The address is characterized by static frontality and a geometric fixation on the center of the shot. This gives the clear loud voice and the minimal facial movements maximum effect.
With a fanfare, the title music fades out and the image of a waving American flag blends in. A quick tilt down the mast reveals a static geometric formation: The bottom of the mast is at the center of the shot, it marks the vanishing point at the end of the rows of soldiers which now fill the bottom half of the frame. The light and dark contrasts on the soldiers and the light and dark patterns of the architectural design of the wall in the background mirror one another and replicate the compositional alignment that converges at a fixed point at the center of the frame.
The voice which comes in is not localized in the image. It establishes place (“Headquarters Marine Corps Base – San Diego, California”) and time (“15th of January 1942”). Not until the word “Subject: ...”is there a cut to an American shot of a figure who is revealed as the fixed point of the previous shot through architectural details and through the slight zoom. The figure speaks to the camera frontally—and to the soldiers in off. The staging thus concentrates on the act of speaking as well as on the content of the address. The voice is loud and clearly articulated without obvious rhetorical devices. The speaker’s gaze drifts from left to right and only at one point does it pointedly focus directly at the camera: “Only those men who are prepared to kill and be killed should apply.”