English Studies: Hamlet And Third Man

Hamlet: Denmark Disease/Decay imagery: – “His wit is diseased” – “when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world” – Marcellus says “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” after he sees Hamlet follow the ghost – “sickly days” – Hamlet says “thou must cure me.” – Hamlet talks of his “sick soul” – Hamlet describes the world as an “unweeded garden…only things that are decaying and / Disgusting grow there”.- “For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god kissing carrion” (even the life giving sun creates disgusting disease and horrors, who to trust?) Other: – Hamlet’s soliloquy in the first act: “That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain./ At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark” – Elsinore is a world of spying/deceit: “trail of policy”. Duplicitous state.
TTM: Vienna – TTM shows the decay of a great city in a literal sense. – The audience is presented with a didactic explanation of the fragmented world of Vienna- The corruption of Vienna is also symbolised by the juxtaposition of Kurt and Harry’s mansions with the crumbling ruins. (portrayed through Reed’s decision to place the images successively – Vienna, the once cultural city of avant-garde thinking was destroyed. – This destruction is portrayed through scenic shots of the crumbling ruins. – Vienna is the source of corruption, and is personified, unlike in Hamlet, where Denmark is a by-product of the presence of ‘infection’ from within. – The city hinders Holly’s movements, such as the ladder in the scene showing his arrival from America. Vienna itself is an obstacle for Holly, which is another way its corruption is portrayed by Reed. – Close ups on people makes it seem as if Vienna itself is watching Holly with a bemused attachment. Juxtaposed with statues looking down on Holly (EXAMPLE: WHEN HOLLY SPLASHING WATER ON THE STATUE AFTER HARRY ESCAPES. RECOGNISES THAT THE STATUE IS ALMOST MOCKING HIM. TWO STATUES OUTSIDE HARRY’S HOUSE).- Untranslated German highlights the lack of communication between people
Characterisation: Hamlet Hamlet is an idealistic character that lives in a corrupted worldHamlet’s reluctance: – “oh cursed spite, that e’er I was born to set it right”Hamlet’s Madness/Antic Disposition: – “thou must cure me.”- “my sick soul”- “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” – Hamlet is “mad in craft.” Hamlet’s disgust: – Hamlet is outraged about his mother’s “dexterity to incestuous sheets!” Hamlet’s depressed state of mind: – “His wit is diseased” – “to die [or] to sleep” – “to be or not to be” Self Loathing: – “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I” Hamlet’s Death: Horatio says “Now cracks a noble heart”
Characterisation: Holly – As Holly is the naïve American traveller, he is shot with a straight angle; this juxtaposition emphasises the corruption of Vienna. – At the start: Harry was the “Best friend I ever had” – Though Holly never succumbs to evil, the city corrupts his innocence. – Costume: As Holly alights from the train, his appearance is clumsy; he wears his tie sticking out and his hat lop-sidedAfter hospital scene: Collar turned up shows his sophistication, no longer the school boy looking man. – Expressionistic montage sequence, car scene: establishing Holly as a character in a place he doesn’t understand.
Characterisation: Claudius – “how is it that the clouds still hang on you?” – “o’ the ulcer/ Hamlet comes back” (claudius sees Hamlet as an ulcer he has to get rid of… more disease imagery) –
Characterisation: Harry – Harry embodies the corrupt state of Vienna and is a man of opportunistic moral relativism- Harry seeks refuge in the sewers, which not only symbolises his corruption but also his comfort in a place of darkness. This is shown visually through the use of chiaroscuro- When Harry’s delayed appearance is presented on screen, he is completely submerged in darkness, until the camera pans upwards to reveal a small patch of light illuminating the smirk on Harry’s face.- This represents how Harry is at home in the darkness. – Zither leitmotif characterises Harry – Harry appears at the top amongst statues of angels but descends into the sewers. Shows how Harry was at first seen as a good person by Holly etc. – “the dead are happier dead”. Ferris wheel scene
Characterisation: Ophelia – Gertrude says that her suicide was a “muddy death” – Hamlet tells her “I loved you not” – “her clothes spread wide… awhile they bore her up” Gertrude tells of her death as if she had not control over it and simply ‘fell’ into the lake. Symbolic of Ophelia’s lack of control in her own life as Polonius takes control over her
Characterisation: Anna – In the police station: “He’s alive” (Can’t concentrate on anything other than the fact that Harry is alive, she is completely blinded. Her devotion to him is completely uncritical it represents a kind of loyalty that clearly lacks any rationality.) – “He’s still part of me, that’s a fact”- Ultimately, the film does not condone Anna’s loyalty. It is too blind and unthinking. – EXAMPLE: Doors are like Saloon doors swinging (interesting link to holly’s writing) She drops the coat, symbolising dropping Holly’s protection. – Anna looks angelic but is morally disorientated
