Actors and mise en scene

Mise en scene encompasses the role of the actors in a film, their physical positioning and movements within the frame, as well as the different styles and types of acting (Goodykoontz, 2014). Actors bring the characters to life, who are within a story portrayed through the plot. Actors simply act, and collaborate with the director.

Judy Garland (Dorothy), Ray Bolger (‘Hunk’, Scarecrow), Frank Morgan (Professor Marvel, The Wizard of Oz, The Gatekeeper, The Carriage Driver, The Guard). I believe the classification of these actors is Personality Actor. With the possibility of Frank Morgan being a Character Actor.

Personality Actors-Acting depends heavily on a strong personality and at some level, playing themselves (or at least that is the perception). Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, and Frank Morgan all convey strong personality through their bringing to life, of the character they are playing. These characters require such an over the top appearance, and life about them, these actors must be able to be strong in their portrayal-facial expressions, voice, body movements, and personal touches they incorporate within the character. Frank Morgan may be classified as a Character Actor due to his multiple character roles in “The Wizard of Oz” and even myself did not recognize him as a few of his roles, and was a popular actor before his multiple roles alongside Judy, Ray, and many others. These actors with their strong personality abilities, they also instill a type of acting-Stylized Acting, when actors and directors want to call attention to the fact that the actors are in fact acting, drawing attention to themselves, being intentionally unrealistic (Goodykoontz, 2014). Obviously through their mannerisms, their facial expressions, and over the top portrayal of fantasy beings in Oz, their characters are given the up most effect of unrealistic, strong in their role.

Judy Garland, who plays Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz“, is a personality actor that does not go outside of classification. She is cast in films as an actor with a strong personality, and within musicals. She even lost lead roles to other women in a few films, because of her personal life affecting her ability to be a strong personality, and what it took to portray the character they needed. Goes to show, if you did not have what they needed you to have, you could not do the part, there is nothing wrong with being classified as a certain type of actor, but it could limit the amount of films in, and cast-worthy of.


Goodykoontz, B. & Jacobs C. P. (2014). Film:From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.


Sound in The Wizard of Oz-week 3 Blog

Dialogue is the talking between characters in a film. This is used to expand or elaborate upon what is visible on the screen, further develop the plot, to enhance characterizations, or to immediately establish important information the audience needs to know to understand the action; names, locations, dates, motivations, or backstory. The use of dialogue influences personal communication, the phrases in films have become part of everyday topic, what one can relate to, and symbolic to individual’s lives. For example, many people at some point have used the phrase, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” (Goodykoontz, 2014, The Wizard of Oz, 1939).

Sound effects are used in almost every film to enhance the action, to grab and keep the viewers attention.

Music is as crucial to a film’s creation like that of lighting and cameras. Music that plays in the background of a scene while action takes place is a film’s music score. A score is often played by a full symphonic orchestra, or: on a synthesizer, by a solo instrumentalist, or by a small group of instrumentalists. Background music can be recognized by the style, or is random with an anonymous feel. Not all music is writing just for a particular film or written numbers that get overlooked. Many of these numbers have become iconic, classics. For example, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is a widely popular, recognizable, and understood class song (Goodykoontz, 2014, The Wizard of Oz, 1939).

These three elements make up the categories in sound within a film. Sound is an important key to the success of, and is commonly taken for granted and overlooked by viewers in a film. The Wizard of Oz, a 1939 widely popular and outstanding film of its time, effectively uses sound, in aid of the theme, mood, genre it classifies with, and the overall creation of the film. Sound has a profound impact in establishing the theme in this film, unnatural. In the “tornado scene”, the use of music sound effects and minimal dialogue, impact the unnatural feel.

The background music appears to be played by a symphonic orchestra and is pretty subtle up until the major scene of the tornado. “Scoring a film sound is almost like refereeing a basketball game-if done right, no one notices.” (David Bondelevitch-Goodykoontz, 2014). When the tornado closes in on Dorothy, the inside of her home is her only means of safety, and the background music is used to do the speaking, since there is very minimal dialogue. Upon the window coming out of the wall and hitting Dorothy in the head-causing unconsciousness (a dreaming state), the background music turns into dramatic, silly, of dream-like, unnatural qualities. The music aids in the “still” sense of Dorothy inside the tornado, even though she is spinning around, and chaos all around her. Unusual chords, rhythms, tempos, volumes, and instrumentation, create the unnatural theme of the scene. Another major component of background music that has affected the overall experience, and popular understanding, is the little ditty that is played when the old lady on the bike appears, and transforms into a cackling witch, it is widely hummed, and used in funny situations among some. I know I have referenced it many times throughout my life.

