Apocalypse now sound analysis essay

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Contents:
  1. "Apocalypse Now" by B. Ruby Rich
  2. An Analysis of Cinematography in Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola
  3. Apocalypse Now and Sound Design
  4. SparkNotes: Apocalypse Now: Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

Despite his limited shoot days, Brando wanted to spend hours discussing his character with Coppola, holding up the shoot endlessly.

As the days dragged on, Coppola was losing control and his behavior was getting increasingly erratic, much to his wife's concern. She wrote in her diary, "It is scary to watch someone you love go into the center of himself and confront his fears, fear of failure, fear of death, fear of going insane" Cowie Between Francis' flagrant infidelity and rampant self-doubt, the Coppolas' marriage was in trouble. On March 5, , Martin Sheen had a heart attack. Needless to say, the anxiety on set was palpable, and it spread all the way back to the United Artists offices in New York City.

Coppola was furious with his assistant for letting the news of Sheen's ill health reach all the way to the States, and UA's concerns made him even more determined to keep shooting. They shot whatever they could without their star and when Sheen recovered a month later, went back and finished shooting all his close-ups. Finally on May 21, , 14 months after the first day of shooting and days of production, Apocalypse Now wrapped.

"Apocalypse Now" by B. Ruby Rich

Coppola's struggle was not over yet, though - post production lay ahead. Peter Cowie writes, "for almost two years, [the post-production team] would toil in Rutherford, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to draw structure from the raw marble of the movie brought back from the Philippines" Cowie One major component of the editing process was to craft the narration - for which Coppola brought in Michael Herr.

Famed sound editor Walter Murch had very little to work with by way of live sound - the tight schedule had prevented the production sound team from getting clean dialogue and effects. Back then, effects libraries did not have contemporary war sounds, and so Murch and his colleagues crafted the jungle soundscape from scratch. Ultimately, Murch would be rewarded with an Academy Award for his innovative techniques.

Even though a few critics were divided on the film - Time Magazine's Frank Rich called it "emotionally obtuse and intellectually empty," It was nominated for 8 Academy Awards - Besides Murch, cinematographer Vittorio Storaro also took home an Oscar for his work. Coppola's embattled masterpiece has lived on in both pop culture and as major triumph of American filmmaking, capturing a moment in history right as it was occurring. As Coppola said in a press conference - "the film is not about Vietnam.

It is Vietnam". Apocalypse Now study guide contains a biography of Francis Ford Coppola, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Apocalypse Now essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Remember me.

In Search of the Unknown: Apocalypse Now

Either way you go in this debate, you should probably just focus on one of the additional scenes. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. About Online Exercises Research Syllabus. Byrne on October 18, The narrator of Conrad's story was named Harlow, so it's the simplest, slyest sleight of Coppola's hand to transform him into another mythic namesake, the redoubtable Philip Marlowe, private detective. Just as the opening scene dissolves each image and sound into another, and then layers even those, so too the voices and characters are composite references traced back and forth through time, cinema, society, and literature.

The voice may belong to this Willard character, this man we don't yet know and whose voice we therefore can't identify.

An Analysis of Cinematography in Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola

Dr it might belong to a hardboiled, Philip Marlowe-type hero, the type evoked at once by the words, spoken with that familiar, drained indifference:. I wanted a mission.


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And for my sins they gave me one. Brought it right up to me like room service. And what of Michael Herr, author of this narration, whose voice intoned the tales that made Dispatches. Yet, literature aside, another distant voice echoes in the soundtrack, another voice intoning the tale of his downfall and moral anguish. That movie ended in a house of mirrors, but Willard's tale begins with just one room and just one mirror. There the hunter, impatient for the hunt, stalks his own reflection. Martin Sheen's Willard, though, is nothing like DeNiro's taxi driver.

He is no psycho out on a binge, no maniac like the Charles Manson whose picture appears in a newspaper in the next scene. No, he is the character that Coppola would have us take as not exceptional, as typical, an embodiment of modern alienated man set down in exceptional circumstances, in a dark place where methods are, in Conrad's words, frequently "unsound.

