We're excited to present a great new set of boards to classic movie fans with tons of new features, stability, and performance.

If you’re new to the message boards, please “Register” to get started. If you want to learn more about the new boards, visit our FAQ.

Register

If you're a returning member, start by resetting your password to claim your old display name using your email address.

Re-Register

Thanks for your continued support of the TCM Message Boards.

X

Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

X

Jump to content


Photo

Daily Dose #11: Thought I'd Left (Opening Scene of Mr. and Mrs. Smith)


  • Please log in to reply
163 replies to this topic

#1 slp515

slp515

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 16 posts

Posted Yesterday, 10:34 PM

Daily Dose #11: Thought I'd Left? 
Opening Scene from Hitchcock's Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1943)

1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc?

In the opening sequence there was Hitchcock's touches of visual techniques, lighting and camera perspectives and sound. You know that by the disarray of the room and all the dishes, uneaten food, newspapers, glasses and bottles around that the couple had been there for awhile. You also knew that the couple was in a hotel room by the decor of the room, and that it was morning from the light and the tossing and turning of the lady in bed - as if she was waking up.


2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

I strongly disagree that the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings seen so far in the other Daily Doses. Although the music was upbeat and joyous, there was no dancing, no mysterious errie music to give you impression that something strange and weird was about to happen.


3. What do you think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

The casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery was actually very good. They had the right charisma especially during the scene where he pushed the door shut to make her think that he had left. The look between them suggested true love.

As far as both of them being well cast for the "comedy of remarriage" I only saw one scene that I considered rather funny and that was when he stepped on the couch to cross over to the window. And it was funny only the first time he did it. I guess i will have to see the rest of the film to answer further.

#2 Ann56

Ann56

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted Yesterday, 07:01 PM

1.    What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? The following are all Hitchcock touches that I see:  The camera angles, especially the POV shots, the music which changes with the tone or mood of the scene, the tracking that is done while Mr. Smith navigates his way through the dishes to find a place to put down the breakfast tray.  In addition, we learn about the following about the couple:  The furniture, linens, and decorations tell us that they are well off and can afford such things, especially when he walks over the couch to answer the door. It gives us the feeling that he takes the material things for granted; therefore, he might take other people’s feelings for granted.

2.    Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not?  The fact that the camera moves through the room focusing on the dirty dishes and then to the cards and finally to the person does remind me of a typical Hitchcock opening.  However, since it is a comedy and not like Hitchcock’s other films, there are no indications of suspense.

3.    What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? I loved Carole Lombard in this role. I have to admit that I’ve never watched her movies, but I can see in this movie how engaging she is.  Robert Montgomery reminded me of a spoilt child, and I personally got annoyed with his character.  I wasn’t too impressed with the Gene Raymond character either, so I would have to vote for divorce and Carole finding someone other than Robert or Gene. Since I am of a younger generation, I did not live during the time that this movie was made and might not “get” what the norm of the day would have been.  So I will chalk it up to that. I also am not a big fan of comedies, so that might be another reason why this wasn’t one of my favorites. 



#3 Shannon.H

Shannon.H

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 48 posts

Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:53 PM

What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc?

 

​We see love and humour.  Lots happening to set up the scene to introduce us to the couple.

 

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

 

I would say this is typical opening in that it introduces us to and sets up a little of what the story is, so in that way it is.  But this film certainly doesn't feel like your typical Hitchcock film.

 

What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

 

I loved them both!  I thought they fit extremely well together and were very believeable

as a couple.



#4 Shannon.H

Shannon.H

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 48 posts

Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:43 PM

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc 

 

 

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 
     
  2. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 


#5 Shannon.H

Shannon.H

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 48 posts

Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:43 PM

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc 

 

 

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 
     
  2. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 


#6 Thief12

Thief12

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 97 posts

Posted 18 July 2017 - 09:16 PM

1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc?

 

To be honest, I don't see much of a Hitchcock "touch" in it. However, we learn a lot from the opening: the couple have been in the apartment for a while, they either have been in a fight or don't care about cleaning. There is distance between them: she is in the bed, he is in the sofa.

 

I like how Montgomery carries himself in the scene, very casual, very laid-back. I like how he uses the couch to walk over it, instead of around it. The smoking, the bathrobe, the way he pulls the chair when bringing the breakfast to his wife. There's a certain air of "I don't care much" in his demeanor.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not?

