Film Analysis: An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge

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Imagery and sound in the short film An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, directed by Robert Enrico, is distinct and haunting. The stark symmetry and harsh scoring in the beginning, the dreamlike quality of the second act, and the ominous framing and music of the finale create a beautiful adaption of the original short story by Ambrose Pierce. In the original short story, the imagery tells the story rather than the dialogue. This can be seen in the film from the beginning, as the soldiers begin the ceremony before the hanging. In the text, everything is formal, very cut and dry; there is really no poetic devices used, just plain descriptions. The shots used to convey this are similar; very plain, and often symmetrical, to convey the militaristic practice behind the scene. To add to this, every noise is sharp and distinct, like movements in an army drill. We are given a few tight shots on Peyton’s face, indicating that this film will be from his perspective. As he looks around at his surroundings, he sees soldiers are stationed not just on the bridge, but in the woods, on the top of hills, and everywhere; giving a feeling of entrapment. Finally, the woods are dead and burnt out, setting a very morose mood. It creates an imposing atmosphere that’s suffocating, …show more content…
Every sight and sound is described in vivid detail, just by noting the minutiae, such as the veins in a leaf, or “the prismatic colors in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass.” The film expresses the dreaminess of the descriptions just by filming exactly what is illustrated. There are shots of a leaf with veins visible as the sun shines through it, the camera focusing in on dewdrops on grass, and so on, as a drifting spiritual song plays. The world is beautiful and verdant, a stark contrast to the dead wood we see in the

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