The cinema : 1952 (1952)

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SUBSTANCE INTO SHADOW 201 closely identified - are revealed primarily through dialogue. Descriptive comment is kept down to a minimum. * How's Georgio?' 'He can walk. It's not so bad.* 4 Hell of a thing.' Rivera was talking to Private Rankin, who was an automatic rifleman. 'You want to live here?' he said. 'I didn't say I wanted to live here,' Rankin said. 'It's a nice country,' Rivera said. 'Full of opportunity. Just look around you. Opportunity, that's the big thing.' 'The hell with the country,' Rankin said. ' That's a lousy way to talk about a country where you're a guest. They'll kick you the hell out.' 'No, they won't,' said Private Rankin. 'Do you know who you're fighting?' Rivera asked. 'They never told me. Germans.' Rivera spat on the ground. ' That's all I want to know.' Rankin didn't understand him. 'You're screwy,' he said. 'It's life,' said Rivera. Archimbeau was walking around with his hands in his pockets, kicking dead leaves. His rifle was slung over his shoulder. 'We were the same draft board,' he said. 'The same day.' 'Forget it,' Friedman said. He left Archimbeau and walked over to Rivera. 'Go away,' Rivera said. 'A butt.' Friedman gave him a cigarette. 'Arch is taking it hard.' 'Nobody dies,' said Rivera. The dialogue, it will be seen, is not naturalistic. There is no attempt at catching colloquialism or the normal rhythms of speech: it is over-simplified, concentrated, building up characterization with an economy which an eavesdropping kind of naturalism cannot match. For want of a better word we might call its artificiality 'literary' - meaning in this context that the phrasing consistently reflects the author's style rather than the speakers' individual speech manner- isms. The spoken lines are used almost exclusively to convey