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Sound in two Hollywood films: 'singin' in the rain' and Thelma & Louise

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The music in these two films.
    1. Singin' in the Rain: The music is exclusively made of instrumental music.
    2. Thelma & Louise: Country music and western music.
  3. The variations in music rhythm, pitch and melody in Thelma & Louise.
  4. The meaning conveyed by music.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

Singin' in the Rain is a musical created in 1951 by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, Thelma & Louise a road movie created in 1991 by Ridley Scott. These two works could sound different; nevertheless they have a common point, which is the important role of sound, and especially music, within the plot. However both do not make the same use of sound, neither of the sound techniques, and that is what will be analysed in this essay. Firstly, we will describe the different kinds of sound ? that is to say music, voice and noise ? that these two works contain and analyse them. Secondly, we will try to see what can be learned from this analysis, as far as the notions of narrative and entertainment are concerned.

[...] Thus, music in Thelma & Louise seems to be linked with the situations or with the thoughts and feelings that the characters do not express verbally, for instance when Louise manages to have Jimmy on the phone a rather cheerful music starts, as to express her relief or happiness. Music is a way to convey the interiority of the characters and get the viewer more implied in the story and closer to them. On the contrary, in Singin' in the Rain, music is used by the characters to express themselves, and thus to externalise and display their feelings in front of the audience. [...]

[...] Depending on which film they choose to watch, the audience will then accept either to be active and implied in the narrative of Thelma & Louise and to take part in their story, or to be passive and contemplating in front of Singin' in the Rain and accept to be entertained and to be carried away for a dream-like moment. Bibliography Belton, John and Weiss, Elizabeth. Film sound: theory and practice. New York; Guildford: Columbia University Press Konigsberg, Ira. The complete film dictionary. [...]

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