teaching sequence

MEL BLANC, voice over artist

This sequence of films suggests different ways in which the story gets to be told, and how the voice of the narrator is registered.
1. The standard voice over narrative, Barry Lyndon,directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1975; what tone of voice is used; how does the voice coordinate with the image; why the freeze frame ?

2. The hidden voice; Feed,1991 a documentary on politicians caught unaware; the voice in the head; sometimes this can be the voice of the impetuous, ie Imp of the Perverse (see story by Edgar Allan Poe); sometimes it can be a whisper stage off (the prompter) and other variants. Here the Democratic candidates for nomination have a voice in their ear. When are they noticing the spectator ? What are they smiling at ?

3. Hellzapoppin' , directed by H.C.Potter, US 1941, a cinema shows a film and the projectionist complains about being an actor, he shows a film and the chorus girls slide to Hell. The two male leads arrive by taxi which is destroyed by the hellish breath of one of them. Having enjoyed the effect he asks the asks the viewer's permission to ask projectionist (his cousin) to rewind the sequence. It does so and the principlas sprint off to reveal the whole experience is being filmed. The complex narrative within a narrative. What other visual devices can you think of to show a story within a story ? How would you represent this diagrammatically ?

4. Chuck Jones, Duck Amuck the figure (Daffy Duck) against the ever-changing ground, and the animated character (Bugs) as animator (physician heal thyself). The effect of the arbitrary changes in background first seen in Buster Keaton's Sherlock Junior. 1924.

5. Street Scene directed by Andy Aaron, 1991, the consistent and coherent narrative imposed (post-sinc) on the action; the imperial command of the film director. The collapse of the building rendered deliberate.
These sequences explore one area of the subject guide.


Voice 1; The Commentator, the newsreel, Henry Luce's newsreel, The March of Time .

Voice 2; Citizen Kane , the commentator in the pastiche newsreel, Welles, 1941

Voice 3; The Complete Citizen Kane documentary 1991, the actor as the audience's repres.

Voice 4; The Day the Dream Died , 1988 (Dispatches), the professional front man.

Voice 5; True Stories , David Byrne talks to camera 1986.

Voice 6; Horse Feathers , the Marx Brothers, 1932

Voice 6; Taxi Driver ,Travis Bickle, lonely psychopath, Martin Scorcese, 1976

Voice 7; Kind Hearts and Coronets , directed by Robert Hamer, the homicidal gentleman.Irony.

Voice 8; Days of Heaven ,Malik, 1979, silent narrative, the subjective voice over

Voice 9; Raising Arizona, the Coen brothers, 1987, the comic discrepancies sound and vision.

Voice 10; Badlands , Malick, 1983, cross referencing the voice over and the images seen.

Voice 11; Barry Lyndon ,directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1982, ironic distaste of Michael Hordern.

Voice 12; The Wizard of Oz ,directed by Victor Fleming, the Voice over exposed.

Voice 13; The Birds ,Hitchock, 1963, a celebrated narrative montage with privileged position.

Voice 14; The Bird with the Crystal Plumage,dir. Dario Argento, the director imposes a voice