Overused plot tropes in the 30's

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Jim Roots

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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSun Aug 20, 2017 9:02 am

barry byrne wrote:Hero runs out of ammunition and always throws the gun away in a hissy fit.


Its cousin-trope is the gun that never runs out of ammunition.

I love it when the hero is firing 35 of 40 bullets non-stop out of what is clearly shown to be a six-shooter.

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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSun Aug 20, 2017 9:12 am

Jim Roots wrote:
barry byrne wrote:Hero runs out of ammunition and always throws the gun away in a hissy fit.


Its cousin-trope is the gun that never runs out of ammunition.

I love it when the hero is firing 35 of 40 bullets non-stop out of what is clearly shown to be a six-shooter.

Jim


Yeah! Just shoot from the hip - don't bother to aim - they're over there somewhere - yep, you got 'em!
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSun Aug 20, 2017 9:17 am

...and the old revolvers needed to be cocked...and fanning was so rare as to be basically non-existent...
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 9:52 am

This weekend, two more came headlong into view like deers suddenly appearing from the woods onto a road in front of me while night driving. 1) the hero, who slugs the guy insulting him and knocks him out with one blow to his jaw . . . every time. 2) the leading lady, who, whether she's a weather-beaten frontier woman on a wagon train, a nun cloistered in a convent, or surviving a shipwreck on a deserted island, always inexplicably and against character maintains a perfect layer of foundation, penciled brows, dark lipstick, and quarter-inch thick false eyelashes.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 2:11 pm

2 Reel wrote:This weekend, two more came headlong into view like deers suddenly appearing from the woods onto a road in front of me while night driving. 1) the hero, who slugs the guy insulting him and knocks him out with one blow to his jaw . . . every time. 2) the leading lady, who, whether she's a weather-beaten frontier woman on a wagon train, a nun cloistered in a convent, or surviving a shipwreck on a deserted island, always inexplicably and against character maintains a perfect layer of foundation, penciled brows, dark lipstick, and quarter-inch thick false eyelashes.


Have you seen the first shot of Monroe in Niagara? Extreme close-up of her face entirely filling the screen. She's asleep ... in full Technicolour makeup ... the creamiest red lipstick, perfect layers of eye-shadow, immaculate foundation and blush ... Really, it makes you burst into laughter whether you're a woman or a man...

Jim
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 4:14 pm

Jim Roots wrote: Have you seen the first shot of Monroe in Niagara? Extreme close-up of her face entirely filling the screen. She's asleep ... in full Technicolour makeup ... the creamiest red lipstick, perfect layers of eye-shadow, immaculate foundation and blush ... Really, it makes you burst into laughter whether you're a woman or a man...

Jim


-----------

Marilyn Monroe is not asleep in her first shot in NIAGARA. Nor is she in extreme close-up. She's smoking a cigarette in bed, legs apart under the blankets, the strong implication being that she has just spent quality time with someone other than her husband (Joseph Cotten). As Cotten enters their cottage, Monroe douses the cig and pretends to be asleep. Of course, he does not smell the smoke. Later, Cotten finds proof of her extracurricular activities -- a matchbook. (There's another overused plot trope!)

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Her later close-up in that first sequence is not inappropriate, when you think of what she has just been doing.

Image
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 8:32 pm

Just watched the 1941 version of Blood and Sand on TCM, and there's a scene where Linda Darnell is awakened in the middle of the night, jumps out of bed, goes to her balcony, turns to the camera with a smile on her face, and --

. . . looks just like Linda Darnell. Perfect!
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 5:36 am

daveboz wrote:
Jim Roots wrote: Have you seen the first shot of Monroe in Niagara? Extreme close-up of her face entirely filling the screen. She's asleep ... in full Technicolour makeup ... the creamiest red lipstick, perfect layers of eye-shadow, immaculate foundation and blush ... Really, it makes you burst into laughter whether you're a woman or a man...

