Thursday, July 1, 2010

THAS: Appreciating Eaten Alive (1977) #3

#3 - Motif - The Patrician Stare of Mel Ferrer





Not another example of the camera's constant flirtation with Mel's eyeline of hopelessly dignified defatigation, but here's the film's send-off of Ferrer's character that becomes darkly fitting in light of the previous visual cues taken:

One thing Hooper does a lot is create odd, unnatural eye-line matches in his shot-countershot patterning. The reaction shots of the police station scene - block (2) - are especially deliberate as visual expression from Hooper, Ferrer's performance literally directed at the camera. Block (4) stands as one of the most striking moments in the film, the act of Ferrer being dropped off at the motel (to his oncoming doom) signified merely by the passing of the Sheriff's headlights across a shot of his benumbed upper body - a lit portraiture of a man's pervading tiredness briefly, exquisitely illuminated, before he is returned to darkness and weary animation.

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