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Suspense, cross-cutting, close-ups, and split-screens

by Kate Fortmueller

The plot of this film revisits D.W. Griffith's The Lonely Villa (1909), Weber and Smalley combine cross-cutting with close-ups to enhance suspense. This film also presents a particularly innovative use of the split-screen. As David Bordwell points out on his blog, the split-screen was a common trope in early cinema – especially for telephone calls, but it was not often used for suspense. Pay attention to how this film combines close-ups with cross-cutting. What changes as the suspense starts to build? For a detailed analysis of this film see David Bordwell's blog posting.

Suspense (1913)

In this film, co-directed by Lois Weber and Phillips Smalley, a tramp stalks a woman and her child. The plot of this film revisits D.W. Griffith's The Lonely Villa (1909), Weber and Smalley combine cross-cutting with close-ups to enhance suspense.

from Suspense (1913)
Creator: Lois Weber & Phillips Smalley
Distributor: Blackhawk Films
Posted by Kate Fortmueller
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