Thursday, 31 December 2009

Gloving Uneasy. Elia Kazan. On the Waterfront

[The following is quotation. The image credits are given below. May I please thank the source.]

Gloving Uneasy
Elia Kazan
On the Waterfront

Gilles Deleuze

Cinema 1
Cinéma 1

Ch IX.
The Action-Image: The Large Form
L'image-action : La grande forme

The impression

It is nevertheless true that the emotional handling of an object, an act of emotion in relation to the object, can have more effect than a close-up in the action-image. In a situation in On the Waterfront, where the woman behaves ambivalently, and where the man feels timid and guilty, he picks up the glove that she has dropped, keeps it and plays with it, finally slipping it on to his hand. [Deleuze, Cinema 1, 1986:163c]

Reste que le maniement émotionnel d'un objet, un acte d'émotion par rapport à l'objet, peuvent avoir plus d'effet qu'un gros plan dans l'image-action. Dans une situation de « Sur les quais », où la femme a un comportement ambivalent, et où l'homme se sent timide et coupable, celui-ci ramasse le gant qu'elle a laissé tomber, le garde et en jour, y glisse enfin sa main. [Deleuze Cinéma 1, 1985:219b]

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinema 1: The Movement-Image.Transl. Hugh Tomlinson & Barbara Habberjam, London: Continuum, 1986

Deleuze, Gilles. Cinéma 1: L'image-mouvement. Paris: Les éditions de minuit, 1983.

Image from:


  1. An excellent project you have going here, really useful as one of the difficulties of the Cinema books has always been, for me, the wealth of references and the difficulty of giving them content, leaving a kind of spectrality lingering over the text.

    In the context of this specific clip it strikes me that the interpretation Deleuze offers seems off. The glove is picked up and held, then placed on the hand almost as an act of possession, rather than timidity. The way the man sits, his expansive hand gestures, the casual nature of his picking at the glove all seem to suggest this. The woman at one point (at 2.24 in the clip) reaches out as if to take back the glove, only finally taking it after the man has given her a back-handed compliment (you used to be a mess but 'you grew up really nice').

    This doesn't, as it happens, touch o the conceptual point Deleuze is making, about the emotional handling of an object, merely on the content of the emotions in this particular content.

  2. Thanks for getting me to take a closer look at the scene. I did not at first notice the discrepancy between the text and the movie, but I think you are right, and it seems the footnoted interview confirms your observation. I made an entry for it here:

    And thank you for checking out the blog; I really appreciate your commentary.