Sunset Boulevard (1950) Tech analysis of ballroom scene.

The sequence opens up with a pan-right tilt-down of joe coming down the stairs into the ballroom. there is evidence of high-key, top-fill and medium back lighting. the scene is high contrast, with black floor. Joe is dressed in a black tux which really makes Norma stand out in a extravagant white dress.

The props are very elegant with lots of texture and high contrast against other objects in a very deliberate way.

the transition from the ballroom sequence to the scene on the couch unitizes a medium opacity cross fade. the conversation on the couch uses classical shot/reverse shot editing style that engages the viewer in the dialog.  crosscuts, jumpcuts and closeups are used to emphasize emotion on the characters faces. long shots were used to show depth of the characters space and the display the size of the props around the room. the scene used diegetic music form musicians actually playing in the room. the attention to continuity was nearly flawless as everything in the scene was deliberately placed. temporal continuity seemed to be in real time before and after the transition from the dancing sequence to the couch. the transition represented an ellipsis in time.



2 thoughts on “Sunset Boulevard (1950) Tech analysis of ballroom scene.

  1. Okay, I just want to applaud you for being able to convey what you analyzed into words. I am incapable and unknowledgeable in terms of analyzing a scene and breaking it down into what you just did.
    I’m using your post as reference to study for our final and I just want to thank you for explaining this scene.


  2. This is a very excellent use of terms to describe the scene. This scene is obviously very important to those who created the film, as it was an emotional turn point for the characters. Just like the movie star in this film, there has to be a dramatic plot twist and this ballroom scene gives the flare she would’ve wanted. Very well done!


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