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Daily Dose #10: Nothing on Me (Opening Scene of Shadow of a Doubt)


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#1 Emma D.

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 10:59 AM

  1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 
    An enigmatic man, Uncle Charlie exhibits many characteristics.  First of all, he seems to be nomadic.  His distaste for permanent residence is inferred by his out-of-place attire, his small boarding room, and his aloof and divergent personality from that of his apparent landlady.  Yet, his "friends" making their presence may state otherwise.  After Charlie sees his "friends," we find out that he is being chased, and his crime is given to us in the version of the song playing during this moment: the Merry Widow Waltz.  Uncle Charlie can charm when he pleases, but that is no match for his innate duplicity.   
  2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)
    It seems to be uncharacteristic to show playing children alongside an upbeat music score in a film noir.  However, Joesph Cotten makes up for the lack of noir in the subsequent shots.  A fantastic representation of this is the shot at 1:59: the darkness envelopes Uncle Charlie, and he does not seem to mind.  We also see cigars, suits, alcohol, detectives, and a man on the run, all indicative of a film noir.
  3. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? ​​

​      The score heard in the first seconds of this scene reflect the mood that will come soon enough.           This happy and uplifting song mirrors the joyous lifestyle of young Charlie and her family, the               same family that Uncle Charlie will soon terrorize.  We also hear traces and even segments of             the Merry Widow Waltz, a defining song for Charles and his life.



#2 forlorn_rage

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 03:05 AM

https://learn.canvas..._item_id=195509

 

 

1.      As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

 

In Shadow of a Doubt, we never completely find out the whole story with Charles “Uncle Charlie” Spencer. He remains a mysterious figure all throughout the film. However, there are hints that there is definitely something off about him.

 

In fact, when Charlie’s landlady, Mrs. Martin, comes to warn him about “2 men asking for [him],” the entire exchange between these two seem off.

 

1. Charles is very cool and nonchalant with this knowledge, indicating that he was expecting these men to call on him.

 

2. Charles doesn’t divulge information to reassure Mrs. Martin or the audience that there is nothing wrong. In fact, Mrs. Martin is the one who shares all the details with him. Even though, in a regular situation, it would have to be the other way around.

 

3. Charles has a lot of money casually lying around, which Mrs. Martin picks up for him. And he doesn’t seem the least but mindful or protective of his wealth at all. Either, he implicitly trusts Mrs. Martin or simply doesn’t care for the money much.   

 

4. What little information Charles Spencer does divulge, he’s very cryptic and, even, flippant about: “[The men] aren’t exactly friends of mine. They’ve never seen me. That’s odd, isn’t it?”

 

5. After Mrs. Martin leaves, Charles goes to window and proclaims “What do you know? You’re bluffing. You’ve nothing on me.” Then, he takes a major risk by strolling out of the house and right past the 2 men in a cavalier fashion, seemingly to invite the men to chase him.

 

 

2.      In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

As mentioned before, there is nothing indicative of Charles’ as an innocent or sympathetic character. Even the technical details of the film, itself, give his nefarious nature while he, himself, remains tight-lipped.

 

Film Noir References:

  • First shot with the children playing outside reminds me briefly of M.
  • Next couple of shots: Cant angles of the boarding house where Uncle Charlie is staying.
    • Cant (or Dutch) angles are visual staple of film noir, indicating a distorted worldview.
  • When Charles is finally introduced into the film, there is quite a bit of low-key lighting on him.

 

Probably the most notable difference between The Killers opening and Shadow of a Doubt opening is the attitudes of the two male leads, played by Burt Lancaster and Joseph Cotton respectively.

 

In complete contrast to Charles Spencer, The Swede, played by Burt Lancaster, is a guilt-ridden tragic figure who is aware of his impending doom. Rather than try to escape, he condemns himself to meet his fate,

 

What gives that Noir world is the fatalism that it embodies is the overarching hand of fate, which renders even the strongest of men and women absolutely powerless, as established with the Swede’s character, “There’s nothing I can do about it. “ and  “There ain’t anything to do.”

