The Dynamic Frame: Camera Movement in Classical Hollywood

C.1 Touch of Evil

Character and camera move simultaneously: a huge figure becomes a tiny one in a matter of moments. This approach might seem like mindless virtuosity, but these little perceptual jolts serve several purposes: amplifying suspense by calling attention to the crowd of potential victims; helping us understand Mike and Susie, who delight in the town’s surprises; characterizing Welles’s “vertiginous” vision of the universe; and developing the theme of the permeable border by drawing our attention to a constant flow of entrances and exits.

For more on this shot, see Corrections and Clarifications.

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