Free «Film History» Essay Sample

Film History


The Gold Rush is a 1925 movie in which Charlie Chaplin explores a comic concept to bring out a number of relevant and serious themes such as cannibalism and greed that were quite common at the time. The film is set in the Alaskan Gold Rush setting, where every member of the populace is just another unknown character with the past that is ambiguous, as their name in the film.

In the scene where the cabin is shifting on the edge of the cliff, the director attempted to convince the audience to note the dangers of the gold rush era, as well as the significance of support or teamwork even in a situation that is as hopeless as that of the cabin. The cabin had been pushed to the edge of the cliff by an avalanche, and the only reason it manages to stay balanced is because the two men inside keep walking back and forth as they try to keep the cabin balanced in a see-saw manner. During the gold rush, people were not able to trust anyone else as every individual seemed to have an angle for taking advantage of others. The director also manages to achieve some comic expressions with the teetering cabin and the precise movements of the two men. The gold rush may have been dramatic and depressing in some ways, but it was also had some positive moments.

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Among other symbolic settings in this film is the scene where Big Jim returns to his claim and finds that Big Larson had stolen it. There are two ways to look at this incident. First, Big Jim and the Lone Prospector had sent Big Larson away from his cabin, which means that they had taken his home away from him, making it natural that he would take Big Jim’s gold claim, too. On the other hand, Big Larson is rather violent and hits Big Jim on the head. Later on, he dies in an avalanche thus restoring the peace of the universe. Big Larson’s death can thus be construed as the triumph of good over evil, even during the difficult Gold Rush era. Big Jim’s claim is, on the other hand, a promise of wealth that the entire world was scrambling for at that time at the expense of decency and humanity.    

Question 2

Carl Jung’s concept of anima covers the relational aspects of a woman that is said to exist in every man. This approach implies the ambiguous bond that a man is likely to feel when he encounters a woman, thus the ensuing relationship that, in most cases, ends up limiting the man in question. In, The Blue Angel, Lola is a beautiful, graceful and seductive performer whose work is to seduce men and have a good time while working. The main difficulty of this work is the need to be convincing, and yet interact with many men. Such work means that she can affect them significantly, confusing them and later on discarding them for a richer client.  Professor Rath, on the other hand, is an ordinary school teacher, a simpleton, who has to deal consistently with a group of mischievous students in his class. The movie begins with a loss where the professor’s singing bird dies and is thrown away dismissively despite his supposed affection for it, which is an allusion to Lola’s way of life.

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In this film, the relationship between Lola and Professor Rath is destructive and unjustified, like some of the greatest male-female relationships in the history. First, Lola is not the woman that would be with a man like the professor is. She is an entertainer, and she goes where the money is. The professor, on the other hand, is simple and rather limited in terms of material wealth. His only prize is his genuine and supposedly true feelings towards Lola. From the other side, the woman is not interested particularly in what he wants but rather in what he can offer. Based on Carl Jung’s anima concept, it can be noted that Lola is the destructive female archetype that destroys men, like the Gorgon Medusa. The professor is left distraught after indulging with Lola as seen at the end of the film when he goes back to class sobbing uncontrollably.    

Question 3

The cubist perspective can be regarded as an artistic mindset that considers the use of geometricity and simultaneity embraced in expression. This approach implies the expression of thoughts and ideas creatively in a way that is in some instances far from reality. It also presupposes looking at objects from a new angle to find different ways to see them. Citizen Kane is a story about the life and times of a successful and yet considerably unhappy man. In the movie, the director does not follow one train of thought in terms of the narration. He picks out scenes from the past, present and future based on their relevance at the moment. At the end, the narrative becomes a collection of events and ideas that come together to solve the mystery, which is Kane’s life. As such, it can be stated that the movie has been done in the cubist style. First, the narrative does not follow a straight line. The director takes his audience from one point in Kane’s life to another without following the timeline of events or the proximity of the simultaneous scenes. This technique thus creates a feeling of an abstract depiction of the entire story. It can also be appreciated that the narrative has a focus like many other cubist works of art. The focus here is the character of Kane, just as well as it could be the infamous ‘Rosebud’ that was being searched for with so much curiosity and frustration. The cubist perspective also looks at expressions from a holistic perspective like a collage.