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Daily Dose #8: Cooling Our Heels (Opening Scene from The Lady Vanishes)


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#41 Popcorn97

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 11:23 AM

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

 

It looks and sounds like a comedy or slap stick comedy film.

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

The performances of those two are known as the comedy relief and they kind of tell the audience what is going on at the same time to fill in the missing pieces.

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

Its a tight shot on all 5 chatarters from the door to the staircase. It also is explained that they were just at that hotel a week ago and get personal service compared to the other guests who can not get a room. And we can tell that Iris has money because of the things she is ordering for her and her friends. And the crowd who waits below the stairs just drop their jaws on how fast those 4 get a room while they are all sitting cold downstiars

 



#42 Thurber27

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 10:40 AM

Hitchcock opens this film with a location shot of the tiny village in which we will find the hotel which is obviously made up from miniatures, which I don't think Hitchcock really tries to hide, and which instead emphasizes the somewhat "fairy-tale" nature of the narrative, which involves a sleeping beauty who awakes to a different world than the one she fell asleep in. In addition, the first few minutes are silent, and it is only when Miss Froy "vanishes" out of the door, that a cacaphony of noises and voices fill the soundtrack. Much importance is placed on the role of language here - from the misinterpretations of Charters and Caldicott, to the hotel manager translating his message into different languages, to Iris correcting his pronounciation. This seems to set up the theme that language is key to control and reality. 



#43 agebha2

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 08:57 AM

I was out of town, so please excuse the late response:

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

My first reaction was to that of the music. The folk music is so light, one would think it the introduction to a comedy, not a thriller. The atmosphere is almost light-hearted, different from other opening scenes we've seen so far. There are also little things that introduce humor to the film, such as the old woman. First, we see her come down completely happy, contrasted with the train-goers just sitting around watching her in the lobby. Then, as she tries to leave, it takes two men to wrangle the door from the wind just so she can get out. With the two foreign gentlemen entering and arguing and the obviously distraught man in the desk paired with the cuckoo clock, there is almost a feeling of the absurd.

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

In a way, they kind of remind me of Laurel and Hardy, with the back and forth banter. They offer a subtle humor outside the main characters, and with the their banter, keeps the audience interested in what's going on outside the stars.

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

First off, the hotel manager completely bypasses everyone else to talk to her and her friends, despite the fact that he had just told all the stranded passengers that they needed to register immediately in order to get a room. As a star, she gets preferential treatment. Iris also has the impertinence to correct Boris on his pronunciation, something she wouldn't have gotten away with had she not been the star. Boris also doesn't make Iris and her friends register for a room, meaning either she is special enough just to claim a room, or that she is important enough to have a standing reservation. As all this is going on, the other passengers are just staring and watching them. They become the center of attention.



#44 Jennifer Anne

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 09:42 PM

1. The music has a whimsical feel--it made me think of a merry-go-round or an amusement park--with bird-like notes and 3/4 time of a waltz; it works with the caged bird and the cuckoo clock to set a humorous tone to a scene that is quite lively and chaotic.

2. I absolutely love these 2 characters. They are a send-up of the quintessential British tourist couple--believing themselves to be more worldly, sophisticated, and important than they actually are. I laughed out loud at the image of both of them standing for the duration of the Hungarian Rhapsody, thinking it to be the Hungarian national anthem (and likely bickering quietly to each other like a married couple at the same time). They serve as comic relief, but also to further establish the setting of the picture in Europe and cement the idea of train travel being difficult due to weather and the political climate of 1938 in the mind of the viewer.

3. Iris is consistently placed directly opposite the hotel proprietor, Boris, the man who has been the most active character up until this point. The scene begins showing all three ladies and Boris on equal ground, each one flirting with him and joking in a slightly condescending manner. It is Iris, however, who initiates movement towards the stairs, who corrects Boris's english, and talks over him giving out orders and demands. The scene ends with Iris leading the "charge" up the stairs with Boris and the others in tow. Iris is also the only character who faces towards the camera throughout the scene and who also receives a close-up (I'm not sure what to call it) with only her and Boris in the frame.
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#45 Miss Wallace

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 07:12 PM

QUESTION 2: Does anyone know if Peter Bogdanovich was riffing on this film in What’s Up, Doc? when he chose to make his main character (played by Ryan O’Neal) a musicologist?  He also got mixed up in a mess with a girl.

