Compare and Contrast Two Clips from Battleship Potemkin and the Untouchables

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  • Topic: The Battleship Potemkin, Film editing, Odessa
  • Pages : 5 (1961 words )
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  • Published : April 14, 2013
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Compare and Contrast Two Clips from Battleship Potemkin and The Untouchables In introduction to this essay where I will be comparing and contrasting two scenes from Battleship Potemkin and The Untouchables, I will be looking at similarities in how the film has been shot, edited, what sounds are in there and their use of montage. I will also include references to text that strengthens my points and arguments made. I will start briefly by summarising what appears in both of the clips. First off, Battleship Potemkin (1925) is based on historical events. It dramatises the riot at the battleship Potemkin in 1905 when the crew of said battleship rebelled against their officers of the Tsarist regime. The clip in particular I was looking at was the Odessa Steps sequence, which is the film’s most iconic by far though quite interesting never actually took place like the rest of the film, more included for dramatic effect and to show monstrous side of the regime of Tsar. In the clip it shows the soldiers marching down the Odessa Steps in a robotic-type fashion and massacring the civilians there that attempted to stand up to them. The clip mercilessly documents this inhumane moment with clear focus on the civilians facial expressions of pain and the soldiers obvious remorselessness of their slaying of the innocent. As a silent film the image and soundtrack is very integral to the experience of watching the film and the music really compliments the situations. It crescendos in intensity as the scene gets more and more harrowing but comes down to nothing when the one civilian dares to stand up against the soldiers, only to come back in again (almost with remorse) as that lone woman gets gunned down by the military. A key moment in the scene is involved when a woman with a baby in a pram is trying to protect her child from the soldiers but ends up getting shot herself and there is a drawn out dramatic moment as she falls dead and the pram is on the precipice of careening down the stairs. The pram eventually falls all the way down the stairs and tips over at the bottom, leaving the child to the mercy of the stampeding crowd and the audience in a severe state of shock at the closing moments to the surreal scene. The influential American director and producer D.W. Griffith claimed about an upcoming future, “There will be long rows of boxes or pillars...classified and indexed....at each box a push button and before each box a seat. Supposed you wish to ‘read up’ on a certain episode in Napoleon’s life. Instead of consulting all the authorities, wading laboriously through a host of books, and ending bewildered, without a clear idea of exactly what did happen and confused...by conflicting opinions about what did happen, you will merely seat yourself at a...window, in a scientifically prepared room, press the button, and actually see what happened. There will be no opinions expressed. You will merely be present at the making of history. All the work of writing, revising, collating and reproducing will have been carefully attended to by a corps of recognised experts, and you will have received a vivid and complete expression” (1915). I believe that anyone reading this present-day would claim this as a slightly delusional statement but at the time when the historical films like Battleship Potemkin and Cabiria (1914) were being released it would be seen as a quite desirable future to have history dictated to the audience through the effective medium of film which was still new technology in the early 20th century. This could only strengthen future director’s focus on image as an extremely important medium. The Untouchables (1987) is a crime-drama gangster film based upon a book of the same name. The film shows a government agent, Elliot Ness, assembling a small team to bring crime boss, Al Capone to justice. The scene for which I was studying was the famous “Union Station Shootout” scene from the film, which is regularly referenced to be in homage...
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