3 Things

Anatomy of a Murder [1959]

1. Two shots that rhyme. In the beginning we follow James Stewart as he’s driving, camera comes up beside him and we peer in at him. Then his car overtakes us and we see a city limits sign for Iron City. Much later in the movie there’s a similar shot where we follow Arthur O’Connell driving, camera comes up beside him and we see him hunched over the wheel (he’s a bad driver). Then his car overtakes us and we see a sign indicating that the Canadian border is just up ahead. These shots probably aren’t much, but I was reminded of when Agent Cooper drives past the Twin Peaks city limits sign in the pilot episode. It’s shot very differently (the camera is static) but somehow conveys a similar feeling. More than an establishing shot. Moving us into the the geography of a place.
2. Eve Arden: “If you put any more fish in this icebox it may swim upstream and spawn all by itself.”
3. Brilliant ending. The camera dollies into a medium closeup of a trash barrel, which is nearly overflowing. Stewart takes a broken high-heeled shoe and hooks it over the edge of the barrel, walks away. Tremendous dissonance from the entire Ellington orchestra on the soundtrack, slowly, reluctantly fading away. Above it all Cat Anderson punctuates using trumpet squeaks. Impossibly high, stabbing. Fade out image then quick fade in to Saul Bass’ end title, the stylized body, finally made whole, the words THE END. Fade out. Anderson’s trumpet makes its final squeaks. Black.

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1 Response to 3 Things

  1. Pingback: 3 things about Otto Preminger’s ANATOMY OF A MURDER | RandomCha

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