Section A - Hollywood: Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) & Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) Flashcards Preview

Eduqas A Level Film Studies - Paper 1 > Section A - Hollywood: Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) & Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) > Flashcards

Flashcards in Section A - Hollywood: Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) & Blade Runner (Scott, 1982) Deck (66)
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What was the main aim of The Hollywood Style?

Realism - compete with theatre. Shot in controlled environments, made look realistic

Aim make cuts invisible: continuity editing, 180 rule, cross cutting, eye line matches

P.O.V. shots - see from character's perspective, can't do that in cinema


How were Classic Hollywood films produced?

Assembly line production (100s films/year/studio)
Factory-like environments
Studios contracted actors: guaranteed employment, take risks. Stars popularity brought in money - buying them saved money (investment)
Loan actors between studios for different genres


How much control did a studio have under the Studio System?

Studio had all production and distribution rights (owned own cinemas)
No committee - could make what ever you wanted
Whole creative teams contracted to studios: secured talent


Name the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Studio System

Ads: Lots of films quickly

- Long hard shifts
- Women only worked as stars (objectified)
- New tax laws -> actors breaking contracts to earn more money -> studios closing
- Indie cinemas couldn't compete


How divided was 50s America?

How does this relate to 'Vertigo'

Racist & sexist - segregated society
Civil rights & women's movements towards end of decade

Men trying to re-assert control over women. Scottie tells Judy to spend time with him instead of going to work: "Let me take care of you"


Who invented the contra-zoom and how was it used to create meaning in 'Vertigo'?

Irmin Roberts - uncredited cameraman

Used for Scottie's 'Vertigo'; chasing Madeleine in tower, audience feels his vertigo. Used alongside P.O.V. shots


How are P.O.V. shots used to create meaning in 'Vertigo'?

P.O.V. shots of Scottie viewing Madeleine/Judy - noticing curl in her hair is same as one of Carlotta in painting (male gaze theory)


How are close-ups used to create meaning in 'Vertigo'?

Close ups on significant details: Carlotta's grave, Madeleine's necklace, curl in hair


How is Judy's suit important in 'Vertigo'?

Hitchcock controlled Novak through grey suit
Wanted Vera Myles (saw her in black and white). She got pregnant, so angrily got Kim Novak in. Wanted her to wear grey (recreate black and white). She didn't want to, but Hitchcock made her

Scottie forces Judy to wear it to become Madeleine


How is colour used in the set design of 'Vertigo'?

How does this relate to the production contexts/auteur theory?

Expressive miss en scene of Classic Hollywood ; use of colour - red in restaurant, love and passion
Hotel = grey, bland, bleak
Green = Madeleine (ghostly effect on her as leaves bathroom - ghost of Madeleine is there)

Mise-en-scene tends to expressive emotion: everything in the film relates to the story, conveys an emotion. Trying to compete with theatre - make the sets look like a theatre set


How is chiaroscuro lighting used to create meaning in 'Vertigo'?

Green = Madeleine's colour motif. Sat in the window at the hotel - green hotel light illuminates half her face, half not. Duality of Madeleine and Judy

Hitchcock inspired by German Expressionism - chiaroscuro lighting used commonly in this. Sign of his auteur signature


How does the idea of passive female characters relate to 'Vertigo'?

Classic Hollywood films have passive female characters who are sexual objects for the active male characters

Madeleine = passive female characters. She doesn't speak for first 40 minutes. Calls Scottie 'Mr Ferguson' at first.

Judy = more active than Madeleine. Protests at Scottie trying to stop her becoming Madeleine again, but lets him do it

Midge = active. Follows Scottie following Madeleine. Puts a note under his door, paints the painting for him


How does Judy's closet create meaning in 'Vertigo'?

Closet = Judy hiding the suit in there, repressing the idea of Madeleine, trying to forget it.

Kim Novak trying to forget the idea of becoming Madeleine, not wanting to wear that suit


What is the political regime of L.A. in 'Blade Runner'?