 

In most, if not all, of these movies, audiences are never reassured that the protagonist will meet any kind of refuge or salvation when they die. The most that audiences get might be final thoughts of regret as expressed in The Swede’s final statements, “I’m through with all that running around” and “I did something wrong… Once.” This existentialism is what ultimately gives Film Noir that tragic, haunting quality that tears ripped through the peace and idealism of the American fabric of life for Post-WWII audiences, especially for veterans.

 

Oddly enough, Joseph Cotten does play a disillusioned veteran in a couple of films after Shadow of a Doubt, including I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) and Niagra (1953).

 

If Shadow of a Doubt were made even a couple of years later, Cotten’s nefarious portrayal of Uncle Charlie probably wouldn’t have gone well with American audiences.

 

For so long, the proclaimed enemies of the Americans were foreigners, whether it was the Nazis or the Axis Powers of the Germans and the Japanese. In fact, many of Hitchcock’s early villains are “foreign” or unrelatable in some way, whether it’s foreign agents from Sabotage, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes, Lifeboat, Notorious or wealthy and/or respected, corrupt official from Foreign Correspondent, Saboteur, etc.

 

Charles is not like any of the above villains. He’s not an outsider that the Oakley family has to get to know or contemplate whether or not to give him their trust. He’s part of that family, even a blood relative. Also unlike the aforementioned villains, as suave as Joseph Cotten is, Charles is still a small-time villain. He doesn’t political or patriotic motivations. This time it’s purely personal and purely evil. He’s operating under his own family’s noses and possibly endangering them in the process.    

 

But even with all that, this was still during the war. At this time, audiences are still reassured that all able-bodied “good” American men were fighting the enemies overseas.    

 

In the aftermath of the war, however, Charles would’ve probably been seen as a representative of the returning GI’s trying to get back into the American routine of life. It would simply be unthinkable for American audiences that after coming from war, that one of their own that they had grown up with and loved, could come back as the enemy threatening to destroy the peace and sanctity of their home.

 

 

3.      As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

The music is absolutely chilling! Because Charles Spencer so carefully conceals his nature and motives, as mentioned before, it is the technical aspects of the film which give him away as someone not to be trusted. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score adds to corroboration with the film in exposing Charles.

 

The music builds up when Charles looks out the window and prepares to head out. Then goes soft once Charles heads out the door in order to build the suspense, as the audience is not sure how Charles will handle his “not friends” outside. However, once he spots them, Charles directly faces them (as well as facing the camera and the audience respectively) and walks right toward them.

 

Once Charles walks right past them, the music quiets down. But, there is still something very menacing about the banging of the keyboard, which happens once Charles walks past and the men are watching him walk off in the distance and follow him. As if by choosing to follow him, they’ve chosen a very dangerous path to take. 



#3 dsanders

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:21 PM

Daily Dose #10: Nothing on Me, Opening Scene from Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

 

Of Uncle Charlie’s character, we get a very heavy sense of fatalism and doom weighing on him, as he lies on the bed, as in the montage-like fluid movement of the camera down the nightstand to the bills tossed haphazardly aside on the floor, suggesting even money doesn’t matter to this character, and the complex lattice-work of shadows that lie across him and the room. 

 

The landlady comes in and with crystal clear depth of field, her in the background, his prone figure close up, what a great shot, she prattles on in her everyday reality, contrapuntally to his nihilist existential reality. The way Charlie stands at the window, with a voice-over about how the two “friends” waiting for him on the street have nothing on him, is like the interior monologues of Chandler’s and Hammett’s characters, yet is remarkably seamless: he seems to talk, but we never see his lips move in the way the shot is cut. When Charlie sits on the edge of his bed, he downs a shot, but we never see him drink. This movie is pretty near perfect and has so many great details, at every turn, of the Hitchcock touch. 

 

I like his hat sitting at an angle on his head as he walks onto the street, in film-noir the jaunty hat sometimes denoting confidence, or street-savvy, but here, his sinister intent, with the darkness shadowing his forehead, or the complete arrogance of his world-view, when he practically bumps into the detective, forcing him to move out of the way, as he strides past, flaunting his scorn of banal human law, and other useless humans.

