David Richter

  • I think you’re not only right on here, but you may be dealing with a social theme of the story that we usually ignore. One of the articles I think I put on BlackBoard (it’s by Schrero) argues that you can’t understand The Turn of the Screw unless you understand what the Victorian Brits of the upper class thought about the role of the governess…[Read more]

  • I think we need to allow The Uncle’s lines to represent HIS character rather than Miss Giddens’s. He is the one who is being “seductive” in using the language that normally would belong to a marriage proposal in making Miss G a job offer. Both he and Peter Quint are referenced when Mrs. Grose says “He always liked them young and pretty” after…[Read more]

  • You’re certainly right that Clayton has got a really symbolic color scheme going in The Innocents. The white roses (symbolizing an innocent asexual love) are all over the place, and one of them features in the double dissolve at 27.59 that I pointed out during boot camp. (The double dissolve operates as though to tap you on the shoulder and say…[Read more]

  • I’m very aware of the steep angle shots on the stairs of the town house, but not of the mirror shots. I even wrote to one of the authors of a paper on mirrors in The Heiress and other films that I posted to BlackBoard, because what he called the “iconic” shot of Olivia De Havilland carrying a lamp along with her image in the hallway mirror was…[Read more]

  • One of the weirder suggestions that I’ve seen in the literature on Jack Clayton’s The Innocents is that Truman Capote, one of the screenwriters, jazzed up the symbolism of the film by adding images taken from a s […]

  • There are three basic ways to splice two pieces of film: an abrupt cut, a fade to black, and a dissolve (where we see two scenes simultaneously with the first bleeding into the second).

    When there is a shift in […]

  • I wasn’t familiar with Kaszmarek’s reputation till you wrote this. He’s apparently a very well-regarded film composer, who won the Oscar for his score for *Finding Neverland* (2004 film about the relationship between dramatist/novelist James M. Barrie and the Llewellyn-Davies family who inspired Peter Pan).

  • The haunting duet that Morris and Catherine sing in Holland’s Washington Square is not a famous number by Verdi or anything. The music was written by the composer who did the rest of the score, Jan K […]

    • This elaborate display of music is a very essential component for Holland’s “Washington Square” as it helps emphasize the emotional part of the drama unfolding. First off, the musical score in this movie is absolutely gorgeous. It’s so elegant and takes a shape all on its own as a language, as it expresses so many scenes which takes the character’s depth even further. For instance, certain musical scenes are connected to one another in such unexpected ways. Such as, Catherine’s solo performance and the haunting piano duet with Catherine and Morris. They’re connected because it reflects Catherine’s growth of character. While she couldn’t do it well on her own, she was able to create beautiful music with Morris. Even in front of her condescending and intimidating father, whose expecting her to fail, she conducted a marvelous performance as she believed in Morris’s encouraging words, how “together, they have sanctuary.” Catherine genuinely enjoyed herself (she couldn’t stop smiling as she shared glances with Morris) while her father seemed intrigued (and somewhat displeased) by this strange occurrence. What’s even more interesting is how this piano duet reflects Morris and Catherine’s relationship perfectly: it goes from something delicate to mysterious, haunting, romantic, and finally, tragic. There’s this underlying sense of yearning between both of them and the music shows that amazingly well.
      Another thing to appreciate about the musical soundtrack is how it repeats itself, but has small variations for the characters and the scenarios. For instance, the music playing in the background when Morris appeared on screen made him more romantic. Especially when a smooth violin was playing in a low tone, just like his whispers, making the actions between Morris and Catherine seem so secretive, yet bold. And that scene where Morris first kisses Catherine echoes back to the music being played at the beginning. It brings this sense of dread that something dangerous is starting to roll along. The violin definitely dominates most of the movie as it sets the tone. Especially at the beginning where we see Catherine’s birth and the death of her mother; we see Dr. Sloper weeping next to the corpse of his wife, and quickly cut back to baby Catherine where the violins begin to play again. It indicates her long, dreadful journey ahead in her life with her father. However, the movie ends at Catherine at the piano where it sounds melancholic as she reminisces about the past (as the piano is a symbol of her time with Morris and her confidence) but it did have some lingering hope attached from her youth as something to hold on to. It was a bittersweet ending. The execution of music in Holland’s film was an extraordinary performance all on its own.

