"Casablanca:" A New Perspective
Throughout history, the film industry has seen many directing styles and techniques. The early part of the 20th century saw a factory style of film production, but as the years went by, director's began to employ new and untried techniques in their pictures. One such technique which these director's implemented was a new approach to the use of the camera and camera angles. "Casablanca," an Academy Award winning film of 1942 saw director Michael Curtiz manipulate the camera in ways others had not. He uses the close-up, point-of- view shot, and creative shot motivation methods in his film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, to create an American cinema classic.
The first camera technique Curtiz uses to help narrate the film is the close-up shot. The close-up can effectively convey the story to the viewer without the use of excessive dialogue. In this instance, the viewer is introduced to the main character, Rick, through the use of the close-up. The first scene in "Rick's Cafe," shows people gambling and making illegal deals to leave Casablanca. An employee of the cafe bring a check to a man seated at a chess table to sign. The signature reads, "OK. Rick." By using this shot, the director makes clear to the reader, without any dialogue, that the man signing the check is Rick. This technique, however, is just the first of many used by Curtiz.
The point-of-view shot is used by director Michael Curtiz to place the audience directly into the action. By placing the camera at the exact location and height of the character, the viewer of the film is 'inserted' into the character's body, making the scene more personal. Curtiz uses a slight variation of this type of camera placement when Capt. Renault and Rick are having a discussion about Victor Laslo's arrival in Casablanca. The camera is placed just above and aft of Renault's shoulder. The audience can now see Renault's body reactions, as well as having...
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