The Green Mile is an exceptional film that was created in the year 1999. This film was nominated for four academy awards: Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay. This movie teaches us how different the times were back in the 1900s compared to the way it is now. The movie is set in 1935 which was during the times of the Great Depression. It also illustrates death row and how execution is still a problem to where it is not just and fair. There are several well-known actors that cast in this film. Each actor plays a very unique role and elements of design have a role where it puts everything about this movie into perspective. The cinematographer that helped to create this film had a vital role in putting all of his screen shots together to generate the perfect lighting, images that are seen by the camera, and images that the audience sees upon completion of the film (Goodykontz & Jacobs, 2011).
The director, producer, screenwriter, and composer all played important roles in putting this film together to show its exceptional potential at being nominated for four academy awards.
The elements of design in the Green Mile are a form of art which cannot be duplicated in a way that they have come together to create this finished product. There is a scene in this film called “Miracle Worker”. In this particular clip, illustrates how the actors are placed into the scene and positioned on the set. You will see how well their costumes and makeup are done which is part of what makes up the mise en scene. The mise en scene is all of the elements in a film that the audience sees such as the setting, make up and costumes, as well as the movement and placement of the actors. The director, Frank Darabont, is responsible for shooting many different versions on a scene (Goodykontz & Jacobs, 2011).
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The director will then create the final film based upon the best of those elements. Some directors will allow improvisation which is when actors come up with their own lines that they feel will fit into a particular scene.
The production designer, who is also sometimes called the art director, is responsible for maintaining the sets, props and the costumes so that they are in sync with the story and the character’s role (Goodykontz & Jacobs, 2011).
Production designers are head of the department on film crews and they are responsible for the art department. Basically, they may be asked to look at scripts to decide how much time the art department needs to spend on films. They also calculate the budgets to figure out how much money will be spent as well. Furthermore, they will provide their design sketches expressing detailing mood, lighting, composition and color to the art directors who oversees the production (Anonymous, 2012).
In this scene, the “Miracle Worker”, the lighting is low because it is night time, but there are lights on inside of the house in the bedroom where the warden wife is lying in bed.
The lighting is very dim which evokes a depressing and gloomy mood. It draws the audience into the scene to where they can feel the same pain and sorrow that the actors feel. John Coffey places his lips over the warden’s wife’s lips to retrieve the sickness of the cancer from her body. The chandelier begins to brighten and the sound of the music increases as the scene becomes more intense. There is a sign of bright lighting coming from the woman’s mouth illustrating the cancer leaving her body and going into Coffey’s body as his mouth brightens as well. That lighting is symbolic for the cancer that Coffey took away from her. Then he closes his mouth and the light goes away. However, there is still a bright light on the woman’s face for a couple of seconds as she lies there with her eyes closed, but now her face looks healthy and so young. The lighting in this scene affects the overall story of what the director is trying to tell the audience because it tells you without words what the characters in the film are feeling. It tells you that they are saddened when the light is dim and then in awe and disbelief as it brightens.
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The warden was in tears and was in disbelief from what he had just scene. So were the rest of the guards. Although, they were in disbelief, they also displayed a sign of relief in that the sickness has left the woman’s body. The film setting was the summer of 1935 when Hanks was a corrections officer in charge of death row inmates at Cold Mountain Penitentiary during the Great Depression days. This is during the time where unemployment was very high. It only got worse in time before it got better. Even taxes had increased which made it that much more difficult for people to survive. During this period of time racism still existed in this culture. John Coffey was beaten, convicted and sentenced for execution all because he was a black man suspected of raping and killing two little white girls with no valid proof.
Costuming can tell us almost everything we need to know about a character. The costuming of the woman showed a great deal of sickness within her face. The makeup on her looked so believable that it almost looked like she was a rotting corpse. Then the costuming took a turn as she was healed from the sickness. She became beautiful and peaceful. Elements play a significant role in affecting the film’s plot. For example, Coffey was dirty and sweaty because it was hot. So this illustrated that he was not clean and did not have any clean clothes. He did not come from a place where he had nice attire. Now if he was clean and had on fresh clothes, the scene would not be as emotional. Nobody really expected Coffey and the way he looked to have such supernatural powers except for Hanks because he had already experienced it for himself. Hairstyle and makeup can help tell the story by showing how the character may feel at that point and time in a scene.
It can also set the tone of the scene and the audience can feel exactly what the characters are feeling based on how they look. As the warden puts his hand over his mouth, and the screen zooms in on his face, you can see the stress and pain in his eyes when they start to tear up. The three guards are well dressed in uniform. They have ties and hats. They all look very sharp like they’re about to conduct a ceremony. They are well groomed with no facial hair just like military service members in uniform. The guard’s hairstyle and make up tell the audience that they care about their appearance and how they carry themselves as correction officers. They guards display a sense of caution because Coffey is a convicted criminal, but at the same time they display hope as Coffey talks to the warden’s wife and begin to use his supernatural power. In my personal opinion, I think that the mise en scene was very well put in this movie.
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The use of color which made the room dim definitely heightened the suspense of the film especially during the particular scene where the light goes from dim to bright and then dim again. The warden and the guards were in well placed positions while Coffey sat on the bed and performed his supernatural miracle to cure the warden’s wife from her sickness. The mise en scene was done very well by illustrating that the woman was sick and then healed by a miracle performed by a black man who was wrongfully convicted and sent to death row while he awaited death by electric chair. All of the elements flowed in a harmonious way because the music went well with the lighting when it was dark, and then became bright when Coffey used his super natural powers to heal the sickened woman.
The audience is easily drawn into the film because of the cinematography that takes place in the movie. The actors, lighting, music and setting go hand in hand together. Therefore, it is not discordant at all. The design elements are definitely in sync with Frank Darabont’s vision. From the beginning of the scene, the elements in the film were symbolic to his vision. He wanted the audience to feel every bit of emotion that the characters were feeling. The intensity as Coffey spoke to the warden’s wife grew as he introduced himself to the time he ridded her from the illness. Not only did it make the warden cry and the guards emotional, but I’m sure that the audiences who watched this movie were just as emotional as everyone in the film. So Darabont did a great job by piecing everything together to get the right vision for the scene.
The Green Mile had great chemistry as everyone played key roles in making this film. The film could not have been accomplished without the help of everyone coming together and doing their part, from the directors to the actors. The elements of the mise en scene were symbolic throughout the movie so that it really touched the audiences. It placed the viewers in the film as if they were part of the script. The director and the cinematography of the film gave it the extra edge that was needed aside from the actors. The elements worked so well together harmoniously that once the film was put together, it couldn’t be done again the way it was the first time around.
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Production Designer. //www.media-
match.com/usa/jobtypes/production-designer-jobs-402758.php Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2011).
Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. //content.ashford.edu