Author Topic: Overhead Shots  (Read 3858 times)

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filmcritic

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Overhead Shots
« on: July 07, 2003, 09:27:36 PM »
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Martin Scorsese uses overhead shots many times in "Taxi Driver". On Inside The Actors Studio he said that he used them partially because of Hitchcock. If you go back and analyze his films the way I have a shot by shot at a time, you'll find that he uses them many times. Does anyone remember which scenes in which he uses them?
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MacGuffin

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2003, 09:45:39 PM »
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In "Taxi Driver", the aftermath of the shootout.

In "Casino", when Ginger throws the dice up in the air. A similar shot is done in "Gangs" when Bill The Butcher throws the cleaver in the air.
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filmcritic

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2003, 09:47:39 PM »
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Good eye!
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mutinyco

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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2003, 11:41:11 PM »
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It's called God's P.O.V.
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bonanzataz

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2003, 01:13:15 AM »
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yeah, i saw that birds documentary just last night, mutinyco. and today, i watched taxi driver. see? it all comes together.
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Arnzilla

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2003, 01:37:16 AM »
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A few...

Taxi Driver:
Travis paying for snacks at the porno theater
and passing his hand over Betsy's desk

Casino:
The zebra-carpeted nightclub as Devo's Whip it plays (after the showdown in the desert)

Ace walking through the casino, gaming tables on either side of him

The hotel swimming pool as Andy coaxes Ace into running the Tangiers

Frankie handing Remo an envelope full of cash

Paul's mishap with the bathroom plumbing in After Hours. (don't remember if it was directly overhead or just a high angle)

Paul knocking down the bedroom door

Age of Innocence:
Waltzing dancers at the Beaufort ball
table at the van der Luyden party

Cape Fear:
Sam slipping on the blood in the kitchen

GONY:
Bill in bed with his whores
"fossilized" shot of Bill and Amsterdam lying on the ground
Union soldiers shooting McGloin

Ghostboy

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2003, 02:01:59 AM »
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One that's always stuck with me is when Claire Danes looks up at the camera, just before she shoots herself in Romeo + Juliet.

Also, Johnny Depp curling up with the dying baby deer in 'Dead Man' is the type of image you never forget.

EDIT: I realize, suddenly, that this post is about SCORSESE'S use of overhead shots, and turn my head shamefully.

SoNowThen

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2003, 09:17:12 AM »
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Ebert loves those shots, and calls them Scorsese's "Priest Eye", because it approximates the Catholic priest standing above his congregation, looking down.

After the shootout in Taxi Driver is a good example, but I think Schrader had written that into the original script.
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©brad

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2003, 10:08:33 AM »
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what if u were filming an overhead shot and ur camera dropped and hit an actor right on the head? wouldn't that be fucked up?! i'm sure camera injuries are all too common, esp. among the sets where the directors go camera crazy. or better yet, say u were doin a dolly shot and u were shooting a dude on a bike and u were going so fast on the dolly that u couldn't stop, u'd just keep going down and down a big hill. hahaha.

finlayr

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2003, 09:13:54 PM »
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Yeah that'd be pretty funny alright...  Good idea to stage that happening in a 'Making Of' documentary for your own movie and then have people wonder is it real???!!!!

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adolfwolfli

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Overhead
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2003, 09:47:30 AM »
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I think there's a few in Goodfellas:

The one I can remember is the scene in the bar where Tommy kills the "get your shinebox" guy.  At first it's HIS viewpoint, with DeNiro and Pesche and Liotta kicking away, but I am pretty sure it cuts to this "God's eye view" towards the end, as the music gets louder.  

The Cohens use this a lot, and it alway seems very Scorcese when they do it.  I am thinking of the scene in Fargo when W.H. Macy is going nuts trying to get the ice off his car window.

It serves as a way to scale the characters back down when they are in danger of becoming larger-than-life.  I think this is really important for Scorcese's gangster pictures, where he purposely slips back and forth between mythologizing and romanticizing the gangsters (eye-level or child's-eye view) and portraying them as vile, petty and animalistic (god's-eye view).  

Somtimes this type of shot is not so intellectualized, though.  In the Godfather DVD commentary, Coppola talks about how he argued with Gordon Willis about the scene where Don Corleone is shot on the street after buying oranges.  Willis wanted the whole scene shot from the viewpoints of the killers, the Don, and the spectators on the street because he is/was an old-school believer in realistic P.O.V.   Coppola, on the other hand said he argued to shoot the scene from the roof, high up, looking straight down.  When asked why (and I thought he was going to get into a discussion of God's-eye view), he said he wanted a pretty shot of the oranges spilling out and rolling across the blacktop of the street.

So so much for theory!

Similarly, Hitchcock, the master of POV, would always criticize scenes in movies where the opening master shot was through the fire in a fireplace.  "Who the hell is in the fire place?" he was known to have said.

filmcritic

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2003, 11:20:55 AM »
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I'm glad everyone has been doing their homework. :P
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"You're too cruel."
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Cecil

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Overhead Shots
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2003, 11:28:16 AM »
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uh, yeaaaaaaaaaaaah... i did mine as well

 

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