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What Women Want

Casablanca and What Women Want, although filmed five decades apart, have some notable similarities and obvious differences. The use of color and lighting is central to both films, and each use these elements in different ways. In comparing film aspects in Casablanca to What Women Want, despite the similarities, the way the drama is created in each film is the result of the evolution of cinematography. When Casablanca was filmed in 1942, Technicolor was not widely used, and lighting was minimal. The lack of color and lighting seems to give this film a sad, perhaps mysterious atmosphere, creating drama.

Since less lighting was used in Casablanca, many shadows were created. This lack of lighting also created drama. For example, the lighting adds to the creation of the dramatic in the scene when Victor and Ilsa were in a bedroom, and Victor turns out the lights. The lack of light and color creates an atmosphere rife with shadows, one that the viewer wants to pay attention to. As Victor speaks to Ilsa, the viewer does not see much, but because of the lack of a clear visual, higher importance is given to the dialogue. The lighting also shows expression.

This is how the film creates more expressive scenes and drama. For example, towards the end of the film where Rick and Ilsa meet again and the famous line, “Here’s looking at you, kid. ” was said, the dim lighting, combined with the lack of color, creates drama and importance. Filters were also used during the filming of Casablanca. For example, in the scene where Ilsa speaks to the piano player, when he starts playing, the camera cuts to a shot of Ilsa. Her face seems softer that it did just moments before, and she has a sad look.

A filter was used for this shot. It is obvious that the filter was used to smudge the natural, hard lines of Ilsa’s face to make her appear softer. The picture switches suddenly from clear to slightly blurry and soft because of the filter; the filter was only used during certain shots throughout the film. When What Women Want was filmed in 2000, creating films in color had been perfected and evolved into all productions being filmed in color. The producers can now create drama by using brilliant colors in the form of costume and decor.

An example of this in What Women Want is the scene where Nick’s daughter tries on prom dresses. The dresses were all brilliant in color; some were pink, purple, and there was even a leopard print dress. There was also a black dress, and even though it was black, there was something bright about it. This use of color created a dramatic atmosphere. One could go so far as to argue that the scene was suspenseful; it kept the viewer aware, wanting to know which dress the character would choose, or, because her father was present, be allowed to choose.

Full-color films require more lighting. This fights shadows so the viewer can see the picture clearly. Because of this, What Women Want does not have the sense of the mysterious that Casablanca has, however, the lighting is just as dramatic. For example, when Nick decides to electrocute himself on purpose to try to rid himself of his “gift” of hearing what women think, the lightning and rain gives the scene almost a frightening feel. The drama is heightened when Nick holds up the hair dryer for a moment before turning it on, and the hair dryer is lit by the lightning.

The lighting of the hair dryer is the most dramatic point of the scene, making the viewer wonder if Nick is going to kill himself instead of trying to change an aspect of himself. Both films are realistic. Unusual camera angles are almost non-existent and, while watching both films, the camera seems to be in the middle of the action, making the viewer feel like he/she is really there. For example, in the opening scene of Casablanca, when people are running all over the square, the camera is in the middle of the commotion, making the viewer feel as though he/she will be knocked down any second.

In What Women Want, the same is true. The scene where Nick is in a meeting at work, and they are sitting in a circle, sharing ideas, the camera is in the middle of the circle, making the viewer feel as though he/she is part of the conversation. In conclusion, Casablanca and What Women Want are at opposite ends of the dramatic spectrum; Casablanca is dramatic because of its lack of lighting and color, and What Women Want is dramatic because of its use of lighting and color.

Even though filmed five decades apart, both utilize the realistic; opting for smooth and clear camera work instead of unusual camera angles. Both Casablanca and What Women Want are very artistic and create substantial drama, just in different ways. ? Casablanca. Dir. Michael Curtiz. Perf. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman. Warner Bros. Pictures. 1942. ? What Women Want. Dir. Nancy Meyers. Perf. Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt. Paramount

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