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Student workbook

Scene 1

What is the purpose of the ascending melody?

Why has Spielberg used limited colour?
Why has Spielberg represented the characters as cartoon-like?
What effect is invoked by moving from the jazz-like cartoon to the static, game show?
Why does Spielberg start with a game show? Why is it called Tell the Truth?
The appearance of the game show is full of static and white noise that is slowly made
clearer. What is the purpose of this?
We meet three Frank William Abagnale Juniors. Why?
What hints does this give us about what will happen in the rest of the film?
What are your first impressions of Abagnale? Would you trust him?
What effect is created by having a game show format?
What is the significance of the soft interrogation by the Kitty?

Scene 2
1. Spielberg cuts quickly from the brightly lit, fun game show, to the wet, cold street with a
shadowy figure of Carl Hanratty. Why did Spielberg use a jump-cut?
2. We meet Carl Hanratty in a cold and wet street. How is this scene lit and what effect
does this create?
3. What are your first impressions of Carl Hanratty?
4. How does the use of the non-diegetic sound add to the atmosphere / overall impression
of Hanratty?
5. How are we given the impression that Frank is dangerous?
6. Does Carl respect for Frank? In your response, provide textual evidence.
7. In the prison, we see Frank filmed from below and the prison guards filmed from above.
What is the effect of these contrasting camera shots?
8. What does this shot of the swishing curtain in the hospital suggest?
9. How is the President of the Club presented to the audience? In your response consider
both the film angle and the mise-en-scene.
10. We see Frank Junior pulling labels from a wine bottle. What does this tell us about
11. Frank Senior talk about mice falling into a bucket of cream. Which mouse does Frank
Senior believe he is? Why?
12. Why would Frank Senior have used this metaphor?
Scene 3
1. When Frank Senior and Paula are dancing in the lounge room we hear, through the
soundtrack, the song Embraceable you. What kind of atmosphere does this create?
2. The spilled wine on the carpet gives us a clue to what will happen to Franks family?
What do you think it says about his parents relationship?
3. Frank Junior knows his Dads stories verbatim and finishes the story for him. What does
this say about the relationship between the father and the son?
4. When Frank Senior takes Frank Junior to the bank he states, The Red Sox keep winning
[baseball games] because people cant stop staring at their stripes. What does this say
about the Game of Life?
5. What does Frank senior use to deceive / divert the attention of the shopkeeper?
6. Why doesnt Frank senior get a bank loan?

7. Frank Senior tells Frank Junior that he hustled the car dealer, not the other way around.
What does this say about how Frank plays the game of life?
8. Compare the opulent, warm home of the Abagnales with that of their small, poky
apartment. What does this say about players starting points in life?
9. What is frank given for his birthday?
10. There is a close-up shot of Franks name on the bank cheque, showing the audience that
Frank now has membership to the club. What is important about this membership?
11. Do you think Franks father is still the second mouse in the cream?
Scene 4



Why did Frank wear his old school uniform to his new school?
What does Frank do when he is mistaken as a substitute teacher?
Why is this moment significant to Franks future?
Frank convinces the students and many of the teachers that he is a substitute teacher.
Comment on how this reflects his ability to play the game of life.
There is a recurring motif of prison bars throughout the film. In this scene it occurs in
the Principals office, through louvered blinds and shadows. What is this purpose of
Franks dad laughs when he discovers Franks been deceiving the school.
i. What does this say about the father / son relationship?
ii. How does Franks mum feel?
iii. Does Frank learn how to play the game of life from his father?
Paula, Franks mother, has been playing the game of love and Frank discovers her affair.
What tone is set when Paula asks Frank, Youre not going to tell him are you?
Why is Paula afraid that Frank will tell?
Frank if filmed from a high angle shot. What is the effect of this?
Why does Franks mother try to offer Frank money?
This scene has a non-diegetic scratching record sound, what impact does this have on
the viewer? Does it give us any clues about the unfolding scene?

Scene 5
1. What is the purpose of recreating the opening shots of this scene?
2. Dick says to Frank, There are laws. Everything in this country has to be legal. Do you
think Laws are important to Frank? Is he concerned about breaking the rules, at this
3. What effect is created by having Franks French speaking Grandmother in the house?
4. What decision does Frank have to make?
5. How does he react to the decision?
6. Frank turns to his father and says, What name? How do we know how Frank is feeling?
7. Make a list of the camera techniques that are being used in this scene and make on
overall statement of how they help to create meaning.
Scene 6
1. This scene begins with a flash-forward. What is the difference between a flash-forward
and a flash-back?
2. What is the effect of the flash-forward?
3. How do we know that Frank chose his Dad in the custody game?

