In the three times Academy Award nominated film Field of Dreams, The director, Phil Alden Robinson, builds the film with his artistic, cinematic language featuring unique mise-en-scene, as well as depicting characters who hear voices in diegetic sound, and includes an imaginative cinematic vision in film cinematography techniques. The director regulates the dramatic and artistic elements in the film, and director Phil Alden Robinson pitches the film straight to the viewer’s wheelhouse.
The screen play is an adaptation of the novel, Shoeless Joe, written by W. P. Kinsella, and the same last name carries over to the character Ray (Kevin Costner) who is given the same last name as well. The film begins with Ray’s first person voiceover narration and a montage of Ray’s life biography, which includes his deceased father, John (Dwier Brown), that sets the story and plot of Field of Dreams, that include photos, a newspaper article, and still shots.
Factually, Dwier Brown’s father began filming directly after his own father passes away. The director, Robinson, touches base in the film on past life situations that are lost by the characters in the film, and depicting their past regrets of dreams misplaced with missing those chances. However, the old-time baseball players are given a new heavenly chance in the state of Iowa to play in many supernatural baseball games with other apparition baseball players in a team only made viewable to those who believe as children do.
The explicit meaning of the director’s cinematic language is a home run to viewers who may find an implicit meaning pitching towards missing chances and incomplete aspirations, that later become a transcendent fulfilling dream. For example, when Ray travels back in time and meets Doc Graham (Burt Lancaster) and they go back to his office, Ray offers him a chance to be the baseball player he always dreamed he could be as Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham misses the chance and became a doctor. In fact, Dr.
Archibald “Moonlight” Graham can be found in the baseball encyclopedia, he plays in one game in 1904, and he goes forward to become a physician to help others in Minnesota. Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham passes away in 1965. However, Ray’s point of view is that he regretful misses a chance to see his father before he passes away, as he expresses this in the scene with Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) in the van on the way back to Ray’s farm home in Iowa. Moreover, Ray regrets missing the chance to apologize to his father, play catch with his father, and wishes that his late father may meet his wife and daughter.
Subsequently, Ray plays catch with his late ghostly younger father (Dwier Brown), who also has his dream fulfilled through Ray’s “easing his pain”. There is nothing corny about the mise-en-scene the director depicts in the film. The scene when Ray takes a trip back to 1972, he sees the era of the year, along with “today’s movie” the Godfather is playing at the theater and the registration sticker from 1972. Also, the scouted set location of the farm house and the Field of Dreams is shot on location, however, the film’s genre is sci-fi and fantasy, but the location set is factual.
In fact, the farm house and field still exist in Dyersville, Iowa, and is used by its residents, and during the film shoot there was a drought, causing the crew to truck water to the location in order for the corn to survive. The costumes in the film depict the years that the players play for the teams, and the decor of the farm house is reminiscent of the era of 1989, down to the details that include the highly popular Smurf glass that holds Karen’s milk at breakfast in the kitchen scene.
Another example is the scene with the 60’s van portrays the common era of the 1960’s that bring Ray, Annie (Amy Madigan), and Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) to team up in a game to connect the natural to the supernatural. The unique costumes the characters wear are of the matching eras in which the team plays in as well as the clothing of the living characters are authentic in style of 1989. For example, in the baseball team practices and games the players are wearing the team uniforms that depict the year they last played with the teams they represent and Shoeless Joe Jackson’s does fit the era of the year.
Therefore, If Ray builds it, he will come; Ray hears the mysterious voiceover in diegetic sound, and later, upon telling neighbors that he hears a voice, the diegetic song in the feed store scene concludes just how Crazy (Nelson, 1961) Ray may be. The director uses diegetic sound which affects viewers to create an atmosphere of the world of the film to reach out to the viewers and create a sense of, per se, a sci-fi genre, and the film remains as a family friendly film category.
Robinson depicts characterizes Ray’s ability to hear a mystical voice which also creates an eerie feel to viewers and creates suspense to viewers, as Ray continues to hear the voice giving suggestions to build a baseball field on a farm in Iowa for unearthly players who walk into and dissolve in the corn field. In fact, in the film’s credits, the mysterious magical voice is played as “himself”, leaving viewers with the suspense of who personifies the unknown scripted voiceover diegetic sound.
Moreover, director Phil Alden Robinson and cinematographer John Lindley “go the distance” in the film’s cinematography. The cast’s film shots are filmed close to dawn or dusk, in a 30 minute window period before sunrise or sunset, which is the “golden hour”; there is a small frame of opportunity to achieve the perfect take. For example, as Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) walks onto the baseball Field of Dreams for the first time and later he plays catch with Ray, this is an example of a scene is shot in the “golden hour”.
The cinematography captures the natural magnificent beauty of the Iowa skyline turning to dusk during the sunset scenes in long wide shots. In fact, the World Series in 1919, results in the historic Chicago White Sox baseball scandal against the Cincinnati Reds, in which eight players are accused and later acquitted for allegedly throwing the finals series and the eight players are banned from baseball for life.
One of the eight men includes “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), in which the director characterizes as historical characters of realism in the film Field of Dreams. Along with the numerous montage scenes, for example, when Ray builds the field as the neighbors watch him plow down his cornfield for the ghostly Shoeless Je Jackson to play in a realistic baseball field, this may cause viewers to think he is as crazy as the neighbors think he may be.
Interestingly, the film genre category is sci-fi, which depicts a type of horror theme; however, the film has a supernatural sports theme and not a gruesome horror plot as in comparison to other films of the same genre. For example, The Field of Dreams characters are supernatural ghostly sports baseball players that seem realistically human and they are non-violent and do not convey feelings, such as fear to viewers, yet the film intersects in fantasy to the viewer.
The film is nominated for three awards in the sci-fi enre in the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, in (1991). In comparison, to five time Academy Award winning film, The Silence of the Lambs (1992) which began in the thriller genre and gains eight nominations with four wins in the sci-fi genre of Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1992. The film elements of sci-fi are blends with whimsical fantasy in Field of Dreams and the film is also seen as a family film homerun for the director, Robinson.
Moreover, Field of Dreams is nominated for a triple play in Academy Award categories, and scores a winning run in the category of Best Picture. In fact, director, Robinson, takes a year off to spend time with his own family sliding out of Hollywood filmmaking for a season. In fact, twenty five years later, Robinson meets the team in a reunion and discusses some the chances he misses in his cinematic language in the film, and how he would have made some changes in mise-en-scene, and in casting African Americans as players in the baseball team scenes.
The fantasy ghostly sympathetic characterization through his unique use of cinematography relates to viewers with an explicit meaning, reminding viewers to not strike out in taking chances. In fact, takes his own ghostly advise in diegetic sound; he films and viewers did come, earning the film Field of Dreams box-office revenues of $531,346 in the first weekend of the film’s release.