How does this relate to the political contexts of the time?

Controlled by right wing dictator and huge companies
Ruthless capitalism - build off-world colonies to fulfill dream of escape and pleasure whilst destroying Earth

Rapid growth of advertising and consumerism. Environmental concerns arising on the harm this was doing to the planet (no natural animals left in film - all robots)


How is technology relevant to 'Blade Runner'?

How does this relate to the technological contexts of the time?

Technology advances -> profit & power, whilst dehumanising the robots it created

Technology evolving quickly: VHS, Walkman, digital camera, original Atari, etc. Robots beginning to do jobs people used to do


What film was a huge influence on 'Blade Runner'?



German Expressionist aesthetic

Both class-divided cities, vertically arranged: leaders in huge skyscrapers at top, proletariat at dark bottom


How does the world of 'Blade Runner' reflect the social anxieties of the time?

Dystopian city - anxieties of rich, suburban, white middle class: view city as dangerous, chaotic, unstable and dominate by lawless poor people with no morals

Rich people in 'Blade Runner' have left the earth, leaving the poor people to their own devices

Dystopias always reflect the fears of the time & place they were written


How does the fear of foreign influences relate to 'Blade Runner'?

Fear of Japan's growing economic power - wide media coverage of Japanese buying real estate in New York

Fears globalisation and immigration would destroy American culture

Oriental influences in film: Japanese kanji, oriental umbrellas. Many languages spoken in the city


How does the idea of the 'Mega City' relate to 'Blade Runner'?

Mega-City starting to emerge - L.A, Rio de Janeiro, London. Huge populations and uran sprawl - no centre, planning or defined borders

L.A. in Blade Runner is out of control. Ultimate mega city


How was 'Blade Runner' received critically and financially?

Financial disappointment - made back half it's budget
Terrible reviews - "science fiction pornography - all sensation and no heart"
People believed it sacrificed feeling for sceptical - 'metteur en scene': not auteur


How are bird's eye shots used in 'Blade Runner' to create meaning?

Bird's eye shot of the city - sheer height of the buildings. Police station = high above city, oversees everything


How is lighting used in 'Blade Runner' to create meaning?

All of the lights are artificial (bar the unicorn scene) - car headlights, umbrellas. Dark gritty feel, film noir aesthetic


Who's idea was it to remove the voiceovers in the Director's Cut of 'Blade Runner'?

Harrison Ford (Deckard) had idea to remove voiceover - less patronising to the audience, we can tell what is happening


3 Main Differences Between Theatrical and Director's Cut of 'Blade Runner'

Why were these changes made?

- Removed Deckard's 13 explanatory voice-overs:
- Harrison Ford & Scott wanted film to tell story itself; felt voice overs were patronising. Studio made them do it to avoid confusion

- Adding unicorn dream sequence: completely different interpretation of film's ending: Gaff's origami unicorn, knows Deckard's dreams, implying his memories are fake and he is a replicant. Meant to show his frustration at being trapped in fake world.
- Removed as it was thought it would cause confusion. The ending where Gaff gives him the origami unicorn is left in though

- Removing studio-imposed "happy ending": made film end ambiguously when the doors closed. What happens to them next?
- Needed happy ending -> more ticket sales. Few people want to see depressing film


How does lighting create meaning in Deckard's dream sequence?

Only use of natural light in the film - dreaming of nature, escapism, contrast to the artificial light in rest of film


How does setting create meaning in Deckard's dream sequence?

Contrast between the setting of the flat - trapped, dark, cluttered and the unicorn setting: green fields, daylight, forest, freedom


How does lighting create meaning when Roy confronts Tyrell in 'Blade Runner'?

Candelight - soft, gold. Like heaven - he is the God who created the robots

Roy's face = chairoscuro lighting. Half-lit, half-not as he decides whether or not to kill him


How does the binary opposition of black and white create meaning when Roy confronts Tyrell in 'Blade Runner'?