 

I paid more attention to the music in this signature scene, since it is pointed out, and noticed how the score starts building in the apartment, during the monologue, first with strings in minor key, and the tension they build in this early scene, over seemingly mundane actions, creating an unbearable suspense so quickly, we don't even know why yet, immediately, culminating in Charlie’s exit out the front door, where the horns and woodwinds join in a huge crescendo, just as he exits the apartment building. It’s almost comical to focus on the sound in isolation, because, after all, it’s only a guy going out the front door. I just love this movie. What a great opening scene, and terrific inspiration to use the opening of the Hemingway story.



#4 Rejana Raj

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 07:59 AM

1.) In this scene, We comes to know that Uncle Charlie had committed some awful crime. He also know that the two men who were mentioned by the old lady were literally his angels of death. In the end, He is ready to face the music.

2.) Since, I didn't saw the film "The Killers", I don't know if the scene has any resemblance to that of the film mentioned above. Yes, this film has has the unique elements of film noir as even this scene begins in the daylight, one could see the shadow setting in the room of Uncle Charlie along with mystic background music and two mysterious men along the pavement.

3.)The music score is perfect and it brings the emotive mood of Uncle Charlie in this scene.

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#5 visball

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 12:35 PM

As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific.

 

Uncle Charlie is a loner and in some kind of trouble. With the police perhaps? The scene doesn't really say but Uncle Charlie is accepting his fate. He tells the lady to let the two men in next time. Later, he boldly walks right by them. 

 

 

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

I'm not familiar with film noir other than the hard-boiled detective stories, so this didn't remind me of watching film noir at all. I'll have to watch the whole movie in order to expand my definition of film noir.
 

As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

The music served to heighten the emotions that Uncle Charlie was feeling, especially when he threw the glass.



#6 MagdaK83

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 04:36 PM

Oh, I loved it! It is definitely a film noir! This guy is a loner he's surely in trouble the money on the floor might be form the last night's job and the two detectives are looking for him!



#7 Suj

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 11:25 AM

1. We learn that 2 men want to see Uncle Charlie from what the boarding house lady says to him. The cash thrown so carelessly on the bedside table and fallen on the floor next to his bed make the audience think that there is something odd about the man's attitude to cash. Joseph Cotten is a boarder in this house and seems to be tired. He tells the lady that he is not sure whether he should ask the men to come in or whether he should go out and meet them. When he speaks to the lady, it's almost as if he doesn't care. However as soon as the lady leaves, he gets up and smashes a glass and says" What do you know? You have nothing on me!" looking at  the 2 men who are waiting for him across the street and later defiantly walks up to the men almost brushing against one of them. His indifference seems to vanish as soon as the lady leaves the room and he becomes bolder and more confident. We see 2 sides to Uncle Charlie in this one scene - the laid-back indifference which transforms itself into a the defiant boldness most probably sparked by fear and anger.

 

2. The opening sequence is definitely "film noir" with its dramatic music, seedy boarding house and city setting and the presence of detectives after him. The sarcasm when he tells the lady "It's very funny, they aren't actually friends of mine, it's odd isn't it?" is also what we see in film noir. Similarly to The Killers, we see the main character lying on a bed but unlike that film, Joseph Cotten is shown in a bright room and we can see his face clearly. Both men are being hunted even though in The Killers, Burt Lancaster is supposedly already dead but Cotten as we can see, is very much alive.

 

We see Joseph Cotten much earlier than we see Lancaster lying on his bed. Hitch manages to condense a lot of information into a short scene but the beginning of The Killers seems to drag on if you compare the 2 films. The mood in both films is dark and threatening. Both films have a very realist perspective. There is no glamour here. The music (more in 3 below) is mostly dark and slow until he stands up from the bed after which the music becomes more dramatic as he walks faster and runs away from the detectives.

 

3. The music. The scene opens with kids playing in the street to the light-hearted Merry Widow waltz lulling the audience into a false sense of security until the camera approaches Joseph Cotten and the music quietens down and we hear the sound of bells ringing (could these be warning bells?). Thus in the first few seconds, the cinema audience expect a light-hearted scene to match the music.