4. Frank comments to Hanratty, On the other side they have suites that face the park.
What does this say about Frank and Hanrattys positions in the game?
5. When Frank gets kicked out of his apartment that Landlords says, You are a god-damn
kid. Go home! Why is Spielberg reminding us that Frank is a kid? How is this contrasted
with the flash-forward scene?
6. As Frank is seen altering cheques the soundtrack changes to a whimsical, child-like,
wood-winded instrumental. What kind of atmosphere does this create?
7. Why do we see Frank attempting to cash many cheques?
8. Why doesnt the bank cash the cheque?
9. As Frank is walking along the grey, boring footpath, a taxi arrives, bright colours
emergence and the diegetic laughter assist in creating the mood. The scene switches to
slow motion. What is created by the combination of these effects?
10. Why do we see the children asking the pilots for an autograph?
11. Why do wear hear the voice-over of Franks letter to his dad?
12. How does Frank learn the rules of the piloting world?
Scene 7
1. Frank is believed when he pretends to be a school journalist. Why is he nervous when he
gets suited up as a pilot?
2. Why has the filmmaker juxtaposed Frank in the phone booth with Frank in the pilots
uniform? What is the effect of this?
3. Frank says, An honest man has nothing to fear. Im trying my best not to be afraid.
What does this quote reveal about how Frank is feeling about the Game?
4. Why does the bank manager personally greet Frank?
5. Why didnt his Father get the same personal treatment?
6. What do the high angle shots of the planes in the bath and the cheques on the floor say
about Franks forgeries?
7. How does the repetition of the string instruments and pitch ascension assist in our
creating this atmosphere?
8. Why does Frank place his cheques in the bible? What does this say about Frank?
Scene 8
1. Explain how Franks comment, Thanks for giving me a lift boys, is an example of
dramatic irony.
2. How are reminded of Franks age on the plane?
3. What do the quick succession shots of money suggest about Franks success?
4. How important is money to Franks game of life? Do you agree with Franks view? Why?
5. The statement, Are you enjoying your free ride? is an example of what kind or irony?
Scene 9
1. What does Frank think of women? How does he manipulate them?
2. What does Franks manipulation of women tell us about the Game of Life?
3. How do we know that Hanratty is not taken seriously be his colleagues? Why does Frank
buy his dad a car?
4. What does Franks comment, Its not what you think. Im just the co-pilot, say about
his confidence? His relationship with his Dad?

5. How do we know that Frank Senior is aware of Frank Juniors deception?

6. Why does Frank tell his Father he is going to Hollywood?
Scene 10

What does Hanrattys joke tell us about him?

Is Hanratty playing the same game as Frank?
What has Spielberg used a location like the Tropicana for this scene?
What do the agents call Frank a paper-hanger?
What do the frantic camera movements create?
Why does Frank let Hanratty keep his wallet?
What effect is created with the close-up shots of the hand and wallet, accompanied by a
change in the soundtrack?
Hanratty told a joke at the start of this scene. Who is laughing at the end of this scene?
Hanratty States that Frank now has nothing for him to hide behind. What does this tell
us about Franks chances of success?
What do we learn about Hanratty when his boss tells us that he practically wrote the
handbook on bank fraud?
How do we know that Hanratty is playing the game of promotion?
What is the purpose of the knock, knock joke that Hanratty tells?

Scene 11

How does Frank feel about being called the Skyway Man?
What technical aspects such as lighting and camera angles add to Franks feelings?
Hanratty in the laundromat is starkly contrasted with Franks position. How?
What does Franks 55c playing cards suggest about what is happening in the hotel room?
Who is the ultimate in the hotel exchange?
Why are Hanrattys shirts pink? What is this symbolic of?

Scene 12

How do we know that it is Christmas?

