Ferris Bueller's Day Off
John Hughes, 1986
Paramount Pictures (prod.)
Opening duration: 3:07
Rottentomatoes.com 84%; IMDB 7.8.
Summary/Ideas I Might Use
Outfits that tell us something about the person e.g. the parents wear posh clothes tell us they have posh jobs.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a coming-of-age comedy film about a high-school senior who decides to skip school and spend the day in downtown Chicago.
The mother's voice (saying 'Ferris?') cuts in as the movie title is shown on the screen. There is about half a minute until the next titles appear. The titles are shown unevenly, with short gaps between some and long gaps between others. This is to make the audience focus on one part of the movie that is important, for example the titles stop when Ferris's sister Jeanie is introduced. This shows she is an important character. The titles are all the way through the opening.
|Opening shot of Ferris's house|
The second shot is of Ferris himself, in bed, looking shocked. This is the first shot of any character, showing that he is the main character.
|Mum and dad in 'posh' clothes|
There is a shot of Ferris's room as his dad feels his hands for clamminess. It looks like a typical boys room: posters, tv, phone, clothes sticking out of the drawers. All of these are signifiers that this is a teenage boys room (although there is a strange absence of clothes on the floor, which could show he is a 'goody two-shoes' sort of boy).
|First shot of Jeanie|
The last shot of the opening is Ferris sat up in bed, looking considerably less ill than a few moments ago, showing he was faking the illness and ready to get up and go.
Narrative, Genre, and Exposition
In the opening we are introduced to four characters: Ferris (the main character, protagonist), the parents, and Jeanie (one of the antagonists). The genre is showed through Ferris's obvious lying and parent's overly protectiveness. Also the angle of the camera when showing the parents looking down at Ferris connotes the genre because it is quite comical.
At the start of the opening, all the sounds are diegetic: voices from the radio, mum speaking, dog barking, birds whistling. The music starts when the parents decide to let Ferris stay off of school for the day. The music is quite slow and sad, emphasising how Ferris appears to be feeling. When the parents leave, this music stops and instead there is loud bangs and crashes from the tv, telling us that Ferris isn't ill.