Reflection on Cinematography in “The Hitch-Hiker” and “Killer Kiss.”

The Hitch-Hiker

hitch hiker 2

The cinematography in this film captures the noir aesthetics and elements throughout the film. One particular shot that is a prime example of this is when we see the two men in the front seat in full lighting while Myers’ face is cast in shadow as he sits in the back seat. Film noir focuses on creating a suspenseful story and this manipulation of lighting builds this kind of tension by having him be an unknown figure to the two men. In a way, this can be seen as almost dramatic irony since the viewers know that the man in the back is the villainous, murderous hitch-hiker. Darkness as a symbol is an obvious representation of an unknown or even an evil, which placing Myers in shadows allows viewers to get this notion quickly. Also this is in a medium shot, suggesting the close relationship the two men in the front seat share. With the placement of Myers in between them in the back seat, it could be left to interpretation that perhaps Myers will threaten to come between them and their trust in one another. This is present when Roy later punches Gilbert in the face as he goes to attack Myers when he catches them trying to escape. Which leads mehitch hiker
to discuss a particular shot that occurs just before the men are caught by Myers. It is a point of view shot from Myers’ perspective as he chases down the men with the car. The main lighting used is from the headlights of the car shining down on the men, serving as a spotlight. In a sense, this can be perceived as a predator-prey relationship, Myers hunting down the men as he drives the vehicle towards them. Also, this point of view shot can suggest a dominance or power Myers has in this moment since he has the potential to run down Roy and Gilbert (we later find he chooses not to only to trail them along more). Suspense is created in the way that the viewers fear for the well-being of the men being chased down the road.

Killer Kiss


killer kiss

Dealing with cinematography in the film “Killer Kiss,” there are prominent elements that can suggest film noir. In one shot of Vincent, the window blinds cast lines along his figure as he stands in front of the television in a medium shot. This is a common feature in film noir to utilize blinds while lighting. Also, this low-key lighting allows his figure to cast a shadow on the wall behind him, creating the sense of him being a dark character. The next shot that show aspects of film noir is the shot when Vincent’s bouncers are trapping Davey’s manager in the alley. The men are placed in a long shot with low-key lighting that cast all three of them in full shadow and darkness; the source of light comes from the back of the alleyway creating this darkness. The choice to place all of them in this darkness could be to create a more ominous mood to this moment as the manager is slowly being led into the alleyway, farther from escape. A predator-prey relationship is suggested here as well since the manager is slowly stalked to the end of the alley, where he is executed killer kiss 2by the bouncers. One other idea I personally had about the choice to use this kind of low-key lighting was to possibly allude to the notion that no one literally saw this crime occur and it made it easier to pin the murder on Davey since no one would be able to identify the bouncers as the killers. The final shot that shows noir elements is the shot where Gloria is tied up and the overhead light shines on her face. These interrogation shots are typically found in film noir when someone is being questioned by a detective, yet it may be used here to show that Gloria’s intentions are being put in question by Vincent, showing his distrust in her. It is captured in a medium close up and the lighting overhead allows her and the bouncer untying the ropes behind her to have their expressions read by the viewers. It is important that this was filmed this way because it is unknown as to whether or not the bouncer behind her would be deceitful and signal to the other bouncer to attack Davey and Gloria being placed here for the viewers to question whose side she will go to.killer kiss 3

 

Visual Assignment: “Storytelling Collage”(3 and 1/2 pts) – “The Lover and the Cheat; Sebastian and Margaret”

the cheat

 

