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How is a feeling of suspense created in the station scene, from the film 'The Untouchables'.

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Introduction

How Is A Feeling Of Suspense Created In The Station Scene, From The Film 'The Untouchables' - By Leo Matlock 11R In this essay I will analyze the railway scene in the film 'The Untouchables'. I will mainly concentrate on the creation of suspense; I will be looking at the three things that directors use to create different types of atmosphere. These three things are camera angles and movement, the use of sound and lighting and to what extent they contribute. This scene is supposed to be a tense ending to the violence, the final shoot out to try and get Al Capone put in prison. The audience would probably be quite confused and wondering who is who and why each thing is happening. This confusion adds to the tension. The scene (and film) is set in Chicago during the 1930's. In the 1930's America was under prohibition, prohibition meant that it was illegal to sell, make or transport alcohol. Although this rule was made there was still a lot of money to be made with alcohol through bootlegging. Bootlegging was illegally selling alcohol, almost everyone knew about bootlegging and where to buy alcohol. Obviously the alcohol was sold at a higher price then it would be usually, much much higher, this meant that the consumer still had to spend a lot of money for it, which detracted from the original point of prohibition which was to stop people spending money on alcohol as the countries economy was collapsing as shares were worth nothing. In Chicago during this time, not unlike other cities around America there were many rival gangs, which ran Chicago, the most important gang leader was Al Capone. ...read more.

Middle

The high angle shots that look down at him and past him are most effective at creating suspense because they show Ness's nervousness and at any moment a gangster could appear below him while he is unaware. While the shootout is happening there are various Close up shots. This is to show the expressions of the combatants and how they are being affected by the shootout. This is very tense as there is a lot of anxiousness and fear on the faces of everyone as they are fighting for their lives. This is particularly the case when there is a close up of the woman diving to save her baby from falling down the stairs as you can see all of her face close up and you can se the fear written on it even though there is no sound at that point. There are also a lot of long shots and two shots to display the action and what is going on at eye level so it is straight in front of you, this makes you as the audience feel very involved in the action as your eye level is with the action you are not looking down on or up at it, as it is in front of your face, and as the action is very dangerous it adds greatly to the suspense in the scene. At the start of the scene the clock was repeatedly shown, this repetitive image added to the suspense greatly as it showed clearly that time is running out for Ness as months of work depend on the next few moments. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the pram like music was playing it added to the realism, as there was a pram there. It also gave the audience a false sense of security, as it is nice happy carefree music in a sinister important ten minutes in Chicago. It also it spookily scary, as when the pram is stopped from crashing by stone the music starts up and there are lots of dead bodies and blood everywhere and a fierce confrontation between Ness and the gangster is about to start and the music starts to play. Camera angles added to the tension and suspense more then the lighting, though it was more subtle then the sound as only when you reflect on the scene in depth like I have done you realize it has done anything, during the scene you don't even realize what the camera angles are doing. There is only a certain amount of suspense that you can create with a camera angle as just because you are looking at something in a certain way it doesn't mean something will happen. Lighting was the least important factor as the entire scene had to be quite lit as it is a well it area in a train station, and just because something is in shadow doesn't mean it is hidden and secretive. Again it is a more subtle use of suspense and one that I think doesn't add to the suspense much if at all. Generally I would say that suspense was created very well using lighting, sound and camera angles. It could perhaps been improved by a greater use of lighting to display shadows and hidden areas, though it would have been hard to do so in a station. Leo Matlock 11R ...read more.

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