Jim


-----------

Marilyn Monroe is not asleep in her first shot in NIAGARA. Nor is she in extreme close-up. She's smoking a cigarette in bed, legs apart under the blankets, the strong implication being that she has just spent quality time with someone other than her husband (Joseph Cotten). As Cotten enters their cottage, Monroe douses the cig and pretends to be asleep. Of course, he does not smell the smoke. Later, Cotten finds proof of her extracurricular activities -- a matchbook. (There's another overused plot trope!)

Image

Her later close-up in that first sequence is not inappropriate, when you think of what she has just been doing.

Image


That first part does not show up in my copy of the film. It opens with her head on the pillow, sleeping. We don't realize she's faking it until Cotten moves around and she opens her eyes.

In any case, in your version she just had wild sex on a hot day and still not a single touch of makeup is smeared or anything less than immaculate???

Jim

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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 5:38 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Have you seen the first shot of Monroe in Niagara? Extreme close-up of her face entirely filling the screen. She's asleep ... in full Technicolour makeup ... the creamiest red lipstick, perfect layers of eye-shadow, immaculate foundation and blush ... Really, it makes you burst into laughter whether you're a woman or a man...

Jim

Yeah, she makes me burst - but not into laughter... :lol:
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 4:07 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
daveboz wrote:
Jim Roots wrote: Have you seen the first shot of Monroe in Niagara? Extreme close-up of her face entirely filling the screen. She's asleep ... in full Technicolour makeup ... the creamiest red lipstick, perfect layers of eye-shadow, immaculate foundation and blush ... Really, it makes you burst into laughter whether you're a woman or a man...

Jim


-----------

Marilyn Monroe is not asleep in her first shot in NIAGARA. Nor is she in extreme close-up. She's smoking a cigarette in bed, legs apart under the blankets, the strong implication being that she has just spent quality time with someone other than her husband (Joseph Cotten). As Cotten enters their cottage, Monroe douses the cig and pretends to be asleep. Of course, he does not smell the smoke. Later, Cotten finds proof of her extracurricular activities -- a matchbook. (There's another overused plot trope!)

Image

Her later close-up in that first sequence is not inappropriate, when you think of what she has just been doing.

Image


That first part does not show up in my copy of the film. It opens with her head on the pillow, sleeping. We don't realize she's faking it until Cotten moves around and she opens her eyes.

In any case, in your version she just had wild sex on a hot day and still not a single touch of makeup is smeared or anything less than immaculate???

Jim


=======

Both the DVD and BLU-RAY of NIAGARA have the opening sequence intact. Perhaps seeing the shot in its proper context would provoke a different response.

As to the possibility of having sex without messing up the makeup: to those with the slightest imagination, it is not at all difficult. Fun, rather.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 4:32 pm

Wm. Charles Morrow wrote:Just watched the 1941 version of Blood and Sand on TCM, and there's a scene where Linda Darnell is awakened in the middle of the night, jumps out of bed, goes to her balcony, turns to the camera with a smile on her face, and --

. . . looks just like Linda Darnell. Perfect!


That one isn't confined to the 30s. It's still with us today.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 8:25 am

Oh, the 1930s. After three decades of filmmaking that sopped up every possible plot trope, a Production Code that disabled freewheeling creativity, and the Depression, writers were reaching for hackneyed tropes dusted off from the silent era. Add to our growing list these maneuvers that never happen in real life:

-weary soldiers in a battle lull listening to melancholy harmonica playing by one masochistic soldier that couldn't find his tissue paper and comb.

-the hysteric slapped into sudden speechlessness by a well-meaning but soon to be former friend.

-the slanty-eyed Oriental slinking around the Caucasians, either planning to ensnare one of them in an opium den or stab another while in the shadowy alley, that is, in his or her break from their steam-choked laundry workplace.

-the pert and perky heroine coming West to claim her deceased father's diamond or gold mine.

-the midwife screaming, "Get some hot water!"

-the wealthy industrialist, who's mansion entrance parlor sports a three-story-high ceiling and enough floor space to accommodate a cotillion dance.

-the tearful final reel denouement staged in front of a window endlessly trickling with rainwater.

-the person entering a pitch-black room and lighting a single candle that suddenly ignites the entire room with what can only be a blaze from 10,000 watts of klieg lights dangling just overhead on the Warner Bros.' scaffolding.

