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Transition from Stage to Screen: Advantages and Disadvantages of Artifice and Realism - Essay Example

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Transition from Stage to Screen: Advantages and Disadvantages of Artifice and Realism

In Zinnemann’s Oklahoma!, realism is remarkably apparent. From stage to screen, realism in Oklahoma! is attributed to the film’s setting and characterisation. Zinnemann’s chosen setting, for one, is evidently a departure from the Broadway type of background and props wherein objects and images are created by a man/artist. In fact, the director of the movie adaptation entitled Oklahoma! placed the location for his film in the actual world. The scenery is obviously in the field of a particular county perhaps in the West. In the scene wherein the two lovers serenade each other with the song “People Will Say We’re In-Love,” the rustic backdrop is utterly real and beautiful to the eyes especially that the film is in full color. Nevertheless, color technology and other “technological development” are different from the measure of realism in the realm of art (Durovicova, 1992, p.160). Zinnemann and several crew members of the movie had taken a serious advantage to the beauty, grandeur, and existence of the physical environment. On one hand, the positive side of making the film outside the Broadway stage and into the “stage” of the natural environment is that it makes the movie more real and appealing to the audience. The viewers can arguably identify and probably relate to the “message” of the film when it depicts its spatial dimension in a more realistic way. For the film-maker, on the other hand, the advantage of shooting the film in the field is that the director becomes freer in choosing what angle he or she desires -- namely, the film-maker frees him or her from the limitations inherent in props. And the open field offers the film-maker the vast array of areas or spaces wherein he or she can shoot a specific scene or episode in the movie that best suits him or her. Furthermore, Oklahoma! adds a certain level of reality through the portrayal of characters played by its actors. The way actors play their part is likely convincing. When Curly (played by Gordon MacRae) sings a lullaby entitled “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” to his beloved Ado Anne (played by Gloria Grahame), the viewers are drawn to sleep not only by its mellow-dramatic music but also by how Grahame acted her character role. Grahame, among other actors, had played her role in a natural manner as if she was real and part of the world of the audience. In comparison to the realism characterised in Oklahoma!, the realism in Donen and Kelly’s On the Town is peculiarly distinct. The setting and the characterisation notable in On the Town are less far from real. The setting, in particular, marked in Donen and Kelly’s film is apparently transitory; it changes from artifice to real and vice versa. In the taxi scene wherein Chip (played by Frank Sinatra) and Brunhilde Esterhazy (played by Betty Garrett) sing the song “Come Up to My Place,” the background visible in this episode strikingly alters from artifice to realism. Inside the moving taxi, for instance, the images seen as a backdrop are merely pictures (or moving pictures) taken from the real world; that is, this particular scene was shot far from the actual city environment but rather from or within the studio or stage-like milieu. At the end of the singing act, however, the setting dramatically shifts from the artificial environment into the actual downtown area. Here, the advantage of realism is its ability to entirely transform the ...Show more


The paper is regarding the adapting Broadway musicals for the cinema, when filmmakers have tended to either champion artifice or champion realism. The author is going to analyze this transition. …
Author : luisa20
Transition from Stage to Screen: Advantages and Disadvantages of Artifice and Realism essay example
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