Inglourious Basterds — The Elements of Suspense

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Examining the elements of suspense that Quentin Tarantino put to use in the opening scene of Inglourious Basterds.

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Inglourious Basterds
Screenplay by Quentin Tarantino
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger

Lehne and Koelsch paper on suspense:

Tarantino on Charlie Rose:

Alfred Hitchock on Suspense:

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25 thoughts on “Inglourious Basterds — The Elements of Suspense

  1. One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite Tarantino films! What films should I do next? Let me know!

  2. You watch this movie at least once a year. At least once a year, I watch your video explaining this movie. I love this video. Thanks.

  3. the last thirty minutes of the movie had my heart beating- i've never been more thrilled or in suspense for a movie, ever. not even a horror movie. tarantino hit the nail on the head. he nailed suspense even as we the audience know what is planned to happen.

  4. I’m such big a fan of Tarantino , and this is definitely one of the best movies I’ve ever seen . Thank u so much for making this video 😊

  5. While I agree that Tarantino is a savant in dialogue, and this scene is very suspenseful… he's not ultimately responsible for the looming doom hanging over this scene. The historical truth of Nazi Germany is. Tarantino only pokes this fear; constantly, carefully. Which doesn't take away from him. This just made it sound like he created a Hitchcock level scene of suspense from scratch. Well, sort of. But the historical presence is the major driving force. If these are bad men that we know nothing about, it's not this suspenseful. So, really, kudos to Tarantino for using the historical. It worked! Great video!

  6. Nazi propaganda films were progressively more common through out the war. In the early days of the war the concept of the hawk and the rat were very commonly used. A lot of the places soldiers were taught to look were places like walls and under the floor. To them, a place they thought a rat might be found. That adds a completely different element of suspense from the beginning of the scene. For me this sceen goes so far past suspense. It went into terror.

  7. I've been a self proclaimed film buff for many years but I still am nowhere near close to spotting and understanding these movie moments lol great job

  8. …I'm from the west in Germany (right next to the French border) and while switchin' to the English language actually makes sense within the narrative, it confused me at first, though.

    An Austrian dude (they talk their own German dialect there) who was sent to France by the leader of Germany, just wouldn't know any English at the time – 99 times out of 100.

    But then I started to think about it (while I was watching – SUSPENSION!): Such a sophisticated man not just workin' for the Nazis but being such a sociopath AND being used for that particular task of the "Jew Hunter" made me fear Hans Landa even more.

    All that said, I can just raise my hat. Tarantino created a wonderful peace of art with this scene.

    Thanks for the analysis and sharing your passion – I love your work!

  9. When it shows the nazis driving it shows them closer, then when it shows them again they are farther away. I see it every time I watch it.

  10. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Does anyone know the reason, or think you know, why Landa's pistol either fails to fire(that sidearm did in fact have a problem in real life with that in WW2)or if the Colonel was carrying an unloaded gun and didn't realize it, perhaps? Whatever the cause of the gun not firing, Landa seems in no hurry at all to pursue and shoot the fleeing young woman. Plus, the SS men who had seconds earlier shot up the floor of the house seem to disappear when the girl begins to run away , though one man with one automatic weapon could have pointed in her general direction and easily taken her out. My only guess is that Landa had succeeded in terrifying everyone in the farm house whether above or under those floorboards , and that terror was his main objective to begin with. Simply shooting the girl when she fled wouldn't have been nearly as scary as allowing her to run away in an open field with nowhere to hide, and forcing her to wonder continuously when that bullet was going to come. What do you think?

  11. I don't know how many times I've watched that strudel scene. Her ragged gasp at the end after he's left the table is worth a million awards.

  12. Man, I absolutely love the part where Landa asks for another glass of milk and then smokes his pipe in Perrier's house. Perrier thinks the interrogation is almost over…. and then Landa decides to get comfortable and make the house his own, indicating he isn't going anywhere.
    Perrier is now trapped in his own home, and his daughters trapped with Nazi soldiers. And the only way he and his family can get out of this situation without harm is to give up the Dreyfuss family, whom Landa had already known were there before he even arrived.
    Perrier got played.

  13. Too mechanical , great writers just write.. fuck the points and tension and all the bullet points bullshit!! Just write!!!!

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