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The Attention Grabbers of Midnight Cowboy

In: Film and Music

Submitted By karbar24
Words 857
Pages 4
Karlee Folk
ENGL-126 - 002W - Film & Literature
June 7th 2012

The opening scene of midnight cowboy does an extremely good job of out lining what the story of the film will be about. With the use of different visual effects of the shots throughout the movie they display the main focus points that will be important during this movie. The movie gives the viewers the main key elements of the movie in the first couple scenes. For example, the main characters name repeated “where’s that Joe Buck.” Or the emphasis on the “cowboy” features in his outfit from head to toe. Finally the almost arrogant or cocky like attitude given through his singing to himself through the mirror. These main points are not only obvious but the lighting and visual distance from the camera highlight’s these key points even more. With the key point given to the viewers the plot is able to be narrowed in by the end of the opening scene. With this done there is no hidden agenda that the director is trying to have and the viewers are never left out of what this film will be about. They are able to outline the plot an follow the plot while watching this movie. One of the main features this movie uses to its advantage is a close up. This is where the shot is close up to a person or an object (Petrie, G-2). Midnight cowboy uses this most while emphasizing on the cowboy features that Joe Buck was wearing. A close up was done as he carefully placed the black hat with a gold band on his head. Another close up was done as he buttoned up his plaid shirt emphasizing on his face and chest. The director Even had a close up done as he zipped up his fly. Obviously, the director had the intensions of showing Joe Buck’s man hood and male like personality with this close up. Finally, there was a close up of the brand new cow boy boots being opened. Through all of these close ups the viewers are able to understand the main focus will be Joe Buck becoming a new person as the movie goes on. Another effect that the director used to his advantage throughout the opening scene was Joe Buck having flash backs from his child hood. A flash back is a filmed sequence that goes back in time to provide expository material-either when it is most dramatically appropriate and powerful or when it most effectively illuminates the theme (Petrie, G-3). The director does this a couple times as the opening scene goes on. This is done to high light on Joe Buck’s child hood experience so the viewers are able to understand why Joe doing what he is. For example, as Joe walks past an old beauty parlor building he has a flashback. He remembers himself in the room giving an older lady a massage on her shoulders as she sits in the chair. As the blonde women was enjoying the massage that Joe was giving her he receives a kiss on the check by her. After he had the flash black the building then shows a for sale sign as he walks away. The next flash that Joe received was while he was on the bus. This flashback had multiple shots with it. The first was without an image but a voice running through his head as an invisible sound. An invisible sound is where the sound emanating from a source that is not on the screen. (Petrie, G-4). The voice that he is hearing is an older woman telling him that he was a very nice looking young man. Also, that he would be the best looking cowboy in the parade. At that time the screen shows a different shot of Joe as a young boy with his cowboy hat on. Finally, the last part of the clip was his grandma waving from her porch explaining that she would leave his T.V dinner in the fridge. All of these flash backs were able to help the viewers to understand how Joe’s arrogance was formed as he grew in to the man he was. Also this made it clearer for the audience to understand the reasoning behind why he was dressed in his cow boy outfit. The final effect that the director uses in this opening scene of Midnight cowboy is developing the character of this film. This is where characters who are deeply affected by the action or the plot and who undergo some important change in personality, attitude, or outlook in life as a result of the action of the film (Petrie, G-2). As the director show Joe dressing up it also shows the importance of the change in Joe. As mentioned earlier “where’s that Joe Buck.” Joe was supposed to be in for work. Joe had a different agenda for the day than to be at work. During the open scene he quit his job at the dinner, packed his bags, and headed on a bus to New York City.

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