Scene Analysis: Assassination Of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford (Train Robbery, Blue Cut) The Assassination Of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford is not a film about the reigning hero but the dying hero. These scene is from the beginning of the film, and it is the last job of the James’s gang. Where he and his bandits await the train they are to rob. The end of Jesse James career. I choose this scene because of the cinema photography and that there is no dialogue so what we are shown on the screen is prominent. This is a mis-en-scene The setting of this scene is important to the mood.
Set at night in a forest giving an eerie feel, adding to the drama. The dark shadows give Jesse and his gang a mythical feel. The light in this scene is very important. As Jesse awaits the train we can see his shadowed face. As the camera pans out all we can see is parts of Jesse from the lanterns light. There is no background only blackness. He stands alone away from his men. His is centred on the camera, here he has a powerful presence. As we close up on his boot we can hear the diegetic sounds of the train rattling the tracks and the quaking of stones. It provides a sense of tension building up as it is constantly getting louder.
The non-diegetic sound stays constant and is nearly drowned out by the diegetic sound of the chugging train. As the train comes closer the camera moves towards Jesse concealed face, mirroring the approaching train and building tension. Then it cuts to over the shoulder, moving forward till he is out of camera and the viewer is left in the blackness. Here the sound is very prominent as the viewer can now here the loud chugging of the train which has completely drowned out the non-diegetic sound. Being left in the dark, leaves you expecting something, this is what the James gang are feeling, the viewer is waiting.
The haunting non-diegetic music fades in as the headlights of the train are seen in the darkness. Then we cut to away to the light flicker through the trees. Perhaps now we are seeing from the point of view of the bandits. The bandits are seen, faces are covered in white cloth, they are creepy eerie and terrifying. They appear almost as monsters where as Jesse is a god-like figure. The camera is now right on the tracks looking at the oncoming train as it approaches it surprisingly seems to hit the camera. Shoving it backward along the tracks. Its unforeseen and surprising.
We see a long shot of Jesse silhouetted against the bright light. Again we can see his god like powerful presence as he walks towards the camera in a halo of light against the blackness. We close up on the sparks, lighting up the monstrous figures of the bandits. An almost choir like voice can be heard supposedly from the screeching of the wheels. It is the diegetic sound mixing perfectly with the non-diegetic music. As the screeching sounds like an added high pitch choir. And finally we see Jesse propped up like some larger then life god, and then he vanishes into the smoke.