 

I don't agree. Most of the Hitchcock openings we've discussed, and most of the ones I've seen (I still haven't seen most of his early 30's films, though) start with crowded places and action. The exceptions that I remember being Rebecca and The Farmer's Wife.

 

3. What do you think about the casting and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage"? Why or why not?

 

I like the chemistry. I still haven't seen this film, but what little I've seen, they do look like a couple that have been together for a while. The way she clings to her near the end of the scene showed a lot. The scene belongs to Montgomery, though, and like I said in the first question, he owns it. The body language, demeanor, etc. is perfect.



#7 hussardo

hussardo

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 15 posts

Posted 18 July 2017 - 12:55 PM

1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 
Close up and profile shots, virus information makes part of the "touches" we see in the opening sequence. You learn the couple's social status and possible background thought visual design.


2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 
Yes, I agree with the statement purely because of camera movement and production design.

3. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not?
The chemistry is there and you can clearly see it in the sequence. They were both well chosen and the cast works fine because of experience and previous work in this genre.

#8 dmaxedon

dmaxedon

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts

Posted 18 July 2017 - 12:09 PM

1. Hmm, I see a room full of clues as to who these people are, well to do, spoiled, a staff of people waiting on them, i certainly wouldn't call them average. They do seem to be going through something, and we're about to find out what it is. It's probably going to be fun, and being a Hitch-pic, we are thinking it might be adventurous. There are some tracking shots that are reminiscent of Hitchcock, but if I didn't know it was his work, I don't know that I would have picked up on it, especially based on the subject matter, even though there are some familiar thematic elements, the couple in love, adventure, the camera work, etc.

2. Not really, it feels typical for the period and genre, but to say it is definitive Hitchcock, I'm not so sure. Is it good, yes, could only Hitchcock have done it, I'm not so sure.

3. They seem okay together, but he's not particularly likable, although, she isn't either, so maybe they're suited for each other. I decided to watch the movie, which I guess I hadn't ever done before, at least I don't have a memory of ever having done so, it was very difficult to get into, some funny spots, but it just felt like other movies from that period, good, but nothing special. Her quick change to be willing to be rid of him, even becoming engaged, was uncomfortable to watch, like the whole thing could have ended there, but of course they really do love each other, at least that's what the script says.



#9 D'Arcy

D'Arcy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 35 posts
  • LocationLake of the Ozarks

Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:41 AM

✅ The movie opening I think has Hitch's direction all through. We have this lovely couple who are performing ordinary things in extraordinary circumstance. The scene is packed full of information and as the couple has taken themselves hostage we view the chaotic mayhem results and Mr Smith definitely thrown back on his resources as he slams door with cane while hiding sympathizing with his plight as he needs to get back to good graces. The scene is intimate like other daily doses and captures the audience immediately. Vouyerism is mentioned in conversation of the key hole. POV is directly related to form the characters using nonverbal communication allowing the scene and music to tell the story. The music score is fantastic as it captures his worry she's still in bed, her eye opening, him laying down the cards, and a whistling carefree mood. Characters are perfect and point to another wonderful film.
🎭💡📽🎬🎭

#10 Robinv

Robinv

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts

Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:01 PM

1. This scene opens up with the whimsical music, scanning of the room showing total disarray, a man playing cards alone and a wife playing as if she is sleep. Right away you know these two have been in this room for awhile. You find out they are pretty well off because they have 2 servants. As the picture progresses you know they have done this before. Then they speak of the rules.

2. In a sense I can see a Hitchcock opening. Scanning the room to acquaint us with the set. characters and where this might lead us. A married couple that loves and fights just as hard.

3. I thought the chemistry between Lombard and Montgomery was great. They played off each other wonderfully. They were believable as a couple and their fighting was really cute. I enjoyed this movie immensely. This was the first time I saw this film.

#11 fediukc1991

fediukc1991

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 25 posts

Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:52 PM

We notice that the couple is ordinary. They had a fight, from what we can tell and it is just another day. It is typical when Hitchcock was in Selznick. Instead of a crowd or an audience, it is set with a couple. They both had chemistry on screen together.



#12 startspreading

startspreading

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 28 posts
  • LocationBrazil

Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:03 PM

1.     What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 

I can recognize a playful score and a lavish set. Mr and Mrs Smith, as their own names show, are an ordinary couple. By the props, we can see that there has been a fight – it’s not a normal apartment, but one full of mess, with the wife sleeping alone in the bed and the husband playing cards. She is particularly mad, but wants to end the fight and forgive, but she doesn’t want to be the one to apologize – that’s why she pretends to be sleeping and peeks from under the sheets.

