The Art of Watching Films with Tutorial CD-ROM / Edition 7

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This introduction to film appreciation uses both contemporary and classic movies to help students develop critical skills in the analysis and evaluation of film. By suggesting what to look for and how to look for it, the text challenges students to sharpen their powers of observation, establish habits of perceptive watching, and discover complex aspects of film art that will further enhance their enjoyment of watching films. In addition it makes the link from literature to film in chapters on Thematic Elements, Fictional and Dramatic Elements and a unique chapter on Adaptions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780073310282
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 7
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents


1. The Art of Watching Films

The Uniqueness of Film

The Challenges of Film Analysis

The Value of Film Analysis

Becoming a Receptive Viewer

The Film - Viewing Environment

Preparing to See a Film

Deepening Our Responses to Films

Questions for Analyzing Your Responses to a Film

2. Thematic Elements

Theme and Focus

Focus on Plot

Focus on Emotional Effect or Mood

Focus on Character

Focus on Style or Texture or Structure

Focus on Ideas

Identifying the Theme

Evaluating the Theme

Questions for Analyzing Theme

Video Exercises

Films for Study

3. Fictional and Dramatic Elements

Film Analysis and Literary Analysis

The Elements of a Good Story

A Good Story Is Unified in Plot

A Good Story Is Credible

A Good Story Is Interesting

A Good Story Is Both Simple and Complex

A Good Story Handles Emotional Material with Restraint

The Significance of the Title

Dramatic Structure

Linear, or Chronological, Structure

Nonlinear Structures

Endings: Fine-Tuning the Dénouement



Characterization through Appearance

Characterization through Dialogue

Characterization through External Action

Characterization through Internal Action

Characterization through Reactions of Other Characters

Characterization through Contrast: Dramatic Foils

Characterization through Caricature and Leitmotif

Characterization through Choice of Name

Varieties of Characters



Universal and Natural Symbols

Creating Symbolic Meanings

Symbolic Patterns and Progressions

Symbolic Values in Conflict


Overreading Symbolism


Dramatic Irony

Irony of Situation

Irony of Character

Irony of Setting

Irony of Tone

Cosmic Irony

Questions for Analyzing Fictional and Dramatic Elements

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

4. Visual Design

Color Versus Black and White

Screen Format (Aspect Ratio)

