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Possible morphing objects in ‘The Sentinel’:

1) The ring that the priest is wearing.

2) The necklace that gets ripped off the women when she walks in on the ménage a trois (the crucifix necklace).

3) The golden letter cufflinks that Michael has.

4) The movie clapper? It’s snap quickly becomes sinister with every subsequent take.

5) The apartment building itself? “I attended a birthday party here last night. For a cat.”

6) The English to Latin Book(s)?

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Did you see the part where Alison stabs her dead dad? The way his eyeball popped out was...ugh gave me the shivers.

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Reminded me of the exact same thing in ‘Un Chien Andalu’. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was a reference to that scene.

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Is that where they used the shaved cat face? And the razor? Ugh.

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That’s the one. At first it cuts from the eye to a different shot of cloud going past the moon and you think that’s that, a neat transition to an allegory that represents the gory act -- but no. That’s not quite it.

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Horrifying body horror.

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Karen, Michael’s murdered wife, is reincarnated as Jezebel, the black and white cat. Like the Biblical Jezebel, Karen was also thrown to her death. Near the very end of the movie, they’re reunited after Michael’s killed and is now wearing the white suit with a black tie and he is holding Jezebel in his arms. Alison’s transformation into the nun at the gates of Hell, also in black and white attire, could also be Karen’s final revenge on her for being Michael’s mistress.

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founding

The film ran backwards when the girls were modeling. Not so creepy subtle.

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Did you notice that when it later ran on a television it ran forward instead of backward?

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founding

Yeah...oh course. I'm busy on twitter Sir ;P

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I'm not going to say yeah or nay. I'll let people battle it out until Tuesday.

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Bird and cages. Hinting at Alison’s ultimate fate to be alone in a room like a bird in a cage.

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author

Bingo. Allison becomes the caged canary in the coal mine.

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I’m going to guess the sliding/pocket door to the apartment. It was such an odd choice and it was shown so many times. And this was a secret portal story where the characters slid between good and evil.

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The handkerchief. It begins as white, in Michael's hands, doing close up magic with Alison when her mother rings about her father. Alison's mother then has the white handkerchief dabbing at her eyes. Handkerchief then morphs to red in the hand and round the neck of the guy on Alison's photoshoots both times before she collapsed. Charles Chasen also uses a red handkerchief to cover her eyes before his party. Handkerchief becomes blue in Michael's top pocket and used again for close up magic at a party. Finally the next prospective male tenant has a white handkerchief he presses to his lips. This morphing object tracks the 'horse' of illusion, deception and escape seen in close up magic, Houdini posters, and the posters of Alison in Britain: familiar but alien. The colours white, red and blue are very All American, but also white for innocence, red for temptation and blue for redemption which Mary wears in pictures and nuns often do. So the cycle is innocence, Hell's temptation and God's salvation.

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Which links back to the use of Paradise Lost, which is about Lucifer, one of God's sentinels (watchers) before he fell from grace as the Morning Star and became The Devil, Lord of Hell.

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Katy, even if that's not the object Chuck wants, you deserve to win something based on that wonderfully thorough breakdown of the handkerchief. Your comment is what makes English teachers just weep with pride. How do you do it??

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I really enjoyed this assignment. I watched the film twice and it was great fun to watch it a second time hunting for objects. A great reminder that everything in a story is deliberate so to consider this when writing. Everything is story.

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founding

If the metaphor is the struggle between good and evil, then it would make sense for the crucifix pendant to be the key detail/object. Being ripped from the neck in one scene. Being held close when she's hiding in the closet. 🤔

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I'm thinking of the repeated birds. A peacock falls in water the first time she faints (baptism?). The cat kills the bird, then there's a bird that magically appears at the party (death and resurrection -- both in the Biblical sense and with the death of her normal life and resurrection as Sister Theresa?) There are empty birdcages in Michael's apartment. I'm not sure what to make of that on this theme. Maybe that her life with him would be empty, as it doesn't fit her destiny.

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Oh, and of course it's almost too obvious to mention Charles with the bird when he comes to visit her. That would serve as an enormous clue that this man will turn out to be at the center of the plot/her fate.

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Something about being trapped on display, but you die when you try to escape?

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Yes! That absolutely makes sense.

I was also thinking after I posted the above that the bird that falls in the water when she faints the first time is a peacock (vanity/modeling career) and the bird in the magic trick near the end is a dove (religious symbol). So many layers in this movie!

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author

So close, but Josh seems to have been first.

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I'll bask in the glory of having the right answer, even if I was too slow on the typing draw.

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Alison’s dresses reflect the animals in the scene. Yellow like the parakeet, purple like the peacock and white like the magicians dove. The wisteria covered fence of the apartment could also resemble the bird cage.

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Nice catch!

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https://photos.app.goo.gl/mwWRVKNePvBymub57

In case you have trouble seeing me as a rockstar..........

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P.S. For the other contest lol....

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Go Karie!

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I'm trying to get packaged Joseph lmfao.

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I believe the story is about a spiritual journey. Each floor representing a different plane of spiritual existence. Hell is in the basement and “heaven” is up top. Alison is stuck in the middle. To me, that makes the building itself the most important object in the film.

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That seems to correspond to the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila, who wrote about ascending to God through different "mansions."

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author

Someone at Movie Night suggested that the dead killers at the cat's party represent the seven deadly sins. True??

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If so I think I can guess which pair of people represent Lust.

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I was struck by the teenage version of Alison showed up with the rest of the “freaks” in her plaid skirt and white shirt. Made me question if her original suicide was actually successful.

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The building morphs. It's a portal to hell - the portal is forever. The building is changed - literally torn down and replaced.

The cats change. There is a cat that has a large white section over it's shoulders when it is introduced. When it eats the bird, there is much less white on its back. Of course it could just be a stunt cat.

I think the posters in the boyfriend's apartment change. Makes sense because he is a fraud and Houdini was a master of misdirection. It was a big clue that he was not what he seemed.

I believe some of the looking out the window shots are inconsistent but those could be continuity errors.

Door handles change. The rooms in the house change so it makes sense for doorknobs to change given that doorknobs can represent a change by opening new portals or directions.

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Jeff Goldblum is the most important one

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White and black comes up over and over again, good vs evil. Black and white cat, black and white cake... black and white habit.

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