THE GODFATHER: A RESPONSE TO THE HORSE’S HEAD SCENE

horseHead.pngThis is an analysis of the Horse’s Head in Bed scene from from Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2CX20bBNJE

From the very beginning of the scene, the musical soundtrack and opening shot imply that there is some tension involved.  It is a very classic EXTERIOR -> WINDOW -> SUBJECT implication of camera movements.  However, the scene called for cross dissolves to aid in the movement, which also added a more dreamy effect to the scene.  The initial WIDE-SHOT of the person in the bed implies that something has happened to the person laying in the bed, there is no movement during the DOLLY-IN camera move until the subject is framed in a close-up where we see the subject finally move and patches of blood are revealed.  The very first time watching the scene, due to the subject’s movements, didn’t implicate that he was injured himself; my initial reaction was that he was either framed for killing someone else, or someone close to him was killed and placed in the bed.  However, as they slowly revealed the blood was in a large quantity under the blanket, and that it was running down his entire body to his legs; it did cross my mind that maybe his limbs was severed and he was just in too much shock to feel the pain.  As the music begins to increase in intensity and the subject grows more frantic to find the source of the blood, the tension is created very efficiently.  Also, the single shot without cuts builds a strong amount of tension until the final reveal of the horse’s head.  The exaggerated scream, and repetition of the screaming by the subject further exemplifies the intensity of the horse’s head, as even it cuts to an EXTERIOR shot of the home, we still hear the screaming of the man.

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