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Daily Dose #7: Mr. Memory (Opening Scene from The 39 Steps)


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#21 Ann56

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:00 PM

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? 

The electric lights, like the ones used in The Lodger, are shown at the beginning of the film.  The music is happy and lighthearted.  The scene seems to be innocuous to what is going to happen in the film.

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films?  Definitely, the character of Hannay is treated like he is almost invisible since his question is passed over when another character shouts out his question over Hannay’s shoulder. When his question is finally addressed, Mr. Memory greets him and the audience applauds him.

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? 

It gives the audience the appearance of a routine, everyday happening like a theatrical act that is there just to entertain and have little or no impact on more important things happening outside of the theater.  In addition, Hannay is looks to be a typical person out for the evening in a typical establishment. 



#22 devin05

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 07:52 PM

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? 

Hitchcock begins with a return to using signage or print for exposition (The Lodger. The Ring).  We also begin as part of the audience viewing a show or being entertained (The Pleasure Garden, The Ring)  What has changed from other openings, Hitchcock is in no hurry to introduce information.  By the end of the clip, we have some information, he is visiting from Canada, he is a average common man, but we don't even know his name, nothing on a definite plot.  There is a more subtle and deliberate dissemination of the story arc.

Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

Yes the character introduced while sparse to this point seems to indicate that he is somewhat a common person, perhaps a little more sophisticated than the other members of the audience still a common man visiting from Canada.

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?

The audience is common, most of the accents are common and questions are many times humorous.  Hitchcock establishes the tone of character of everyone in the audience.  The setting of the music hall public space.



#23 T-Newton

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 12:12 AM

1. From the different Hitchcock pictures I've seen thus far, I definitely see a pattern with the openings. We're given a specific place where something is about to happen (in Hitchcock's case, somewhere public with a lot of people), and we are introduced to the characters that we will be stuck with for the remainder of the picture. What deviates the intro to The 39 Steps from prior pictures is that it's more lighthearted and lively.

 

2. I agree with Rothman's assessment. The main character that we're introduced to in this picture is just an ordinary, everyday joe who unfortunately ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets caught in the spider web that is espionage.

 

3. With this film and the films before it, Hitchcock would pick a perfect place where nothing could possibly go wrong in reality, whether it be a music hall or an old fashioned movie house. It is here that he works his magic where a supposed "safe haven" is anything but.



#24 Robinv

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:23 PM

1. It does fit a pattern. All opening in public areas, introductions to the characters and you get an overall sense of the type of film you will be watching.

2. Yes this guy seems to be just some nice innocent more. His appearance, his demeanor and even the question he keeps asking, so innocent and unassuming. Someone the audience can feel sorry for when he gets into trouble.

3. The music hall is quite ordinary someplace we all might have gone. We get the impression that Donat is just an ordinary guy. The fact the the audience keep asking silly and humorous types of questions while Donat keeps asking the same innocent question. Will that be important later?
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#25 iceiceblondie

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 03:55 PM

It does fit a pattern of opening in a public place and slowly introducing characters, but it deviates because there isn't yet a feeling of dread. We can't really tell something bad is going to happen. I do agree that Hanney seems a likable character. He does seem a little serious with his question, which makes me wonder if it matters.



#26 Marti747

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 06:50 PM

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 one is similar to the others due to the bright sign lights (The Lodger) and the entertainment going on (The Ring). 

It deviates from the others in that it is more lighthearted; nothing to stir up emotions in the viewer. 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

Yes, Hannay seems like an ordinary everyday character.

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? 

The opening scene allows us to see an ordinary man attending a show with average town people. They are amused at the entertainer and freely talk back to him. The main character even gets in on it. This gives the viewer an inside look in to the character of Hanney and although fun and laughter is going on, we know something sinister is about to happen.

#27 melissasimock

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 05:04 PM

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? 

The main characters are in a crowd, they are in public places.

In this opening scene I don't feel any threat yet.  I don't knowingly have any info that something is wrong, or of what is going to unfold.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

I would agree.  He is handsome, likable, and non-threatening.

 

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? 

1.  There seems to be nothing out of the ordinary in the main character.

3 & 4.  A music hall is a place ones goes to enjoy oneself.  A safe environment.

5.  There could be important details in here that we're not aware of just yet, like the main character's connection to Canada.  

He's also a little more serious in nature than the other audience members.  Was he testing Mr. Memory for fun?  Or is he trying to find out information?  Does he need to know the distance from Winnipeg to Montreal as part of his storyline?



#28 D'Arcy

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:56 PM

Hitchcock really likes the open spaces of the ordinary public life. He has a mixture of other films present in the scene. Hanney is an exact replication of the print of the lodger before the scream. Like a private eye which lead to my thinking, ok he's not the villain in this film. The POV shots are very similar, I find awkward angles really add to the suspense and grab the viewers attention. This is a softer entrance and introduction of characters and humor which I enjoy. There is no threat from the lead character as the camera rolls further into the scene. The public is no longer background to the main characters which adds more life to the film. Definitely more interesting. Mr Memory is an added bonus as he is the the cornucopia of incidental data. It shows the audience asking questions he would not know of course. It seems Hitchcock is allowing the audience in the scene to behave much like an audience watching the film---viewers begin to ask questions immediately when watching Hitchcock. The Hitchcock touch...

