Movie Analysis of Alien (1979) Cinematography

Alien One was created in the late seventies by Ridley Scott and is set in deep space post 2000. The Science fiction based movie is still highly respected today as a recent time classic and holds a fierce cult following. One of the main reasons for this is that the cinematography has been extremely well thought out and planned down to fine detail. The beginning sequence hooks viewers with an array of suspense that epitomises the classic sci-fi sequence.

Lighting, sound and fantastic acting grasp the viewer in ore of what lies ahead. Even within the initial sequence we are well introduced to the various cinematic devices used. The Atmosphere is very eerie and isolation plays key. The sets are very dark and the camera shots create confined corners with very close images of the characters as they communicate and travel through the ship itself. Captain Dallas moves from one confined area to another whilst again being confined (all be it what appears on his own before the first attack).

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The use of a blow torch for lighting creates a sense of danger and harshness to the scene. This is the only light away from the main crew. Even this bright light does not diffuse the black and eerie colour scheme of the set. The sharp hatches confine Captain Dallas and create the illusion he is very much on his own and there is no going backwards at any speed. This along with the very close camera angle throughout create a claustrophobic depiction. The characters are sweating and visibly stressed and worried about not only the safety of themselves but that of there colleagues.

The use of sound in this scene is fantastic. The sound of the radar is very fierce and dramatic, it increases in volume as the scene comes to a crescendo later on. Also the music featured could not be more suited or dramatic if it tried. Lessening and heightening at just the right points, for example at the end of the sequence when we meet to Alien for the first time the music peaks to a climax. The actors breathing increases and peaks along with the music through out the scene as does the use of his heartbeat.

I also feel that the movie has been directed with the idea that sometimes less is more in regards to the amount of times we see any horrific scenes without a huge build up utilising music, lighting and the actors fantastic skills to build up the tension and fear. At the time of production this movie was cutting edge and made a break through in cinematography. The special effects, casting and modern concept created a new bench mark that was not met for years to come. So in review I believe this is one of the greatest opening scenes I have seen in a Science fiction movie and look to observe more of Ridley Scott’s work.

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Movie Analysis of Alien (1979) Cinematography. (2018, Feb 10). Retrieved from