A heart given is a heart that can be more easily broken, destroyed. When Sebastian looked at Margaret, his skin became electrified with a sensation he never felt with such intensity; a love so real he felt it deep to his core, pulsing through his blood and corrupting all logic in his mind. Dictionary definitions could not fully define the feeling he had when he looked at her, kissed her, adored her. He knew that all he wanted was to give his heart to her. Only his Margaret. But this love was cursed; it was unrequited, tampered with, and tragic. She shared her affections with another man and lived in her lies she told to Sebastian. I don’t want to hurt him. Why, why am I doing this? The thoughts that ruptured her mind as she made love to this other man who promised her love and a life they could make their new beginning. Sebastian sensed a distance between them, his stomach turning inside itself. One day, she told him she was going to visit a her girl friend. He watched her drive off and he picked up his keys. Without her noticing, he had trailed behind her car on the bumpy, unpaved road until she pulled into a driveway of an unfamiliar home. Sebastian parked far from where he eyes could see his car and he then saw a man emerge from the front door, a beckoning, sinister smile on his face. She skipped to him like a gleeful girl in love and he embraced her, kissing her while running his hands down her body, the one Sebastian gently caressed and never wanted to let go of. Sebastian thought of her smile, her laugh, her perfectly-sculpted bones under her sun-freckled skin and was plagued with the thought of her giving her love to this man that wasn’t him. Hours of agony, he sat in his car, unable to drive away, his spirit defeated, making everything immobile. The sight of her exiting the house was the oil that made his tin body move, stride with anger. Her smile turned into a Cheerio and her sun-painted skin went two shades lighter when she say Sebastian walking her way, his now-cold blue eyes piercing her heart. she began putting her arms around him, crying, writing a rough draft of a story he knew was her fiction. He backed away, letting her knees hit the dirt, she stared up at his gorgeous head rimmed with the sunlight behind him. His muscles softened as he saw her in tears. He never wanted to see her cry, but he thought of her lies and love she never returned. He became cold in that moment among the breeze of wind rushing between them. Standing in silence, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a velvet box, ripping it open and tearing the diamond ring from its pillow. He looked from the ring to her and tossed into the lawn, telling her “go to hell, Margaret” and paced to his car. He never looked back, afraid he would turn around and be caught once more in her black-widow web of love he knew wasn’t real.

She saw the wheels of his car leaving a trail of dust behind him as he drove away. Margaret went inside the house, sat in solitude and wept for the man she never wanted to destroy, but did and did not understand why or how she would see his face in her mind as this other man was holding her in their nights together. She went back to the house she shared with Sebastian to find all of her things packed tightly in the cardboard box she brought when they made this home, this “love” theirs. Margaret gathered her box into the passenger seat, leaving this life behind, but never once letting Sebastian abandon her thoughts.

Sebastian’s mother broke his father the same, an earthquake shattering them both, striking the pavement of their lives with rough cracks because of these women, these faults. Since that day he left Margaret, he has not again given his heart to another woman. He gives it only to himself and his family. No one more. The women he meets are nothing more to him than doe-eyed dolls looking for love in the wrong place. They have their fun, tasting new foods, sailing, and filling their lustful desires, but he never once stayed in bed with the girl when she awoke. One early morning, when the sun had not even risen from its slumber, Sebastian drove to that house that haunted him. He’d see her maroon car there parked next to his and feel an unrelenting misery in his heart knowing that her life goes on and his is in a constant state of rewind and replay of love he dreads feeling again.

 

 

Visual Assignment: “Post-It Notes and Grocery Lists!”(4pts) -Sebastian Crane’s To Do’s

To see this visual better, here is its’ Flickr link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/janellegelino/16190828290/

Sebastian's To Do list

This is Sebastian Crane’s to-do list. Most consist of work-related material since he is the Editor in Chief of The San Francisco Chronicle. The one orange card is a job offering from a man named George Jamison of the San Francisco Examiner, wanting Sebastian to come in for the job. This is a part of a storyline I can explore, but I personally feel he wouldn’t leave the Chronicle simply because he has been there for about five years now and has been the Editor in Chief for two successful years. One card detail a visit he plans to make at the rehabilitation center where his father currently is receiving help for his alcohol addiction. Their relationship has better developed since his father decided to bring himself into the center. Sebastian is a big reader, so he has a whole list of novels he plans to read or what friends and colleagues have recommended for him. The blue note cards are from his current secretary, who will be retiring in the next few months, which is why one of the yellow cards has Sasha Kellogg for an interview soon. One card is specifically for Donnie: going to his physical therapy appointment and groceries he needs to pick up for him. He has always put Donnie first and he is one of his top priorities. There are three cards dealing with Sebastian’s dating life, which to him consists of one date and one night together; nothing more happens after that. He isn’t completely interested in these women, but he is willing to have a good time on a date since he is sociable and knows he has an irresistible charm. At this point in his life, he has not met anyone he is serious about and only looks for a fun night in the meantime. Most of the cards detail work-related business, such as meeting dates, calls from writers, etc. For the most part, Sebastian is a very busy man and he places his family and work before anything else.

