Back to the Future ‘You leave her alone’ sequence.
In this sequence, we see George McFly, a ‘nerdy wimp’ who is unable to stick up for himself. This sequence however shows a different side of George as he attempts to take on who he thinks is Marty and safe Lorraine, thus winning her heart.
This part of the film is vital as without it the narrative wouldn’t have progressed into George and Lorraine finally kissing for the first time, which inevitably saves Marty and his brother and sister. The stylistic elements such as the use of costume are very important as they add a realistic edge to the film, which is that it is set in the 1950s. The use of props such as old cars adds to this. Dean Cundey, the cinematographer of the Back to the Future franchise, tends to use older forms of technology and equipment, to produce the same effect to a sequence as special effects to this current day would. The ‘reefer addicts’ part of the sequence is interesting as it informs us of the time the film is set, as at the time black people had little to no civil rights.
As I was watching the sequence, I went through a variation of emotions. I firstly felt scared for Lorrain and George’s welfare. The use of medium shots showed all the detail needed to make the viewer panic for their welfare. The low angle shot of George saying ‘Hey you get your damn hands off her’ was used more as a shot of Biff’s point of view, whereas traditionally this shot is used when a character is in a vulnerable situation. This technique is interesting as it actually makes us fear for George whereas the angling of the shot makes it seem as if Biff should be feeling vulnerable however George doesn’t seem very threatening at the time of the film.
The part where Biff grabs George’s arm and George clenches his fist is quite a saddening sequence to watch and quite a horrific one in many ways because the loud laughter from Biff and the eerie music makes the scene seem as if it is from a horror movie where the character sees something shocking or seems quite scared. I feel a sigh of relief when George finally punches Biff as it allows the narrative to carry on flowing and resolves the issue of George and Lorraine’s distant relationship.
The use of bland, basic colours such as light yellow and light blue allows the focus of the scene to be precisely on the main characters. The scene itself breaks the ideology of George, and that he can actually stick up for himself and fight for the girl he loves, which isn’t so apparent in the other scenes of the movie where he lets biff control him and doesn’t devote any time in trying to ask out Lorraine. To conclude I feel the performance of the characters was successful in conveying the message they were trying to promote, which was that the shy, weaker characters can come out on top and save the day. I feel that there was a good, strong emotional performance from Lea Thompson (Lorraine) and inspiring performance from Crispin Glover (George) during this sequence. The scene nicely sets up the following scene, where Marty plays at the Enchantment under the sea dance thus setting up the moment where Lorraine and George finally kiss.
To conclude I feel this scene is effective in helping keep the flow of the film and allows the audience to feel a mixture of emotions during the sequences due to the clever cinematography, editing and mise en scene.