Steven E. Alford is a professor of Humanities at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
 


SAMPLE STUDENT PARAGRAPHS

SAMPLE ONE

Here are two samples of how to write your paragraphs.  They aren't perfect, and were not corrected by the instructor, so they more accurately reflect the student's work. Note that they are all in a SINGLE file, containing a Certificate of Authorship.

SAMPLE ONE: 

Nova Southeastern University
Farquhar College of Arts & Sciences

Assignment for Course:     Film Reactions       

Submitted to: Steven E. Alford

Submitted by:  Jane K. Student                                                       

Date of Submission:  Anymonth  5, 200x               

Title of Assignment:  Paragraphs

CERTIFICATION OF AUTHORSHIP: I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper. I have also cited any sources from which I used data, ideas or words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I also certify that this paper was prepared by me specifically for this course.

Student’s Signature:  Jane K. Student 

  Kiss Me Deadly 

It turns into one very strange and deadly night when sleazy private detective Mick Hammer, unwillingly picks up a scared woman who jumped out in front of his car wearing only a trench coat. After brief conversation they are intercepted by some mysterious thugs and runs Mike off the road. While semi conscious in a strange room Mike hears the screams of the girl while she is being tortured -- she is eventually killed. Taking the dead girl and the now unconscious Mike, they are loaded again in the car and pushed off a cliff. Luckily Mike survives and awakes in the hospital and despite the pressure from the local police and Washington detectives, he refuses to retell the events surrounded the night of his ‘accident’ and mounts his own investigation to find out who his mystery girl (Christina) was and what she was hiding. Ignoring the warnings and threats that he should mind his own business, he puts his life and those around him at stake. From there he continues to discover many strange clues and shady personalities – including Christina’s ‘roommate’, which lead him to discover the dead girls’ secret.

The plot of Kiss Me Deadly present several days through the story and the story stretches on before that, probably from the time Christina found her mysterious package. This is the essence of Temporal Duration. Our Range of story information is restricted as we must follow Mike through his journey as clues are only revealed to us, when they are revealed to him. It is noted however that there is one scene where we are given an unrestricted view of story information as we find out who the perpetrators are -- unbeknownst to Mike, and what’s in the box (sort of). What is also noteworthy about this ending scene is that we are given our sense of closure, and Mike has not.

This is one of the best mystery/ detective films I’ve scene to date. I find it surprising that for such an old film, the twists and turns of the plot and the revelations shown caught me of guard, something which is rare in this day and age of movies where I can tell exactly what’s going to happen and why. I do think I can further expend on this film and delve further into its mysteries, though concentrating on the femme fatale aspect of it, though doable, might be a bit challenging. I would like to use this film, along with _Detour_.

D.O.A

A defeated but vindicated Frank Bigalow enters the police station so he can report a deadly murder -- his own! Sitting down with detectives he recalls the events surrounding the whole sordid ordeal.

Frank, afraid of commitment leaves his girlfriend Paula to go to San Francisco on vacation. Despite her protests and pleas for her to go with him he leaves anyway, telling her that he basically needs time to find himself.  Checking in at the hotel there, frank makes a few friends and goes out with them to a local pub. Frank meets a woman at the bar and distracted, doesn’t notice a mysterious figure switch his drink. The next morning he awakes with a puzzling pain in his stomach and decides to go to the hospital to have it checked. The doctors are aghast when they retrieve his results and Frank finds out that he’s actually been poisoned and has only a few days to live. He then begins a frantic search for who would want to kill him and the reasons why. Putting himself further in danger he unravels these mysteries and retaliates, killing the man who ‘killed’ him.

After retelling his tale to the police, Frank then succumbs to the deadly poison but wishes that the police tell Paula that he loves her.

            Like many detective or suspense films, we see the effect not the causes, therefore we only see how Frank is ‘murdered’ but we don’t know why. We must then track Frank’s investigation in order to know exactly what is going on. This is an example of Temporal Order (his dissolve/flashback in retelling his tale to the police) but what is even more interesting is that temporal duration is featured with in the temporal order for he only has a week to live. Plot time only spans for a week (give or take a day or two) but the story time spans back several months from the time Bigalow signs the Bill of Sale. Our Range of story information is restricted for we only know what Frank knows and as more is revealed to him so too is it for us. The viewer can also experience a sense of closure as Bigalow also discovers the answer to why he was murdered and in turn is vindicated by killing is ‘murderer’.

            I did like D.O.A, though not as much as the other two films. I thought it was quite an interesting concept that the character of Frank must solve his own murder though he isn’t exactly dead. Also, the story recognizes, like so many of us, that we don’t realize what we have until it’s too late. Like the other two films I do not think this would be appropriate to write a longer paper on due to the fact that it would not be conducive to the aspect of the femme fatale that I wish to explore.

Detour

Upset and distraught, piano player Al Roberts has a cup of coffee at a diner and recalls when days were simpler and the days when life became very complicated.

