Wednesday in class we watched the Woody Allan film “Manhattan” from 1979. The first thing which struck me about this film was that even though it was made in 1979, it was shot in Black and White. At first I didn’t understand why Woody Allan chose to film in black and white, but I feel that he made this directorial decision to remove the distraction of color. There were multiple times in the movie when things were purposefully hidden from the audience, such as the character’s faces. This allowed the audience to focus on the dialogue without the distraction of color and facial expressions. This idea of removing distractions was also evident in the all instrumental soundtrack to the movie. At times when the dialogue and movement was very important, songs with words might be a distraction for the audience. I know that sometimes when I’m watching a movie with a really great soundtrack I sing along with the songs instead of focusing on the dialogue which is occurring over it.
I also found the camera angle to be different than most films that I have seen. At times it felt as though the camera was trying to capture all of the characters in the scene like in traditional films, but at other times it felt as though the camera was a character in the film. During the scenes where they are sitting in the restaurant there were times when the camera angle appeared to be craning over someone’s shoulder to get the shot. I also found it interesting that the actors were upstaged a lot. In plays extras are usually told to walk and move upstage of the scene, but there were times in this movie, such as the scene in the department store when the extras kept walking in front of the actors and obstructing the vision.