The Devil Wears Prada and Hercules Montages

To show two of Eisenstein’s methods of montage, I found this scene from The Devil Wears Prada:

In it, main character Andy has finally become fashionable (at least to the standards of her high-fashion workplace), which is shown in this scene by way of a montage of her daily oufits. I believe the techniques of this montage fit fairly well into the categories of rhythmic montage and metric montage. I believe it could be considered metric because–although I didn’t count seconds or frames–her outfits change fairly regularly, and don’t seem as focused on what is happening in the scene as cuts in other montages’ may be (in that Andy is just walking to work; she performs no grand actions that elicit a cut in the montage per se). I believe it is also rhythmic, however, in that the cuts are still somewhat based on what is happening in the shots (the cars that drive in front of the camera, Andy walking behind a building). The way these cuts and montage methods play on the audience’s emotions is by showing Andy’s repeated outfits in a metric way, the audience feels proud of her for stepping up to the job. If we saw instead Andy walking to work in just one nice outfit, we might think she looked good, but without the repetitive evidence of her maintained fashion success, it wouldn’t be as effective. The metric quality to the montage reinforces this, as it makes the scene feel very concrete: this is a solid change that Andy has made. If it was less metric, with greater time variations between the outfit changes, it may make Andy seem uncertain or less committed to her choice.

 

Another montage scene I found is the ‘Zero to Hero’ song from Disney’s Hercules:

 

While lighthearted, this montage is, in my opinion, a good example of overtonal montage. It utilizes metric in some places (a good example is at the very end, around 2:07, where it speeds up in order to show just how much Hercules is doing), and rhythmic and tonal in others. An example of strong rhythmic montage is at 0:54, when Hercules is kicking the lion. The continuity cuts of him kicking the lion, and the lion then flying over the goal post, combined with cuts to the following shots of the satyr cheering and the muses holding up their score signs are all clearly based on the actions occurring within each shot. Finally, while pretty heavy-handed (it is a kids’ movie, after all) there are multiple examples of tonal montage as well. One example of this is at about 0:45, when the coins are falling on the muse. While showing coins fall over the muses may not mean anything literally (Hercules is the one making the money, after all, not the muses), symbolically, showing the rain of golden coins no matter where it’s occurring is effective because the audience will associate the wealth with the subject of the montage (Hercules and his rise to success). This overtonal montage does a lot to reinforce Hercules’ success in a short time period. By showing the audience solid evidence of his flight to fame, along with some metaphoric imagery to further draw out the emotions of the audience, and finally finishing with the fast-paced metric montage, Disney is really driving home just how rapidly (yet deftly) Hercules is moving up in fame and fortune.

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