-the finale depicting a masterful tracking shot pulling so far back that the hero and heroine in a tight clinch appear as tiny as Henry B. Walthall's living dolls in The Devil-Doll.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 10:07 am

I'm not sure about the 30s, but in the 20s--if the leading man is maimed during the course of the film and ends up in a wheelchair, at the end he will be inspired by something (love, faith, patriotism) and he'll get up out of that wheelchair and stand and maybe even walk. Thus contributing to the pernicious suspicion that sick or disabled people are either faking it or have caused themselves to be sick and don't want to get well badly enough. This is one trope that has come to ruin the whole movie for me.

Oh yeah, and blind people will be cured too, though it's usually by an operation rather than a miracle cure.

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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 10:16 am

greta de groat wrote:
Oh yeah, and blind people will be cured too, though it's usually by an operation rather than a miracle cure.

greta


It's surprising how many times Movie Disease can be cured by an operation. On something, we're not sure what, just operate. Sometimes, though, blindness is cured by an angel, usually accompanied by a beam of light and the standard choral note.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 10:36 am

The world is divided into two types of people: those who can buy the ending of Seventh Heaven (1927) and those who can't. I can, but only because the whole plot is slightly hyperreal, and Borzage sets us up for that kind of fantastical denouement. When he tried the same gambit in Lucky Star a few years later, it just seemed kind of ridiculous (likewise, Downton Abbey jumped the shark for me the moment Cousin Matthew stumbled out of his wheelchair. Yeesh ...)

How often did they do 'wealthy runaway bride hooks up with roguish lower-class guy' after the success of It Happened One Night (1934)? I watched RKO's Cross-Country Romance (1940) yesterday, and all that was missing from the earlier film was the Wall of Jericho.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 10:39 am

Brooksie wrote:The world is divided into two types of people: those who can buy the ending of Seventh Heaven (1927) and those who can't. I can, but only because the whole plot is slightly hyperreal, and Borzage sets us up for that kind of fantastical denouement. When he tried the same gambit in Lucky Star a few years later, it just seemed kind of ridiculous (likewise, Downton Abbey jumped the shark for me the moment Cousin Matthew stumbled out of his wheelchair. Yeesh ...)


I can buy it with Borzage, because Borzage. But not with anyone else. Oh wait, maybe Lynch.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 10:47 am

Fred, are your hands shaped like scissors by any chance?
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 11:24 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:Fred, are your hands shaped like scissors by any chance?


Him too.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 12:17 pm

I just saw one (would it be a spoiler to divulge which one?) in which the hero is brought in on a stretcher with a bandage around his head (they usually have that, whatever injury) and has been declared a hopeless case, and the nurse (who is coincidentally his girlfriend) goes all Lillian Gish hysterical at doctor Nigel de Brulier, including whacking him with a bag or pillow or something. She insists "You have to operate" even though she couldn't possibly know what for. The operation works to the extent that it saves his life but he's paralyzed, but soon is sufficiently inspired by the American flag to get up and salute.

So i got two tropes for the price of one there. I was also exceedingly disgusted at the plot and at the annoying characters, despite the presence of a favorite actor.

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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 12:37 pm

barry byrne wrote:Maids, finding a dead body, always drop a tray.

Or a not-so-bright hero who instinctively finds a dead body and just has to pick the murder weapon, usually just as someone (often cops) is coming through the door.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 12:45 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:
barry byrne wrote:Maids, finding a dead body, always drop a tray.

Or a not-so-bright hero who instinctively finds a dead body and just has to pick the murder weapon, usually just as someone (often cops) is coming through the door.


