Film Analysis of Big Sleep and A Soldiers Story

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Color versus Black-and-White � PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT �1�

Color versus Black-and-White in Film


June 7, 2010


Color versus Black-and-White in Film

Learning Team A elected to analyze The Big Sleep in black and white film and A Soldier's Story in color. The team's main objective was to compare the similarities and contrast in the following areas: primary focus, contribution to expression, photographic techniques, atmosphere, cinematic moment, characterization, editing, transition, moral, and director's intent.

Primary Focus and Ranking

The primary focus of The Big Sleep was the characters, followed (in order) by the plot, style, and ideas. The characters in this film had very specific behaviors that emphasized their moral standing. Phillip Marlowe, the detective, has an ambiguous outlook regarding vices. For example, the behavior of Carmen, the promiscuous younger daughter of General Sternwood, disgusted Marlowe. Marlowe does not hide his distaste for Carmen's immoral behavior, yet he has no qualms about his own drinking and womanizing.

Vivian, Carmen's older sister, is portrayed as a rather shrewd woman who is a compulsive gambler and tells many lies. Marlowe is attracted to Vivian despite, or perhaps because of, her faults. Characters in The Big Sleep include killers, gamblers, homosexuals, a nymphomaniac, blackmailers, and cheaters. The wide range of unacceptable behaviors manifested by the various characters is the focus of this 1946 movie.

The primary focus of A Soldier's Story was the idea, followed (in order) by the characters, plot, and style. The idea of the film focused on the racial prejudice during the period in which the film was set. In the mid-1940s in the deep South, bigotry was commonplace. Little was done to hide the prejudices of the Black man, and most Black men stuck together-which could have been out of a need for safety more than a...