 

The music then stops and Hitch surprises us by showing us the cash on the floor and the bedside table and with the information that there are 2 men on Uncle Charlie's trail through the conversation between him and the landlady.

 

After the lady leaves the room,the music becomes more dramatic as Cotten stands up from the bed, you hear screeching violin music which reaches a crescendo when he smashes the glass. The music lets the audience know that Uncle Charlie is not as laid back as he seemed in the first few seconds. As Cotten collects his money and leaves the boarding house, the music becomes louder and even louder when he stands up defiantly outside the door.Then the music quietens down as he approaches the 2 detectives. It then picks up with the sound of heavy piano playing to accompany the detectives' deliberate footsteps as they follow Uncle Charlie.

 

The music definitely helps the cinema audience's understanding of the scene.



#8 mavfan4life

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 04:02 PM

1. Uncle Charlie is a man with no optimism for the future. He's bitter and angry and cynical. He's brazen, telling the landlady that they don't know what he looks like, then intentionally walking into the street, brushing against one of the policemen on his way to somewhere. On the run, hiding in plain sight. 

 

2. Knowing what we've just learned, that Wilder suggested the opening sequence to Hitchcock based on The Killers, it's great comparison viewing. Beyond both characters lying in bed, awaiting their fates, the similarities break down. 

 

Where the Swede is resigned to his fate, ready to accept his own death, Uncle Charlie is quite the opposite. He's continuing to push forward, ready to take his show on the road. Both film opening sequences are noir, and although Uncle Charlie has a more optimistic view of his immediate future, the music and the chasing of the two detectives tells us his path is not so bright.

 

3. Tiomkin's score is ominous throughout, though the pace picks up as he rises, walks out of the building, and brushes past his pursuers. In fact, the score brings home the gravity of the situation for Uncle Charlie. 



#9 FilmFan39

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 09:38 PM

1. When we are introduced to Uncle Charlie we are uncertain as to what to make of the well dressed man lying on the bed next to roles of money. Its only after witnessing his interaction with the maid do we get a sense of the truly terrible person that he is.

 

3. Tominkin's music is used to highlight the internal thought of Uncle Charlie. It starts out almost nostalgic as we enter Charlies room as he lies full clothed on his bed thinking about nothing in particular as he caresses some of his ill gotten money. As he beings to interact with the maid the music starts to get quicker and more and more ominous as Charles mental state becomes more and more scattered until he throws the glass against the wall and decides to leave when the music reaches its highest point as he is spots the two officers that have come looking for him. Tominkin's music is used to great effect giving the view insight into Charles increasingly unhinged mental state.



#10 filmcat

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 12:38 PM

At first glance, Uncle Charley appears meticulous in his clothing and manner, but this is contrasted as the camera scans the seedy room and the money strewn across the table and floor.  He seems perfectly calm and relaxed as he lays on the bed, but who really relaxes in a full suit and tie and shoes?  He seems calm and generally pleasant when the landlady enters and tells him about two men coming to see him.  He appears almost disinterested, but the second she closes the door, we see that he is actually tense, angry, and violent as he takes a drink and then throws the glass furiously into the bathroom sink!  We can actually feel his tension and nervousness as he crosses the room to look out the window.  You definitely feel that he has done something wrong as he sees the two men on the corner and says "you have nothing on me."  Then, you feel that many strong emotions are battling within him as he nervously gathers up his money, other pocket contents, and hat.  As he leaves his room, you feel that he is nervous, but also arrogant, angry, and confident that he can handle the two men waiting outside.

 

This opening seems like Film Noir from the dark, shadowy, high contrast black and white in the seedy boardinghouse room.  You know he is in a city when he looks out the window and you see skyscrapers in the background, but a mix of fairly nice brick buildings and very run-down wooden buildings across the street.  It also seems like Film Noir from the mood or feeling of dread and unease.

