Look, Listen, Analyze

The Good The Bad and the Ugly (Cemetery Scene)


It truly is amazing what your eyes see without sound and what you hear when you are not visually distracted. This was a unique experience. By turning off the sound and watching the visual effects my mind was not distracted or focused by the soundtrack of the movie. By closing my eyes and listening only to the soundtrack the cinematography did not distract me …the story that was being told using only sound and music. When I played the video clip for the third time, with my eyes open and my ears listening, my mind process the visual and sound effects more critically than if I had watched the movie for pure entertainment purposes.

My observation, when I watched the visual effects, without sound was that the camera created a dizzying array of angles, close-ups, long shots, side shots, blurred revolving shots that allowed the viewer to experience the confusion of the actor. Without knowing the story-line, the visual effects created a sense of confusion and were very discombobulating.

Listening to the music was fascinating. Initially it went from sadness to confusion, The tolling of the bell could easily have been for the dead. It marked a change of tempo. The female vocal lent majesty and mystery to the grave yard scene. It increased in tempo with the music punctuated by a metallic clanking in the background, moved between fast and slow. Periodically you could hear running footsteps with the music increasing its speed and tempo. There were certain phrases of melody that tended to repeat themselves. At one point the music was fast and confused … it then stopped with a voice saying Arch Stanton with heavy labored breathing and then the sound of digging.

I found observing and listening at the same time interesting. I had missed the cannon fire at the beginning of the clip. The visual of the protagonist lying on the ground with his head up against a gravestone, lifting himself, hands on the gravestone, turning around and looking out over the vast graveyard was visually spectacular. I noticed that as he started to run toward the center of the graveyard it appeared to be configured as a Roman stadium with a stone stage in the center. The graves were laid out in concentric circles radiating outward. The viewer was left with a sense that perhaps this was the graveyard and final resting place of soldiers who had died in battle or a village that had been massacred.

I found the rapid movement of the camera near the end of the segment, combined with the rapid pace of the music very disconcerting and confusing. It was at this point that I realized that the protagonist was looking for something as the camera gave him the appearance of running each of the concentric circles heading from the inner ring toward the outer ring. It was not until everything stopped near the end of the segment and he spoke the name “Arch Stanton” that I realized he was not only looking for a grave but was looking for what was buried in that grave. More than likely money or guns.

I will now have to go watch this movie.

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