Actors in Stagecoach

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The three actors I have chosen to classify from the movie Stagecoach are
John Wayne, Claire Trevor, and Andy Devine.
I have classified the actor John Wayne as both a Star and a personality. “Actors with distinctive personalities often wind up playing similar character in film after film” Goodykoontz, & Jacobs, 2014, p. 119). “Wayne was very picky about the roles he would play: never, never, never petty, never cowardly, rarely, even cautious” (Grenier, 1996, p.5/7). John Wayne always played the same type of hero in all his films, even when he switched from being a cowboy in Westerns to a war hero he still played the same character. Stagecoach, was the film that helped him become a star. John Wayne, I believe saw himself as this type of western hero and was this type of person in real life. This is the reason I saw him as a personality actor because he has always played this type of film.
Claire Trevor, to me would be classified as a Character actor, she appeared in many films and she could also be classified as a star. “She may best be remembered for “Key Largo,” for which she won the Oscar for the best supporting actress playing the part of Gayle Dawn, a has-been Cabaret singer” (New York Times, 2000, p. ¼). She played a saloon girl that was thrown out of town by the bluenoses and becomes one of the passengers on the way to Lordsburg in Stagecoach. She often played the saloon girl or a down on her luck type of personality. I think she enjoyed this type of role because even though she portrayed a downcast woman she seemed to always end up being a heroine.
Andy Devine, to me was a Character actor, he played the part as he himself says of a whiner in many films. Andy jokes, “When John Ford, the director, was explaining to me the part of Buck in the picture Stagecoach, he said, “This is supposed to be a big, dumb character. So you just act natural” I was-and Buck turned out to be my favorite role” (Saturday Evening Post, 1949). Andy, in the old films I’ve seen always seemed to be the sort of dim-witted sidekick.

Movie Clip of all the actors in Stagecoach, (1939)

Devine, Andy, (1949). The Roll I Liked Best, Saturday Evening Post, 4/9/1949, Vol. 221 Issue 41, p120-120 1/3p.

GoodyKoontz, B. & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From Watching to Seeing, Bridgepoint
Education, Inc. San Diego, CA:
Grenier, R. (1996). The Cowboy Patriot. The National Interest, (45), 84.
http://search.ebscohost.proxy-library.ashford.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgcl.18827116&site=eds-live
New York Times, Late Edition, (2000). Claire Trevor, 91, Obituary, New York Times Publisher

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Stagecoach

The three basic categories of sound are dialogue, sound effects and, music. Dialogue, is the interaction of speaking between the characters, sound effects are the sounds added to the film that produce the various noises concerned with the scene, such as shooting, bombs, reve of engines, and any sounds that are needed to complete the scene, the music is used to underscore the action on the screen, if it’s a happy scene the music become happy, the worst music is the one which signals a horror scene or murder. “The first microphones for recording sound were clumsy and bulky and produced poor sound quality” (Dixon & Foster, 1950, p.94).

The different categories of sound are all used in Stagecoach. The impact of sound in establishing the theme was the use of dialogue between the different characters of eight different people traveling on a stagecoach from Tonto, to Lordsburg, New Mexico in 1855. The dialogue tends to be with a western type of accent since Stagecoach is of the Western Genre. How these people all changed during this journey is the heart of the movie. The people ranged from a Virginia lady of high class, to the other lady, who was a saloon girl not considered at the start of the trip to be a lady. Stagecoach, was filmed in 1939 and is in black and white. John Ford Directed the film and he used sound to set each scene by the type of instruments used.

“Characters talking to one another in films, known as dialogue, is now so much a part of the movie experience that audiences take it for granted. But creating a scene in which characters talk to one another as they do in real life is no easy task” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014, p.201).

Sound effects used were hoof beats, the horsewhip, shooting bullets, screams of the Apaches in their war cries. “Before there use in films, sound effects were used in radio for years to add realism to the broadcast. Crumpling cellophane may have been used to make the sound of fire, a doorbell in the studio might indicate the arrival of a visitor, and more” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014, p.204).

The music in the film was classical during the running of the horses pulling the stagecoach the music added fear and danger to the scenes as the stagecoach raced on, in the dance hall there was a piano player, who played old time piano music and in the scene at Apache Wells, the Apache wife the the Mexican station master sang to the Vaqueros, warning them to leave because the Apache’s were on the way. All the music contributed to a fast-paced film that along with the characters creates fear along the trail to Lordsburg.

“At it’s root, film is a visual medium, after all, but scored are not just tossed off ditties, some become classics in their own right, and imposers become important assets to interpreting
the film” (GoodyKoontz & Jacobs, 2014, p.206).

The sound effects in Stagecoach were realistic, as was the dialogue, and the music that was part of the movie. If the dialogue changed, the theme of the movie and the importance that was placed on the characters learning the good in their fellow passengers would have destroyed the point of the movie.