These are some of the tracks that play in The San Francisco Chronicle as Sebastian and his team write up the paper :D:

 

Visual Assignment: “What’s in the bag?”(3pts)- Sebastian Crane’s Treasures

1. The flask- Sebastian always carries his brandy-filled flask in his coat pocket each flaskday. He drank leisurely before at social gatherings in college and after work, yet he became more accustomed to drinking when he found out the love of his life, Margaret, cheated on him. Since then, he had begun to go into more bars and bought a flask to carry on his person. He even felt that the brandy in the flask was  soothing the constant pain in his fractured shoulder along with his pain medication.

 

2. Pain medication- When Sebastian was 14 years old, his father was in a drunken rage and went after him and Donovan. In the altercation, Sebastian’s father managed to severely damage Sebastian’s shoulder with a baseball bat. Even though Sebastian underwent surgery, he still experiences a shooting pain in his shoulder and he has to takes pain relieving medication to make it more tolerable.

medication

3 & 4. Leather wallet and the photograph- It is essential that anyone carry a wallet on their person and Sebastian never leaves home without it. Within it, he has cash, business cards, names of clients to call, and most importantly, a photograph of him and Donovan. This was taken when Sebastian was 5 and Donovan was 3 by their mother, who later the following year found love with another man and was forbidden to take them with her when she left. This left their father devastated and he slowly began to go out to bars, leaving Sebastian to feed and take care of Donovan. He keeps this photograph in his wallet because it was the last time that they truly had their innocence and happiness as children; it captured a moment of joy he always wanted to remember. When Donovan was in the war, he found himself looking at this photograph at least twice a day, in the morning and at night, in that way, he could make sure his thoughts and prayers reached Donovan when he woke up and went to sleep

.wallet  seb and don

 

 

 

penPen- As the editor in chief of The San Francisco Chronicle, Sebastian always has a pen on him. He is very meticulous and pays close attention to detail and this pen reflects how he always takes accurate, in-depth notes or edit marks on articles turned into his office.

 

 

watch

 

The pocket watch- Sebastian was given this pocket watch by his father the day he and Donovan were leaving home. He had found a house in the city and he was packing up the car when their father came outside to say goodbye. He hugged Donovan and he headed to wait in the passenger seat as their father bid farewell to Sebastian. At first they shook hands, but his father pulled him in for an embrace, apologizing for not being a better man, a better father. Sebastian did not feel anything in the embrace, but when his father placed the pocket watch in his hand, he held it close and told his father that he needed to get better or they would never come back. Sebastian and Donovan drove off, seeing their father grow smaller and alone in the rearview mirror. Sebastian carries this watch with him now not only to check the time, but subconsciously remind him that he is free from that life he once lived.

Personal experience with Photography summary

My prior experience with photography has involved being both behind and in front of the camera. When I am behind the camera, I am typically taking more videos than photos, especially this year with my New Years’ resolution to get a short video clip each day. For these short video clips, I film something that catches my attention or something that makes me happy in that moment. When I do take pictures, it is more of pictures with my friends and family (mostly pictures of my dog :D) or if there is a pretty scenic moment, such as a beachy sunset; right now, I’d say I have more experience with shooting video clips than shooting pictures, which with most videos, they tend to capture the mood of whatever tone my story/video has to it.  I enjoy editing pictures using an online site to create a whole new photo. I have done this with photos my friend Zachary has taken of me. We have done several photo shoots together and each one has a theme or concept we follow. He and I collaborate on types of poses I should do as well as expressions so we can capture the mood we are trying to convey. The two we did this year were a mermaid and a ghost shoot, the mermaid one portrayed the story of a mermaid who is slowly becoming human and losing touch with her true self. The ghost shoot showed the story of a girl’s spirit roams the earth, trying to grasp the humanity and bodily form she has lost; she longs to feel all human sensations, yet can’t. I really like creating a story through a picture and this makes me want to try my hand at photography since I already enjoy capturing moments on film. Also, last semester I took a Film Studies class where I was exposed to learning more about cinematography and how to create a story through an image. There, I saw how I could create more light and shadow through a video project I did for an adaptation study.

