It’s alive! It’s alive!
Boris Karloff’s iconic rendition of Frankenstein’s monster in the classic 1931 film provided much to talk about in our Film Studies class this November.
In class we explored many conceptual issues raised by the film. The famous scene of the monster’s animation has seeped into popular consciousness but isn’t detailed in Shelley’s book. Yet such a dramatic moment could not be let play out off-screen. This is an issue that those who wish to transfer a work from one medium to another must confront.
To further our discussion we also looked at Lawrence Olivier’s Hamlet as an adaption of an already dramatic art form. We discussed the challenges of light, space and proximity on the screen as opposed to on the stage.
We also looked at the concept of “blocking”. This is how the placement and movement of actors within a shot conveys information to us. This allows the audience to read in an intuitive way the relationships between the people on screen. Frankenstein has multiple excellent examples of the movement of the camera within discussions to show how power shifts.
Another example of this that we talked about is taken from Hitchcock’s masterpiece Vertigo. Students were asked to see what they could discern about the nature of the conversation by seeing how the speakers move through a room and the cameras chosen angles.
Hitchcock is on the ticket again in December. To help focus our discussion on the role of sound and atmosphere, we will be watching the 1960 classic Psycho. Renowned for its suspense and twist, the students will get to see the source of one of the most celebrated movie scores of all time.
Film Studies is open to all full-time 4th and 5th year students and takes place on Thursdays at 4.30pm in G-3. All welcome to attend!