This shot-by-shot project will refine your ability to analyze all aspects of film form. Through close study of a specific series of shots, you will demonstrate your command of the terms and concepts first encountered in Introduction to Film, now mastered at the advanced level.
You and several classmates will be assigned one of the films by Alfred Hitchcock listed below. View via the free streaming hyperlinks on D2L or all of these DVDs are available via overnight library reserves. You may also decide to rent or purchase the film on your own.
|Shadow of a Doubt (1943, 108 min.): Hitchcock's own favorite film!||The Birds (1963, 120 min.): violent, threatening birds!|
|Suspicion (1941, 99 min.): suspicous romance/marriage||Psycho (1960, 109 min.): violent, threatening innkeeper!|
|To Catch a Thief (1955, 106 min.): beautiful, colorful French Riviera setting||Notorious (1946, 102 min.): suspenseful espionage thriller|
First, watch the entire film as a group if you can, or individually if need be. Then, study the film together as a group in order to evaluate and describe everything seen and heard in the first ten shots of the film. Do NOT work separately on this project and simply collate your analyses later and certainly do not rely on one member of the group to perform the entire project. This is a GROUP project; you will earn a drastically lower grade if you do not follow these directions and work together on this assignment.
For this exercise, Shot 1 is the first shot after the credit sequence. That is, the shot immediately after the words "Directed by Alfred Hitchcock" and that shot's edit is Shot 1, followed by Shot 2, etc. Each shot analysis will focus upon how mise-en-scène, camerawork, editing, and sound cue us to understand the shot's meanings. Please use the following detailed examples as a guide for your project:
Shot-by-Shot Guide Form
Example: Strangers on a Train
In addition to your ten shot analyses, you will write as a group a concise essay (1-2 double-spaced pages) explaining how the film's credit sequence in combination with the various formal elements of the first ten shots relate to the meanings and impact of the film as a whole. In what ways does the style of the credit sequence (beyond its list of production personnel) prepare you for the film that follows? How do the font style, graphics, music, and/or sound effects cue you to anticipate the meaning of the film? What formal relationships, questions, and narrative expectations about the film are set up by the credits in conjunction with the first ten shots?
IMPORTANT: You should consult ONLY Bordwell & Thompson's Film Art and Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing About Film for advice on writing your project. Conduct NO other external research for this assignment. All the information you need is in your keen eyes & ears, your group's collective film-scholar brain, and the film itself, including the credits. Do NOT consult any DVD commentaries, internet sites, books, articles, etc. The point of this assignment is for you to show off your analytical skills, not those of someone else. Use of any additional texts will be considered plagiarism and will result in a zero on the assignment and an F in the course.
Be sure to follow all of the following cautions/rules:
Your group will give a short (5-10 minute) presentation to the class to illustrate your shot-by-shot findings. Dr. Bonner will show the opening credits and first ten shots of your film to the class, then your group will explain the significance of the credit sequence and those ten shots to the rest of the film. Don't address each shot in the detail; just highlight any important details and sum up in general. See the schedule for the date. Turn in a printout of your Shot-by-Shot and your Essay, and post both to D2L Dropbox as well.