Death's Marathon Film Analysis

Superior Essays
Director D.W. Griffith employs a variety of innovative filmmaking techniques, under the categories of mise-en-scene, cinematography and editing, to tell his narrative in Death’s Marathon. I will focus on a few techniques that stood out to me as essential stylistic decisions that progressed the narrative. Firstly, the costumes and how they distinguished between characters, and events; secondly, the blocking and character movements and how they expressed emotion; thirdly, the lighting and how it distinguished between locations and guided our focus; and finally the editing and how it created suspense in the climax. These are only a few stylistic decisions that Griffith 's made, each one is equally important in developing the film form, however, …show more content…
In these shots, like in shots 41 and 51, the car is moving from frame left to right each time. Without a sense of continuity of direction, the viewer would not know where the car was headed, and if it was making any progress. By showing the repetition of the car heading from left to right, we get a sense that we are getting closer to the goal, which will eventually be on the right side of the frame. This was especially important in Death’s Marathon, since the car was in such a rush, the shot lengths varied from 2-3 seconds, giving the viewer very little time to be confused as to where they should be looking. Continuity of movement is thus a very important aspect of mise-en-scene, especially for scenes like car chases.
Another aspect of mise-en-scene that Griffith’s played with was the lighting. It seemed that lighting differences indicated the differences in location. The exterior shots, like shots 2, 10, 41 and 51 were high-key lighting—meaning the lighting was fairly even, with not much contrast, mostly middle greys. This shows off the background more than the people in it. Most of the interiors like in the wife’s house, shot 3, and the office, shot 16 and 21, are low-key lighting with high contrast. Exceptions can be made for the gambling room (shot 4) and one of the office rooms, where the light was generally
…show more content…
For example, are the editing that took place pairing the husband on the phone, (shots 16 and 21) and the wife on the phone (shots 3), were a cross-cut. This means the audience was able to see two scenes happening in essentially the same temporal sequence, but very different spaces. While the cross-cutting between husband and wife helped mostly the coherency of the film, each new cut did add suspense because we did not know when he was going to shoot himself. More significantly, the cross-cutting of the friend driving to the office to save the husband, like shots 41 and 51, and the shots where the husband is on the phone, like shots 16 and 21, added a great deal of suspense to the sequence because the viewer wonders if the friend is going to make it on

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