1) “Ordinary people who are drawn by circumstances into extraordinary situations.” Check. ✅

2) “[The hero] is thrown back on his own resources, and we sympathize with his plight in way that we cannot with the superhuman heroes bottled in the James Bond image.” Check.✅

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.✅

5) “Hitchcock customarily takes the audience into his confidence early in the story by sharing with them information that other directors might withhold for the sake of a surprise ending.” Check.✅

6) The use of a MacGuffin: “simply the thing that preoccupies the hero and heroine and because of which they are thrown into danger, such as a vital secret formula. Check.✅
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#29 dmaxedon

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:53 PM

1. The narrow focus on the sign, showing us what he wants us to see, this is similar to the staircase in The Pleasure Garden. There's also an upbeat nature to the crowd, we know Robert Donat is going to be important, but we're also treated to a typical night in a British dance hall of the period.

2. I would agree that he is more innocent than some of his other characters.

3. He uses places we the audience might go, it's recognizable and sets us at ease, perhaps part of the plan to make us comfortable with our surroundings, and to feel that could be me there, then he take us along for the ride. This makes it all the more believable that we could get mixed up in this just as easily, thus emphasizing the realism of the possibility of the situation.



#30 fediukc1991

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 04:21 PM

The opening scene has an audience and a crowd present. There is nothing bad or sinister going on, compared to ​The Lodger, The Pleasure Garden​ and ​The Man Who Knew Too Much​. I agree with Rothman. The character Donat appears non-violent and also non-threatening. The audience is non-threatening, just having the time of their lives.



#31 AmyV

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 11:24 PM

1. This opening both fits the pattern we have seen previously and deviates from it. Fits in that we again have a crowd scene and, similar to The Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew Too Much, there's a show or event taking place with an audience present. One way this one seems to deviate, at least from what we observe here is that there is nothing blatantly sinister going on here, such as there was in The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger, and The Man Who Knew Too Much.
2. Agree or Disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock here is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences? I agree. We were left to question the innocence of some earlier characters, at least in the beginning, but we are given nothing that makes us feel hesitant or bothered by the protagonist here.
3. Another public space opening a Hitchcock film, the prominence of a performer, and the reactions of the audience to Mr. Memory's act, how do these play into theHichcock touch? The protagonist is presented like one of the ordinary people, as he sits watching the show, even asking Mr. Memory a question. But, being in such an ordinary locale in a Hitchcock film, we wonder if something more dark is lurking beneath the surface. We might also speculate if Mr. Memory will be a part of the MacGuffin.

#32 shamus46

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 10:58 PM

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? 

By keeping his face hidden, we are more curious and drawn into what is taking place.  We pay more attention to the audience and the humor of their questions.  They are 'lower class' people that are out for some entertainment.  This is similar to The Pleasure Garden except for the class of people.

 

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films?  I agree.  Donat appears more unassuming and non-threatening.

 

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? The audience is out to have a good time and are enjoying their good natured ribbing of Mr. Memory.  The humor just makes you feel a part of the crowd.

 



#33 msmukmuk

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 09:02 PM

1) This opening scene is similar to others we've studied like (The Lodger) with the flashing lights and the public place with jovial music, spectators (The Pleasure Garden). In this movie, some of the audience members are hecklers and are drunken ("Where's my old man?") Hitchcock smartly balances it all with humor and  with the fact that Mr. Memory has an answer for their comments and interruptions.

 

2) I partially agree with Rothman in that Hitchcock presents Hannay as an ordinary audience member, a friendly fellow without any suspicious characteristics. Yet there is something mysterious about him perhaps how he is introduced in the film,or the turned up coat collar. I agree that Donat is VERY handsome. So smart of Hitch to keep us guessing.

 

3) Phillip's theory of the Hitchcock touch holds true to some degree in this opening by including ordinary people in the audience, a sympathetic hero, setting that is fun filled, you don't expect trouble or harm there.



#34 Mrs. Archie Leach

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 04:14 PM

1. I think this opening scene, ironically about a question-and-answer session, raises a ton of questions. We know who the male lead is because we entered the theater with him. Aside from that, we don't know who may play an important role. The feel is lighthearted like The Pleasure Garden, with touches of humor. It's also similar to The Man Who Knew Too Much in that it's a gathering of people for purposes of entertainment. The crowd as a mob (heckling, not violent) reminded me of The Lodger a bit. 

