The setting with its colours and activities tell a lot about the general aims of the plot. While George is riding, the camera pans and tilts blurrily. George’s speed is diminished. Strong winds ruffle slowly. Low-angle shot of plants and empty brush, while drops of dew appear on bush. Through the appearance of the setting, the thought of a very empty world is created. By portraying the setting as very unpredictable, we indicated that future events would be as erratic, and expected the viewer to anticipate an abrupt end to the plot.
Here, we also tried to create a sense of George’s loneliness and the world’s selfishness at large, so an audience would be encouraged to think about Lennie. Then, by diminishing George’s speed and lingering on the setting, the audience’s subtle reaction to the shocking nature of George’s mission (to save Lennie from Curley’s evil by lynching his friend) was our main intention. We used white, black, and yellow-green to create the sense of a sun-baked setting. Alternatively, as these are cool, unusual afternoon colours with no signs of the sun, the audience could sense an irregularity.
However, the colours also show a cool atmosphere, temperature and sun. There is a soothing feeling generated and this is very contrary to the sinister ending. An unaware audience may be hinted that everything is going to be all right. George’s clothing (dull brown shirt, light blue denim jeans, Stetson hat and low-heeled boots) was chosen to be unusually bland for the vibrant and attractive person. His low-heeled boots underline his inferiority to Curley as a labourer. George’s position is foreshadowed, because as George is going to lose Lennie later, his self-worth and respect is also going to decline.
We used camera fixed frame to reveal this. We used a thawed image to show that George is pondering over his decisions. His body language also reveals his heavy heart, unhappy mind and the receding images make it certain to the audience that George is being forced to do something against his utmost will. We opted for dynamic sounds to reflect and re-enforce the general mood/atmosphere. Very soft ambient sounds of hay and horses rattling the halter chains reveals the active, vibrant atmosphere of the ranch is no more. Horse running and feet pattering meant nobody waits and no time is going to be extended for either George or Lennie’s fate.
Everybody has hurried on to shoot/lynch Lennie. Even the horses are against their will. Dead-track signals the end of ambient sound in a diminuendo, which emphasises that time is slowly expiring for George. Sounds of setting, like strong winds ruffling, penetrating brush, bird’s feathers fluttering and leaves rustling are very effective ambient sounds to influence audiences’ opinion of the setting’s reaction to events. A very shallow, and then a shrill ambient sound were meant to indicate that everybody is rushing and George is unable to keep up. There is no place for mercy or forgiveness.
Shrill, ambient sound may sound like a disapproval of the nature of this world or otherwise, a warning to the victim, who is being preyed upon by the selfish nature of the world. As Steinbeck often chose to personify a rabbit to account for Lennie’s secret desires and unexpressed woes, we placed great emphasis on a real rabbit’s actions. The rabbit hurries for cover as a single ray of sunlight shines through the setting with the fall of dusk. This reflects the vulnerability of Lennie, which is present in the rabbit’s actions. The sun of ray also disguises a
force, which will disturb nature and Lennie and cause him to take cover. The decision to zoom/focus on swooping birds with a particularly high-angle shot may seem to highlight Lennie’s diminished ability to roam about freely. The pan to the water snake and the camera skim over its periscope then creates an un-intruded atmosphere. Thus, fear symbolised by Lennie’s predator is still there even in a peaceful atmosphere. Confusion is then created through the thawed image and spirals of confusion on eye-level shot. The audience is being prepared for disaster.
This sequence of scenes shows the nothingness present after the predator has lynched the victim. The long shot and then zoom up underlines the withdrawal of every prey to leave nothingness behind. Ambivalent feelings of peacefulness, confusion, fear and tension are all gone. Consequently, the demise of Lennie will reflect on this. I thought this scene created a vision that there will supposedly be peace after the stronger prey disposes off the weakest victims. Would this force the audience to retort Curley and the selfish nature of the world and counter-argue on Lennie’s behalf? Yes, I thought so.