English & EAL

On the Waterfront: Study Tips

Lisa Tran

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Glossary of Film techniques

Have a glossary of film techniques with you as you watch the movie. Having a list will prompt you to look out for specific techniques on screen that may not be discussed in class or in study guides. Try to search for interesting and unique film techniques used in order to provide an original response in essays.

Watch with subtitles

When you watch with subtitles you are not only seeing and hearing, but also reading. This will help reinforce the dialogue into your memory and additionally, you can also accurately jot down useful quotes.

Have a controller ready to pause

With movies, it is tempting to simply keep watching as the movie plays. Have your controller with you ready to pause whenever you are analysing particular scenes, for example, mise-en-scène or noting down dialogue. You will find that you will pick up on small special effects or props that you may have missed when playing the film at normal speed.

Watch commentary and other DVD special features

The commentary in DVDs usually gives you further insight into the story, and On the Waterfront is no exception. Often the director, writers or other people involved in creating the film will discuss the reasons behind their decisions in making particular scenes or choosing particular actors for a role. In the commentary for On the Waterfront, Richard Schikel (critic/writer) and Jeff Young (biographer) provide an in-depth discussion about the taxi scene, which is a great study resource. Their explanations on about the camera effects, props, and dialogue are all film techniques you can include in your essay.

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