Sound effects throughout this scene appear fairly typical, and natural, everyday sounds. The tornado’s sound effects are extremely intense and dramatic, loud, and sounds that associate with a tornado. These effects are so in your face, a viewer cannot help but keep glued to the scene, watching and listening to everything going on. It is very unnatural for someone to be able to endure, and be that close to a tornado, in a storm of that sort. Dorothy running around frantically, and everything flying around her, with the sound effects, is truly out of this world. What is cool too, is some of the sound effects are produced by some of the instruments/instrumentalists, giving the sound effects an unexpected, dream-like quality.

Dialogue in this scene is very minimal, and to the point.

If the music in the scene would have been removed, the overall fantasy, unnatural, intriguing quality would not exist. The sound effects, if removed, would have made the scene very dull, and lose a viewer’s attention. If the dialogue would have been removed, and all other categories kept, it still would have been an intense, fantasy themed, scene.

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C., P. (2014). Film:From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

The Wizard of Oz, Mise en scene, lighting

A film’s creation of the visual theme is greatly affected by mise en scene. This is “what is placed in the scene”, what the viewer “sees in a scene.” (Goodykoontz, 2014). These are visible things used to help tell the story, before the camera is brought onto set. A major element of mise en scene and the impact it has on the overall meaning in a film is lighting. In, The Wizard of Oz, the major lighting choice used is high-key lighting.

High-key lighting is very bright lighting over everything with few shadows, relatively low contrast between the lightest and darkest parts of the scene, and is usually used in comedies, happy scenes, institutional and office scenes (Goodykoontz, 2014). This type of lighting helps the overall theme of the film, unnatural, situations that break the limitations of the real world. In, The Wizard of Oz, the main character “visits” a mysterious place called ‘Oz’. The lighting is very bright, visibly unnatural, surreal, dream-like quality. This contributes to the viewer’s senses of happiness, excitement, and invites the viewer to imagine themselves in such a surreal dream, situation.

The Wizard of Oz is classified as a Fantasy film. This genre is widely noticed for its pure escapism, a viewer is able to escape the real world into the fantasy. With the help of characters living in imaginary settings, and/or the characters experiencing situations that break the limitations of the real world (Goodykoontz, 2014). Through the lighting technique of high-key lighting giving unnatural, bright, dream-like appearance(s), the fantasy feel is created and suited for escapism.

If the lighting choice was different, the film’s happy, inviting senses would not be as is. If low-key lighting was chosen for the mysterious place of ‘Oz’, the scene would have been more intense and mysterious on a darker level. This would be due to the extreme use of deep shadows, dark overall, and possibly a single source of lighting used, low-key lighting is not for a ‘pleasant dream’, or an escape a viewer would choose to imagine themselves a part of. Low key-lighting is used for horror films, mystery thrillers, and intense dramatic scenes.

Text book reference:

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Week 1 Blog

Title: The Best of Me

Writer: J. Mills Goodloe, Will Fetters, Novel by Nicholas Sparks

Director: Michael Hoffman

Major Actors: Michelle Monaghan (Amanda Collier), James Marsden (Dawson Cole), Liana Liberato (Young Amanda), Luke Bracey (Young Dawson)

Year Released: 2014

Story: The Best of Me is a 2014 film about two, old high school sweet hearts, Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier, who reunite after many years, for a mutual friend’s passing in their hometown. This reunion between the pair re-opens wounds, and their love for each other is reignited. In the end, they fall victim to the darkness that pushed them apart many years ago.

Plot: The film starts out with adult Dawson and Amanda in their current lives. Dawson is involved in an on-the-job accident, that should have killed him. After his hospital stay and back at home, he receives a phone call about his friend’s passing, Amanda receives the same phone call.

They both reunite in their hometown for their friend’s funeral and lawyer meeting. They both receive things in their friend’s will and must work together to pack up their friend’s house. During their encounters old feelings surface, questions, and answer are sought. All-the-while their love for each other strengthens, which never died, while hurdling obstacles-Amanda is married with children.

When they finally decide to take the plunge and pursue each other, obstacles set in their way. Amanda deals with family emergency, having to tell her husband she wants to leave and is still in love with Dawson, and a tragic ending to her plans. Dawson continues to help himself, and others, while saving a family member from the family drug business, resulting in a tragic ending for Dawson. In the end, love continues to live.

Non-Linear Presentation: This film follows a non-linear presentation based on the present beginning of film, with flashbacks, back to current present. It all flows chronologically, the flashbacks cause the non-linear presentation, it isn’t set in “real time” the entire film. This decision was crucial to the film’s understanding by the audience.

If the flashbacks didn’t occur, the audience, and understanding of the film would have been lost if the film moved on in “real time” after they reunited. If the film would have started from beginning (flashbacks), to “real time” a lot of the film would have had to been modified, and the overall impact of the story would have been different. The flashbacks give the movie a twist, suspense, and keeps the audience’s attention, and guessing what is to come next.