 

WHAT'S UP DOC? is a remake of 1938's Bringing Up Baby, the screwball comedy with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

 

I think that The Lady Vanishes is now one of my favorite Hitchcock films. I saw snippits of it before on TV, but this is the first time I've really seen it. It's amazingly smart and fun.



#46 LesleySargoy

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 05:00 PM

Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

 

The tone in the beginning is much different than the typical Hitchcock: the music is very light-hearted, the characters are a little bit exaggerated, even funny and there is nothing ominous about this opening scene. One might think they are watching a comedy! 

 

​There are no sinister overtones and the audience can be fooled into thinking this is a lighthearted film. But knowing Hitchcock, something interesting has to happen! But when? We are the edge of our seats wondering ... a very effective way to engage an audience in the story.



#47 ElaineK

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 01:06 PM

The opening scene of the LADY VANISHES sets the tone of the film, mostly lighthearted, pleasant.   The music sounds is very cheerful, warm and cozy in the German style.  The cuckoo clock sounds and the innkeeper bustles about. Charters and Caldecott, a pair of the silly **** Englishmen, seem to be discussing very serious concerns, England on the brink and all that, showing respect by standing during the National Anthem. However,  The Hungarian Rhapsody is not the anthem and the conversation is obviously ridiculous. The young women are greeted effusively by the hotelkeeper, and their conversation is also light and frivolous.   The sinister elements of the train ride are not evident in the opening scene.   



#48 ThePaintedLady

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 11:07 AM

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

Judging from the facial expressions of the seated guests, the mood seems to be that of frustration contrasted by the light hearted charm of Ms. Froy. In a way, she is already set apart from the rest as someone to pay attention to. After all, she is the lady who vanishes later in the film. 

The clock seemed like a cattle call which indeed it was as the innkeeper gathers all guests prompting them to reserve a room as quickly as possible. Yet, the clock also reflects an attempt to restore order amidst chaos.

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

Peanut Gallery. They provide the comedic element, but they also seem to critique the situation and other characters on scene; sort of influencing or at least presenting to the viewing audience how we should see other characters/situations.

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

First, I have to say that Iris is a total snob, and I'm glad she is put in her place as the film progresses. I can't stand her character. That said...

Iris establishes herself as the leader of the trio walking in front. She is the speaker as she explains their reason for their early arrival from an outing. The other two just gaggle in the background. If either of them says anything not to her liking, she lightly scolds them. Ex: When her friend mentions eating a horse, she retorts "Don't put any ideas into his head."

There is also this air of superiority as she corrects the innkeeper's pronunciation of avalanche (and he said it correctly). A bit of an insult considering the innkeeper is a polyglot. Iris is also a self-absorbed brat. Everyone is facing the same transportation problem, but "I have to get home tomorrow! How long before they dig it out?" It's all about her own needs. The innkeeper happily obliges to her every command all the while ignoring his other guests.

Throughout the scene as the camera moves, Iris is always at the center until they move up the stairs and she leads the pack all the while (literally) talking down to them.


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#49 Barbara_C

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 08:41 AM

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music.

Hitchcock created a relaxed, unsuspecting atmosphere (again) to introduce his characters in a public place.  Folk music is playing in the background as Ms. Froy comes down the stairs and stops to get a stamp for her letter from the front desk.  Caldicott and Charters handle the hotel door for Ms Froy, closing it against the gusty wind, before sitting down with the other characters waiting for the train.  Iris Henderson and her girlfriends enter the scene with fanfare and disruption of the peaceful scene; all eyes are on them as they receive special attention of the hotel manager as returning guests.  At this point the atmosphere is lighthearted, humorous chaos as the various characters deal with the announced delay in the train’s arrival and work to situate themselves with a room at the hotel.

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene.

Caldicott and Charters add humor and a stabilizing effect to the scene, behaving very British and preoccupied by their own sphere of interest (cricket).  Although they too are impacted by the situation of the train’s delay, they expect to receive special treatment by the hotel manager (who finally outlined in English how to obtain a room), only to discover the warm greeting was for the three women entering the hotel lobby behind them.  This of course allowed them to make catty observations about the women and give us an opportunity as the audience to size-up the women for ourselves.

