Dead Poets Society

American Cinematographer, September 1989 | Go to article overview

Dead Poets Society


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The story of Dead Poets Society is not easily recounted. It works on as many levels as there are people in the audience. On the surface, it is the tale of the effect of a freethinking teacher on a group of young men attending a small Eastern prep school during the final days of 1959. With subtle encouragement from Professor John Keating (Robin Williams) an old and forbidden group is resurrected-the Dead Poets Society. Each young man must interpret for himself the challenge invoked at the beginning of each meeting of the Society-to "suck the marrow out of life." The challenge calls for action and each member of the society must balance the worth of his actions against their cost.

The Australian cinematographer John Seale has once again collaborated with his fellow countryman, director Peter Weir (Mosquito Coast and Witness). And, in a year that will be remembered for the sheer number of comic book tales brought to the screen, this film stands alone. It is a tribute to the filmmakers-Weir, Seale, writer John Schulman and the other talented crew members and the ensemble cast-that one cannot speak of this film in parts. The work of each one depends on and feeds into the work of the others.

Cinematographically, Seale has taken advantage of every opportunity the script, the art direction, the costuming and the locations gave him. Every image supports the story and every point in the story is supported by an image.

Even months after viewing the film, certain scenes come easily to mind: The joyous feeling of freedom when Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles) flies down the hill on his bike chasing the wild ducks before him; the pain of Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) as he stands staring at the emptiness of the snowcovered landscape after he hears about the death of his friend; and the triumph and power of the final frames, when Todd and his fellow Dead Poets climb on their desk tops and see the world from a different angle. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Dead Poets Society
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.