Black & white = chessboard, game of strategy
Roy - black coat, white hair. Appears dark on outside, light on inside
Tyrell - white dressing gown, black hair. Appears light on outside, dark on inside


How do representations of gender relate to 'Blade Runner'?

Deckard's strong masculinity limits emotional response
Female replicants either built for sex or objectification
Zhora = powerful fighter, yet we meet her topless, sexualised for pleasure of men
Rachael = femme fatale (convention of film noir)
Pris = built for sex, yet can still fight for herself


4 Conventions of Classic Hollywood narrative

3-Act Structure
Progresses through character's will and struggle to obtain a goal
Men - definable traits, active, goal oriented. Women - passive, rely on actions of the men
Objective storytelling: audience knows more than the characters do


How was space and time used in the Classic Hollywood style?

Flash-forwards and flashbacks
Most shots focus on gestures/facial expressions
Centering - significant people/object in centre of frame
Depth (set, lighting - mostly 3 point - costumes designed separate foreground and background)


What brought on New Hollywood (American New Wave)?

Old Hollywood rapidly losing money: competing TV audiences, poor operational links between studios and theatres

Studio system collapse: tax laws -> stars breaking contracts to get more money. Studios relied on them for money

Changing audiences: younger, more money, college educated


How did Hollywood react to the collapse of the studio system?

European films popular - innovative, took risks, so:
Studios hired young filmmakers - less studio control, more for directors and producers
Production code (1966) and Ratings system (1968)


Historical contexts of New Hollywood

Fight for equality among race and gender
Sexual revolution - FDA approved birth control pill
Counterculture movement - youth protesting traditional views on music, sex, drugs and wars


Popular genres of New Hollywood

B Movies (low budget, inferior quality - James Bond films)
Late 60s, early 70s = revival of sci-fi


Conventional techniques in New Hollywood

Long focal lenses - enlarge small areas, used from a distance
Montage sequences - popular songs played over background
Slow motion and fast cutting - amplify emotion/violence


Conventions of early blockbusters in New Hollywood

Very high budget, aimed at masses, commercial success

Bigger studios, wide release, sequels and spinoffs
Famous actors/actresses, big name directors, released at key points in Year
Structured around stunts, SFX and action sequences



Auteur Theory

Film director = auteur of film
Film's quality = in director's hands - top of hierarchy


Origins of Auteur Theory

French cinema censored by Nazis
French filmmakers fled - young growing up with 'average' films -> French new wave

French idea of auteur = small artisan productions (few involved)
Hollywood system = assembly line production



Step 1 of Auteur Theory

Technical competence - know how to employ cinema techniques for meaning



Step 2 of Auteur Theory

Distinguishable personality - aspects of style across work
"Metteur-en-scene" all style, no substance



Step 3 - Auteur

Interior meaning - tension between personality/personal experience and the material



Criticisms of the Auteur Theory

Kael: "If the film works, do we need to question the film's competence?"

More of a tendency than a theory

Auteur may not be a director - could be anyone ("The Nightmare Before Christmas" directed by Henry Selick in style of Tim Burton)


Who was originally cast to play Madeleine in Vertigo?

What happened?

Vera Myles - Hitchcock called her a "silly girl" for getting pregnant

Saw her on black/white TV, came up with grey suit to fit this


How personal was 'Vertigo' to Hitchcock?

Scottie trying to fill void with Madeleine with Judy
Scottie = Hitchcock, couldn't have Myles, making do with Novak

Locked film away, ashamed of it: very personal to him and a commercial failure


Hitchcock's motifs

Communicating dark obsessions in way audience finds acceptable
Ice queen - cold, blonde woman
Woman wearing glasses - Madeleine in "The 39 Steps", Barbara Bel Geddes "Vertigo"


Paramount studio team that worked for Hitchcock

James Stewart - actor contributing to Hitchcock tension
Edith Head - costumes
Robert Burks - cinematographer
George Tomaski - editor


How did Hitchcock control production of 'Vertigo'?

