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 opening sequence of Mr. & Mrs. Smith has a few Hitchcock "touches". First of all, the music is key to our appraisal of what is happening, or, going to happen in the film. The tempo is lively and the melody is quirky, setting a lighthearted, humorous, feel to the coming film. Of course, we have a telephone sequence - somehow that always gets worked into a Hitchcock movie. Also, we have a pretty blonde seen lying down in bed, but is not dead. We also see her eyes peering over the bedcovers - a typical Hitchcock shot. What really got me, and is a perfect Hitchcock "touch" is the little scene of Robert Montgomery/Mr. Smith putting the boiled egg into the pocket of his robe. A small but very funny little bit.
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 beg pardon, as I am both agreeing and disagreeing. As another student mentioned in their comments, on first viewing, there seems little to connect this opening sequence to the previous openings we've seen in the Daily Doses thus far; there is no large public assemblage, or setting, no ominous music, nor any exotic locale or screaming bystanders. Yet, on a second viewing, you can see how Hitchcock uses a panning shot to go from the "body" on the bed across the bedroom to the sitting area that is awash in strewn dishes, uneaten food, lots of glasses, and, finally the camera rests on a guy playing solitaire, with a three-day beard, dressed in his pajamas, and, smoking a cigarette. It's Hitchcock's standard POV shot and a voyeuristic view into this married couple's bedroom. Then, you subsequently have the 'servants' giving their descriptions of the situation in the bedroom. They may as well be hawking newspapers on the streets of London shouting about the latest developments in a public "murder". Also, when I saw that antic with the boiled egg (mentioned in the above paragraph), I couldn't help thinking this is the little "hook" that lets you in on what this character is like. It's kind of like the comical routine between Caldicott and Charters in The Lady Vanishes opening sequence.
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 love the casting in this movie. While they aren't William Powell and Myrna Loy, I believe Lombard and Montgomery were well cast. I love the 'play against type' that seems to work between them. Lombard's character refuses to be a pushover wife, and argues her position very well. I love when Hitchcock shows a strong female lead that actually has brains. As in a French farce, or, any bedroom comedy, there has to be a logical sounding reason for Mrs. Smith's behavior. I think Lombard carries the part with gusto. Montgomery is also good, he can sound supercilious and loving at the same time. Comedy is never as easy as it looks.
Oh - and FYI - as I didn't answer this part in Topic #1, I knew this was a real American movie, directed by Hitchcock, from the opening credits! The font and style of the titles, along with the music, clearly show Hitchcock's touch.