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The Analysis of the Film: One Week Essay

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2019

One Week (1920) is the short comedy film written and directed by Buster Keaton who also performs as the main character of the film. The film’s story is based round the attempts of the newlyweds to build the house from the prepared materials and according to the directions received as the wedding gift.

The organization of the story is rather clear because of the focus on one week from the life of the newlyweds during which they should build their house. The comedy is silent, and much attention is paid to the title cards in order to explain the events and to present the background for scenes (“One Week”).

Furthermore, the days of the week are introduced clearly to respond to the film’s concept, and it is possible to divide the story into separate segments which are the days of one week. The clear structure of the story and filmmakers’ hints used to organize the narrative are helpful to provide the audience with the opportunity to focus on all the significant details and moments as well as to predict the story’s development.

While comparing and contrasting the introduction and conclusion in One Week, it is important to focus on the elements which help the audience predict the further events and conclude about the film’s ending.

The first title card provides the viewers with the information that “The wedding bells have such a sweet sound but such a sour echo”, and this information can help the audience predict that some ‘sour’ events can come after the wedding scene (“One Week”). The next clue to predict the further problems is the title card which introduces Handy Hank, “the fellow she turned down” (“One Week”). Thus, the viewers can foreshadow that this fellow can focus on revenge.

The opening scene demonstrates happy newlyweds who hope for the good future because they receive such a perfect wedding gift as a build-it-yourself house. The first day of the week ends with great expectations to build the house according to the found directions. However, Handy Hank renumbers the materials to arrange the house, and the audience can expect the consequences of his actions (“One Week”).

Thus, the issues posed in the opening sequences are the questions of the happy future for newlyweds who plan to build the house. Nevertheless, the echo of wedding bells is usually sour, and the film’s casual motivations are based on predicting the consequences of Handy Hank’s actions because of his focus on revenge.

If the introduction represents the hope for the future and plans for the week, the conclusion represents the family’s relief because of the week’s end. The finally built house was destroyed by the train, but the newlyweds feel a kind of relief while putting the sign ‘For Sale’ on the house’s ruins (“One Week”).

The opening scenes introduce the newlyweds’ plan for the week, and the conclusion demonstrates the real results which can respond in way to the negative predictions of the audience. To complete the story, filmmakers provide the vivid end demonstrating the crashing house and the closure in the form of one more title card which states the end of the story. If the opening scenes present hints for the audience’s predictions, the ending scenes close the whole story.

The time presented in the film is chronological and perfectly structured with the help of hints which represent the day and date. As a result, the viewer follows the newlyweds’ activities day by day, knowing perfectly what day of the week is presented.

The duration of the story includes all the title cards and scenes which compose the story’s plot. While referring to the idea of frequency, it is important to note that there are some events in the story which are demonstrated as repeated in one scene to produce the humorous effect. This technique contributes to producing a comedy film.

Moreover, spaces depicted in the film are important to distinguish between the important events. Thus, there are four basic changes of spaces in the film which are associated with the wedding ceremony, way to the new house, the place where the house is built, and the territory where the house should be constructed (“One Week”). This approach to focus on changing locations and spaces is important to distinguish between the film’s important segments.

The level of narration used in the film can be discussed as unrestricted in range and objective in depth. The viewer has the opportunity to see all the events important for presenting the story; thus, the narration is unrestricted because the audience can freely observe the actions of all the characters without depending on the nature of their motives and intentions. Furthermore, observing all the characters’ actions, the viewers can also conclude about the activities independently because the narration is objective in depth.

The story is presented without focusing on feelings of this or that character. That is why, the viewer can observe the activities and emotions experienced by the newlyweds, by Handy Hank, and by the couple’s guests (“One Week”). This approach has the positive effect on telling the story because of providing the audience with more opportunities to focus on details, and this technique also increases the humorous effect.

One of the most vivid scenes in the film is the scene where the storm partially destroys the newlyweds’ house. The newlyweds organize the house-warming party, but the storm prevents them from ending the party successfully because the strong wind and rain almost ruin their house, making it round like a marry-go-round.

The function of this scene is to provide the viewers with some more hints to state that construction of the house is not a good idea for this couple because the house is too weak to function as the shelter during the storm. This scene is a kind of a turning point in the story because the storm almost destroys the house, and it makes the family think about the opportunities to move (“One Week”).

As a result, the scene of the storm functions to foreshadow the further problems, and this scene is the climax for the whole story because it demonstrates the weaknesses of the built house. The storm destroys the house during the fifth day of the week, and this detail also allows speaking about the scene as the climax because the sixth day represents the falling action, and the seventh day is the denouement to conclude about the story.

Thus, all the elements of the film One Week serve to present the properly organized story where the details and events are accentuated according to the principle of the story’s development, and they are emphasized with the help of certain cinematographic techniques and approaches.

Works Cited

One Week. 10 Jan. 2012. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Analysis of the Film: One Week." June 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-analysis-of-the-film-one-week/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Analysis of the Film: One Week'. 18 June.

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