Reading a book, a story is told to us in the words we read, and the pictures of what is happening in the stories exist in our mind. When we watch a film, the story is told using many different elements. For example, we see pictures which contain characters, location, objects and these help tell the story. The actors will be dressed in certain way, will speak in certain way, and will have certain expression on their faces and certain tones in their voices, which will all tell us something about what is going on. Music and other sound effects will also add to the way the story is told and the effects on the audience.
Camera work and editing will also help tell the story and techniques such as flash backs can also add interest. Finally the words we hear will add to our knowledge of what is happening. These words will usually be in the form of dialogue but sometimes can be in the form of a voice-over. Giving Information Who – Characters – Relationships set out – Some aspects of their personalities hinted What – What’s going on – Subject matter of the film – What is it about Who – Reasons – Motion for what happens are introduced Where – Location.
– The setting for the film When – Setting in time (past, present or future) All of these things are intended to involve the audience, arouse their interest without satisfying it. To make them care about their characters, make them wonder what happens next and why, give them enough information to make them curious. Sunset Boulevard Sunset Boulevard is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made. The plot of this film is about a young screenwriter ending up being a gigolo to a silent film star who is determined on making a comeback.
This is the film that I am going to look at in detail, which was released in 1950, was directed by Billy Wilder, which stars William Holden, Gloria Swanson Erich, Von Stroheim and Nancy Olson. The film won an Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Score and Screenplay, and was nominated for 8 other awards including Best Picture. The film was part of a genre which became known as a ‘FILM NOIR’. The film opens with a pan down a street in Hollywood, after showing the road and movies name on the curve of the pavement which is stencilled with ‘SUNSET BLVD.
‘ The camera pulls back across the cracked, defaced, asphalt road with superimposed credits – also stencilled (the credits appear with the background of the road it self moving). The panning continues as the credits are shown for around one, two minutes. Towards the end of the credits the panning down of the road slows down from a fast pace movement to a steady pace movement. The music played in the background from the start of the film (even when the production company is shown – Paramount) is an orchestral sound.
It then changes to a loud, high tone sound which is held for five to six seconds just before the credits are shown. Toward the end of the credits the music changes from a mysterious sound to a sinister sound, this is used to give great impact to the start of the film. Also used to add impact is a loud banging of drums also at the end of the credits. As the camera stops tracking down the road, it pans up so we get a view of the long, straight, empty road, which was quite dark considering it was five in the morning (plus the black and white colour).
The mixture of the credits music and the mixture of sirens take place at this point. As it shows the empty road, we expect something to happen – and we see a bright light, followed by more bright lights heading towards us coming at a fast speed, this is a motorbike followed by a few cars. This is where the mixture of the entrance music and the sound of sirens becoming louder and louder as the cars head towards us. These sounds of sirens indicate that something bad is happening or has happened. Also this is the moment when the voice over starts.
The voice-over narration is read as if the person is refusing to believe that people can ever be good, kind or honest. “Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. It’s about five o’clock in the morning. That’s the Homicide Squad – complete with detectives and newspapermen. A murder has been reported from one of those great big houses in the ten thousand blocks. You’ll read about it in the late editions, I’m sure. You’ll get it over your radio and see it on television because an old-time star is involved – one of the biggest.
But before you hear it all distorted and blown out of proportion, before those Hollywood columnists get their hands on it, maybe you’d like to hear the facts, the whole truth. If so, you’ve come to the right party. You see, the body of a young man was found floating in the pool of her mansion – with two shots in his back and one in his stomach. Nobody important, really. Just a movie writer with a couple of ‘B’ pictures to his credit. The poor dope! He always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool – only the price turned out to be a little high. “