As I read the first webpage, I took note of a few photography tips to experiment with. I want to add more depth and differing perspectives. I will look into using low key lighting as well and use lighting that illuminates a model’s face and create more shadows. This week will be the beginning of my experimentation with photography and my mind is already crafting some noir photo ideas.

Reflection on Week Two: Writing Noir

 

I definitely enjoyed writing noir material this week, especially creating the character dossier. In the back of my mind, I have been wanting to create a character like I created Sebastian Crane and I’m very happy that I finally got to really put him on a page. It has been really fun showing my friends my character and when I showed them a writing assignment that showed him in action, they started asking me when the next story will come out.boss-fw14-870w-post-2 I am curious as to where the next few weeks will take me with regards to developing my character and his life story more. Here is the link to his dossier: (http://janellegelino.com/uncategorized/character-dossier-sebastian-crane/).

Reading the noir stories further enlightened me as to how noir works. Seeing noir elements in the film section last week helped when I was reading this week. It helped me notice common elements of noir, such as male dominance, water symbolism, etc (I addressed this in my weekly blog post http://janellegelino.com/uncategorized/week-two-noir-readings/ ).

I liked doing some of the writing assignments this week as well as the Daily Creates. Again, one was used to further develop Sebastian Crane and I chose to do the prompt titled “Postcards of the Past” to show the close relationship between Sebastian and his younger brother Donovan as he sees him in the hospital after he had been injured in combat (http://janellegelino.com/uncategorized/writing-assignment-postcards-from-the-past-honorable-discharge/). I also chose to the the writing assignment titled “Monologue of a Household Tool” and I wrote from the refrigerator’s perspective in a monologue called “A Chilly Love Story” (http://janellegelino.com/uncategorized/writing-assignment-4-pts-monologue-of-a-household-tool-a-chilly-love-story/). The final writing assignment was to rewrite the ending of one of the noir stories we read for this week. I chose to rewrite the ending of “The Wild Party,” by having Queenie and Black successfully hide from the police, yet she falls off the slick roof and she comes to figure out that she had a premonition about the events to come at the party that same night. I chose to keep the format and pace of the poem structure in my alternate ending since I did not want to have discontinuity in my re-telling. (http://janellegelino.com/uncategorized/writing-assignment-alternate-ending-of-a-wild-party/).

As for the Daily Creates, I completed the following 3:

  1. My lovely yodel: (https://soundcloud.com/janelle-pierangelino/my-yodeling-remix)
  2. My drawing of a cat on a synthesizer in space: (https://www.flickr.com/photos/janellegelino/15712950234/)
  3. Personal eye picture: (https://www.flickr.com/photos/janellegelino/16160859758/in/photostream/)

I also posted most of my Daily Creates on my Twitter and posted my character dossier on my Facebook for my friends to see. I recently put a comment on a post called “I See the Light” (http://umwlaurenfalkens.com/uncategorized/i-see-the-light/#comment-15).

Writing Assignment: Alternate Ending of “A Wild Party”

Burr’s lifeless vessel on the floor,

Queenie saw blue, red lights reflecting on the window.

“They’re here! We need to leave now,” she cried

to Black, standing over the body.

They made their way towards the window,

seeing the roof below.

With only seconds to go,

Black pushed up the window and

had Queenie exit first with him close behind.

It was only a matter of time until the men in

blue burst through the door and noticed the body on the

floor.

Queenie and her beloved Black hid themselves behind a chimney-top,

the cool wind brisking their bare bodies.

He held her close, his heart coming to a warm roast.

But the roof was slicked with remnants of precipitation.

The distance from the roof to the ground,

oh, the anticipation!

Queenie moved her foot and inch and gravity began to

pull her down.

Black called her name as she rolled down the steep

hill of shingles.

The butterflies in her stomach began to tingle

as she saw Black becoming smaller with each roll

and she saw the ground coming closer below.

She screamed in fright and fell deep into the night

 

into her bed, into her warm, cushioned bed

with Burrs by her side,

no gapping hole in his chest

when she opened her eyes.

The night had not come.

It had not even begun.

A wild night awaited Queenie

and all she wanted was to

escape the future she could not outrun.