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.

Up until the entrance of Iris and her friends, the scenes of the hotel lobby were in long views, treating all of the characters in the scene as equal.  The background music was a lively folk tune and the guests were placidly waiting in the hotel lobby.  Then the arguing of two porters carrying the baggage and skis of the Iris Henderson party enter the scene, drowning out the folk music and introducing an element of disruption and chaos.  The attention is then focused on the hotel doorway where three women are entering and get a close-up treatment by the camera.  The dialogue of the three women with the hotel manager (who was delighted to see them) established that these are witty, wealthy and worldly women with a penchant for the finer things in life (e.g. champagne).  These are not average travelers, demonstrated by the fact that the hotel manager abandons his desk of other guests and personally escorts the three newcomers to their rooms.



#50 dan_quiterio

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 11:37 PM

The opening scene of The Lady Vanishes is unlike most of the opening scenes we've seen. Although it similarly starts in a public location, it establishes the film as a comedy with quirky characters. This is clear in the light, upbeat music; cuckoo clock (perhaps symbolizing the "cuckoo" nature of some of the characters and situations we're in for); and the funny "straight-man" characters of Caldicott and Charters, who add a fun, humorous commentary on the wealthy American women and their experiences in Hungary (the bit about the Hungarian Rhapsody as the country's national anthem is pretty funny).

 

Amidst an onslaught of minor characters, Iris is established as the scene's star. She commands the camera as it follows Iris and her friends across the room. The hotel proprietor is familiar with them and waits on them with eagerness, conveying that they are guests of importance, likely with deep pockets (which is clear in their food and drink order [a magnum of champagne] and manner of speech [avalanche]). Meanwhile, the other characters are huddled together in a large mass watching on in bewilderment while the glamorous ladies take the stage.


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#51 Michael McCarthy

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 11:19 PM

1) The Master of Suspense throws us a curve ball and opens "The Lady Vanishes" as a light comedy. From the music, the over exaggerated frustration of the hotel manager, the corresponding shot of the cuckoo clock, and the snappy, fast paced dialogue all point to a Paramount Studios comedy or one of the better Three Stooges shorts...minus the slapstick.
2) At first glance I thought Caldicott and Charters were the British Wheeler and Woolsey; while not in the latter's word play league they do add droll humour and act as a Greek Chorus to fill in the gaps the audience is doubtless asking itself.
3) Iris leads the way the entire scene, she is a knockout and she takes dead center when talking to Boris. The other two young ladies are almost deliberately doing their best to stay in profile and out of Iris' light.
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#52 LRH

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:41 PM

Hi everyone.  Just finished watching The Lady Vanishes.  What a MacGuffin!  I can't imagine how a whole clause of a document could be encoded in that very simple melody that has the same melodic material appear three times.  But I guess that's the nature of a MacGuffin.   :P  Odd that the musicologist didn't write the tune down after they escaped.  And he was playing his clarinet backwards, with the reed against his upper lip in the bedroom/folk dancing scene....  I'm surprised that Hitchcock didn't have someone catch that glitch.  But no complaints here -- it's a terrific film!

 

QUESTION 1: There were several risque scenes for the time.  Did England have a "Hayes-type code" like the US?  This definitely struck me this time as a "pre-code" type of film.  The girls in their underwear, the two guys in bed together (without their PJ bottoms!).  Very fun!

 

QUESTION 2: Does anyone know if Peter Bogdanovich was riffing on this film in What’s Up, Doc? when he chose to make his main character (played by Ryan O’Neal) a musicologist?  He also got mixed up in a mess with a girl.

 

A bit of cool trivia for folks who watched the HBO series: Six Feet Under.  I remember watching Season 3, Episode 11: "Death Works Overtime" when it aired.  SPOILER: When Nate's wife Lisa disappeared from home -- missing with no word -- Nate checks into a motel near the spot she was last seen.  As he's talking to his brother and sister, in the background a TV is playing silently.  YES -- it is a clip from The Lady Vanishes.  I thought that was so cool when I saw it 10 or more years ago!  Even cooler to think about now!

 

Looking forward to next week's films!


