The Use of Cuts in "The Graduate"

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The interesting scene illustrates the rising tension between Hoffman’s character (Freddie) and Damon’s (Tom). The first cut witnessed in the segment (1:50-4:18) is a parallel cut. The audience can observe two separate scenes which the editor presents simultaneously. As Tom walks from the cabinet holding two glasses, Freddie is looking through the room and then throws a white jacket on the piano. The main aim of using the cross cut is to add excitement while creating suspense to the audience. Tom’s act of getting the glasses would otherwise be a boring sequence if it was not cut. Similarly, suspense arises when Freddie turns down a drink offer made by Tom.

In the next segment, the editor uses an L-cut for both anticipation and reaction. Anticipation involves the camera switching from a character to another before the previous character finishes speaking. Before Freddie asks Tom if he lives in the house, the camera rolls on him to capture his expression right before he speaks. He raises his hands and shakes his head and then asks, “Are you living here?”(2:13). this anticipation cut is aimed at expressing Freddie’s disbelief. He does not expect Tom to afford such as furnished place. Similarly, while Freddie continues to ask Tom questions, the editor uses a reaction cut; in this case, the editor remains focused on an actor after he/she has finishes talking even after the other actor begins to talk. The camera remains on Tom after he tells Freddie “you probably shouldn’t…” He puts on a plastic smile which shows his attempt to remain calm amidst Freddie’s irritation. Murch uses the L-cut to change the feeling of the scenes; with different expressions, the audience is able to get insight of what is going on in the mind of the characters. The anticipation and reaction cuts reveal the perception of Freddie and Tom through their emotional reactions.

The editor also utilizes silent reaction in most part of the segment. In the segment where Freddie takes the white statue, the two begin to have conversations accompanied with silent reaction. Freddie looks at Tom shockingly when he sees his hair which makes Freddie suspicious. There is also a long silent reaction by Tom after he asks Freddie if he has anything to say. When Freddie responds that, “I think something is going on,” (3:34-3:35) Tom makes a speechless look as he becomes afraid that Freddie could be knowing some truth about Dickie’s whereabouts. At the end of the segment, the editor further uses a silent reaction on Damon’s character; he looks at Freddie who goes down the stair with a frowning face. The main intention of this reaction is to create suspicion among the audience who believe that Tom may just be having an idea of how to eliminate Freddie from the scene. The quick reaction tell the audience that Tom is not please with Freddie’s curiosity and suspicion; he thinks he might be uncovered for killing Dickie and as such must think of a way to erase this suspicion.

Freddie., sacarstic coz he seemed suspicion

Do you have something to say Freddie

IS it on Del'acrocce just off the Corso.

September 25, 2023




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Film Analysis

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