The Untouchables: Mise-En-Scene Analysis


Elliot Ness, a treasury agent, has been trying to stop alcohol from
being smuggled into the United States. He feels that the key to putting an end
to the alcohol distribution is to put gangster, Al Capone, behind bars. But
there is a small problem, Ness can\'t seem to be able to link the incoming
alcohol, or any other crime to Capone. Until, Oscar Wallace, the uptight, “
dorky”, government official, entered the picture to help Ness fight his battle
for prohibition, and ultimately, against Capone. Wallace discovered that
Capone hasn\'t paid his taxes for several years, but the only way to prove it is
to get to Capone\'s book keeper. Ness discovers that the book keeper will be
going to the train station, so he along with colleague George Stone intend to
be there to pick him up when he arrives.

The scene starts in the train station. The setting is the main lobby. The
floors, pillars, and stairs are of a light gray color. There is a clock that is
directly above the big, dark, wooden doors that are continuously reverted back
to during the scene. The costumes of the main characters in this scene are the
same as throughout the movie. Ness wears a light gray colored suit, hat, trench
coat and tie. Stone is wearing a little darker colored, more casual, clothing
with a tie and light colored hat. Capones men were dressed similarly with
trench coats and hats of light colors. Also, the innocent bystanders in this
scene are the sailors in their suits, the woman, with the baby in her innocent
raggy clothes, and all the other people in the scene who look as though they
might be Capones men. The lighting in this scene is a little bit dull, but
gets darker when Capone shoots his gun at certain points of the scene.

The figure movement and expressions in this scene are normally paced,
excluding the woman desperately struggling to get her baby carriage up the
stairs, until the gunfire starts. The scene turns into slow motion and panic
arises as the shooting begins and the baby carriage is released and slowly
starts descending down the stairs. The mothers face is panicked and you can see
her mouthing the words "My Baby". Then you see the innocent face of the baby
and then the carriage plummeting to the bottom of the stairs. The expressions
on Capones men are uncaring and crazy looking where as the expressions of the
cops were determined looking. Also, the book keepers face is very frightened.
The movement and expressions of the bystanders are panicked with sailors trying
to grab the baby and getting shot.

I feel that the slow motion in this scene was for added suspense and the
baby carriage was to give a feeling of panic. I feel that the clock was
deliberately in the picture to let the viewer feel Ness\'s impatience. I feel
that the sailors along with the baby carriage were images of innocence to make
the viewer more frightened. I also feel that they had bystanders, looking like
they could be Capone\'s men, enter the picture to make the viewer more suspense
filled.

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