 

2.     Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

It’s typical for his Selznick years – just like in Rebecca and Shadow of a Doubt, and especially like in the later, the opening is not with a crowd, but in a bedroom. But it sets the tone early – they’re a fighting couple, but they love each other a lot.

 

 

3.     What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

I’m biased because I think Carole is perfect in all roles she played. I think they’re well cast, and Robert Montgomery adds playfulness and some kind of fun bad mood to his character. I can also envision Cary Grant as Mr Smith, with a great result.


  • HEYMOE likes this

#13 AmyV

AmyV

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts

Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:43 PM

1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? 

The use of the music to help set the tone and feel. There are some POV shots, like the one that comes up to and stops on Carole Lombard in the bed. 

Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc?

The couple seem very messy, or as we learn, the fact is they have been holed up in the room for a while, thus the reason for the general messiness.  They are a wealthy pair, as it is a large bedroom and they have at least two paid housekeeping employees.  They like to tease each other.  With the lighting, music, and the action, the story seems pleasant, not foreboding, like in some of the other pictures. 

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not?

As some of the other openings have somewhat been, this one seems more totally lighthearted; there is also the use of music to help set the scene - in this case, whimsical, playful sounding music. Of course, it is not one of those crowd scenes we've witnessed in several of his other films, but we have now seen some others that are not, either.  

 

3. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not?

Personally, I do think they are well-cast here.  They seem comfortable and easy with one another, down to her briefly pressing on his nose with her finger and the way he grabs and holds her, also the teasing, like his slamming the door, pretending to have left the room, her reaction to that and his quickly revealing the truth that he has not left the room, in reality. 

Of course, we know how great Carole Lombard was in comedy, anyway, but I have to say with just this opening, it really makes me want to watch the entire movie, as I don't think I've seen it all in the past.  Unfortunately, I missed it when it was on last week, so we'll see if I can get hold of it soon. 

 


  • HEYMOE likes this

#14 Mrs. Archie Leach

Mrs. Archie Leach

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12 posts

Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:30 PM

The primary Hitchcock "touch" I notice is the use of humor in the scene but I wonder how much of that is Hitchcock and how much is the genre. We learn that the couple is wealthy and has been in the room for a while. The lighting is bright in the Smith home, more shadowy in the scenes depicting the law office. We can tell by the bystanders in the office and the staff at the home that the Smiths are a couple whose antics capture the interest of others. It piques the audience's interest in turn, The one camera shot that stood out to me was the closeup of Lombard's partial face under the covers. When there is a knock at the door and she opens her eye, it reminded me visually of the end of the shower scene in Psycho when Janet Leigh is laying on the tile with her eyes open. The tone of this film is obviously completely different.

 

It's hard for me to call this a typical Hitchcock opening because this doesn't seem to be a typical Hitchcock film. But I do think he manages to convey a lot of information in a short scene. We are interested in what is happening in the room.

 

I haven't watched the film but judging by this clip, I think the casting of and chemistry between Lombard and Montgomery works well enough. They are both playing the scene with a good mix of lightheartedness, stubbornness and vulnerability. It's clear that he wants to engage her and coax her out from under the covers when he tricks her with the slamming of the door, When she sits up her face conveys so much emotion -- disappointment when she thinks he has left turns into relief and then happiness. He is quick to console her and seems affectionate. The scene works in my opinion.


  • HEYMOE likes this

#15 Mad4Film

Mad4Film

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 16 July 2017 - 07:38 PM

What do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting. etc?

 

Later in the scene, we found out Mr. and Mrs. Smith have been in their room for three days, however, I was able to ascertain that they had been holed up in their room for quite some time based on the camera movement, set design, and props. Right at the top of the opening scene, the camera pans across the room showing lots of used dishes around the room as well as the general messiness of the bedroom.

 

I could also tell the couple was in the middle of an argument or separated somehow based on their blocking in the frame. Carol Lombarde was in bed, hidden under the sheets, while Robert Montgomery played cards away from the bed. I also noticed a sheet on their couch in the bedroom, which could imply they weren't even sleeping together for the night. This furthers the idea that they are in the middle of some couple argument. 


  • HEYMOE likes this

#16 aoohara

aoohara

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 21 posts

Posted 16 July 2017 - 04:58 PM

I really think the whole scene opens as like one of Hitchcock's early silent films. We have lot's of clues to take in and read. We understand the couple has been there for days, they do this often, they are wealthy and they adore each other. 

