Film producers use different presentational devices to give the audience hints about the characters and actions going on in the film. Using the characters James Braddock and Max Baer from the film Cinderella Man, I am going to investigate how film producers use camera angles, costume, and lighting, settings, music and character interaction to create more meaning for the audience. I will specifically be looking at the creation of James Braddock as a good character and Max Baer as a bad character. James Braddock is a very kind hearted, honest family man.
The film producer is able to show this through many camera angles of his actions and emotions. We see a close up of James Braddock when he is at the gate waiting and hoping to be picked for a job at the docks. You see in this shot it mainly focuses on James’ facial expressions. You see that he is worried that he may not be chosen for a job and he will return to his family with no money. You see that he has some hope and that he is concerned that he may not be chosen for the job because of his hand.
This certain angle is a close up of a characters face and mainly focuses on their facial expressions. This angle helps the audience understand how the character is feeling by having a close up of their face and being able to see their facial expressions. We see James’ family man/caring side in a mid-angle shot after he comes home from a fight and tells his children that he has won a fight. This mid-angle shot is James sitting down hugging his three children with a huge smile on his face. Although winning the fight would’ve made James happy being home with his family brings so much more joy to him.
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The way he acts and looks around his children shows that he is a real family man and that he would do whatever he can just to make his family happy. Mid-angle shots are usually shots from the waist upward and allow other people in the shot. This shot mainly shows how this character reacts around certain people and shows some of their body movement. We are able to see James’ affectionate and loving side in a low angle shot of James holding his wife Mae above him looking her in the eyes with an affectionate smile on his face. James looks at Mae in this shot like she is the most precious thing in the whole wide world and to him she is.
He looks at her with so much love and affection and like he would do anything in the whole world for her. Low angle shots are shots that show vulnerability and that are taken from low places looking up on the characters. James’ friendly side comes out in a high angle shot of himself, Mae, Joe and Joe’s wife all out for dinner in a nice restaurant. It shows all four of them sitting around the dinner table talking, laughing and smiling like they don’t have any worries at all. No matter how hard things get James is always able to put a smile on his face and appreciate everything he is given.
High angle shots are shots taken from high places and looking down on the characters and their surroundings. James’ character intervention/body language towards people also helps us see what type of person he is. Throughout the movie James is always a caring and friendly person to people and the only time he is violent is when he is in the boxing ring and even then it isn’t a mean violent it is a sport type of violence. Music throughout the movie and in different scenes also helps us understand what is going on and the mood of James in different scenes.
Music helps you understand how the character is feeling. The lighting and setting of each different scene also helps us understand a lot of how life is like for James Braddock. Dimmer lights and dull clothing shows that James isn’t a rich stuck up person but that he is a person that appreciates everything he has. On the other hand Max Baer is a completely different person to James Braddock and that’s why I have chosen for him to be the bad character. Max is always angry and aggressive towards other people and proving that he has also killed two people in the boxing ring.
He is a very stubborn and stuck up man who demands everything when in reality he doesn’t deserve anything. We get a glimpse of Max’s evil side in the boxing ring when we have a close up shot of his face. His face is scrunched up and he has a very evil look in his eyes, he also looks very angry and aggressive in this shot. This shot’s main focus is Max’s expression in the boxing match and his expression isn’t a very nice one. As said as earlier this certain angle is a close up of a characters face and mainly focuses on their facial expressions.
This angle helps the audience understand how the character is feeling by having a close up of their face and being able to see their facial expressions. We see how mean and rude Max Baer can be when we get a mid-angle shot of Max talking to James in the restaurant asking him not to fight him because Max doesn’t want to fight a ‘loser’. That in my opinion is just rude and it shows what type of personality that Max has and what type of person he is. Mid-angle shots are usually shots from the waist upward and allow other people in the shot.
This shot mainly shows how this character reacts around certain people and shows some of their body movement. Max’s aggressive side is captured in a low angle towards the end of the fight between himself and James. The shot is taken down from the audience and looking up at Max when he is brutally punching James multiple times in the ribs. This also shows that Max would do whatever he can to win his boxing battles even if it does mean killing people. Low angle shots are shots that show vulnerability and that are taken from low places looking up on the characters.
We see that Max is a bit of a sore loser after he wins the championships to James Braddock. After being rude and violent throughout the whole boxing match and bragging about how he will win the match we see a high angle shot looking down on Max walking off after his disappointment of losing the boxing match to James Braddock. High angle shots are shots taken from high places and looking down on the characters and their surroundings. Max’s character intervention/body language towards people also helps us see what type of person he is.
Throughout the movie Max is a very aggressive and rude person to people and he is extremely violent is when he is in the boxing ring. We don’t see a lot of Max until the big boxing match at the end and even in that scene there is very little music so it’s hard for music to be able to contribute to this character. As I just said we don’t see a lot of Max till the big boxing match but when we do see him he is generally dressed very posh like and always with a lot of girls. That shows that he is a man that wants everything but in reality he doesn’t deserve it.
He is a man that takes what he has for granted. After investigating how camera angles, music, settings, costumes, lighting and character interaction make an impact to films, I have learnt that films are not all about the characters. It’s about how the producer uses all these things to keep you interested in the movie and to emphasize the character because being totally honest, without any of these things in a film we wouldn’t be very interested. Movies are more than just people acting; it’s how producers create the movie that makes it interesting!
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