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#53 gardenias

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 07:22 PM

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

 

By this time the audience has an idea of a Hitchocock picture. The music sets of the dry comedic tone that Hitchcock himself wanted to be known for. The light hearted music sets up the characters and goes against the over all plot. 

 

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

 

They are the casual observers. They are the participatory audience. The set up shows us that they will be the comedic relief through out the story. 

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.

 

​Everything  leads to her. As one exits, the other enters and it goes so quickly as each character and set of characters are introduced. The only true focus is on Margaret Lockwood. The scene slows a little when she enters. 


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#54 vhclark

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 05:43 PM

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

The mood is brilliantly juxtaposed. The music is light and festive, while the travelers anxiously wait for information. While anxious, it is calm. The group of German travelers enters and the chaos begins. They are loud, the cuckoo clock is loud, and the hotel manager has to struggle to complete his phone call. Order shall be disrupted. 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

Caldicott and Charters are the first English speaking characters we encounter. They become the avatar for the audience, allowing us to learn what is going on. They are us.

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

Everything follows Boris and the women from the women's entrance to the exit. Similar to The Man Who Knew Too Much, their dialog is mostly throw away, except we learn more details about the avalanche and Iris's travel plans. Boris and Iris bookend the framing, making the context for the dialog. Iris is at the right of the frame, leading the way. Boris defers to her.


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#55 jfedelchak

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 05:31 PM

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

 

From the opening shots of The Lady Vanishes I get the feeling of both a light-hearted adventure will ensue (the tone accented by the musical accompaniment), married with a feeling of organized chaos or a madcap tone for the future of the film. This is demonstrated with the calm of the waiting crowd in the lobby, who look anxious as they await their fate. Then the multi-lingo announcements that an avalanche  has caused their travels to be suspended for the evening, inviting a rush to register as guest at the hotel or find themselves without accommodations. This is further amplified by the rush to the front desk, while the clock on the wall chimes out the hour.  I believe Hitchcock loves this motif abundantly, using chaos effectively to amuse (and perhaps befuddle the audience a bit) to keep them focused on what's to come. I personally feel this is the most entertaining of all the early Hitchcock films, especial those with sound. 

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

 

This pair remind me of the modern-day equivalent of C3PO & R2-D2; the sort-of narrators of The Lady Vanishes  discussing and bickering amongst themselves (mostly about the British Cricket scores), but also giving some quick assessment of background details to move the plot or scene along.  They are the Laurel & Hardy comedy relief that moves the story along and keep us watching to see what will they do next. They are a highlight in an already bright and varied cast of characters who must shine a bit brighter to keep the focus on them for continuity  sake. But they have their own moments of charm, first being boarded in the Maid's quarters. But being told the maid, who doesn't understand English, must be allowed access to her room to change her clothes or use her things. This causes embarrassment  to the pair, who find her intrusions inappropriate and delight the viewer with the hijinks of the three interacting.

Then again at dinner, they muscle themselves into seats, only to find that there is no more food to be served this evening, which is all the more confusing as they do not speak the native language.

They also have a pivotal scene in the dinning car of the train; while trying to flesh out a complex cricket match using sugar cubes, they are forced to give up their visual aids to Ms. Froy, who is entertaining Iris with a pot of tea. This simple exchange becomes a plot point later on when Iris and (Redgraves' character) Gilbert try to logically assess the whereabouts of Ms. Froy, who's existence seems to be denied by everyone else, including the comic Englishmen, who choose to not get involved.

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

 

With the mass confusion of the last-minute guests of the hotel scrambling for rooms, the scene now focuses on the Desk Clerk, after mopping his brow with his handkerchief,  essentially dropping everything to concentrate on the three woman entering the front door of the hotel. This slows the momentum to draw the camera to the ladies with a tighter shot of the four discussing the ladies events of the day, while they inquire about their rooms, with Iris in the center of the four-person group. The dialog remains quick and sharp, with little quips (eg. "...and nothing has changed. Including the sheets."), but the camera is now squarely focused on the small group crossing the room and ascending the staircase.


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#56 mijiyoon38

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 04:46 PM

The Lady Vanishes 1938 ...opening scene: Things I noticed first would be the deep snow & RR yard then the Inn with a lot of people & a lighthearted little ditty playing.   I read this movie is based on the Ethel Lena White story:  The Wheel Spins. It's a bit hectic in this Inn; the doors opens on a wind storm & almost blows away Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) & the characters of Charters & Caldicott  appear played by (Basil Radford & Naunton Wayne) ...I read these are based on the comedy double-act by the same name...why not use the real players?   I don't know. They appear always together, including upstairs in the same bed later that night. On the train they are always together & talk only of cricket...they are obsessed by cricket & only want to get to the cricket match in Manchester & that is why they foil the character of Iris (Margaret Lockwood)  a dark haired girl on her way to meet her intended who she shows little emotion about.

  

Most of the characters introduced in the Inn will board the train the next morning. 

 

There is the usual Hitchcock humor in the Inn:  Characters fighting over noise being made; for example, this is how Iris meets Gilbert (Michael Redgrave) they banter about in lighthearted  male female situation humor that Hitchcock is so fond of.

 

Also. Miss Froy listens to the singer beneath her window until she is interrupted by the noise upstairs being made by Gilbert. The singer beneath her window is strangled...so the canary is silenced & will sing no more.

 

I read on (Wiki) that a continuity issue came up with the character of Iris wearing a sweater then night clothes in the same scene early on the stairs. I don't recall seeing this but I have the DVD & may look for it later.

 

Iris just before boarding the train next morning is coshed on her noggin. Over the cam lens filters are used (I think) to make Iris see blurs & a multi 5 filter may be used to create the multi image of spinning around. This is what I have used in my still photography. Not sure how it was done with video.  Hitchcock loves to use this devise & I love it too.This sets up the situation for Iris not to be believed when miss Froy goes missing. We are introduced to the main & secondary characters in the inn the night before & now meet new ones on the train. This movie has a lot of characters in it.

 

They all have self-centered selfish reasons to keep the train from not being stopped, so they refuse to believe Iris. They only want to be on their way. Cricket matches, an illicit affair, fake surgery to commit the murder of Miss Froy ..all this & more.

 

I have noticed that Hitchcock often has war looming in the background of his movies, especially the spy thrillers. WW 1 & pre WW 2 loom heavy in the 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much & this movie too. It is the darkness beneath the surface of his early movies & we know what is to come.

 

More humor abounds on the train in the baggage compartment when Iris & Gilbert search for Miss Froy. Animals, rabbits, chickens or pigeons, a calf in basket, the disappearing cabinet. All movement in these scenes...it is very fast paces & never a dull moment. When the fight breaks out & the nose pulling begins with the Italian guy  & Gilbert tells Iris to 'pull his ears back' it is very funny language.

 

I like the clue Gilbert sees that convinces him Iris is not crazy over her cosh on the head. This clue is the Tea label blown onto the train window glass.

 

I'm glad Miss Froy makes it out alive. The scenes with the bad guys is scary; I can feel their fright surrounded by thugs with guns. Most likely they will all die. I believe they will all be killed, but they find a way out. That is a scary part of the movie. That is the darkness in the background of Hitchcocks films with the war looming ever closer.

 

The film ends happily though & the humor is great when Iris hides from her 'check chaser' boyfriend she was to marry. She has money it appears when she bribes the Inn keeper to keep Gilbert out of his room earlier in the movie & she describes her boyfriend as the 'check chaser' whom she really does not want to be attached to. I'm sure she will have more fun with Gilbert.



#57 Dubbed

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 04:37 PM

Hitchcock introduces the audience to a variety of characters in The Lady Vanishes. He allows the camera to explore the lobby of the inn, as it transitions smoothly to and from different characters. Hitchcock doesn't situate his camera too long on any one or one set of characters (until the arrival of Iris), giving viewers a rather swift feel of who may be encountered again throughout the film.

Hitchcock sets up this film with a light hearted tone via music. The music contrasts the title of The Lady Vanishes, as the title in and of itself signifies a mystery chock full of suspense. But, employing a musical track of such nature conveys a sense of a fun-filled mysterious story with no implicit imminent danger.

Caldicott and Charters anchor the atmosphere of the film. Their witty banter infuses humor into the narrative, especially with a majority of their dialogue focused on standing for a National Anthem of the Hungarian Rhapsody (of which was an apparent mistake.) This type of verbal exchange amongst characters creates the notion of although a mystery, The Lady Vanishes is also a film of dry (unintentional) comedy. Unintentional meaning while written for comedic relief, the characters themselves do not have forethought of creating any sort of wit.

Hitchcock is always very clever with his infusion of humor. He understands the importance of the comedic relief, as too much suspense can bog down an audience. An intelligent intertwining of even dry humor provides a necessary deviation from the topical seriousness of suspense. Personally, I like to reference comedy and tragedy as fraternal twins. Different but similar, can be identified individually but share a deep connection often needing and requiring one another within artistic works. One aids the other, but doesn't change the purposed aim of the narrative.

Upon her entrance, Iris is the direct focus of the hotel manager, as he gives his undivided attention to her and her friends. The camera also nearly lends its entire focus to the three women implementing a “walk and talk” type of take. Hitchcock then cuts to a shot of Iris speaking to the hotel manager with the dialogue “I'm going home.” I feel this specific shot and dialogue convey a character of importance, as Iris is being tended to in a very personal manner.

The patrons (standing in a huddled clump) direct all attention to the three women (Iris and her two friends) as we hear indistinct whispers and murmurs while they look on. Caldicott and Charters are speculative as to the identity of Iris (this is an interesting bit of dialogue with a claim of “possibly Americans.”) The idea tossed about of Iris being an American star seems to exhibit an importance of American fame and the power it possesses. The way Hitchcock lends focus to Iris and the verbal exchange amongst Caldicott and Charters is suggestive of the star power of the American actor, which is a somewhat evident precursor to Hitchcock’s move from England to America (Hollywood) and his utilization of Hollywood stars in his films.

#58 Hawk223

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 03:52 PM

1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music.

The atmosphere is busy, active I would say. There's a great deal of overlapping dialogue and sound, such as the entrance of the two man with the cuckoo clock.

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene.

Similar to what others have said, they seem to be a sort of stuffy British type common of the time, and their performances provide a sort of Muppet-like (Waldorf) comic commentary on Iris bossing around the hotel manager and how they're passed over by manager upon her entrance.

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.

The camera keeps Iris on top. She also disrupts the scene the from the chaos to essentially direct the hotel manager. The camera follows her as she bosses him, and we don't really get much of a view of the other two companions.

#59 BarbaraGrahamTucker

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:38 PM

  1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music.

The mood is funny and off kilter.  The cuckoo clock is not a cuckoo, it plays a funny song.  The little lady goes out almost blown away.  The German porters come in with a bunch of stuff and dump it in front of the reception.  Why? The clerk speaks four different languages without knowing if they fall anywhere.  He wants to impress the American girls.  The music sounds like “oompah” music.  I get the feeling Hitchcock was an Anglophile and a little xenophobic; he liked foreign locations but not foreign people; for this reason I think he is more plot driven than character driven.  He does have some character driven elements but only in the stars.  There is not depth here.  We will feel sorry for Margaret Lockwood being “gaslighted” but it’s more because there’s a mystery to be solved than we believe there is really a problem.

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. They give some exposition about the political background. Later they will work against Margaret (Iris) in solving the mystery.  They are only a help toward the end. They might serve as a contrast to her predicament; she is concerned and they are only concerned about sports.  They are dumb, kind of clueless, as the story about the Hungarian national anthem shows. 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.  She is dark and the other two are blondes that are kind of indistinguishable.  Her body posture, the fact that she does almost all the talking, the attention the clerk pays her, her ordering him around, her closeness to the clerk, makes it pretty clear she is going to stick around and the other two are expendable. 


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#60 RepublicPics

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 02:25 PM

The tone in the opening to a The Lady Vanishes is established through the light-hearted (almost vaudevillian) music early entrance of the complaining bellmen loaded with bags (with shot of the cuckoo clock), and through the chaos punctuated with the running commentary of Caldicott and Charters.  The Caldicott and Charters characters are like an older married couple, each with opinions of their own, and each with a keen sense of the other's shortcomings.

The entrance of Iris interrupts all other action in the sequence.  Here attendants follow her as the clerk fawns all over her.  The reaction shot of the other assembled passengers appears almost to be a group of observers behind a red velvet rope.


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