Mise en Scène Edit

This refers to the arrangement of things and how they will look for the shot[1]. This includes the positioning of props, how the set will be designed/arranged, costuming, and the lighting for the shot. Mise-en-scène is vital for the overall outcome of the film because it is able to create a specific tone or mood for the film as a whole and/or individual scenes of the film.

Set Design Edit

The production team, and director Ridley Scott, of Gladiator took an approach to revive an emphasis on historical authenticity[2]. If we examine the film closely, we can note that this attention to detail, in regards to its time period, lies within the design of the set. With a budget of $103 million [3], Gladiator placed a considerable amount in its set design.

To take into the production's consideration to create a historically authentic feel, and a reflection to the previous sword and sandal epics, it spent $1 million on only the colosseum[4].

Gladiator (2000) wanted to revive the sword and sandal epic genre and it did so through following the genre's traditions in set design. We can see this reflection in Ben-Hur (1959) as its $15 million budget mostly went to its dedication to the set-$1 million on only its famous chariot set[5].

A good example of intricate set design within Gladiator (2000), was the Germania scene in the opening of the film. The actual location where this scene was shot was in the English countryside[6] which would create an authentic rolling hill, forest in northern Europe setting. Aside from the set, thought was placed into the weaponry, campfire, flags, and the falling ash of a finished battle.

Costume Edit


The costume designs', in Gladiator, purpose was not only to reflect the historical accuracy, but to reflect the characters and the role they played in the film. This was done through use of colours/tones, accessories, and fabrics.

A lot of consideration also went into the costuming of their cast. The costumes chose to not only reflect the character's position in the film through fabric and colour, but it also reflected upon their moral values which is not an unfamiliar technique for films. For example, Lucilla was dressed in mostly silks and velvets to reflect her high class, but the tones which were in her fabrics reflected her nature. Throughout the film she was dressed in mostly golds, whites, and royal blues which enforced her pure nature. However, if you look closer, her transformation in character throughout the film is noted throughout the film. Lucille is dressed in darker tones of these colours when she is with her brother Commodus; however, when the film wants to point out the difference between her and her brother she is dressed in lighter tones than Commodus.

Commodus, being the antagonist of this film, is almost always dressed in black and very intricate designs it is only in his final battle with Maximus that he wears white which is an intentional irony the film has created.

In the beginning of Gladiator, Maximus wears mostly reds and blacks in his armory to show his position as a general. However, as the movie progresses and he is banished, he begins wearing earth tones which reflect his stoic yet humble nature to avenge his family.

As mentioned, reflecting a character's nature through costume has always been a trope. For example in The Robe (1953), Marcellus Gallio begins with a high position, but when he seeks Christ, he drops materialism and humbles himself with the possession of Jesus' Robe. This is seen in Ben-Hur (1959) and even in A Funny Thing...(1966) where the prostitutes wear yellow to reflect their sexuality[7].

Lighting Edit

Throughout Gladiator, there is a lot of emphasis in the use of natural lighting and dimming effects. The usage of natural lighting in this film allowed there to be an appreciation for not only the set, but the overall props that were used within the film. The natural lighting also works in a way to freshen the audience's view to the actors and in moments of the characters' "enlightenment". The dimming effects work in a similar way, but also helps deliver the overall dramatic tone of Gladiator. If noted, The usage of dim lighting was used in either serious or dramatic scenes such as in the Germania setting. These shots are mostly edited over to create a cooler and more bluer hue, and this is effective in that it creates a serious point of reflection and/or catharsis for the audience. Another example of usage of lighting in Gladiator (2000) were whenever Maximus' Spanish farm estate was envisioned. During this reflections a more natural and warm tones were used to capture a peaceful mood. Overall, Gladiator was effective in using lighting.

References Edit

  1. Mark Allinson. Spanish Cinema: A Student's Guide. London: Hodder Arnold, 2005. Print.
  2. Cyrino, Monica Silveira. Big Screen Rome Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 226
  3. Cyrino, Monica Silveira. Big Screen Rome Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 226
  4. Cyrino, Monica Silveira. Big Screen Rome Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 227
  5. Cyrino, Monica Silveira. Big Screen Rome Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 73
  6. Landau, Diana; Parkes, Walter; Logan, John; Scott, Ridley (2000). Gladiator: The Making of the Ridley Scott Epic. Newmarket Press. 62
  7. Cyrino, Monica Silveira. Big Screen Rome Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 172-173