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Pause It: The Private Affairs of Bel Ami

'Pause It: The Private Affairs of Bel Ami'

PAUSE IT: What do you see? Actress Angela Lansbury, pictured here, co-stars alongside George Sanders in director Albert Lewin’s The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1946). Lansbury’s photo is prominently displayed in the lid of Sanders’ old-fashioned cigarette case. This magnified image is what is known as an insert shot. Traditionally, insert shots have been used to convey added visual information by highlighting the importance of a prop, accentuating an ongoing action, or revealing new or contradictory information. In the modern filmmaking vernacular the term “close-up” has all but replaced the now somewhat outdated insert shot. However, unlike the close-up (a phrase that historically has almost exclusively been reserved for faces) the insert’s (a.k.a. cut-in) primary function has been to draw an audience members’ attention nearer to “the point of the scene.” While, at times, this technique can be heavy-handed, or even clunky, when done tastefully an insert shot enriches the visual palette and deepens our investment in the story.

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami (1946)
Director: Albert Lewin
Cinematography by Russell Metty
Cast: George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, Ann Dvorak
Available From Olive Films on DVD and Blu-ray.

Pause It Archive:
Woman They Almost Lynched
That Cold Day in the Park
Cauldron of Blood
Try and Get Me
Deadly Prey
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
The Trip
Impromptu 
La belle captive
Amazing Grace
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
Extremities
Breaker! Breaker!
Beat Street
Let There Be Light
Coffy
The Night They Raided Minsky’s
The Deadly Bees
Beach Blanket Bingo
Baby It’s You

May 20, 2016

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