Writing Assignment (4 pts): Monologue of a Household Tool. “A Chilly Love Story”

          FullSizeRender

           I must say, I am definitely your favorite appliance in the house. Really, you must think I’m full of it, but well…I’m kind of full, literally. I see you prance around in the kitchen, holding your pained stomach under your hand. I’ve got exactly what you need, believe me. Then your eyes meet my stainless-steel armor and I know I have gotten your attention. You quickly pace towards me and grasp the handle to unlock my secrets of delight. When you open my door, I feel so alive and everything just lights up. I see your eyes scanning me like a metal detector, only you’re detecting a milk carton, ketchup bottles, one slice of cheddar cheese, and an open can of Monster. My lights grow dimmer when I see your expectant smile fade and you close the door. But I don’t understand. I mean, I always have what you need. You can put a line of ketchup on the slice of cheese and have a glass of milk and the monster on the side…right? Then after two minutes of torturous agony, you open the door again. I wish all the time I could  make a roll of cookie dough magically appear in one of my compartments. This is the game we play: you leave me empty and come back for more. I let you take everything out of me because that is all I have to offer until you fill me up again. You are the one who gives me a purpose and a reason to open my door. I let you tattoo me with your photographs and dentist appointment notes hung on their tacky little magnets and never protest.

            Then I hear you open a door close by: my ice-cold brother. You mutter, “Yes,” while doing a celebratory gesture as his light illuminates your statuesque face. You pull out a box of…it’s so hard to say, give me a second because I feel I’m melting…Bagel Bites! How could you do this to me? It hurts knowing you choose to accept my cold brother’s gifts rather than mine. But wait, you look my way and I forget how you hurt me because you pull out that half-full can on Monster. No matter how many times you open my door, close it, then open it again in a passing of one long minute, I still adore you.

            See. I always win.

Writing Assignment: Postcards from the Past (4 pts.)- “Honorable Discharge”

Honorable Discharge

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Sebastian sat alone in the kitchen the day he got the letter. Tapping his pencil on the wooden table, his mind was racing as to what to put on the blank lined paper before him. His Thursday assignment from the university was to write about someone they deeply care for using figurative language. His thoughts immediately went to the tattered photograph in his leather wallet of him and his younger brother Donovan. He felt a sharp pain pulse under his shoulder-blade when he thought of “Donnie”, not knowing if he was nothing more than a corpse in a field or if he was still rolling away from the Reaper in his tank. Sebastian lost sleep some nights, wishing they had swapped places. He was supposed to protect Donnie, not the other way around. That was the way it always was as their wrathful drunk of a father, belt in hand, pacing the hall, screaming their names to punish them both for an empty carton of milk. Sebastian always made Donnie hide under the bed and he would go into the lion’s den, the sting of each lash becoming more tolerable than the last. He never wanted Donnie to shed blood for him and Sebastian caught himself envisioning Donnie’s hand turning the doorknob to come back into his life, into this home he was forced to leave through the draft.

Sebastian slowly laced the date together with the ink of his pen on paper. April 12, 1945. Donnie had been stationed on Asian soil a few days after his 18th birthday in February. Two months was a long time during the war, especially for Sebastian. The pen bleeds a black splotch on the page and the pain in his shoulder begins to throb again. His eyes felt a burning sensation of tears he could not bring himself to shed, not while Donnie is still out there wanting him to stop worrying about him.

The three knocks on the door startled him, He read the time on his watch, knowing it was too early for mail delivery. His heart pounded as he took steps towards the door. He could see the faces of men in navy uniforms, one holding an envelope in his gloved fingers. He hesitated, his fingers grazed the gold-faded knob he was so afraid to turn. He knew that if the door opened, He may kill his constant dreams of Donnie coming back. He had to face the unbearable truth.

“Mr. Sebastian Crane,” one of the men inquired with an unwavering face.

“Yes, that is me, sir,” Sebastian replied, focusing intently on the white envelope.

“Your brother, Donovan Crane, has been severely injured while aboard his tank on Japanese lines. This is his Honorable Discharge letter and he is receiving medical treatment as we speak. He will be in full recovery at the San Francisco General Hospital. It was an honor to have your brother serve with our military. Good day to you, Mr. Crane.”

Sebastian felt his a cool chill trace down his spine, envelope in his clammy hand. He stood frozen, watching the men walk to their vehicle in such an orderly fashion, as though they knew his eyes were following them. His beloved brother, alive. Sebastian raced to the counter, grabbed the keys, and raced to his Dodge parked on the driveway, neglecting to lock the door behind him.