It all started when he decides to hitchhike from New York to L.A to meet his fiancée and there, they would marry. Making it all the way to Arizona he is picked up by Charles Haskell who dies mysteriously along the way. Afraid that the police will pin him for the death, Roberts hides the body and assumes Haskell’s identity and gets rid of his own. Later on, he picks up another hitchhiker named Vera, who reveals that she was in the car with Haskell before and accuses Al of murdering him. Though Al is innocent and tries to explain, Vera blackmails him and tells him to do exactly what she wants. Vera then finds out that Haskell’s father (who hasn’t seen him for 15-20 years is looking for his son and also has an inheritance of 15 million dollars. Vera tries to push Robert’s further into the scheme but Robert’s will have none of it. After a long argument, with Vera extremely drunk and irrational, Roberts accidentally kills Vera and knowing this is one death he won’t be able to cover up, he flees the scene.

Cut back to the diner and Roberts realizes that he can’t go back to New York because he’s supposed to be dead and can’t go to meet his fiancée in L.A because there he’s Haskell, a wanted man. He sardonically thinks how cruel fate can be, and wonders what would have happened if Haskell didn’t pick him up.

            This film is basically a recollection of past events, thus temporal order is used. Plot time and story time are relatively the same in this film which can be estimated to be several weeks where the events take place between New York, Arizona and L.A. Our range of information is limited or restricted as we only see Robert’s experiences. Depth is shown at various intervals throughout the film, such as the beginning and the end, but most notably where death is scene, that is, we hear what he’s thinking when he disposes of Haskell’s body (for he wonders if the police will believe him) and when he accidentally kills Vera. One stylistic element that was most prominent was the lighting effect to show Roberts’ eyes, haunted by the memory of the things he has scene and has to give up.

            I really liked this film. Immediately, I connected with the character of Roberts for he just seemed defeated his haunted look is what stuck with me (which is probably why I’m repeating it). Then through his recollection we see that he’s a pretty decent guy who just made a wrong decision. By having him ask the question ‘what if?’ at the end made me sympathize with him. This is definitely a paper I can write on. The character of Vera is one I dislike immensely and as a scheming wench, she’s a perfect example for my examinations into the femme fatale. I would like to write on this film, comparing it to _Kiss Me Deadly_.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bordwell, David and Thompson, Kristin. Film Art: An Introduction. New York:

McGraw Hill, 2003

Kiss Me Deadly. Screenplay by Mickey Spillane and A.I Bezzerides. Dir. Robert Aldrich. Prod. Robert Aldrich and Victor Saville. Perf. Ralph Mekker, Maxine Cooper. DVD. Parklane Pictures, 1955

D.O.A. Screenplay by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene. Dir. Rudolph Mate. Prod. Joseph Nadel, Harry Popkin, Leo Popkin. Perf. Edmond O’Brien, Pamela Britton. DVD. Cardinal Pictures, 1950.

 

Detour. Screenplay by Martin Goldsmith. Dir. Edgar Ulmer. Prod. Leon Fromkess and Martin Mooney. Perf. Tom Neal, Anne Savage. DVD. Producers Releasing Cooperation. 1945.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

SAMPLE TWO:

Assignment for Course: Introduction to Film       

Submitted to: Steven E. Alford

Submitted by: John K. Student                                                      

Date of Submission: x/ss/0x          

Title of Assignment: Paragraphs (War Movies) 

CERTIFICATION OF AUTHORSHIP: I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper. I have also cited any sources from which I used data, ideas or words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I also certify that this paper was prepared by me specifically for this course.

 Student’s Signature:  John K. Student

DR. STRANGELOVE

            The main events in Dr. Strangelove spring from what happens at the beginning of the movie.  General Jack D. Ripper, who is paranoid and commie-crazed, orders a special nuclear attack on Russia based on nothing but his own psychosis.  The attack is an emergency war plan that allows someone ranking lower than the President, in case he has been taken out, to initiate the attack and guarantees that no one can communicate with the bombers unless they have a top secret code that only Ripper knows.  The film moves on to the President and his Defense Team in the war room trying to thwart Ripper’s actions, which they find out could result in the detonation of a Doomsday Device.  While fighting off the U.S. army from his base, Ripper kills himself lest he be tortured and forced to reveal the communication code.  Ripper’s assistant, Mandrake, finally phones in the code to the President, who is able to recall all of the bombers except one.  The climax of the film occurs when the crew of this lone bomber somehow manages to reach “a” target to bomb and, after Major Kong manually opens the bomb release hatch, destroy it.  The film ends with the men in the war room contemplating life after the Doomsday Device, which goes off thanks to the efforts of that brave bomber crew.

            I noticed a variety of motifs in the film dealing with some sexual connotation in one way or another.  The movie starts off with one plane refueling mid-flight from another plane; the image seemed to be of them having intercourse.  The reason Ripper sets off the war plan is because he thinks there is a communist conspiracy to fluoridate the water supply, which he thinks will render him impotent.  The whole time he is on screen Ripper obsesses over his bodily fluids and how important they are.  Another major sexual motif is Major Kong saddled on the bomb, writhing in orgasmic pleasure as it plummets to the earth.  There are many other sexual subtleties that I have omitted, like Buck Turgidson’s name, or missed on my first viewing.  The explicit meaning of the film should be that war is dangerous and costly, but an implicit meaning could deal with how men overcome their sexual inadequacies through over-aggressive and unnecessary action.  I also noticed chewing gum as a motif, but I would need to view the movie again to fully understand it.

