Mise En Scene

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With reference to “Strangers On A Train”
analyse the mise-en-scene.

In this essay I am going to write about the film “Strangers On A Train” and look at how mise en scene and narrative structure are used to establish the film’s themes.

Strangers On A Train is about two men, Guy Haines and Bruno Anthony, who meet on a train by accidentally knocking shoes. Guy is a professional tennis player and Bruno recognises him and starts talking to him. Bruno knows from the papers that Guy wishes to marry the senator’s daughter Ann Morton, but he cannot until he is divorced from Miriam, his current wife. He also tells guy of his hatred for his father, and tells him of his theory and that they should swap murders. When Bruno assumes they have made a deal and goes ahead with his plan and kills Bruno’s wife he then expects Guy to complete his part of the deal and murder his father. Guy refuses and Bruno is constantly on at him to do the murder, meanwhile Guy is being carefully watched by the law enforcement and is the suspect for Miriam’s murder but there is no evidence, at least until Bruno (angry at Guy double crossing him) goes to plant evidence to suggest Guy’s involvement. He goes to put the lighter at the fairground, the scene of the crime. Guy struggles for his life as he goes after Bruno and the lighter, ending up on an out of control carrousel. When the carrousel terrifyingly breaks down Bruno is crushed underneath the wreckage, and still refuses to tell the truth about the murder. But as he dies his hand opens and reveals the lighter in his palm.

Mise en scene is a phrase from the French and means “placing on a stage”. It is originally from the theatre, where it meant that the director thought carefully about everything that was on the stage, and took into account the effect of everything that appeared in the frame of onstage space in order to create mood and ambience. These elements would include the setting, costume and make up, lighting, actors expression...
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