And the cop NEVER BELIEVES the hero just picked up the gun. Next scene, death row.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostTue Sep 12, 2017 5:38 pm

In crime thrillers or the like, there is always a scene where instead of the villain being shot, he is spared so he can make a full confession as to what he did and what lead him to do it. Then there is the other thing of having all the suspects grouped together in a room whilst the brilliant detective shows off his brilliance by going through the details of the crime and everyone's involvement, finally revealing who done it.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:21 pm

Why do so many movies from the 1930s (and even up to today) end with the obligatory tracking shot pulling back, back, back, and back until . . . fade out? Did anyone ever make a movie ending that did just the opposite, the final shot in the distance and gradually moving forward until centering in on a tight, extreme close-up of something?
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 4:23 pm

greta de groat wrote:I'm not sure about the 30s, but in the 20s--if the leading man is maimed during the course of the film and ends up in a wheelchair, at the end he will be inspired by something (love, faith, patriotism) and he'll get up out of that wheelchair and stand and maybe even walk. Thus contributing to the pernicious suspicion that sick or disabled people are either faking it or have caused themselves to be sick and don't want to get well badly enough. This is one trope that has come to ruin the whole movie for me.

Weirdly enough, I am currently in a wheelchair with three broken limbs following a motor vehicle accident, and I was inspired to get up out of my chair suddenly because one of our parrots was fighting with a friend's parrot that we are bird-sitting, and I had to break it up before some injury befell their poor feathered friend.

Maybe not as strong a force as love, faith or patriotism, but when you have to break up a birdy battle, you had better do it briskly.
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostWed Sep 13, 2017 10:25 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:
greta de groat wrote:I'm not sure about the 30s, but in the 20s--if the leading man is maimed during the course of the film and ends up in a wheelchair, at the end he will be inspired by something (love, faith, patriotism) and he'll get up out of that wheelchair and stand and maybe even walk. Thus contributing to the pernicious suspicion that sick or disabled people are either faking it or have caused themselves to be sick and don't want to get well badly enough. This is one trope that has come to ruin the whole movie for me.

Weirdly enough, I am currently in a wheelchair with three broken limbs following a motor vehicle accident, and I was inspired to get up out of my chair suddenly because one of our parrots was fighting with a friend's parrot that we are bird-sitting, and I had to break it up before some injury befell their poor feathered friend.

Maybe not as strong a force as love, faith or patriotism, but when you have to break up a birdy battle, you had better do it briskly.


Wow, never underestimate the power of birds. I hope you didn't have to kiss any of them.

Get well soon!

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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 7:39 pm

Speaking of miraculous medical cures, there’s a motif which seemed to pop up frequently in classic era Hollywood films, though I don’t know whether it occurred often enough to qualify as overused. I refer to those extraordinary operations which somehow remove the “criminal gene” from criminals.

The earliest example I can think of is Lon Chaney’s The Penalty (1920), and the other one that comes to mind right offhand dates from the ‘50s, and yet it seems to me that this sci-fi flavored notion was used fairly often over the years. Man in the Dark from 1953 was entirely based on the premise. This is a really loopy flick, originally released in 3-D. I was fortunate enough to see it in that format at MoMA a few years ago, and although it was meant to be highly dramatic it provoked big laughs. Highlight: the scene where gangster Edmund O’Brien undergoes his operation was filmed from the operating table looking upwards, towards the ceiling, as the surgeons lean down into the camera and seem to poke their forceps into the viewer’s face. It was funny as hell in 3-D, although I’m sure it would look completely pointless if viewed “flat.”

As for that criminal gene notion, it’s explored to the fullest in The Bad Seed, which began as a novel, turned into a play, and then became a film in 1956. But of course, little Patty McCormack is way beyond the help of any “cure.”
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Re: Overused plot tropes in the 30's

PostSat Sep 16, 2017 8:36 pm

Here is one we've all seen one trillion times:

1. Hero and best friend/sidekick/fiancée/second banana are in pursuit of the Bad Guy (Gal).

2. Sidekick is taken out of the action by a bullet, a blow, a bazooka, whatever, leaving the Hero to confront the Bad Guy alone.

3. Bad Guy gets the drop on the Hero, and threatens Hero with a Gun.

4. Bad Guy gloats & speechifies, attempting to injure the feelings of the Hero.

5. Suspense builds via cross-cut shots of the anxious Hero and the gun-toting Bad Guy. Trigger finger itches mightily!

6. A shot rings out! We think our Hero is kaput! But No!

7. The second banana has roused him/herself from that troublesome concussion, and fired their own gun at the Bad Guy.

8. General rejoicing, except when sidekick nobly succumbs to the earlier injury.
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