            If I wrote my paper on this movie, I would definitely focus on the sexual motif that I think Kubrick is trying to convey, hence the title, Dr. Strangelove.  Through this, I think there is a way to discover an even deeper message about war.  There is also a reason why Kubrick only uses three main settings throughout the entire film.  For me, it was an interesting way to tell a story and I would like to know more about it, and compare it to _The Manchurian Candidate_.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

            Although this movie was nearly four hours long, I was able to pick out four major events that were focused on throughout the film.  Once Lawrence meets up with the intended Arab convoy led by Prince Feisal, he decides to lead them in a difficult trek across the desert to ambush the port of Aqaba, which he does successfully.  Lawrence basks in his ability to unite the Arabs toward a specific goal and sets his sights for them even higher.  After several more Arabian conquests, Lawrence develops hubris and is taken down a notch when he is captured, beaten, and perhaps violated at the hands of the Turks in Deraa.  Lawrence then goes from denouncing his mission of uniting the Arabs all together to reclaiming it at all costs.  This leads to the massacre of the Turkish soldiers at Tafas, a town that just prior had been annihilated by the Turks.  From that point Lawrence starts to question his motives through the occupation of Damascus.  The film ends anticlimactically with the Arabs reluctantly resorting to British help when the city infrastructure fails completely.

            I thought it was interesting how the film developed the two main characters, Lawrence and Sherif Ali, from beginning to end.  Lawrence goes from being a cool-headed diplomat to a bloodthirsty fighter stopping at nothing to achieve his goal.  Whereas Sherif Ali begins as the violent traditionalist upholding tribal warfare and ends up becoming more pacifist perhaps because of his experience with Lawrence.  Both seem to adapt not only to each other, but to each others culture.  The film itself is shot entirely from left to right highlighting the journey aspect of the narrative.  We partially discussed the camerawork in class with the dialogue scene between Prince Feisal and Bentley.  There are a few motifs that I would need to explore more, such as the pistols in the murders/sacrifices Lawrence has to make on the people he had previously saved.  I have a feeling the motorcycles scattered throughout the film have some meaning as well.

            There is no denying the quality of this movie, but I feel that its length will prevent me from getting the most out of it in an essay.  Out of the three films, I think this would be the biggest undertaking and would require an appetite for risk equaling that of Lawrence himself.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE         

            The first main event centers on Captain Marco’s dream where his military unit is seemingly sitting amongst a garden party hosted by old ladies, but in actuality it’s a showcase for top communist leaders gathered to see how the soldiers have been brainwashed.  Raymond Shaw has specifically been brainwashed to be an assassin of top American leadership.  While investigating into Shaw, Marco watches Shaw get entranced by a game of solitaire and deliberately walk to the park and jump in a lake.  Marco figures out that the queen of diamonds is a trigger for Shaw to become a slave to his mother, the American operator.  Shaw’s mother is an evil, power hungry woman that tells Shaw to kill Senator Jordan, her husband’s political rival.  In the process Shaw unknowingly kills Jordan’s daughter who is also Shaw’s wife.  After Marco tries to inform Shaw of his situation and break the spell, the final stage is set for Shaw to assassinate the presidential nominee, which will move his stepfather into that position.  In a brilliant sequence of suspense and surprise Shaw ends up killing his mother and stepfather, proving that Marco’s tactics worked, and in the end committing suicide.

            Unless I’m completely misunderstanding what a motif is, this movie had a large variety of them.  There are many patriotic American symbols, like portraits and busts of Abraham Lincoln, which are paired with characters that are completely different from what the symbols represent.  Almost everything in the movie has some way of conveying a message about the American struggle with communism; the fear that was being stirred up at the time made it difficult for the public to know exactly what to look out for.  The director also uses many different camera and plot techniques to convey the way a character felt about something.  Some characters had flashbacks of the same event, but the details were different.  The black soldier had black people in his dream while Marco had white people in his.  The director gave a blurry and skewed effect when Shaw was Shaw was in the midst of his trance and couldn’t quite figure out what was going on.  The story itself gave the director numerous options to enhance the suspense and surprise in the plot, as noted in the final scene.  There was something about how the Senator was shot through the milk carton that really impressed me.  The white milk pouring out has a better effect than blood in a black and white movie.

            This is the movie I would probably choose to do my essay on, comparing it to _Dr. Strangelove_, not just because I enjoyed it the most, but because there were some things I saw in this movie that I’ve never seen before in my limited movie-going experience.  I felt that I noticed more of the director’s techniques in this film whereas the other two may have been too subtle for me.  He might have made the film so that even stupid people like me could see what he was trying to do.