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Summary: the 1944 Invasion of Normandy Through the Film

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Analyse of the film 'saving private Ryan' concerning the use of sound and how the sound has helped to portray the war. As a case study, we will look at two movies from a different era the 1962 film 'The Longest Day' and 1998 'Saving Private Ryan'. These two films are about the 1944 invasion of Normandy.

Steven Spielberg ’s war film Saving Private Ryan 1998 narrates the story of the search for Private James Francis Ryan played by (Matt Damon), an American soldier missing in Normandy, France, during the Second World War. Captain John Miller played by Tom Hanks gets orders to gather a group of soldiers to help him find the fourth son of the Ryan family. The family received notification on the same day of the death of three of their sons while in action.

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We came across war films from the appearance of narrative cinema. Innumerable films have been made about World War II, and as a way of making films developed, certain aesthetics have been integrated into war films. These factors help show the spectator how war is, and that war is not the acclaimed and thrilling action adventure of the past decades.Throughout the past decades, more and more people have seen what warlike on Television and newsreels. It could be argued that war has been portrayed in a different possible way by a director.The sound in war films is relatively straightforward. It is comprised mainly of gunfire, explosions, ricochets, bullet impacts and shouting men. In the earlier years of film, sound effects libraries were devised to hold a catalogue of sounds engineers could quickly draw upon. The sounds of gunfire and ricochets have been re-used and recycled for decades in countless films. The same ricochet heard in hundreds of westerns can also be heard in numerous war films. Even by 1977, when Richard Attenborough released A Bridge Too Far, these stock sound effects are still present.

It is interesting this quotation mentioned the period in which we live, where anything is possible when it comes to making films. Which brings us to this question 'could it be possible to create Saving Private Ryan if had not used digital sound editing?' To respond to this question, one would have to think about the equipment of the time. Some of the sound's would undoubtedly be horrendously difficult to achieve.

On the movie saving private Ryan, it was unique because there was not much music in the film. The battle scenes have no music which makes it more realistic and taken the audience attention away from the fact; they are watching a movie.Spielberg wanted the film to be as realistic as possible, so the film is shot from the soldier's point of view, and most of the battlefield sound were made realistically; the sound of the tank, the sound of the guns and the realistic environment where you can witness the struggle, and it is realistically portrayed.

There are scenes where the audience can hear music and can tell the music changed the dynamic of the scene. The music struck the emotional part of it, for instance, when George C.Marshall read Abraham Lincoln's letter written to Mrs Bixbey; the spectator feels the emotions and sincerity within the message.Most war films share a variety of sound trademarks: gunfire, and explosions. War films have featured battle sequences, and over the decades, these sequences have become more intuitive in their portrayal of battle.

Here it is essential to discuss the authenticity of the sound used and how it has affected the audience perception. One can argue that the sounds of the guns in Saving Private Ryan are authentic because they are recordings of the same guns used in WWII. Moreover, the music is choreographed to become real, and the randomness of the gunfire, for example, is designed to create the chaos of the sequence.Coming back to the part of film theory that helps form the notion of authenticism, it is imperative to observe Michal Chion: Audio -vision sound on screen book. Michel Chion discusses realism in relation to sound in his book Audio-Vision.He presents ideas about how sound can make the film more realistic than it otherwise would without the sound.

Alien is an excellent example of how Chion defines realism in sound when he mentions “acoustic discomfort”. Chion argues that a film is more realistic when it is not perfect in its construction. Chion also claims that if two war reports from real battle come back and the first footage is 'shaky and rough, with uneven focus and other 'mistakes,'' and the other one with perfect framing, perfect clarity and slight grain. Choin argues that the 'shaky and rough, with uneven focus and other 'mistakes,'' will be viewed as more realistic because it feels the report is straight from the action and not something that is created with attention to the audio-visual quality.              

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