2. I'm not sure I agree with Rothman that Hitchcock is introducing a more innocent character. I haven't watched the film yet. If he is truly innocent, I don't understand why he was shot so mysteriously from behind, at off-kilter angles, obscuring his face. The collar of his coat being upturned adds to the intrigue. Yes, when we see his face it is handsome and pleasant, seemingly at ease. He engages with Mr. Memory so we know he isn't timid. He doesn't mind the boy yelling a question over his shoulder so we know he isn't quick to anger. Beyond that, we don't know anything about him other than he is interested in Canadian geography. Mr. Memory makes the assumption that he is from Canada but I don't know that to be true.

3. The use of this public space speaks to the idea of Hitchcock's protagonists being ordinary men. The music hall is filled with working class people looking for entertainment and fun. Initially it seems like Mr. Memory's act may be a bust but he wins over the crowd when he can answer their questions and speak to their interests -- mainly about sports.



#35 starchild64

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 03:59 PM

1.  The similarities are that it takes place in a music hall and the people are lower to middle class. It has humor with the Mr. Memory character.

 The main character is very different and non-threatening. There doesn't seem to be a set up yet and doesn't offer much in the way of plot with this scene which makes me think it will be character driven.

 

2. The lead actor is very different is this clip. I think the audience will want to protect him and relate to him because he is just like us.

 

3.  There are several Hitchcock touches in this clip. It is an ordinary place full of regular people including Robert Donat. It is a happy place that could hide things and therefore bring chaos in unexpected instances.



#36 hussardo

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 03:37 PM

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 opening fits the sequence of hidden details of other British films montage while it differs when it comes to showing what the characters are about.

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

I agree to a certain point as the opening sequence is more focused on the plot as to on the characters.

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? 
 
It plays by simply showing that extraordinary things can happen in ordinary places while no one is paying attention.

#37 mandyhnandez

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 03:34 PM

​1. Some similarities between this and other opening scenes are that it is set in a public place, with the immediate introduction of the main character. There is also a degree of humor in meeting this character, with his and the audience's interactions with Mr. Memory, that is not unlike the opening humor of The Man Who Knew Too Much. The differences are in what Hitchcock wants us to think of this character - in The Lodger, for example, he is a menacing in dangerous murderer. In this scene, we at first are lead to believe he is a bad person from the camera angles and the inability to see his face, but then we are presented with an ordinary man just looking to have a good time.

 

​2. I agree. Even from that brief clip, there are things that stand out to me as showing him to be a lighthearted and easygoing person. Definitely not a bad guy. Once we see his face, he is relaxed, and asks a reasonable question to Mr. Memory. He is polite, and does not get angry when the rude man behind him yells his question over him. He simply waits his turn and asks again. All the other main characters we have seen either are predatorial towards a woman character, a murderer, or a man with something to hide.

 

​3. All of these elements appear in The Pleasure Garden and are obvious Hitchcock touches. Both center around a performance hall of some sort, and the shots contain not only the performers, but the audience from the performer's perspective. The public space being used as an opening is also used in The Lodger, The Man Who Knew Too Much (both versions), Strangers On A Train, North by Northwest, and so on.



#38 CaseInPoint

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 11:56 AM

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? Similarities: a stage of sorts is involved, and significant characters are involved either as performers or voyeurs (or both!).  Differences: I sense more of the influence of German Expressionism in the earlier films shifting into a quicker tempo of editing, as evidenced in Soviet Montage in Man Who Knew Too Much and 39 Steps

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? Agree. The Donat character in 39 Steps is well-dressed and well-groomed, certainly not what most audiences of the time would interpret as sinister.  He seems uncertain and uneasy, glancing around the audience, and at one point is rudely interrupted by another patron shouting a question.  He seems quiet and reserved.  In the shot where Hitch shifts to show the audience from a stage point of view, Donat is a face in the crowd, but his face seems oddly larger and more brightly lit than the others.

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? Definitely the infusion of humor.  Not only are some of the audience reactions humorous, but the English accents seem exaggerated and the tone harsh and irritating.  The action is once again set in a public place amid a context of entertainment.  With Mr. Memory, as with most performers, the scene seems to set the stage to get the audience thinking that people are seldom who, or what, they seem and there's more than meets the eye.


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#39 SherriW

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 11:24 AM

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? 

 

The music sets the tone. In this film, The 39 Steps, it;s light and festive as compared to The Lodger where it was eerie and unsettling. Hitchcock also seems to like opening his films with crowds of people. However, in The 39 Steps the crowd scene feels more personal and interactive than the other films we've discussed.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

 

Agree

 

. 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? 

 

The movie opens in an ordinary setting. Instead of all the montages, he seems to use Mr Memory as a focal point for us and the audience in the movie.



#40 Popcorn97

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 10:56 AM

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? 

 

All of his films start in crowds...also your getting some key information in this opening scene.

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

I do agree that this character is more innocent then in the past films.. but he just looks kind of suspicious on how he looks and how the angles of the camera set him up as..

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? 

It looks like in this music hall a mix of people have gathered to have a fun time, some poor, some middle class and some rich people. The poor people in the back by the bar and the other classes sitting in chairs by the stage. it was almost like the camera was doing a "duck, duck, goose" thru the audiance while asking questions.

 

 






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