Opening Scenes: Hamlet – The first line of Hamlet begins with a question, Barnardo asks, “who’s there?” which highlights the uncertainty felt by those living in Denmark- Ghost of King Hamlet appears which “abodes some strange eruption” – Francisco reveals at the start that “tis bitter cold, / and I am sick at heart.” –
Opening Scenes: TTM – The narrator is mysterious and describes the city as a place of former “glamour [and] easy charm”. – However, it’s now “city of… displaced persons, [and] black marketeers”.- One of the first images is of a dead body floating in the river, indicative of the corruption of Vienna. –
Similar key ideas in Hamlet & TTM [Pt 1.] Order & Chaos: The idea that the King is the closest thing to God on earth. – Chaos at the end of the play similar to the sewer chase. Conflict between appearance and reality: – Harry’s charm, evil can be disarming. Claudius appears calm and rational; everything he says is designed to make people feel comfortable. – The porter tells Holly that Harry could have been anybody. Holly is seemingly abducted, used as humour. – The parrot scene is humorous too: combination of hilarity and menace in that deception. – Streets look fairly benign during the day, but at night the great shadows and lights make it look quite grotesque. The large shadow of the balloon man (motif) – “Best friend I ever had [Harry]” says Holly- Hamlet’s feigned madness. Difficult to tell when he is acting/not. – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, their apparent loyalty. They are working for someone else. – Harry appears at the top amongst statues of angels but descends into the sewers- Anna looks angelic but is morally disoriented
Similar key ideas in Hamlet & TTM [Pt 2.] Decadence and corruption. The destructive power of corruption, the power of evil: – Comes down to the two key characters in The Third Man & Hamlet. Claudius & Harry, Hamlet & Holly. – Claudius seems to be the cause of so much of the corruption in Denmark. Denmark’s corruption is due to Claudius; it is backwards but not corrupt without Claudius- Whereas Vienna is corrupt and Harry is the epitome of the corruption and is symbolic of the corruption in the setting. – Disease imagery, poison and death imagery in Hamlet. – Literal decay in The Third Man. Grotesque faces (conveyed through close ups and camera angles) The idea of loyalty and betrayal. Lies and deception:- Ironic juxtaposition: Anna is loyal to a criminal. – Holly betrays Harry- Concept of loyalty is flexible. Loyal to morals and ideas not just people
Exposure/Focus in TTM: (under exposed):- Exposure low for Harry – Dark atmosphere = seedy, sly, suspiciousDeep Focus:- Typical of film noir. Places an equal importance, visually on all the elements.- places more importance on the setting as the audience is forced to see everything. – Has a highly stylised effect. Overall creates a strong connection between character and setting. Setting symbolises something about each character. E.g. religious icons (visual irony), Ferris wheel, buildings in decay.
Camera angles in TTM: Camera angles: – High shots, makes the subject look intimidated, belittled or weak. Eye level – sense of equality. Looking up to something makes it look powerful, prestigious or exaggerated. – EXAMPLE: Camera in car chase is right on the road, which is unsettling. HIGH SHOT EXAMPLE: Porter looking down on Holly.- 20 degree canted or more usually. Suggests the deranged way of looking at the world, a sense of distortion. – The criminals, Harry, Kurtz, Pepescu Are all shot with this angle, which emphasises their behaviour and links them. – EXAMPLE: WHEN HOLLY MEETS KURTZ IN CAFÉ, SKEWED ANGLE, INDICATES TO THE AUDIENCE THAT KURTZ IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED. – Holly is shot on a ‘straight’ angle, which portrays his innocence.- Reed uses window frames as a grid to empathise the canted angle.
Lighting in TTM: Lighting: – Chiaroscuro. Use of light and dark. – Many scenes filmed at night- Heavy use of shadow. Mysterious. – EXAMPLE: HARRY COMPLETELY IN SHADOW. EVEN WHEN HIS FACE IS LIT IT IS FROM ABOVE SO IT DISTORTS HIS FACE. EXAMPLE: SEWER SCENE: TENSION AND EXCITEMENT COMES FROM MINIMAL LIGHTING. THE FLASHING OF TORCHLIGHT GOING ON AND OFF (DIEGETIC LIGHT) – Streets look fairly benign during the day, but at night the great shadows and lights make it look quite grotesque. The large shadow of the balloon man (motif)
Music in TTM: Music:- Zither: has a light-hearted sound to it, but it is without joy. The jaunty sound is in complete contrast to the events of the film. Sets the tone, often melancholy. Otherworldly tone. Enhances and expresses moments of revelation or tension such as a slight dip in the music.- EXAMPLES: when Holly says he thought Harry would be there to meet him. When Anna wonders whether Harry was pushed or if it was an accident. – – Associated with Harry. His appearance his cheerful/spritely. – The zither is the first image the audience sees. Close up of the vibrating strings. Foreshadows the sense of distortion that is the hallmark of the film’s cinematography. – Harry’s leitmotif – This distortion is combined with the fact that western audiences would not be familiar with.
Mis En Scene in TTM: – Holly is often placed in Mis -en- scene that is complex and confusing- Dr Winkle’s home, many religious sculptures which is ironic. Dr Winkle looking at Harry.

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