Point of View in Film

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A common and useful technique in filmmaking is the point of view shot. The clip we watched in class of from Some Like it Hot, showed Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon's point of view as they were looking at Marilyn Monroe. They were definitely objectifying her and the director, Billy Wilder, effectively communicated that. I thought it was an interesting that we as an audience were kind of forced to do it as well. Since, in order to effectively communicate that the men in the scene were "checking her out", camera framed what specifically they were looking at.

We see this technique in many other films and I was especially happy to see that Mulvey brought up Alfred Hitchcock films in Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. The point of view technique was the cornerstone of Hitchcock's filmmaking process. Dubbed "Master of Suspense", Hitchcock used point of view shots to effectively place the audience members in the position of a man or woman in the scene. Rear Window (1954), relies heavily on this technique because the main character is in a wheelchair and has nothing to do except look out the window at his neighbors. One of his neighbors is a ballerina and spends most mornings dancing in her apartment in her undergarments. Although Hitchcock never frames a particular part of her body (he keeps the camera at a distance to continually remind the audience that the main character is a substantial distance from the people he watches), it is clear to the audience how he is looking at her.

Some Like it Hot and Rear Window are similar in that they both have male main characters so naturally most of the shots are from a male point of view; the difference is definitely the amount of objectification of women in the films. It could be argued that the point of Some Like it Hot is to study what women deal with when they interact with men, and what better way than to put a couple of men literally and figuratively in a woman's shoes. Although I think it was probably Billy Wilder's intention, in order to cater to his male audience, to focus much of his shots around Marilyn Monroe's body, which was in bad taste in my opinion.

2 Comments

I thought this was an excellent discussion of the importance of framing on behalf of the director's of a film. Wilder's 'Some Like It Hot' is a great example of framing and the fragmented view of women. I was very glad that it had been included in Mulvey's analysis. I think this specific movie is an interesting example because Wilder effectively showed the gaze's negative impact on the woman being objectified while also putting the "gazers" in the position of the "gazed upon." I thought it was really interesting to see the interplay between this role reversal.

I’m glad that we were able to agree on how male objectivity plays a critical role in the male gaze. We both wrote about 1 common example; the train scene from Some Like it Hot when Lemmon and Curtis stare of Monroe’s legs. In my opinion, I think that the male gaze can best be thought of us a form of consumption; in other words, men tend to get this fill of objectifying women via the gaze. It is undoubtedly a superficial tactic, because think of it this way: how many times have you ever seen a movie that where one of the male leads objectively stares at an unattractive female? If this does happen, 9 times out of 10, the man is also unattractive too. I mean the only example that I can think of at the top of my head would have to be My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where Ian (John Corbett) in like one of the first scenes of the movie stares at Toula (Nia Vardalos) in the Greek restaurant before she has her big makeover. I really don’t think the male gaze is as fierce as it is probably commonly perceived. In other words, I don’t really think a lot of the time the men realize how their gaze is being perceived as objectifying. Perspective is always the determining factor when trying to assess anything on the surface.

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This page contains a single entry by trim0036 published on October 25, 2012 3:23 PM.

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