Nine Frame Analysis Of LA ConfidentialI will be looking over nine frames from theopening sequence of LA confidential andanalysing how they are shot and why theyare done in such ways.
Frame 1The opening scene opens with a picturepostcard view of LA, showing all thestereotypical views of LA in the 1950s. Theshot opens with many examples of why tomove to LA and how wonderful it is to liveand work there. The scene is displayed in amontage which is shot from a number ofdifferent distances, showing the landscapeand home life. By using this form it createsan up beat and almost to perfect view forthe audience and so they no a twist is tocome. The full scene has a bright lighting tocreate an upbeat mood that has no sign ofnegativity.
Frame 2 As the montage moves on to the stars of LAthere are several close ups on the faces ofthe celebritys faces, once again depicting apositive view over LA. The shot alsochanges from colour to black and white atthis point, this is done because they haveused real footage from the times so that thesequence is realistic, rather than usingactors to play celebrities such as MarilynMonroe.
Frame 3As the sequence moves on the camera pansround a T.V. store where it stops on aspecific T.V. and zooms in till it’s the only T.Vin the shop. The show is a police show thatwas on T.V. at the time it shows a policedepartment that is totally against crime andthat is always on the right side of the law. Atthis point the audience start to see achange in the mood and see what LA isreally like. This is done by showing a changein both lighting, the clips shown and mainlythe dialog the narrator is saying.
Frame 4As the mood changes in the sequence andthe actual LA comes through to theaudience, so do the characters. Thecharacters start to become more suspiciousand obviously on the wrong side of the law.This is shown through a pan of what lookslike a “gangster” and then a cut away towhat is described in the film as a bodyguardwho is clearly reaching for a gun. This shotallows the audience to know what the filmsreally about and sets them up for what is tocome.
Frame 5Once again there is real footage in thesequence, this time it is of some of theorganized crime that is happening in LA atthe time. Most of these shots are shot withclose ups or extreme close ups, this makesthe shots much more intense and builds theon the story for the rest of the film. Thiscontrast of a perfect LA and the “real” LAexaggerates the noir genre even more thanit already is.
Frame 6As the sequence continues more and moreof the “real” LA is revealed and the storydevelops to the audience. There are acouple of more medium and close up shotswhich all compliment the dialog that thenarrator is saying. Once again these shotsare in back and white as they are realfootage, which once again makes the crimesmuch more realistic. The lighting in theseshots are rather low which brings a negativefeel to the scene.
Frame 7As the real footage finishes the dialog of thenarrator starts to bring the openingsequence to an end, with the introductionof how the LA police crack down on crimeand the ways they bring the criminals tojustice. They finish the criminal activity bitof the opening sequence with one lastpiece of real footage. This is a close up on aroulette match which will have been one ofthe main drivers of the crime in the city(gambling).
Frame 8The opening sequence then returns to thethe film and shows a typical arrest of a wellknown criminal that is big in the press.These shots that are shown through a longshot and a pan which show how the arrestsare more about the ego of the detectivesand the promotional gains they get fromarresting big criminals. This also brings the“bent copper” side of the story in so thatmost of the characteristics of film noir havebeen covered.
Frame 9As the opening sequence ends we areintroduced to the narrator of the openingsequence. The character is shown through aclose up which pans around him to showthat he is a writer for a newspaper. Thisbrings the final characteristic of film noir into the sequence and finishes it off so thatthe actual story can start and the audiencecan get stuck in to the plot. The lighting inthis scene is also rather low which makesthe newspaper and the character lessprofessional and more money orientatedand corrupt.I feel this opening sequence is very effectiveas it brings all of the characteristics of filmnoir in to play by using a vary of techniques.
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