I Had No Idea What I Was Doing

Watch some films: Your choice: How does space help frame the design and style of noir in these films? What design elements of noir are not specific to a particular time and place? Categorize this post under “Thoughts and Ideas”and tag it “filmdesign” (no quotes).

This week I watched Double Indemnity because I listened to it on DS Radio last week, and I wanted to compare the movie to the show. I was really impressed with the movie, and felt that it conveyed a lot of noir feelings. There are also a lot of design elements that stood out throughout the movie. I ended up taking about 40 screenshots, but these were the ones I thought were most important.

Most of the design elements I came across didn’t seem to be specific to noir. Everything seemed to help enhance the story, and would enhance any story you applied them to.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was exactly looking for. The directions confused me a little bit, but hopefully what I came up with is what we were supposed to do.

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You can feel the chaos in this scene. The way everything feels cluttered gives off the typical office feel. The function of the office is portrayed through the set up of the building. The double floors give a sense of hierarchy feeling, as well as the proportion of the size of the building making the work feel less important.

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Comparing these two scenes really shows how much lighting effects the mood of a scene. Even though this movie is in black and white, the color is still really important. In the picture that shows the house in the day time, it looks like any regular family home. It is very inviting and gives off what you would think is a positive vibe. The house in the dark, however, is very eerie. It is definitely not inviting, and you can tell that something bad is going to happen, or has happened. These lighting designs are not unique to noir. I have seen this used in horror movies, and sad TV episodes. The lighting is really important for the mood of the scene.

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In this photo, we definitely see a lot of rhythm in the way the groceries are stacked. It gives the grocery store order, and it also gave the scene a sense of stability. Everything seems to be organized which should make the viewer feel more comfortable.

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This picture shows a lot of rhythm. The shadows create designs that establish a pattern as well as a texture. Walter’s shadow also plays into the scene, as a pop of “color.” The shadow is definitely contrasting the walls, and giving the scene a sense of intensity. The shadow could also be a metaphor for what is happening in this scene. The shadow represents light, and without light there is no shadow. Thus, without the light, we cannot be traced.

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The perspective of this scene really shows a lot about perspective. It makes me think of the quote “If you can see them, they can see you.” In this scene, anyone on the other side of the door should not be able to see Phyllis. However, with the way Walter is standing, it seems as though he is trying to hide something. But since we can see that he is hiding something, our perspective on what is happening is thrown off. From the other side, it may just look like he is standing at the door, holding it open. However, we won’t know because we never see the other viewpoint.

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There is not a lot in this scene, but it still tells a lot about what is happening. The minimalist features keep you interested, and allow you to focus on what is happening. You aren’t distracted by clutter and a mess. You can tell that Phyllis is weary about opening the door, because you are focusing on her body language rather than what is going on in the foreground.

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