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Analysis Project #1: Shot-By-Shot Breakdown

Double Indemnity (1994)- 1:34:35- 1:41:12

-LS, normal height, straight on. A woman (Phyllis) walks into what appears to be a sitting room. She walks around shutting off the lamps in the room, leaving the only light to be coming through the window. Non-diegetic music is heard. The camera follows as she opens a piece of cloth and
hides a gun under a cushion and the music builds to a climax.
-CU, normal height, straight on. Phyllis is lighting a cigarette, but pauses as she hears a car pull up outside. She sits in her chair, relaxed, waiting for the person to answer.
-LS, normal height, straight on. Phyllis is seated on the right-hand side of the frame, smoking. Center of the frame, in background, a man (Walter) enters the house and approaches the room. He walks in and takes a seat across from Phyllis on the arm of the couch. It is discovered that what was thought to be non-diegetic music is really diegetic music, a radio playing down the street.
-CU, normal height, peering down. Phyllis sitting in her chair talking to Walter, still smoking.
-CU, normal height, straight on. Walter seated on the arm rest, talking to Phyllis.
The next six shots bounce back and forth between the two previous close ups of Walter and Phyllis, as Walter explains that he knows of the third man Phyllis had included in the murder scheme. Almost no movement, apart from Phyllis looking at her jewelry and smoking.
-MS, normal height, straight on. Phyllis in the center of the frame, still seated, while Walter is walking around the back of her chair to the windows behind her. He then walks behind her chair, places he hands on top of it, and peers down at Phyllis.
-MS, normal height, straight on. Walter in foreground, right-hand side. He is in the shadows and slightly out of focus. Phyllis is still seated just off center of the frame, in focus and in the light. Walter walks toward Phyllis and the camera follows.
-MCU, normal height, straight on. Walter from Phyllis’s point of view in her chair.
-MCU, normal height, peering down. Phyllis seated in her chair talking to Walter.
The next four frame bounce back and forth between the two previous shots, no movement, only the couple talking. After the fourth shot, we return to Walter, only slightly closer. As he walks to the windows to stop the music.
-MCU, normal height, straight on. Phyllis in her chair, she throws her cigarette away. She sits up and reaches for something beneath the seat cushion.
-MS, normal height, straight on. Walter by the windows, closing both the windows and the blinds, music cuts off. He turns back to Phyllis (off-camera), then gun shots sound.
-MLS, normal height, straight on. Phyllis in the center of the room holding a gun. Walter approaches her and the camera follows. He takes the gun from Phyllis.
-CU, normal height, straight on. We see Walter’s face, but the back of Phyllis’s head.
-CU, normal height, straight on. We see Phyllis’s face, but the back of Walter’s head.
The next two shots bounce between Walter and Phyllis. The when we return to Phyllis, we hear gun shots, and Phyllis falls limp.
-MS, normal height, straight on. Walter places Phyllis’s body on the couch and places the gun in his pocket, collects his things, and leaves.

This scene is what brings the viewer back to the beginning of the movie, for this movie was told through flashbacks. In this scene, Walter confronts Phyllis about playing her stepdaughter’s boyfriend and her hoping that the boyfriend would kill the stepdaughter, and possibly Walter. Throughtout the scene, the music provided an ominous feeling, but there was almost no movement between the characters. When the music cut out, the action had begun with the characters shooting each other.

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~ by Kat Roughneen on October 17, 2011.

3 Responses to “Analysis Project #1: Shot-By-Shot Breakdown”

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