The film ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’s’ opening sequence gives the viewer an insight as to what the film is likely to be about. The overall theme of the film itself, is evident in the opening sequence, and is shown to the viewer via various effects, shots and sequences, throughout. The film involves a variety of acts, seen through the eyes of a young child. Racism, discrimination and murder are present in the film; however the viewer is seeing mostly the child’s approach and understanding of the issues involved.
The overall impact of the films opening sequence is quite important to the rest if the film and, one with slight suspense and anxiety drawn in. These emotions are created by the effect of music and its sequence. The music varies, to construct a range of calm or predictable feelings. Viewers are left intrigued, after the sequence, which is effective because they are likely to want to carry on watching the film, so their curiosity and anticipations are fulfilled.Order now
Throughout the shots of the opening sequence, the effect of music is used, particularly in the shots with the “universal studio” image; the child’s hands about to open the box; and the sequence after the marble rolling. The beginning starts with the universal studio image. Here slow music begins with a single piano. This light hearted music takes the audience to the first image of the actual opening sequence, without the music drawing too much attention away from the importance of the forthcoming images. The piano’s music is just there, not for emotive purposes, but to give a slight insight as to what images lies ahead.
We then move on to the image of the child reaching over to open the box. While doing this, the child is humming a subtle tune of happy childlike simplicity, one that viewers are given the impression that the child is likely to have improvised. The humming has no real significance to the images, except to show the tune is being sung from a young present child, in a pleasant atmosphere, with no real signs of suspense or uneasiness occurring. After several linked shots of the child humming, frequently, we come to the image straight after the marble sequence.
Here the touching of the marbles clearly marks the introduction of an orchestra. There are many instruments all performing, in unison, a joyful and faint piece that fits into the sequence adequately, to create an inviting and pleasant ambience. In this opening sequence, music is particularly powerful and effective, because it helps to capture certain images, to set the scene and create the right emotion. Another dominant effect, that is present throughout the opening sequence, is the product of camera shots. A multiplicity of zooms, angles and focuses capture the image clearly.
This is shown specifically in the images of the close up of items in the box, and the marble sequence. After the title image, the camera zooms in to a variety of items in the box. The close up images really draws the viewer into the items, so the audience is only able to look at them and no other possible surroundings. This is effective because it gives the chance for the viewer to really study and explore the items, building curiosity and imagination inside their minds, which wants to be satisfied, therefore making the viewer need to carry on watching.
The camera focuses on the images, while it is still moving, but for enough time so that the audience will remember the items, for significance later on in the film. Another effective camera shot is the marble sequence. The dark coloured marble begins to roll for a short period, until it meets a light coloured marble. The two marbles meet with a collision and the sequence ends with a long shot of the two marbles together. When first looking at the shot, the viewer just sees two marbles colliding, but in depth there is possible significance to the several images.
The simplicity of the sequence is delicate, and creates a subtle mood, yet the zoom in of the marbles focuses the viewer and entices them, persuading them, once again, to carry on watching the film. After the marbles have come together, there is a long shot of them in unison. This creates curiosity, and the viewer is intrigued to know what the significance is, if there is any at all. The result of camera shots are effectual, in all opening sequences; because the camera can tell the viewer how important the images are, by a range of zooms, angles and how to study the images emotionally and logically.
An additional effect is the outcome of symbolism. This is shown very powerfully, once again, in the marble sequence and the ripping of the drawing of the bird. The marble sequence shows how the effectiveness of symbolism, particularly in the colliding of the black marble with the white. It is probable that the marbles represent the racism issues, involved in the forthcoming film and how they are resolved. The still shot of the two marbles colliding, is likely to represent the joining of blacks and whites, present later on in the film.
This analogy is effective because it shows the viewer a symbolised image that is likely to represent one of the main issues involved throughout the forthcoming film, so, giving the viewer a slight peek at what lies ahead of the film, without them actually knowing if the marble sequence has any significance to the later images. The viewer has to watch on to discover what the marble sequence could be representing. Another effective form of symbolism is in the shot when the child has drawn a bird, and then torn it right down the middle of the diagram.
This image is likely to have relations with the title of the film: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. The tearing of the bird represents the killing of a mockingbird, which we later discover, is a sin, according to scouts father. However, no birds are killed in the film; the term ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ could possibly be a metaphoric phrase, likely used to tell the viewer that sin is present in the film. To conclude, I feel the opening sequence of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is one with a lot of effective shots, that when analysed in detail, have strong relevance to the film.
The fact that you have to go in great depth to show the effectiveness of the opening sequence, interests me, and therefore is likely to interest the reader into persuading them to watch the entire film. Personally, I thought the effect of symbolism worked the best, firstly, because it really draws the viewer in, and gives them an optional challenge to dive deeper into the images and study them logically and vigilantly. This intrigues the viewer, and is likely to make them want to carry on watching the film, which is why the outcome of symbolism is a persuasively effective one.