Dr. Sean Morris
November 1, 2012
Word Count: 1322
Shot Sequence Minute: 95:35 – 96:44
Murder from a Mobster’s Angle
The following scene from Miller’s Crossing (Joel Cohen, 1990) gives the viewer a sense of just how violent life as a mobster can be. To mobsters, murder is business-like and does not hold the same consequences as it does in the outside world. Dressed in a silk robe, mobster boss Johnny Casper (Jon Polito) has no problem murdering a man on the floor of his study.
Shot 1 begins with the sudden sound of a bang and a slightly off-center widescreen shot of Johnny Casper, just after hitting Eddie Dane (J.E. Freeman) in the face with a fireplace shovel. Standing over Dane, Casper yells “Son of a Bitch!” as Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) is thrown from Dane’s grasp onto the floor. The long shot presents a clear view of Casper’s study, illuminated by top lighting from the chandelier as well as backlighting from various table lamps. Shot 2 follows Dane in a medium shot falling to his knees, with one black-gloved hand trying to contain the blood gushing down his face so fast that it makes noise. The low height in shot 3 shows Tom sprawled on the floor, holding his neck with a look of complete shock on his face. Loud gasps of air are heard from Tom as Casper continues to yell “Son of a bitch” at Dane.
Shot 4 cuts back to a long shot of Casper, enraged and still screaming at Dane. Casper raises the shovel and brings it down once more over his head, creating a loud bang and causing Dane to collapse on the dark wooden floor. The scene heightens with loud screams from somewhere off-screen in shot 5 as it quickly tracks in from a medium shot to a medium close-up of Tom. Shot 6 is a low-angle close up of Casper’s blood-shot face; out of breath and yelling about Dane the shot cuts to the man screaming. Clarence “Drop” Johnson (Mario Todisco) is bruised with his wrists tied to a chair and still screaming in shot 7, as the...