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June 1995, Week 4


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 21 Jun 1995 09:59:10 -0600
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Mike Frank writes:
"i agree that the final scream in sabotuer is highly ambiguous  -- we find it
hard to tell if it's diegetic or not; and what status it might have eithin
either of thoise categories . . . my only point is that our own uncertainly
is a function of, and thus evidence of, the determinacy, stability, and
coherence of the categories themselves"
The deconstructionist would agree that all categories are suspect
, but we could
also say that these categories are largely determined by what we expect in
any particular film context.  The scream in SABOTEUR *might* be read as an
extra-diegetic element (functioning like the screeching violins in the shower
scene in PSYCHO), but it's more probable that we will "interpret" the scream
as an amplification of the voice of a character in the mise-en-scene, perhaps
on the ground, perhaps in the crown of the statue.  In either case, the scream
would be diegetic but unnaturally loud--an example of what Bordwell and
Thompson discuss as the manipulation of "fidelity" in diegetic sound--that is,
whether the sound is "faithful" to its *apparent* source in the mise-en-scene.
Sometimes, manipulations of fidelity can be overt and noticable--as in a
cartoon like DUCK AMUCK, where jungle noises come from Daffy's mouth when he
"speaks."  But the manipulations can also be of what we normally expect in terms
of loudness and other qualities.  This kind of manipulation isn't all that
unusual--think of the accentuated gunshots of SHANE and BONNIE AND CLYDE as
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)
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