The Untouchables Essay
In this essay I am going to compare the shootout scene of the movie "The Untouchables" and the clip of the Odessa Steps sequence from Potemkin. The first thing the viewer sees in the clip of The Untouchables is Elliot Ness at the top of the staircase helping a mother with her baby carriage. A close up shot of the face of one of the villains is shown right before the gun fire breaks out. During the confusion, the baby starts rolling down the stairs. The music turns to a type of nursery rhyme melody, which is an eerie effect on the viewer and adds to the suspense. This scene shows the thoughts Ness, as he has to make a very fast decision during the shootout: to save the baby or shoot the villains? Next, a slow motion sequence begins. This is necessary because the viewer would not be able to experience everything in real time. The shots switch back and forth between the baby and gunfight. All the while, the carriage keeps making its way down the stairs with a ‘Clunk, Clunk, Clunk’ sound. The sound effect adds to the feeling of danger the baby is in. Ness is trying to stop the carriage and save the baby while in the shootout. A close up of the mother shows her mouth the words, “My baby!” The viewer is quite anxious for Ness and the baby. The camera shot switches to a medium shot of Ness’ accomplice, who throws him a gun. The accomplice slides across the floor at the base of the stairs and stops the baby’s carriage. Ness takes one last shot and kills the book keeper. On the Odessa Steps, a mother with an infant in the baby carriage is shot. The screen is expanded drawing out the agony of the young mother’s slow death. Her body falls in slow motion. The camera cuts back and forth between the mother dying and soldiers at the bottom of the stairs slaughtering people, continuing their march on the steps. The camera shows the wheels of the baby carriage four separate times perched precariously at the top of the stairs. In the...
Cited: Nichols, Bill Engaging Cinema. New York: 2010. Print.
Opening sequence of Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) Web.
Odessa Steps sequence from Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) Web.
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