Using at least two of the formal elements listed in Writing About Movies, on pages 39–50, write a one-paragraph formal analysis of a sequence a sequence from a film.

Use the same sequence you used for the shot analysis assignment.


Here is the example I did using the film Gold Diggers from 1933 (1933):

Formal Analysis

Because the sequence comes at the end of the film, it finishes the storyline of producing the stage musical, but is also connects to the larger social context of the Great Depression.

The lyrics are from the perspective of a woman who misses her boyfriend or husband (the exact nature of their relationship is not clear). He has gone off to war, and the world has failed to appreciate the sacrifices he made to fight in the war. The sequence expands from one woman’s sorrow to that of an entire society. The “forgotten man” is not just one woman’s lover, but an entire generation of men, who are reduced to beggars and vagrants during the Great Depression.

The sequence also changes from an intimate street scene set outside of an apartment building to a multilevel stage common for musicals of the era. The scene concludes with a spectacular set where the men march above the stage in different directions. The set suggests the form of a clock and also recalls the set of “We’re in the Money” from earlier in the film.

The cinematography in this sequence frames the rhythmic and symmetrical action on the stage. The camera starts as a long shot to show off the large stage and the soldiers marching like a clock. This also allows the chorus line of performers to emerge to the foreground to conclude the film on a somber tone, befitting of the “Forgotten Man.”