 

While I have seen "The Killers," it was too long ago to remember details.  However, this opening feels different from Film Noir at the very beginning when we see a bright, sunny street scene with boys cheerfully playing ball.  Then, the camera starts to scan the buildings and you start to feel some unease as the camera zooms in on one particular window and you know something is wrong in this room in contrast to the cheerful scene outside (the music is key here in changing the mood).  This also highlights a "Hitchcock Touch" that a perfectly innocent and ordinary exterior may actually be hiding an evil interior (both building and person).

 

Tiomkin's score seems to start out very simply and almost playful as we see the street scene with boys playing ball.  It seems darker and more foreboding as the camera scans the buildings and as it zooms in on one particular window, the music gives the feeling of danger lurking and dread.  Then, as we "go through" the window, the music calms down and becomes soft again as we see Uncle Charley lying on his bed, apparently calm and relaxed.  However, the music still makes you feel a little uneasy and uncertain as the camera scans the room.  When the landlady knocks and enters, the music stops altogether as they have their conversation.  As she closes the shade and then exits, the music resumes, but it now seems very nervous and frenetic.  The tension builds as the music rises and quickens as Uncle Charley jumps up, takes a drink, and then the score reaches a crescendo as he smashes the glass into the sink.  The music seems to be perfectly synchronized to Uncle Charley's actions and even his thoughts.  The music is nervous and frantic as he looks out the window and then stops to think.  As he thinks, we hear a little of the Merry Widow Waltz interspersed with the uneasy, frantic background score.  Then, the music builds in tempo and volume as he gathers his things and leaves the room.  We see his shadow in the hallway as he is leaving and the music continues to build until it climaxes as he goes through the door to the outside.  As he stops on the stoop, the music starts again low and slow, but increases in nervousness and volume as he approaches the two men.  As he passes them, it slows down again (like he is letting out his breath after passing them without an incident).  As they start to follow him, the music is again perfectly synchronized, but this time, with the two men's footsteps.  Obviously, Hitchcock and Tiomkin collaborated very well together to get the music, action, mood, and pace in this scene so perfectly coordinated (plus, they worked together on three more movies after this one).



#11 Reegstar

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 11:17 PM

I have seen this entire movie, at least a few times, and I'll see it again for this class.  Shadow of a Doubt is a great film.  It's really cool how it's set in Santa Rosa, it's such a great location.  I've been to all of Hitchcock's northern California locations.  If you can ever get to San Francisco, there is a walking tour of the Hitchcock locations in San Francisco.  Some of the locales have changed very little in 60 years.

 

1.  As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

 

We learn that Joseph Cotton/Uncle Charlie has done something nefarious, by virtue of money strewn about carelessly, and the landlady coming up to tell him that two men were asking to talk to him.  Since he's just lying on the bed, smoking a cigar, I'm guessing - if this were my first viewing of this movie - he has committed some sort of crime and is going over it in his head.  He does not seem remorseful, but he is pensive, maybe he's thinking the police have something on him.  After he opens the blind and sees the men on the corner, he becomes confident, and, in the voiceover, he's convinced himself they have nothing on him.  From that thought, until he walks past them and out of the scene, you think he may have a new scheme brewing.

 

2.   In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

The two things that jump out at me as "Film Noir" in this opening scene are:  the protagonist - Joseph Cotton/Uncle Charlie - is a criminal; and, there is an inner, psychological, conversation going on in his head.  This opening scene also has echoes of German Expressionism in the window shots and shadows.  The scene opens with a street scene that seems low-rent, and kind of gritty.  While I have seen The Killers, it's been a very long time, but it seems to me that in The Killers, the main guy is innocent, but he couldn't escape the killers sent after him.  There is crime and punishment and measures of guilt in both of the main characters in these movies.  

 

3.  As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

I'm so happy this question is a topic.  The brilliant music of Dimitri Tiomkin makes this scene work so beautifully.  I just knew Cotton was going to throw that drink glass at the wall, from the way the music built up to that point.  We also get a hint of the motif - just a very short riff from The Merry Widow waltz music that seems to drift through Cotton's head.  I also love the harsh piano chords as the cops turn to follow Uncle Charlie down the street at the end of the scene.  The chords are perfectly matched to the cops' footsteps.  Tiomkin is a genius, and, together with Hitchcock, we get all the ominous music motifs rendered in a sophisticated score that is not as heavy-handed as we heard in Rebecca.  It is a wonderful musical arrangement, and I can see why Tiomkin was admired by Hitchcock.  It's a good collaboration.

