Anthony Rocha suggests:

> There are two reasons directors break the rule.
> Lack of preparation, or a stylistic choice but usually it is consistent.
> The other possibility is the editor did not have the coverage or needed to do
> something with time or performance.
> This rule is broken all the time now.
> I think mostly from a lack of technique.

These are true enough in a number of cases, but I think there is
another reason that has become current in the last couple of decades.
Directors (perhaps cued by their own learning experiences from watching
Soviet montage films, the French New Wave, and other European
modernists) realized that one could afford to be at least less fussy
about following the "rules."  The 180-degree rule is stil followed more
often than not, but it is used somewhat more freely than in the past
(although I suppose we'd need a study on the order of what Bordwell,
Thompson and Staiger did in THE CLASSICAL HOLLYWOOD CINEMA to verify

A more obvious instance is the use (or non-use) of transitions between
scenes.  In the past, these would often be cued by a fade, dissolve or
wipe and sometimes by a transitional shot (for example, car wheels on a
road to signify that the character is traveling) or montage sequence.
Those devices have not disappeared (although the use of the wipe is an
interesting point in itself), but perhaps are used less often since
directors and editors rightly understand that viewers can comprehend
that if the setting has changed, the scene has changed as well.

This works in TV too.  Think of the abrupt changes in scene marked by a
few quick establishing shots in such shows as NYPD BLUE and LAW AND
ORDER, as compared those Quinn Martin detective shows of the 1970s that
seemed to feature endless shots of, say, Mannix's car on the highway.

Don Larsson
Donald F. Larsson
English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite