1. Describe how this opening is different from the multiple opening scenes you have seen in the Daily Doses from the British silent and/or sound period?
Like most of you have said, the opening is different in that it doesn't start in a busy, crowded place, but rather with this "ethereal", almost "ghost-like" narration. It then shifts to the cliff where Maxim is standing, full of grief. This part sorta reminded me of The Farmer's Wife, which is another one of the few Hitchcock films that doesn't open on a crowded place, but with shots of the desolate farm, and then shows the farmer looking out the window, full of grief. Also, like I said on the DD for The Lady Vanishes, the pan over the miniature set with the inn, the trains, and the avalanche was also a bit similar to this one.
2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock
To be honest, I can't think of a single thing in it that identifies it as a Hitchcock film.
3. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What affect does the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene?
The whole opening highlights the house as an entity, focusing on the gates, how they can't enter again, the size of it, the state it's in. There is intrigue as to the narration, what happened there? why can't they enter again? It helps set everything up.