 

The halls of the hospital were illuminated in white overhead lights that made Sebastian forget night lurked outside. He reached the front desk, exasperated.

“Ma’am, could you tell me where Donnie, er, Donovan Crane is being held?” He could feel his heart trembling wildly under his ribs.

“Let me check for you sir. May I ask who is looking for him,” her facial muscles holding the question still.

“I am his brother, Sebastian. Please, ma’am. I need to see him right away.”

“Well we aren’t supposed to have visitors for a full 24 hours. They can’t be disturbed.”

He could not believe what he was hearing. His cheeks began to get a bit hotter and he felt his jaw clench.

“The only thing that is going to be disturbed around here is your little job up here if you don’t take me to him right now,” Sebastian demanded.

She looked down at her scuffed shoes and made her way around the counter.

“Right this way, Mr. Crane.” She led him past open doorways of quietly sleeping men in their white- threaded sheets. He tried to imagine his brother’s unbroken face and body, just in case the man he saw before him was an imposter to his eyes, his memories of Donnie. The woman’s shoes tap ahead of him to a room full of low-to-the ground beds with scarred, bruised, men, some with hoisted up limbs and some with missing ones. He passed the aisle of bandaged heads and bloodied towels. His eyes caught the glimpse of dark brown hair and a Michelangelo sculpted jawline. Sebastian knew the profile of this face and he rushed past the woman to Donnie’s bedside.

            “Donnie! Donnie, I’m here, Bas is here,” soft tears beginning to make their way from his sky-blue eyes, ones that he and Donnie shared.

“Sir, you are disrupting him,” the woman’s voice bellowed behind him.

“Could you leave us alone please,” Sebastian coldly asked, hoping his slightly cracking voice wouldn’t give him away. He then heard the woman’s shoes slowly tap further and further away until they were inaudible. Donnie’s head slowly turned to face Sebastian. He languidly smile his soft, warming smile that would bring silence to a room of quarreling.

“Bas. Boy, am I glad to see you,” Donnie finally said, the black and blue bruising on his face being broken by his smile. Sebastian looked upon his brother, pained by his brother’s obvious agony he hid as though he only had a paper cut.

“I have missed you, Donnie,” Sebastian said softly.

“I missed you too, brother. If we get any sappier, people may think we’re lovers or something. We can’t ruin my reputation in the hospital, right,” Donnie joked tenderly.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Sebastian laid back in his seat, smiling. “Rub some dirt on it, Donnie.” They laughed together. Donnie began to shift in his bed using his hands. “So, what do they got you in here for,” Sebastian asked, not seeing physical injuries that could be worthy of honorable discharge.

Donnie patted the outline of his thighs under the blanket. “Well…when I was running back to the tank, a Jap put a bullet in my back. I fell and I couldn’t move my legs, so my boys had to carry me back into the tank. They’re the reason I’m alive, you know.” He paused, averting his eyes from Sebastian as he continued. “I was taken back to the medical ward and they managed to get the bullet out, but…I don’t know how else to put it. I have a hard time believing it myself…I…won’t be expected to walk again.” Donnie looked at Sebastian with a slight smile, “Don’t worry, Bas. It’ll all work out. Just have to get used to dancing in my wheelchair.”

All Sebastian could do was stare at Donnie’s immobile legs. His shoulder blade began to rage with a sharp pain that made him curse his father, the man that broke him with a bat, keeping him from taking Donnie’s place in the raining of bullets.

I could have saved him. This thought stirred in his mind, the beginning of a haunting he knew he could not escape.

Zac-Efron

(Donovan “Donnie” Crane, Sebastian’s brother)

Week Two: Noir Readings

Dealing with the noir genre, the writing pieces I read for this week contain common aspects/ideas of noir. By reviewing “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” “Chinatown,” and “A Wild Party,” one can take note to how the themes of mystery, male dominance vs. the fem fatale, water symbolism, and death seem to be prominent in the noir genre.

