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Topics - mgk

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Previous Film Discussions / TIGHTROPE: The Story: 7 "Maybe I have"
« on: April 24, 2005, 11:16:33 PM »
One of the most shocking lines in an Eastwood movie occurs when Block meets up with a gay male prostitute and is propositioned by him. The meeting was set up and the man's services were paid for by Leander Rolfe.

MAN: He said this was your first time.

WES: Who?

MAN: You don't know?

WES: (Shakes his head.)

MAN: He bought me for you.

WES: You've seen him?

MAN: (Shakes his head.)

WES: When was he supposed to pay you?

MAN: Right after ... this, at the old warehouse across the street.

WES: (Stands up) Well, you go on over to that warehouse and collect your money.

MAN: You don't want it?

WES: No.

MAN: He said you did. You just don't know it yet.

WES: Well, he's wrong.

MAN: How do you know if you haven't tried it?

WES: Maybe I have.

Were you surprised with Wes's answer "Maybe I have"? Do you think Wes may have experimented with gay sex, or can you think of another reason why he answered the question this way? Were you surprised that Eastwood included this scene in the movie? Describe your reaction to this scene.

Beryl Thibodeaux runs a rape crisis center and teaches self-defense classes for potential victims to learn how to ward off their attackers. Her character is presented as a strong, intelligent, confident, career-minded woman. But when she is actually attacked by the rapist/murderer, although she uses all the techniques she teaches in her classes and is able to wound Rolfe (unlike the two policemen he has just killed without resistance), she is losing the fight and seems to be only moments from death when Wes's arrival puts him to flight.

What do you think of this scene? Considering what she does for a living, would you have preferred to have seen Beryl fight off her attacker completely?

Interestingly, in an earlier scene when Wes is fighting Rolfe, he also is losing the fight and seems to be moments from death when he is saved by one of his dogs.

Do you think Tightrope seems to shy away from having a hero, as both Wes and Beryl are incapable of saving themselves from the killer by themselves?

DR. YARLOFSKY: There's a darkness inside all of us, Wes. You, me and the man down the street. Some have it under control. Others act it out. The rest of us try to walk a tightrope between the two.

What do you think of this quote? Do you think "Tightrope" is a good title for the film? Why or why not?

By the time Tightrope was filmed, Eastwood was closely associated with the role of Harry Callahan, having portrayed the character in four films, the most recent (Sudden Impact) released only a year before Tightrope. With the character of Wes Block, Eastwood would portray a different type of cop. Discuss how Wes Block and Harry Callahan are different, and how they are similar.

In the climactic chase sequence, Wes pursues Rolfe through the cemetery and to the railyard. They struggle on the tracks and as a train approaches, Wes pulls off Rolfe's mask. It is the first time his face is shown. Seconds later, the train appears to run them both over, but we realize that Wes had rolled off the tracks just in time, the severed arm of Rolfe still choking him.

What do you think of this scene? Does it seem to have the proper amount of suspense and tension? Does it seem believable? What do you think of the way it was shot, with most of the lighting coming from the helicopters overhead and the oncoming train? Do you think this is a satisfactory final confrontation between Wes and his murderous double, Leander Rolfe? Why or why not? If you think it could have been better, what would you have liked to have seen instead?

Previous Film Discussions / TIGHTROPE: The Story 13: Themes
« on: April 24, 2005, 11:06:38 PM »
According to Ira Konigsberg's The Complete Film Dictionary, a theme is "a general subject, topic, message, concept, social attitude, or mood that runs throughout a work of art."

What themes do you see in this film? Explain why they qualify as themes, in your opinion, and discuss how they are expressed and developed in the movie.

Few people realize that what's basically given to us when we get a movie, is the dialogue. Everything else they hear in the movie was put in there by us--and created by us. In the kitchen we put birds' sound, it was busy and happy. And the kids' room was joyful too; whenever you picked up a toy, it had a little bell in it. But the bedroom and living room we made cold, monotonous, boring. Because, first of all, you didn't know if Clint was a murderer, and there was this edge to him--that he almost could be.
(Alan Murray, supervising sound editor, quoted in Fuensanta Plaza's Clint Eastwood/Malpaso, p. 150)

Alan Murray first worked with Eastwood as sound effects editor on Escape From Alcatraz, and he has worked on nearly every subsequent Eastwood film to date. In seventeen of these films, he worked hand in hand with Lennie Niehaus, combining sound effects with the musical score to create the atmosphere for each film.

Describe any moments that you noticed in which the sound effects were particularly effective in adding to the tension or mood of the scene, or helpful in expressing the film's characters.

Symbolism works under the surface to tie the story's external action to its themes. Symbols are concrete objects that are featured in such a way as to represent intangible story elements.

Name some symbols you found in this film. How are they used to support the intangible story elements? Are they used effectively?

What is your overall feeling about this film? How would you rate it in comparison to the rest of Eastwood's films?

What is your favorite scene from Tightrope? Why do you like this scene in particular?

What is your least favorite scene in Tightrope, and why is it that you don't like this scene?

Eastwood News / Eastwood to be on Hardball - 3/15/05
« on: March 09, 2005, 09:43:37 PM »
Clint Eastwood will be on Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC for the full hour next Tuesday, March 15, 2005.  Check your local listings........Hardball is usually on more than once on any given day.

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