Narrative Report - Shadow of a Doubt

Topics: Narrative, The Merry Widow, Plot Pages: 4 (1292 words) Published: June 22, 2011
Narrative Report – Shadow of A Doubt
Story and Plot

In narrative film we make a distinction between story and plot by identifying the content of the film - the events both seen and unseen. The story itself is the sum total of all the events which occur in that story. This includes the events which are presented to us in the film such as the characters and action we see before us, “explicitly presented events” and the events which occur off screen, “presumed and inferred events”. (Bordwell & Thompson, 2010, p80). The distinction between plot and story occurs because the plot consists only of explicitly presented events. Off-screen activity is not a part of the film’s plot – this content belongs to the story alone. From this we can see that explicitly presented events are common to both the story and the plot. A film’s plot can also contain nondiegetic material such as images, sounds, events which can assist the viewer in further understanding the plot. In Shadow of A Doubt there are repeated images of a dance scene in which the viewer sees wealthy socialites dancing to the Merry Widow Waltz. The characters in the film do not see this imagery or hear the music – it is nondiegetic. The events in Shadow of A Doubt are presented in chronological order. The story commences in Philadelphia and then travels to California where it remains for the duration of the film. Only the nondiegetic material, the images of the dancers are presented to us out of sequence. These images may be a flashback to Uncle Charlie’s life or they may be purely nondiegetic. The viewer is never told if there is any physical connection with these and Uncle Charlie. The timeline for the story and the plot in Shadow of A Doubt are quite different. The story takes place over several months, possibly several years. There are a range of inferred events which the viewer never witnesses. The murders of the wealthy widows occur well before we first meet Uncle Charlie however they are integral to...
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