The Noir Sound Design of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’

Being silly often means taking things very seriously.
By  · Published on December 14th, 2017

Understanding a genre fully and completely is the first step in executing a proper parody. Who Framed Roger Rabbit knows this and finds its every trope and aesthetic element in film noir. This goes beyond the costuming and plot devices all the way to the sound design.

Kendrick Smith’s video essay takes apart the film’s split genres, the comic cartoonishness, and the realism-flirting noir, to find how the sound steadies its audience in both.

Situating not just us, but the characters of the film in between worlds is the job of everyone on the film, but the sound designers hit our subconscious in a way animators don’t. The transitions from sproings and boings to real gunshots and piano blues slip us into another lifestyle without our knowledge – and that’s how great films affect their audiences.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).