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The Importance of sound in moving images

The Green Mile- The execution scene {1999}


The Green Mile is a story of a black man on death row in 1935, for the murder
and rape of two little white girls. The crime for which he is innocent. The guards
become aware of his innocence, however are powerless to prevent his execution.
The film tells the story of Paul's life as a death row corrections officer during the
Great Depression in the United States, and the supernatural events he
witnessed. The film is told in a flashback format by Paul Edgecomb, played by
Tom Hanks.
The soundtrack used for the final execution scene of John Coffey is powerful yet
serene. The clever use of orchestral instruments allows us to interpret what the
characters are feeling and gives us a sense of empathy towards not only John
Coffey but the officers involved in the execution. Due to the fact that all officers
involved in the execution are aware that they are ending the life of an innocent
man. The music is fitting for such a powerful and emotional scene. During the
execution scene officer Paul Edgecomb steps forward and takes the hand of John
Coffey. During this event John Coffey is able to say his goodbye telepathically
{Voice over}, thus changing the use of instruments to string and the pitch
changes to indicate the emotion involved. The scene in its self plays on the
audiences heart strings therefore I feel that the clever use of string instruments
at this point of the movie is appropriate. After Paul Edgecomb gives the order of
roll on two we see John Coffeys body go into spasm as the electricity passes
through it. This is followed by a close up shot of each officer crying, finally
centring of a close-up of Paul Edgecombs tear stained face with the light bulbs
exploding around him. During this time the music changes in pitch and
incorporates relevant sound effects. For example fizzing of electricity and
breaking of glass. When coming to the dialog there is not much in this scene
other than the officers trying to get Paul Edgecomb to give the order that we
execute John Coffey

The lord of the rings {you shall not pass} scene


The second film I have chosen to look at is The Lord of the Rings. I have
chosen the very well-known scene where Gandalf and the team are running away
from a creature and he stops in the middle of a stone bridge, whilst the others
get across and says you shall not pass. I have chosen to do this scene as the
music dramatically changes from start to finish, with tension building music to
dramatic music to powerful yet serene music.

The title of the novel refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron
who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power
as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth.
It begins with a hobbit called Frodo who lives in the shire {the English
countryside}. Frodo is joined on this journey with Samwise "Sam" Gamgee,
Meriadoc "Merry" Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took, but also the hobbits'
chief allies and travelling companions: the Men Aragorn son of Arathorn, a

Ranger of the North, and Boromir, a Captain of Gondor; Gimli son of Gloin, a
Dwarf warrior; Legolas Greenleaf, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a Wizard.
The scene starts off with a monster and the music accompanying it is dramatic,
intense and medieval in sound. This makes the audience alert and draws them in
as they prepare themselves for the undecided future of either the monster or the
heroes. When they start running away from the monster the music increases in
not only the tempo but the pitch as well. During this whole scene in the movie
the music changes in pitch and incorporates relevant sound effects. For example
we hear the monster roar with anger and exhalation of fire from the dragon.
Along with all of this we hear only a few lines of dialog which I feel makes it even
more intense and keeps us on the edge of our seats. When we finally do hear
dialog it comes from Gandalf, he says you shall not pass the music that
accompanies this is very dramatic and loud. This makes the scene more
interesting as it makes our hearts beat fast and makes us think to ourselves who
will survive? Dun! Dun! Dun! After this part in the scene Gandalf finally kills the
dragon and all hope is restored and we think that everything is going to be ok.
The music after the killing of the dragon is very triumphal and so the audience
believes that the fight is over until Gandalf gets dragged down with the dragon
into a bottom less pit. This is where the music dramatically changes as the film
goes into slow motion and the movie goes to almost complete silence for about a
couple of seconds. The music then starts to get louder as Frodo screams out
no, but it isnt the dramatic, loud, medieval music anymore its quiet and
serene and powerful in its own right mind. The music is then more like a
death/funeral scene and sounds a little bit like church choir singing softly. This
part of the film is then accompanied by sound effects of arrows hitting the
concrete to let the audience know the threat is still not over and they need to
keep going. The dialog is muffled and echoed as its in slow motion to make the
point that somebody that not only the characters have grown to love but the
audience can now relate to as they have grown to love him too. Towards the last
thirty seconds they escape and the music changes, but this time its gives off
more of a despair kind of emotion and sounds like church choir.