Novak wouldn't wear grey, brown shoes, a suit, wanted blonde hair - Hitchcock forced her against all these

Reconstructed room from "The Empire" hotel, the florist and the restaurant on set to have control over it


How technology used in 'Vertigo'?

Used Technicolour and VistaVision for fantastically coloured world: vivid, seems artificial


Book 'Vertigo' is based on

"D'entre les morts"


What changes did Hitchcock made from original book?

Book; Judy reveals her involvement in Madeleine's death at end
Film; Moved to 2/3 way through film, insight into Judy's mind (voiceover)

Book; set in Paris
Film; Moved to San Francisco, lots of hills (vertigo)


Book 'Blade Runner' based on

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" - Philip K. Dick


Financial problems in production of 'Blade Runner'

Financing budget very difficult - needed huge budget, analogue film very expensive (needs developing)


Problems with crew during production of 'Blade Runner'

People's willingness to work decreasing - work in rain in night
Writer's strikes - broken down 5th replicant 'Mary' cut due to budget cuts
Actor's strikes -> pre-production 9 months (very long time)


Evidence for Ridley Scott as the auteur of 'Blade Runner'

R.S - "So dark, intense and co-ordinating beauty shot-by-shot, it had to be right"
"My weapon is that camera" (camera stylo)
Initially turned down script. Picked it up after his brother died of cancer - film about death being unfair
His vision to build film's outside world


Evidence against R.S as auteur of 'Blade Runner'

Fancher (producer) passionate for idea of death of animal life on planet, stuck with production instead of getting rid
Barbara Hershey cast Harrison Ford on set of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. R.S. wanted Dustin Hoffman before this
Ford decided take info from voiceovers and put it in mise-en-scene
Hauer thought how to play Batty, R.S. worked around it. Hauer added lines - "tears in the rain"
Daryl Hannah (Pris) created own costume based on Nosferatu. Gymnast - suggested Pris' acrobatics


Hitchcock' main philosophy to film

"When you tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it's impossible to do otherwise."

Learnt trade in silent era - all images, no dialogue


How did German Expressionism influence Hitchcock?

Kuleshov effect for P.O.V. shots
Chiaroscuro lighting - Judy in hotel window, 2 sides to her


How did Hitchcock 'sign' his films?

Brief cameos - outside Elster's office in 'Vertigo'


Significance of spirals as a motif in 'Vertigo'

Spirals - Carlotta's hair, stairwells, shape of bodies as fall to ground, cyclical notes of music score

Spiral = no centre, never ending loop, lack solidity - like character's identities


How masculinity presented in 'Vertigo'?

Opening sequence: Scottie unable to run and jump as fast as other colleagues - responsible for man falling to him death saving him

No purpose, authority, stripped of everything 'masculine', in crisis

Low angle shots of Elster in his office - Scottie looking up to him


How did Hitchcock create his 'brand'?

Built public persona through interviews, publicity stunts for his films, comically macabre trailers for his films


What was Kim Novak's background and signature style?

Loaned from Columbia to Paramount - groomed to be a blonde bombshell to challenge Marilyn Monroe

Gimmick - colour lavender, wore in publicity photos
Wears lavender dress in letter scene


How did Hitchcock get around The Hayes Code?

Hayes Code - all crime needs to be punished
Filmed alternative ending where Elster arrested - but Hitchcock won battle for ambiguous ending

Used ambiguity to get around Code, moral complexity of characters as well: not good or evil


Differences between 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' and 'Blade Runner'

Book; earth post apocalyptic war. Genetically inferior humans have to stay behind from colonies
New religion based on empathy has huge following - exposed as hoax
Deckard married, as is Batty, has affair with Rachael
Sex between humans and androids illegal
Androids = soulless, selfish, sociopathic
Film; Androids more fleshed out. Underdogs. Their deaths are cruel. Batty saves Deckard right before he dies


Influences for Blade Runner cityscape

Hong Kong
Chemical works in Teesside where Scott grew up