Dixon, W.W. & Foster, G.A., (1950) A Short History of Film,

GoodyKoontz, B. & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film From Watching to Seeing, Bridgepoint Education, Inc. San Diego, CA:

lighting used in Alice In Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland used several types of lighting to enhance the viewers experience in watching the film. The 3-point technique is used in filming parts of Alice. This lighting system is based on three different sources of light. A bright key light, a slightly dimmer light and what is called a fill light that shines on the upper left and upper right sides of a camera that is aimed at the subject. This makes a 3 dimensional look and has softer shades and a back light that shines behind the actors in order to separate the actor from the scene. The shots of Alice falling down the rabbit hole used the 3-point lighting. “This style of lighting is based on careful control of shadows by using three main light sources” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014).

Tracking shots were used in the scenes that showed Alice and the animals all fleeing the Bandersnatch, as they ran through the forest of giant mushrooms. Tracking is when a camera is placed on a dolly that moves along a track placed to either follow the actors or back up away from them to see them running towards the camera. This allows the audience to better view the action of the actors as they focus in the different scenes.

Parts of Alice in Wonderland, used computer-generated imagery (CGI), in scenes that envisioned the unreal or fantasy characters or scenery. The Bandersnatch, Jabberwackky, the Card Armies, giant mushrooms and the floating heads. The computer generated shots are then blended with the live action which is filmed separately. “An admixture of live action, motion capture, and computer generated imagery (CGI), in Burton’s adaption of Alice utilizes cutting edge, hybridized animation techniques, as well as stereoscopic 3-D technology” (Manning, 2011).

The benefits of the type of lighting used enabled the interaction of the human characters with the fantasy characters. This and the brilliant colors used suited the genre of the film and added excitement.

If different types of lighting had been used the film might not have been so stunning. Looking at the Mad Hatter with his brilliant orange hair and Alice in Blue with all the other blue of the sky lighted to stun the viewer. Fantasy, since it can’t depend on reality for colors needs to have colors that lighting will make stand out.

If for instance grey had been used as a dominant color the lighting would have needed to have been much brighter. If the lighting had been much brighter the scenes wouldn’t have been a effective especially in the parts where the action was frightening and grotesque in the shadows.

Goodykootz, B. & Jacobs, C.P. (2014). Film: From Watching to Seeing, Bridgepoint Education, Inc., San Diego,
CA:

Manning, K.M. (2011). That’s the Effect of Living Backwards: Technological changes Lewis Carroll’s Alice
Books and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Neo-Victorian Studies 4, (2) 154.

 

Alice in Wonderland

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Directed by Tim Burton (2010).

Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

Produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd, and John Roth

Starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover,

and Mia Wasikowskia as Alice

From the Novel, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and

Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

In summary this film is the story of Alice and the dream that she consistently has since she was a little girl.  The story starts when Alice is eight years old and she has been woken by the dream.  In the dream she sees strange creatures, a blue caterpillar, a white rabbit wearing a vest, and a smiling cat  Her father comforts her as she asks him if she’s crazy and he replies all the best people are.  In this movie all the best people really are.

The plot of the story continues the story of Alice when she…

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Alice in Wonderland

Directed by Tim Burton (2010).

Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

Produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd, and John Roth

Starring Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover,

and Mia Wasikowskia as Alice

From the Novel, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland and

Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

In summary this film is the story of Alice and the dream that she consistently has since she was a little girl.  The story starts when Alice is eight years old and she has been woken by the dream.  In the dream she sees strange creatures, a blue caterpillar, a white rabbit wearing a vest, and a smiling cat  Her father comforts her as she asks him if she’s crazy and he replies all the best people are.  In this movie all the best people really are.

The plot of the story continues the story of Alice when she turns nineteen.  Alice’s father has passed away and her mother is taking her to party at a former business partner of her father’s.  Once at the party she discovers that it’s actually her engagement party.  Alice leaves Hiram, her suitor at the Gazebo as she sees the white rabbit again and runs to catch him.  Seeing the white rabbit go down a Hole, Alice looks in and away she goes down the hole to Wonderland.  Alice is now in a round room with many doors, she tries them all but they won’t open, seeing a key on the table and a bottle that says drink me.  Upon drinking from the bottle Alice shrinks small enough to fit through one door but she forgot the key on the table, so then she takes a bite of a cake that says eat me and grows very tall.  Picking up the key she drinks from the bottle again and shrinks enough to go through the small door.  Alice finds herself in a beautiful world populated with all kinds of beautiful plants and trees, and with things like a flying rocking horse.   The plot continues with Alice meeting all the creatures she thought she saw in her dreams, including the twins, Tweedlly Dee and Tweedly Dum.  Alice has many adventures in Wonderland such as saving the Mad Hatter, the White Queen and many other friends.  Finally to keep them all safe she has to kill a large fire breathing dragon.

“This is not a film version of the Alice Books, but a film that uses significant characters borrowed from the Alice Books to create an new story” (Susina, 2011).

Resources:

Disney Movie Trailers: (2010). Alice in Wonderland official movie clip. [Video file]. Retrieved from youtu.be.

Susina, J. (2011). Alice in Wonderland. Marvels & Tales. (1), 181. Illinois State University Press, United States