 



#12 karenod1

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 05:49 PM

In the opening scene of "Shadow of a Doubt" we learn that the character of Charlie is a shady one. We know simply from his demeanor in the bed...fully clothed lying on a bed does not indicate that a person is relaxed. The money all over the nightstand and on the floor indicates that he has done something wrong to get all that cash. His way of speaking to the landlady is sinister. We learn that this is a man who has most likely done something wrong to earn that cash, that two men are after him and that it makes him nervous but that he is reckless enough to confront them. 

 

The noir signals come from the shadows in the scene, from the seediness of the boarding house on a gritty urban street, the criminal being watched by the detectives....the innocence of the children playing on the street while danger lurks reminds me of "M". 

 

The score plays an important role in this and subsequent Hitchcock movies....the initial music to make us feel playful with the kids turns quickly somber as we enter Charlie's bedroom. There the music stays quiet and ominous until it crashes and thunders as he throws the glass, it again turns frenetic as he leaves the rooming house.....causing the audience to feel nervous and off balance. 

 

 



#13 pumatamer

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 12:33 PM

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

The shadows coming across Charlie in the bed and as his land lady enters the room. The men in fadoras eyeing him up as he passes by. The impending doom of it all just screams noir. 

 



#14 devin05

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 09:06 PM

As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 
 

He is waiting or thinking, he probably has done some illegal things, the amount of money on the nightstand some carelessly on the floor.  Cold calculating.  Although not openly disrespectful, he is dismissive of Mrs. Martin.  As we saw in the lecture, Uncle Charlie has a strong streak of misogyny.  He can be quick to violent behavior.  But when calm rational and confident.  So confident he can make it a point walk past the men looking for him.  Or so confident that that he can be brazen and careless.

 

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)
 

Shadow of a Doubt already has some thematic elements of film noir.  A dark violent character.  A level of misogyny.  Visually black and white, use of shadow, particularly as Mrs. Martin pulls down the shades and shadow comes across Charlie's face, with a bit of foreshadowing, is he in a casket?  

 

As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene?

 

​At first the score is almost light, before we entered Charlie's realm.  But as soon as we enter Charlie's room it transition to something although slower and peaceful but perhaps ominous.  As soon as the shadow passes over Charlie when Mrs. Martin pulls down the shades the score returns and is very ominous, as he throws the glass it turns violent, his inner monologue, and the score builds, and tension is building, will he act against the men waiting for him, and no he passes by, but the piano follows him in cadence with the stride of the two men.



#15 Bgeorgeteacher

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 08:59 PM

1. In the film's New Jersey prelude, we learn that Uncle Charlie has a stash of cash by the bedside and he's lying in bed in a dark suit, rolling a cigar between his fingers. We learn from the lady running the boarding house that two men have been asking for him and are waiting just outside for him. In a manner so calm that it is sinister, Charlie informs her the men are not his friends and replies "that he may go out and meet them." After the woman leaves, he smashed his glass and leaves, but makes sure to walk right by the waiting men, instead of avoiding them, perhaps tempting fate or daring the men to make a move. 

 

2. Obviously, the shadows of the room and the mystery behind the cash gives us an idea that the film is a noir, as well as the seedy nature of Charlie. I also noticed that, in contrast to Charlie's black suit (representing his dark nature), the lady from the boarding house is dressed in a white dress with gray stripes, perhaps representing the fact that she is caught between her normal life and the criminal activity of her boarder.

 

3. The movie's score starts off as peaceful while panning over the boys playing in the street as it moves to the window where we meet Uncle Charlie. It is after we learn that Charlie is being followed and we see him react that the music loudly jolts us out of this peace and then ramps up as Charlie decided to take his money and walk by the two men waiting outside for him. The music's jarring nature is what pulls us out of any sense of calm into a feeling of suspense.