    • I wasn’t familiar with Kaszmarek’s reputation till you wrote this. He’s apparently a very well-regarded film composer, who won the Oscar for his score for *Finding Neverland* (2004 film about the relationship between dramatist/novelist James M. Barrie and the Llewellyn-Davies family who inspired Peter Pan).

  • I agree with Tonia: you summed it all up admirably. The difficulty I have with the story is on the level of affect. Are we to see the story as effectively tragic? or are we simply to understand what happened as simply the result of an unfortunate clash of cultures? Because we are in the grip of Winterbourne’s consciousness, my own sense of…[Read more]

  • How about reckless AND innocent? Why should we have to pick only one? James’s story is, in a way, about culture clash. We’re told that, when in Rome, act as the Romans do, but that’s not Daisy’s way: she acts in Vevey and in Rome exactly as she is in the habit of doing in Schenectady and New York. And she pays a high price for it: shunned by…[Read more]

  • The “woman in white” whom we see in the Pincio Gardens during the Punch and Judy Show is almost certainly a high class Roman prostitute (or courtesan, if you prefer).  The speculation in class that she is […]

  • The Bogdanovich Daisy Miller includes two tenor arias: One is sung lightheartedly by Mr. Giovanelli at Mrs. Walker’s party,

    The other is sung with deadpan expression and great seriousness by an operatic t […]

  • The consequences and benefits of following the norms of society:

     

    Daisy Miller was a victim of society. Her potential at love was snubbed by the high ideals of the European society around her. Bogdanovich […]

    • I agree with Tonia: you summed it all up admirably. The difficulty I have with the story is on the level of affect. Are we to see the story as effectively tragic? or are we simply to understand what happened as simply the result of an unfortunate clash of cultures? Because we are in the grip of Winterbourne’s consciousness, my own sense of Daisy is muted by his inability to express anything like passion for her. It’s like looking at a traffic accident but through the wrong end of the telescope, it seems to be happening a long distance away….

  • Daisy’s mother is a mixture of Miss Bates (in the way she prattles on) and Mr. Woodhouse (for her hypochondria about her dyspepsia–we’d call it upset stomach). The key thing about her is her absence as a brake on Daisy. Randolph is sort of what Huckleberry Finn would be if he were from Schenectady rather than Hannibal Missouri.

    Ashley has…[Read more]

  • In the film, Daisy is buried on a quiet hillside….

    In the novella, James’s Daisy is explicitly buried in a place you can visit, the Protestant Cemetery in Rome (where John Keats among many others is […]

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    The Verse Daisy Doesn’t Sing

    In Peter Bogdanovich’s Daisy Miller, Cybill Shepherd sings one verse and the chorus of “When You and I Were Young.” Here is what she sings:

    I wandered today to the hill […]

  • I left this not knowing which version you were responding to.

  • One of the interesting things is that Jane Fairfax is left out of the cast. Why?

  • Actually, I thought one of the weaker links to Emma was Elton putting Cher’s photo of Tai on his locker. A watercolor portrait seems to be a personal emanation of the painter far more than a snapshot does.

    Interesting point about Mel: perhaps the key link to Mr. Woodhouse is that Mel despite his active busy life (or I should have said…[Read more]

  • In a sense, Heckerling makes achieving female agency easy by setting Clueless in a wealthy part of Beverley Hills, and not getting into the problems that the terrified maid, Lucy, has with agency. Cher’s choice to make her own decisions about her body also coincide with an era when contraception is easy to find and effective and when abortions…[Read more]

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