North By Northwest Scene Analysis

Topics: Film techniques, High-angle shot, Low-angle shot Pages: 3 (932 words) Published: February 26, 2014
North By Northwest Scene Analysis
One of the final scenes in the film “North By Northwest,” most easily recognized as the matchbook warning scene, conveys a significant amount of meaning in a small window of time. What makes the matchbook scene an excellent scene to evaluate is the large number of various film techniques that are used to portray its meaning and message. The scene, located towards the end of the film, creates a rising action to climatic level of suspense in the overall storyline of the film. Thorough the use of filming techniques, the story and the director’s message unfold through the eyes of the characters and the angle of the camera. Hitchcock’s desired message and the scene’s overall meaning can be revealed by breaking down the various techniques used in its creation.

Mise-en-scéne is a term that is used to describe the general effect by encompassing everything from content and lighting, to camera angle and frame. It is everything the camera sees and communicates to the audience (Kolker 35). The use and definition of mise-en-scéne is not completely agreed upon, but what cannot be disputed is what Hitchcock places in his scenes. His scenes are made through the compilation of techniques he uses and the effects they create as a result. Potentially the most used technique in the creation of the matchbook warning scene is the medium shot. The medium shot incorporates most of the potential visual media, leaving out some closer detail and distant effect (Class Notes 1/16/13). Not using the full space as often and keeping a closer medium shot with the characters achieves a greater sense of intimacy and closeness, while still keeping the action and actors on the screen. Although used far less than the medium shot, in an effort to place importance on key parts of a scene, a zoomed in shot that shows the detail of something specific will be used in what is called a close-up shot (Kolker 60). In the scene being evaluated a close-up shot is used early...

Bibliography: Class Notes 1/16/13 – 1/23/13
Kolker, Robert. Film, Form, and Culture. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. 35-90. Print.
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