Film Stock

Production Design/Art Direction

The Script: The Starting Point

Setting and Its Effects

Studio Versus Location Shooting

Period Pieces

Living Spaces and Offices

Fantasy Worlds

Costume and Makeup Design


The Budget’s Effect on the Film’s Look

Questions for Analyzing Visual Design

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

5. Cinematography

The Importance of the Visual Image

The Cinematic Film

Cinematic Points of View

Objective Point of View

Subjective Point of View

Indirect-Subjective Point of View

Director’s Interpretive Point of View

Elements of Cinematic Composition

Focusing Attention on the Most Significant Object

Keeping the Image in Motion

Creating an Illusion of Depth

Specialized Cinematic Effects

Handheld Camera

Camera Angles

Color, Diffusion, and Soft Focus

Special Lenses

Fast Motion

Special Lighting Effects

Movie Magic: Visual Effects in the Modern Film

The FX of Animated Feature Films…Especially for Adults

FLASHBACK: Animation Becomes the Main Event

Questions for Analyzing Cinematography and Special

Visual Effects

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise: Cinematography

Mini-Movie Exercise: Animated FX

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

6. Editing and Special Visual Effects

FLASHBACK: Saving the Movies: What Film Editors Have Always Done


Coherence, Continuity, and Rhythm


Rhythms, Tempo, and Time Control

Expansion and Compression of Time

Slow Motion

The Freeze Frame, the Thawed Frame, and Stills

Creative Juxtaposition: Montage

Questions for Analyzing Editing

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise I

Mini-Movie Exercise II

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

7. Color

FLASHBACK: Discovering Color at the Movies

Color in the Modern Film

Effects of Color on the Viewer

Color as a Transitional Device

Expressionistic Use of Color

Color as Symbol

Surrealistic Use of Color

Leitmotifs in Color

Color to Enhance Mood

Comic Book Color

Comic Strip Color

Painterly Effects in Color

Ironic Use of Color

Special Color Effects

Color versus Black and White

Questions for Analyzing Color

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

8. Sound Effects and Dialogue

Sound and the Modern Film


Three-Dimensionality in Sound

Visible and Invisible Sound

Points of View in Sound

Special Uses of Sound Effects and Dialogue

Sound Effects to Tell an Inner Story

Distortion of Sound to Suggest Subjective States

The "Personality" of Mechanical Sounds

Slow-Motion Sound

Ironic Juxtaposition of Sound and Image

Placing Unusual Emphasis on Sound

Using Sound for Texture, Time, and Temperature

Sound as a Plot Device

Sound as a Transitional Element

Voice-Over Narration

Silence as a Sound Effect

Rhythmic Qualities of Dialogue and Sound Effects

The "Sounds" of Foreign Language of International Films

Voice Dubbing

FLASHBACK: Dubious Dubbing


Questions for Analyzing Sound Effects and Dialogue

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

9. The Musical Score

The Remarkable Affinity of Music and Film

The Importance of the Musical Score

General Functions of the Musical Score

Special Functions of the Musical Score

Heightening the Dramatic Effect of Dialogue

Telling an Inner Story

Providing a Sense of Time and Place

Foreshadowing Events or Building Dramatic Tension

Adding Levels of Meaning to the Visual Image

Characterization through Music

Triggering Conditioned Responses

Traveling Music

Providing Important Transitions

Setting an Initial Tone

Musical Sounds as Part of the Score

Music as Interior Monologue

Music as a Base for Choreographed Action

Covering Possible Weaknesses in the Film

Synthesizer Scoring

Balancing the Score

Questions for Analyzing the Musical Score

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

10. Acting

The Importance of Acting

The Goal of the Actor

Becoming the Character

Differences Between Film Acting and Stage Acting

FLASHBACK: Silent Films: Acting on the Past

Types of Actors


Interpreters and Commentators

Personality Actors

The Star System


Casting Problems

The Typecasting Trap

Supporting Players

Special Casting Challenges

Extras and Small Parts

Actors as Creative Contributors

Subjective Responses to Actors

Questions for Analyzing Acting

Video Exercises

Mini-Movie Exercise I

Mini-Movie Exercise II

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

11. The Director’s Style

The Concept of Style

Subject Matter



Setting and Set Design

Sound and Score

Casting and Acting Performances

Screenplays and Narrative Structure

Evolving Styles and Flexibility

Special Edition: The Director’s Cut

A Portfolio of Four Directors

Questions About Analyzing a Director’s Style

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

12. Analysis of the Whole Film

The Basic Approach: Watching, Analyzing, and Evaluating the Film


The Relationship of the Parts to the Whole

The Film’s Level of Ambition

Objective Evaluation of the Film

Subjective Evaluation of the Film

The Film as Technical Achievement

The Film as Showcase for the Actor: The Personality Cult

The Film as Product of a Single Creative Mind: The Auteur Approach

The Film as Moral, Philosophical, or Social Statement

The Film as Emotional or Sensual Experience

The Film as Repeated Form: The Genre Approach

The Film as Political Statement

The Film as Gender Statement

The Film as Insight to the Mind: The Psychoanalytical Approach

The Eclectic Approach

Rereading the Reviews

Evaluating the Reviewer

Developing Personal Criteria

Questions About Analyzing the Whole Film

Mini-Movie Exercise I

Mini-Movie Exercise II

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

13. Adaptations

The Problems of Adaptation

Change in Medium

Change in Creative Artists

Cinematic Potential of the Original Work

Adaptations of Prose Fiction

Literary Versus Cinematic Points of View

Third-Person Point of View: Challenges

First-Person Point of View: Challenges

The Problem of Length and Depth

Philosophical Reflections

Summarizing a Character’s Past

The Challenge of Summarizing Events

Literary Past Tense Versus Cinematic Present Tense

Other Factors Influencing Adaptations of Fiction

Adaptations of Plays

Structural Divisions

Sense of Space

Film Language Versus Stage Language

Stage Conventions Versus Cinema Conventions

Other Changes

From Fact to Film: Reality to Myth

Questions for Analyzing Adaptations

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

14. Genre Films, Remakes, and Sequels

Genre Films


The Strengths of Genre Films

Basic Genre Conventions--and Their Variations

Remakes and Sequels



Questions for Analyzing Genre Films, Remakes, and Sequels

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study

15. Film and Society

Film Foreignness

Does American Film Shape or Reflect Social and Cultural Values?

The Motion Picture Production Code, 1930-1960

Excerpts From the Motion Picture Production Code

Censorship in Transition, 1948-1968

The MPAA Rating System

Motion Picture Association of America Voluntary Movie Rating System

Censorship and Films on Television

Beyond the Code and Rating System

Changing Formulas for the Treatment of Sex, Violence, and Language

Social Problem Films

FLASHBACK: Really Reel Life

Questions for Analyzing Films in Society

Mini-Movie Exercise

DVD Filmmaking Extras

Films for Study





Online Appendix: Writing a Film Analysis -

Sample Student Paper 1: Analysis of a Complete Film

(John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath)

Sample Student Paper 2: Analysis of Selected Film Elements

(Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver)

Sample Student Paper 3: Analysis for Study

(Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence)

Selected Bibliography and Study Materials


Film History and Culture

Silent Film


Film Types and Topics

Specific Films

Collections of Reviews, Essays, and Interviews

Film Aesthetics and Theory

Film Periodicals

Multimedia Sources

Internet Sites

DVD/Videocassette Sources via Mail

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