 

Lombard is perfect....and I love the way her expression changes when she realized Montgomery has not actually left. She's completely adorable. The whole notion that days are spent like this is frivolity and silliness at it's finest. For this married couple nothing else in the world matters but these two.

 

It's such a conventional marriage (I mean really...what does she do all day?) but I can't help but love the dynamic between these two. 


  • HEYMOE and AmyV like this

#17 Soonya

Soonya

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts

Posted 16 July 2017 - 02:17 PM

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc?

I’m still feeling obtuse. As I watched the opening clip, I said to myself that, “I’m starting to see, starting to feel, what it means to view a Hitchcock movie.” But then when I go to articulate what “touches” I’m seeing, I don’t know what to pin point. How do I know these aren’t just black and white period touches - I’ve not seen enough of other directors to make that comparisons. As a novice viewer, I will say - it's the setting and angles that draw me in - it is unusual to see a professional type man wearing a dressing gown, smoking cigarettes, playing solitaire over a mess of several meals, and looking exasperatedly at a woman who doesn’t want to come out from under the covers. The  meals are not like the meal from Blackmail or one from Shadow of a Doubt. The characters are “clothed” like well-to-do people but appearances are not being kept up. The man doesn’t object too much to the nosey maid and as the clip unwinds, the audience is aware that this is yet another  several day long “lovers quarrel” and according to the “rules” the lovers must stay together until they make up. We also learn that he is a lawyer that can afford to miss several days from the office.

  1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not?

See answer to #1. And going back to the list of touches - Mostly nos - not average people, not average settings - upper middle class in fancy digs - no plot development yet. Just characterization. I’m sure the music is doing its thing to draw us in - I’ll have to go back and re-listen and take notes just on it - It’s light hearted, cheerful - pauses for dialogue and draws us in at the end of the clip to reassure the viewers that for all the angst that apparently came before, there is fondness and caring between the couple.

  1. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not?

I like the casting and chemistry; they appear to know and get each other (he looks at her in an exasperated way blowing smoke and puffing out his cheeks as she burrows under the covers, and then he tricks her into coming out from under the covers by pretending he left), and she ignores him and his card playing and bring over breakfast, but then snuggling up to him and saying that all marriages should have their rule. Further it seems that they are evenly matched as a “spat” that can last almost a week without either side giving in must be represented by strong opposition - weaker spouses would cave.


  • HEYMOE and Earthshine like this

#18 jkbrenna

jkbrenna

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 47 posts

Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:51 PM

I always liked this film, but now after watching other Hitchcock film, this does seem a "trifle" compared to his more dramatic movies. 

 

I had a feeling that Carole Lombard was over acting, but I'm not a professional actor.  It just seemed that way to me.



#19 annlib

annlib

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14 posts

Posted 16 July 2017 - 09:28 AM

Many have said that this is not a typical Hitchcock film, because it is a screwball comedy, but he was all about experimentation and he was not known for comedy yet there is so much comedy in his films.  There is one scene that is I think pure Hitchcock and that is at the fair.  When Gene Raymond and Carole Lombard are stuck in the parachute ride and the panning down to the ground from where they are as well as the use of such a public place with the crowds is very much a Hitchcock touch.  I also noticed her coat in that scene.  The dark coat with the white strips running vertically reminded me of a seam in a parachute.  i know that he was very particular about everything in his movies  even in the costumes.  It was a brilliant touch to add to the tone of the scene


  • HEYMOE likes this

#20 roblevy

roblevy

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 50 posts
  • LocationSt. Louis, MO

Posted 16 July 2017 - 01:49 AM

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? The touches I notice are how he uses close ups, opens his film in a fairly un-extraordinary way by having everyday people doing unintetresting things. There is alo the lighting, shadows and the way he uses the camera as a means to establish tension. The set dressing is very cosmopolitan but not chic. The cast is in comfortable and relaxed clothing.
  1. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

It is a typically Hitch opening but one which is not in a locale with lots of people. it's more hemmed in and more casual. Still the way he frames the scene and uses his score and sets tone and pacing is very much in his style.

  1. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not?

I think the two actors work together on screen but they were not the ideal cast hitch wanted. he is doing the best with what he has.Having said tehat they have a real comedic charm togehter that I think really does lock in the audience.


  • jay1458 likes this




1 user(s) are reading this topic

1 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


    terranightangel