1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes?
This film has another opening that fits the previous pattern of showing spectators at a performance in a public place and introducing the protagonist. It deviates from the other openings in that there is no hint of villainy in any of the characters (except for the revelation that the protagonist is Canadian - actually, I am just kidding here, I love Canada and Canadians), and in gradually revealing the protagonist by first showing only his shoes and legs, and then his back, before finally revealing his face. Hitchcock used a similar device in Strangers on a Train, when he opened by showing just the shoes and legs of the two protagonists as they walk into Union Station in Washington, D. C. The fact that one of them was wearing distinctive spectator shoes tips us off that we had seen him enter the station when we later see his shoes and his face on the train.
I shared Dr. Edward's interest in the opening shot of the light bulbs slowly spelling out "Music Hall." For an otherwise fast-paced film, this slow opening is a curious deviation. I am wondering if such signage was common for British Music Halls or if such signs held some sort of personal significance to Hitchcock, who seemed to be fascinated by unusual lights/lighting. When Edward Hopper painted "Nighthawks" in January of 1942, I suspect part of his interest was in painting the diner patrons as they looked under fluorescent lighting, which had been introduced in 1938, when Hopper was 60 years old. Think how the introduction of a new type of lighting would impact a man who once said of himself "Maybe I am not very human. What I wanted to do was to paint sunlight on the side of a house.”
2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent lead character than in previous opening sequences of his films?
Given that the lead character is not a serial killer or some other type of person with obvious issues, it seems fair to say that this lead character is more innocent than the previous ones.
3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips?
3) “…The settings of Hitchcock films are quite ordinary on the surface, thereby suggesting that evil can lurk in places that at first glance seem normal and unthreatening.” Check.
4) “[Hitchcock’s] villains commit their mayhem in amusement parks and respectable restaurants, places where the viewer might often find themselves—not in locations that we tend to avoid in order to escape potential harm, such as dark alleys and dives…” Check.