The first "statement" edges on screen in the episode that follows our visit to Willard's room. It's the very elegant scene in which Willard's briefed by a manicured inner circle of military authority, who dine impeccably on shrimp and illustrate their orders by employing a larger-than-life Sony tape recorder that introduces the "evidence" necessitating the mission. For these military men, looking a shrimp in the eye is a display of courage, a concept that may briefly be supported by close-up shots of gigantic shrimps on a platter, but is fast made obscene by the horrors of not-still-life that follow.

Is it any accident that one of these authorities bears an uncanny likeness to Peter Lorre? They are mannered criminals. Unlike Lorre, they are legit, certified to carry out their crimes, well equipped with Sony for the home and napalm for the jungle, and men like Willard to take over the sensitive tasks too delicate for a technological solution. Coppola wants us uneasy about these men, and we are, but it's never clear why. Are their functions wrong, or just their manner of proceeding?

Are their methods unsound?

Apocalypse Now and Sound Design

Or is it just their elitist hands-off decorum that Coppola dislikes, preferring that they get their hands dirty as craftsmen of death? It's hard to decipher the intent here: whether Coppola is objecting to the war, or only wishing it back in the craft stage again.


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  8. Whichever, one of the more reprehensible characteristics of these authorities clearly is their moral stance, an arrogance in making judgments "he is obviously insane…, he thinks he's God" that they, in the heart of this moral whirlpool, have no right to make.

    Accordingly, Coppola violates the sanctity of their environment by intruding on the soundtrack with an aural ferment, overamplifying the distant sounds of helicopters whirring, insects, music, voices. Willard is jumping from a helicopter, already off on his mission, musing in the same distracted voice-over on how many men he has killed so far, anticipating his goal and fearing already its implication.

    It's fair time to warn how little of the film is actually taken from Heart of Darkness. The boat journey remains, to be sure, and the character of Kurtz Marion Brando and his camp deep in a dark continent are taken whole, all of a piece. But virtually nothing else, apart from the aura of fascinated corruption, remains. Willard is moving upriver toward Cambodia back when we weren't supposed to be there on a boat manned by a motley crew that is hauling along U. Two of the crewmen are black, two white a mix borrowed from Conrad's pilgrims and savages : Clean, son of the Brooklyn streets, rocking out to the Stones in a GI station; Chef, a New Orleans saucier who gets over a taste for mangoes; Lance, a surfer boy from the Age of Aquarius, tripping the ultimate trip; and Chief, the levelheaded commander of the craft, who's not about to take orders from a honky mystery man like Willard.

    SparkNotes: Apocalypse Now: Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

    As the boat moves upriver, Coppola moves us along with it, into darker and darker spaces of layered sound, hallucinatory images, superimpositions of shifting realities, and narration spoken from an eternally "other" place. We cease mistrusting our senses. Meanwhile, the cinematography of Vittorio Storaro Bernardo Bertolucci's longtime cameraman sweeps the diverse elements together into a symphonic movement.

    Yet the audience never entirely fails prey to the film's manipulations precisely because of their dazzling excess. One never fails to recognize Coppola's hand arranging the work, or to remember that this is a film, or to consciously appreciate its construction. Thus is Coppola able to build his apocalypse into a myth, a distanced fictional work of art, a story that reminds us always of its telling. Scares the hell out of the slopes. Kilgore wears a ten-gallon hat, rides his chopper like a bucking bronco, and relaxes with his boys around the campfire at night grilling steaks, swigging beer, and playing the guitar.

    Apocalypse Now Analysis: the Duality of War

    Kilgore's techno-cowboy is persuasive and illuminating. Everything points to it, from the subject matter to Coppola's own heralded statements, such as the program note on his concern with "the moral dilemma of the Vietnam war. It begins to look suspiciously like an 80s western. Civil War. Sure, those wars had their share of moral dilemmas, but film treatments on the conflicts could always rest on a basic history of soldiers fighting the good fight — against fascism, against slavery. No such luck with Vietnam, where, as in the Wild West, our boys were fighting the bad fight, a war of genocide.

    The moral center was not found in an indefensible raison d'etre , but in the individual isolated from it who preserved in his behavior some ahistorical kernel of morality by ignoring, indeed denying, the conditions that had called the war into being. The war of genocide thus can be reduced to a backdrop to the essential drama of human read, male nobility.