Analyze A Movie Clip

For this assignment, I watched the Top 10 UNFORGETTABLE Movie Scenes of ALL TIME. Since I reviewed a clip on The Shining in my last blog post, Reading A Movie, I decided to continue with it for this blog post. The clip below contains scenes from several movies. Start at 3 minutes and 19 seconds to see The Shining clip.

Camera Angles

For the first viewing, I watched without sound, only focusing on camera angles and other visual effects. This clip has a lot of medium shots where the actor’s body is viewed from about knee- or waist-level up. The cutaway is used to jump from one side of the door to the other. This way we can see what’s happening on both sides. There is also a fadeaway used to show what action is happening inside the room while Jack Nicholson is chopping away at the door with an axe. The fade to next shot shows Nicholson’s movie wife, Shelley Duvall, screaming in fear and holding a butcher’s knife. The scene concludes with the well-known “Here’s Johnny” scene, given with a close-up on Nicholson’s face.

Since this is an action scene, a medium shot is probably the best choice. Medium shots show action where the actor’s full body doesn’t need to be visible. The lighting in this part of the film is rather dark. There is an interesting light cast on one side of Nicholson’s face from a lamp on a table. It casts one side of his face in light and the other in dark which actually intensifies his facial features adding to the “crazy” look on his face.

Medium shot taken from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 movie, The Shining. Based on the book by Stephen King.

Audio Track

The second time I “watched” this clip, I only listened to the audio. I removed all video-based distractions. Listening to audio was difficult without the video. Even though I know this scene by heart, I could not really tell what was going on. The music was loud, ominous, and scary sounding. The axe hits on the door were accented with drum sounds at the beginning of the clip. Near the end of the clip, they sounded like gunshots. One scene, where I was certain Nicholson said “Honey, I’m home,” actually revealed itself as, “Wendy, I’m home.” Duvall, who played Nicholson’s wife, screamed through much of the axe cutting. Thankfully, the clip was short. Without the video, the sound of the clip was loud and overwhelming. I almost couldn’t stand to listen to it for very long.

Shelley Duvall, screaming as the axe breaks through the door.
Image taken from Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 movie, The Shining. Based on the book by Stephen King.

Putting It All Together

The clip definitely needs all the elements, video and audio, to be complete. The audio alone doesn’t adequately portray what is happening. And the video alone isn’t quite as scary without the audio. Plus, without the two combined, the world would not have the infamous “Here’s Johnny” meme! Check out a few funny ones below. Don’t forget to turn up the sound so you can fully enjoy all the aspects of these TikTok videos.

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