strategies) on the serial killer. How many times have we gone about judging others without really considering their point of view? I found it so hilarious how the bad people in the end felt like they had the right to judge on someone who seemingly was worse than everyone else in the room. In the end they were all bad and that goes to teach us that we are all bad to some extent. Yes it is a terrible thing to kill little girls, but it does make sense when the defender of the killer pointed out that it was different to kill because it was a need and the guy was sick and could not help himself compared to the other crooks that had full potential and just decided to act wrong. But even this could be twisted more; maybe the other crooks were also forced by society to do what they do. So how guilty is someone of their acts? Isn’t everything just a social construction? This just brings a whole new dimension to talk about.

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About “The Gangsters as Tragic Hero” and “William Wellman Interview”:

The idea that stud out the most about the Gangster as a tragic hero reading was the quote about the types of movies that were known to have a comeback. Movies about Gangsters fell in this category because it was expected to have a good following and it would attract many people. It was a secure way of having some income. I thought about this and agreed on our ignorance. It made me feel like a lab rat. How predictable are we really? The reading even goes to mention that we have certain expectations about these types of films and even want the bad things to happen for a reason, and even though we know what to expect, we also want some original things to go on or otherwise we would be bored to death. I thought the whole thing was like an alien study on humans and how dull we get. Things like that keep me trying new things and seeing the good things where everyone else sees something bad. I also agree on the fact that people need to be entertained by figures like the Gangster. We would all love to assault banks and live on the edge, but the truth is that most of us would just pee on our pants as soon as someone else points a gun at our face. This is why we have huge profitable industries that make the dumbest movies but take us away from reality once in a while. Just take Avatar as an example. Who the hell really cares about some blue creatures that live in trees and speak to nature? It’s not really about caring for the fiction, but experiencing something new and learning something in the process: “Well maybe invading other territories to get some oil is not right”. Who knows what we need to escape from our boring life some time, at least we have some wackos coming up with great things to keep humanity sane.

About the interview, I thought that the guy was awesome. The way he responded to some things was just great, so sincere and honest about his life. It is a great to know that some people even though lost about hunting for their career, can still manage to be great at what they eventually end up doing. My favorite quote was the one about the plane crash. He is asked:

“How did you avoid getting hurt?

How can you get hurt? You’re strapped in, you duck your head, and let the god dam thing roll over. And you have very little gas in it, to avoid setting yourself on fire.

Could he have been more optimistic about a chunk of metal with gasoline in it that crushed to the ground and could potentially explode? I really thought this guy had to be a little out of his mind to perform such stunts and describe them the way he did. People like him are greatly appreciated in the film industry because like him, we need the gangsters to show us a bit of fun while leaving the theater with a good sense of fulfillment.

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