Great interpretation of the boarding house woman dressed in stripes!!  She does seem concerned about Charlie, but there's SO MUCH MONEY lying around... how can she NOT know there is something criminal going on?  



#16 Bgeorgeteacher

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 08:57 PM

Shadow of a Doubt...I love this one!  In the prelude, we quickly learn that Charlie is in some sort of trouble.  With money lying all over the place, there is definitely something going on!  He's lying on the bed, clearly upset about something, and with that, Hitch has us drawn into the story, right from the very beginning, with a knot in our stomachs because something is wrong.  This has the noir feel because of the shadows, the shady men with suits and hats that are hanging out on the corner, and the dramatic music.  Those are elements that always give me the film noir feel.  That musical score gives the dark, thick, heavy feel that signifies both noir and the mysterious feel that is classic Hitchcock.  Even though there are children playing in the street, a man calmly lying on a bed...the score tells us not to trust what we are seeing.  There is more to the story!



#17 Ihopetheresice

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:39 PM

1. In the film's New Jersey prelude, we learn that Uncle Charlie has a stash of cash by the bedside and he's lying in bed in a dark suit, rolling a cigar between his fingers. We learn from the lady running the boarding house that two men have been asking for him and are waiting just outside for him. In a manner so calm that it is sinister, Charlie informs her the men are not his friends and replies "that he may go out and meet them." After the woman leaves, he smashed his glass and leaves, but makes sure to walk right by the waiting men, instead of avoiding them, perhaps tempting fate or daring the men to make a move. 

 

2. Obviously, the shadows of the room and the mystery behind the cash gives us an idea that the film is a noir, as well as the seedy nature of Charlie. I also noticed that, in contrast to Charlie's black suit (representing his dark nature), the lady from the boarding house is dressed in a white dress with gray stripes, perhaps representing the fact that she is caught between her normal life and the criminal activity of her boarder.

 

3. The movie's score starts off as peaceful while panning over the boys playing in the street as it moves to the window where we meet Uncle Charlie. It is after we learn that Charlie is being followed and we see him react that the music loudly jolts us out of this peace and then ramps up as Charlie decided to take his money and walk by the two men waiting outside for him. The music's jarring nature is what pulls us out of any sense of calm into a feeling of suspense.


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#18 SherriW

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:55 PM

1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 
 
He's being followed by a couple men. 
 
 

2.In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

unknown

 

  1. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

At first the music feels a little joyful then moves to a littler paranoid and then to straight up panic,

  1. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)


#19 melissasimock

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:45 PM

As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. ​​

 

He's living in a boarding house.

Two men are following him. 

He is preoccupied with what is going on in his life,.  So much so that he lets lots money lay all over and doesn't care that the landlady sees it.  And just lays on the bed, lost in thought.

He's done something he shouldn't have/ feels guilty about something - he says "You have nothing on me."

 

 

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

Strong contrast of black and white.

Use of shadows.

Someone is on the run/being followed.  

Someone is tailing a main character.

There is a somber tone to the scene.

 

 

As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

The music shifts from gay and playful when we are outside in the streets with the children, to slow and soft when we move inside the room of Charlie.  When Charlie rises from his bed, the music rises with him.  It continues to do so, creating a feeling of anticipation until he walks out the front door of the building.  As he walks past the men following him, then as they start to follow him again, the music mirrors the anxiety and anticipation of all three men and the situation.  As the men follow him, the music also mimics the rhythm of their footsteps.

 

 

 



#20 shamus46

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 09:24 PM

1. This scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific.  He is almost in a meditative state, considering his next move. Thinking about all he's done, his victims, and although he kills for the money, it means nothing to him.  You can sense the inner turmoil and the increased anger boiling up in him.  Restrained, but boiling.

 

2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir

The brooding character and building of tension in the scene. Finding out that he's been found and realizing he needs to take action to avoid capture.  His arrogance of knowing they have "nothing on me". 

 

3. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene?

Tiomkin's music underscores everything...the tension within the building, the crescendo up to the door.  The Merry Widow theme running throughout.  The music portrays enough of the story that dialogue is not needed.


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