Why is Hanratty working on Christmas day?
What does Franks call to Hanratty say about the game that each of them are playing?
Why does Frank want to apologise to Hanratty?
Frank says, People only know what you tell them, Carl. How has Frank used this
catchphrase to become successful with his games?
Was Frank being truthful with Hanratty?
How do we know this?
In what way does the soundtrack add meaning to this scene?
Why didnt Hanratty believe Frank?
How are Franks superhero quality reinforced?
Why is it significant that Frank is a kid?
Why does Paula offer to pay out Franks debt?
Is Mrs Barnes a winner in life? How do we know?

Scene 13
1. Frank becomes upset at the part when things start to get broken or messed up. Why is
he so concerned about this?


How does Frank play Brenda?

How does Frank seem convincing as a doctor?
How does Frank learn the rules and expectations of being a doctor?
Is Frank as good as the actors he learns from on the television? Why?
In the Emergency room, Frank uses ambiguous language what phrase does he use and
how does it help him?
7. What is the significance of Frank vomiting in the closet?

How does Frank Senior give away Frank Juniors location?

How is Frank like his Dad?
What quote reveals that Frank Senior is trying to protect his son?
How does Frank win the game of love?
How is Brendas story similar to Franks?
How important is family to Frank?
Why do you think that Frank wants to marry Brenda?
What is the effect of the cut-shot with the guns?
What does the crossing of the guns signify?
What is the effect of the change in the non-diegetic soundtrack?

Scene 14

Is Frank comfortable saying Grace?

How do you know this?
What game is Frank playing at Brendas house?
List the ways that Frank wins against Brendas father?
What examples of irony can you identify in this scene?
In what ways is Frank in confession?
How doe Spielberg create suspension and make us think that Frank is about to ask for
Brendas hand in marriage?
What does the cut shot to the clock tell the viewer about Frank game?
What are Frank and Carl talking about on the plane?
Why doesnt Carl share his clair with Frank?
What is this symbolic of?
What is the example of intertextuality in this scene?
How good is Frank at the game of life?
How does Frank help Brenda reunite with her family?
How does this reflect Franks relationship with his family?
What does Franks invite to lunch with Governors and Attorney Generals say about how
far he has come in the game of life?
Is Frank a good lawyer?
Explain the juxtaposition of the scene with Brendas family and Frank and his father.

Scene 15

Why does Frank say to his dad, Dad its over. Im going to stop now?
Do you think Frank is begging his dad to tell him to stop?
Why doesnt his Dad tell him stop?
Later, Frank begs Hanratty to stop chasing him. Why is he begging?

5. What is Hanrattys reaction?

6. What film techniques does Spielberg use to add meaning to this reaction?
1. Describe the lighting and film shots when Frank is walking upon the stairs at Brendas
parents home.
2. Why does Frank come clean to Brenda?
3. Who is most upset in the scene, Frank or Brenda? Why?
4. What are the lyrics to the soundtrack when Frank is climbing out the window? What is the
effect of this?
5. With the curtains and money flying around the room Spielberg creates a busy scene. What
do these images say about Frank and his escape?
6. What is the effect of having the wide shot of Hanratty becoming a tight shot?
7. He has the upper hand in this scene? Who is the winner?
8. Why has Spielberg used an exotic motif throughout the film?
Scene 17
1. What decoy does Frank use at the airport?
2. What is the effect of the low angled shot of the plane flying above Hanratty?
Scene 18
1. Hanrattys boss says, No, Frank. You let him get away. What does this say about Hanratty
in the game?
1. Is Frank happy to see Hanratty in France? How do we know this?
2. Why does Frank become upset with Hanratty about lying?
3. Hanratty seems concerned that the French take Frank. What does this say about their
Scene 19:
1. When Frank goes to the bathroom on the plane, we see a high angled shot Hanratty.
What does this tell us about Hanratty?
2. Why do we see Frank go to his mothers house?
3. What does he learn there? Why is this significant?
4. In Franks sentencing the judge states that Frank has a complete lack of respect for the
laws of the Unites State of America and receives 12 years in prison. Do you think Frank
was disrespectful to the laws?
Scene 20

Why does Hanratty visit Frank in prison?

How has their relationship changed?
How does Frank help Hanratty?
We see Frank shuffling cards. How is he dealt back in the game?
Why is Frank released into Hanrattys care? Do you think this is a good thing?
For the first time we see Frank introduce himself using his real name. Is he comfortable
doing this? How do we know?
1. Frank says, Sometimes, its easier to live the lie. Do you agree? Is it easy to live a lie?