American shot

American shot

"American shot" is a translation of a phrase from French film criticism, "plan américain" and refers to a medium-long ("knee") film shot of a group of characters, who are arranged so that all are visible to the camera. The usual arrangement is for the actors to stand in an irregular line from one side of the screen to the other, with the actors at the end coming forward a little and standing more in profile than the others. The purpose of the composition is to allow complex dialogue scenes to be played out without changes in camera position. In some literature, this is simply referred to as a 3/4 shot.

The French critics thought it was characteristic of American films of the 1930s or 1940s; however, it was mostly characteristic of "cheaper" American movies, such as Charlie Chan mysteries where people collected in front of a fireplace or at the foot of the stairs in order to explain what happened a few minutes ago.

Howard Hawks legitimized this style in his films, allowing characters to act, even when not talking, when most of the audience would not be paying attention. It became his trademark style.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shot (filmmaking) — In film, a shot is a continuous strip of motion picture film, created of a series of frames, that runs for an uninterrupted period of time. Shots are generally filmed with a single camera and can be of any duration. A shot in production, defined… …   Wikipedia

  • Shot tower — A shot tower is a tower designed for the production of shot balls by freefall of molten lead, which is then caught in a water basin. The shot is used for projectiles in firearms. hot makingProcessIn a shot tower, lead is heated until molten, then …   Wikipedia

  • American Beauty (film) — American Beauty Theatrical release poster Directed by Sam Mendes …   Wikipedia

  • American handball — American (or court) handball, usually referred to simply as Handball, is a sport in which players hit a small rubber ball against one or more walls. History It is a common belief that American handball was brought to the United States in the… …   Wikipedia

  • American Psycho (film) — American Psycho Theatrical release poster Directed by Mary Harron Produced by …   Wikipedia

  • Shot-for-shot — (or shot for shot adaptation, shot for shot representation) is a term used to describe a visual work that is transferred almost completely identical from the original work without much interpretation. This term has been used widely recently in… …   Wikipedia

  • American Pie Presents: Beta House — Home media release cover Directed by Andrew Waller Produced by W. K. B …   Wikipedia

  • American Airlines Flight 11 — AA 11 flight path from Boston to New York City Hijacking summary Date Tuesd …   Wikipedia

  • American Idol (season 7) — American Idol Season 7 Broadcast from January 15, 2008–May 21, 2008 Judges Simon Cowell Paula Abdul Randy Jackson Host(s) Ryan Seacrest …   Wikipedia

  • American black bear — Temporal range: Late Pliocene Early Pleistocene to recent At Lake Louise, Alberta Conservation status …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.