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And why not? It worked in Blazing Saddles! » Blog Archive » Miller’s Crossing – Part One.

Miller’s Crossing – Part One.

Okay, so I’m a little behind in the blogging world. It looks as though most of my blogging will have to be done on the weekends, seeing as though I spend most of my quality time during the week on 95 driving to my classes (fantastic). So forgive me if I’m speaking about topics that have already been discussed, but I have things to say so here I go!
Miller’s Crossing. I feel as though that first scene says so much about the progression of the movie: the plot and the characters, as we have already mentioned in class.
We talked at length about the ice cube sound, so I won’t go too deeply into that. I do have to say, though, that it was a brilliant way to tie together two constants in the movie: gambling and alcohol. Clearly, gambling is one of the addictions that Tom has, and that sound sets that up immediately. There is also the constant presence of alcohol throughout the movie, as is true with many movies during or set in that time period. I think it’s a bit of an addiction for many of the characters, considering how often they drink throughout the course of the movie.
Next I come to the positioning of Tom in that opening scene. At the back of the room, we can see him. Not just his face, or his legs, but his entire body. This shot gave me the feeling that he is almost a fly on the wall, always present and listening to what is going on around him, no matter which side is speaking. I feel as though that positioning is fairly revealing about his character. Not to mention throughout that entire scene, he says very few words. (Granted I think it is hard to get a word in, what with friendship, character and, most importantly, ETHICS to be discussed). We can deduce that he is quiet and intervenes when he feels it is necessary. We can also see that he is privy to information from both sides—something that will happen again down the road.
Okay so now, I have to stop my Miller’s Crossing discussion, because I want to view it one more time before commenting on a few other things. I did get ahold of a copy though, so I will be able to do that later this weekend.
I did have another thought right now though to talk about, one that we mentioned in class a few days ago. We were talking about the difference between reading the story and seeing the movie—the impact of looking into someone’s eyes.
This got me thinking about situations in which see the ability to look into the eyes of the hero, or individual, on camera made a bigger impact on me than it did in the text. It’s sort of a different situation, but I felt it between the documentary Fog of War by Errol Morris, and the book version. For the book as well as the film, authors James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang worked with Errol Morris and his research team. Blight and Lang use a method called critical oral history, and the book gives a wonderful explanation of that method, and follows it beautifully. It’s informative and I enjoyed it very much, however there was one aspect that the film showed me that the book could not.
At one instance Robert Strange McNamara (I know I don’t have to say his middle name, but come on, it’s fantastic) is talking about the assassination of JFK. Reading that part, yes, I was obviously saddened when hearing McNamara speak about it in the book, but nothing compared to watching him talk about it in the documentary. It was instances like that, where his eyes were clouded with tears, or filled with regret, that really made me realize the magnitude of the information I was receiving. Through his eyes up on the screen I literally felt as though I was living the emotion he felt at these monumental times in history, and it, to say the least, it was pretty darn impressive.
I think that’s all for now in relation to Miller’s Crossing, but I’ll revisit it once I watch it again!

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