The essence of mystery or suspense is a definitive theme among most noir works. In “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” suspense is created when Chambers and Cora plot to kill Nick, Cora’s husband. In a sense, dramatic irony is created in this way since the readers know of the events to come while Nick is unaware of their devious plans to kill him either through the staged bathtub accident or the planned-out car accident into the ravine. This kind of mystery and suspense is also present in the screenplay of “Chinatown” as Gittes, a private investigator for unfaithful spouses, is sent on a mission by Evelyn to find out who murdered her husband. In “A Wild Party,” a different kind of mystery is created as the reader is witnessing party guests interact with each other as they share exchanges of lust and feuds. Suspense may be present here since it is unknown to the readers how the party guests will behave altogether and the most suspense may be seen as Queenie and Black begin to fall for one another under Burr’s nose. Based on these readings and from the films I saw last week, the noir genre seems to have a common idea of a mysterious-riddle storyline where the characters are presented with a problem they must investigate and overcome and they face deceit and corruption along the way.

Male dominance over women is definitely something to take notice of in the noir genre. Chambers in “The Postman Always Rings Twice” seduces Cora almost too easily, giving the notion that she is easily attainable or suggesting that she is easy. Gittes in “Chinatown” makes a comment about how it is fine for a husband to cheat and the woman should sleep on it or accept it. He also shows a male dominance that seems to normalize violence towards women. When he is asking Evelyn who Katherine is and she switches between her answers of “sister” and “daughter,” he slaps her repeatedly. The same or worse violence is seen in “A Wild Party” as Burrs beats his wife with the heeled shoe and as he twisted Queenie’s wrist. Verbal abuse is also seen in the way he called her a “lazy slut.” Yet, these female characters are not fully dominated by the male in the way that they serve as the fem fatale character. Cora in the end of “The Postman Always Rings Twice” succeeds in outsmarting Chambers as she brings a puma to show Chambers as to suggest that she knew he had talks of killing her with another woman and she frames him for her demise at the end of the story. Evelyn in “Chinatown” is seen as a fem fatale since she does not give in to Chambers so easily and is seen as mysterious and secretive as he hears rumors about who she was and is, from her young pregnancy to her father saying she is a jealous one. In “A Wild Party,” Queenie is a candidate for the fem fatale since she is displayed for her sexuality and she uses it to her advantage to hurt Burrs by seducing Black. Yet at the end of two of the three stories (“The Postman Always Rings Twice” and “Chinatown”), Cora and Evelyn end up dead, possibly suggesting that their behavior as the fem fatale is threatening to the male and his dominance and therefore, she must perish to preserve the male dominated normalcy of the time period.

The symbolism of water is prevalent in these noir stories. In the end of “The Postman Rings Twice,” Cora tries to drown herself in the ocean and Chambers rescues her only to have her be killed in a car accident shortly after. Water is seen in “Chinatown” as the story is a mystery involving the drowning of Evelyn’s husband, one of the co-founders of the water irrigation company. The water, as a symbol, typically represents rebirth and renewal, which may allude to the idea of the birth of a new kind of beginning, for Chambers as he faces life in prison, and a new mystery unfolding as Gittes investigates the drowning of Mulwray and learns many secrets along the way about the irrigation company and about Evelyn’s past. There is no water symbolism found in “A Wild Party,” but there is the common theme of death in this story as well as most noir. In each story, murder occurs, which in turn creates mystery and suspense for the readers to uncover the truth. Chambers and Cora plot to kill Nick, Mr. Mulwray is murdered as is Evelyn in the end, and Black kills Burrs as he charges at him.

These readings of noir have been enlightening to the noir genre. Common themes present themselves and share commonalities with one another, the most evident being the idea of death, or more specifically, murder. As for the writing styles of these noir pieces, there seems to be a clear conflict, but many sub-conflicts that occur simultaneously with the over-arching conflict. For example, in “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” Cora and Chamber’s conflict is that they want Nick gone, yet they do not succeed the first time they attempt to kill him and run away. The same can be seen in “Chinatown” as Gittes has to interrogate various people to uncover the truth and finds himself in trouble as he searches for the truth, and this is seen when his nose is cut as a threat when he is near the area where Mr. Mulwray was found. In “A Wild Party,” there are multiple sub-conflicts; the men fighting with each other over one other man, the young girl almost being assaulted by a man, etc. These sub-conflicts add depth to the mystery itself and build up the main conflict more by giving it depth. It seems each sub-conflict is an event leading up to the resolving of the main mystery being presented to the readers.