The Killers is a film noir style movie that depicts a murder being investigated for an insurance claim. The insurance claim detective, Riordan, investigates the murder of the Swede. He recognizes a handkerchief that Swede had on his person at all times. After further investigation, Riordan realizes that the Swede was involved in a huge robbery and stumbles upon the master plan of the unsolved robbery. This film was shot in true film noir style, because it takes place in eerie night sequences. It surrounds a femme fatale character, Kitty, who ends up causing the deaths of every man she involves in her life.
The Killers attacks the idea of love. Kitty Collins is a personification of love. She takes on the form of lust in the beginning of the movie starting with her presentation and demeanor at the party when she first meets Swede, to her affair with him and resistance to being arrested. She tricks Swede into being arrested so that she could continue her luxurious lifestyle. She then abandons Swede and pursues Big Jim. The relationship between Big Jim and Kitty gives the illusion of real love. When Dum Dum kills Big Jim, the audience is presented with a very concerned, heartbroken wife. As Jim dies and Kitty is incriminated in the master plan of the robbery, she tries to rise Big Jim from the dead in order to proclaim her innocence. Kitty represents love. She shows the lust with the Swede and the seemingly deeper relationship with Big Jim, but as it turns out she was also using him. Her personification of love shows how love is only used for a person’s own gain. Kitty uses the men in this film for her own gain, showing how selfish love is and how love does not work out.
Citizen Kane is an epic movie describing the life of a well-known man through many vantage points. His life is unfolded before the audiences’ eyes in both good and bad views as well as conflicting ones. Kane is a man who started out with little money. He was then sent away, and he grew into a successful man who had a huge empire. He was married twice and made and lost many friends. The money he earned, however, led to his downfall. He wished to return to his simpler life as a child. This is illustrated through his last word, Rosebud, a sleigh he had as a child.
Through the many vantage points in the film, Kane is seen in many lights, both positive and negative. He is shown positively when he makes promises to his readers to be truthful and report the news. He is also accused of turning his back on his readers signified by his tearing up of his promises to them. At the end of the movie, however, the viewer cannot hate Kane. Welles portrays Kane in such a way that the viewer is sympathetic to him and understands his struggles. He in some way illustrates every individual that gets to know him throughout the movie. His character flaws are portrayed in such a way that each individual can relate to him. Each person starts out as an innocent human being, but through many factors, becomes something they did not always want to become. Kane illustrates this detriment that each individual goes through in life.
The Awful Truth is a comedic film full of dramatic irony. It portrays a high class couple who decides to get a divorce after feeling betrayed by the other. The entire film is than a depiction of the lead characters, Lucy and Jerry, and their various love affairs during the time it takes to make their divorce final. One day, while Lucy goes to visit Jerry, Jerry’s fiancee calls and Jerry is forced to lie and say Lucy is his sister. Lucy then goes on to disgrace Jerry in front of Barbara’s family. Jerry is then forced to spend the night in Lucy’s Aunt’s house. After the wind constantly blows open the door separating the couple, Jerry and Lucy talk and realize they are both still in love with the other, something the audience has known all along.
The film The Awful Truth completely disregards the sanctity of marriage. After Lucy and Jerry get in one little fight, they decide to divorce each other. Lucy and Jerry completely disregard the years that they spent happily together and rashly decide to get a divorce. When two people decide to get married, they take vows, promising to love each other for better or worse and till death do them part. Instead, Lucy and Jerry bail as soon as there is a slight hint of a scandal. The Awful Truth, though comedic, is actually an attack on marriage. Lucy and Jerry go and have other relationships while they are technically still married. If they had actually discussed their problems and worked towards a stronger relationship, they would not have disgraced themselves and hurt others.
In the film 42 Street a legendary director, Marsh, takes on his final project. He decides to defy society’s standards and create an erotic musical. Throughout this movie, sex is talked about more openly than ever before. Sex is constantly explored in this movie. It can be seen in Dorothy’s fling with the producer which was very scandalous for that time period. The viewer could also see the discussion of sex in the contents of the musical, as well as in the character Anytime Annie. Even innocent Peggy Sawyer was entangled in the theme of sex. Her brief romance with Pat implied his sexual desire when she fell asleep in his apartment. 42nd Street makes sex a conversation for the dinner table instead of a conversation only talked about intimately between a husband and wife.
The movie 42nd Street started a new genre of film. Peggy Sawyer became the epitome of the underdog character in film. This stereotypical character is one who does not necessarily get her break right away, but some disaster occurs in which this underdog gets another chance. The audience is then routing for this stagnant character, until she becomes a star. Peggy is the personification of this plot line. When 42nd Street was created, this new story was innovative, but now this story reiterates an overused cliche. Peggy Sawyer embodies a desire that every person has; a desire to be successful. This is why this stereotype is so successful and so well-loved. Viewers relate to this character and want her to be successful and to live out a life that they themselves cannot live.