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


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#41 Mad4Film

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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. 


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#42 aoohara

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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. 


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#43 Soonya

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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.


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#44 jkbrenna

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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.



#45 annlib

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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


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#46 roblevy

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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.


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#47 dan_quiterio

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 12:32 AM

The Hitchcock touch that stood out to me most was the pushing in of the camera on Lombard in bed, which is often done to increase tension and suspense--though it was not used to the same effect in this scene. Aside from that, nothing about this scene feels very "Hitchcock" to me. It features wealthy individuals--as is depicted by their servants, lavish furniture, ornate dish-ware, and Lombard's silk nightgown--as well as a soft, airy score and plenty of light with minimal shadow. There isn't a hint of nefarious activity. In regards to the casting, it's difficult making a judgment on Lombard and Montgomery's chemistry in just a few minutes, but on the surface, they appear to gel well together.


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#48 WadeWillsun

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 10:06 PM

The casting seemed ok. Nothing out of the ordinary really jumps out at you except for Mr. Smith's head hug seemed aggressive.

They seem like a playful happy couple. Almost immature.

It's not 'typical' Hitchcock opening although there is some elements: a small mystery as into what's up with them in that room? The door opening and closing, bringing in the audience into pov peeks into the room story wise with the supporting cast.

But the light hearted nature of it all: the lighting, music, dialogue (fast, upbeat) made it seem more like the Mr. Memory opening scene with it's 'Light' nature, typically unconventional Hitchcock.

Screwball comedy Hitchcock intro? Nailed though 'touch wise'.

I wouldn't write in concrete it's 'not' Hitchcockian but it's more of a tight rope act I think due the genre.


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#49 LThorwald

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:24 PM

1.  The only real Hitchcock touch I see in this scene is the opening shot, which gives us a slow pan of the room, setting the scene with no dialogue.  After this, the camera set-ups are pretty standard for an American comedy of the day.  What this scene tells us about the couple is that they are very well off, and they have an unconventional marriage in some regards.

 

2.  Honestly I don't see it as a true Hitchcock opening.   He adjusted his usual opening structure to meet the needs of the genre, so it doesn't have the Hitchcock feel throughout, as the openings of so many of his other films do.

 

3.  Both are well cast in their roles.  Robert Montgomery has the right amount of playfulness in this scene.  Lombard's reveal, as she sits up in bed, reacting to the slamming door, is a great opening shot, highlighting her beauty.  They do seem to have a good chemistry.


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#50 Cscharre

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:50 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? For Hitchcock touches, the one that stands out the most are his pan shots. The pan shot of the food that's piled up and the pan shot of the Smiths, individually. We learn through there leftover food that they are very well off; we learn through his work place that everyone waits for the two of them to finish whatever seems important to them in order to get work done.

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, it is. Even though this is a comedy, we still get the mysterious opening of "What's going on?".

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? He might have been the weak link here but as Lombard was really the comedian, it was bound to be a vehicle that she would lead.
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#51 Krushing

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:52 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 learn that they are fighting and that this is not new. They must fight regularly. Setting is their home instead of a public place. One of the Hitchcock touches is a crowd. Even though they are at home there are several people who know about the fight and are affected by it such as household staff and work partners.

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 disagree. It is not typical Hitchcock. It's bright not a lot of shadow. It does have some elements like a crowd, but if I were just watching this I would not have realized it was Hitchcock.

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 them together. I haven't seen the movie yet, but just going off this DD. She is kind of tricking him by hiding under the covers, while he tricks her by closing the door. It looks like a good movie.
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#52 CaseInPoint

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:40 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?  Instead of establishing the entire scene from the start, Hitch begins with a pan along the mess of dishes slowing pulling back to establish a disheveled, unshaven man playing solitaire on the floor.  Just from the title, this is enough to tell the audience that the man is probably Mr. Smith and, if he is playing solitaire, something must be awry in his relationship with the yet unseen Mrs. Smith, all without a word of dialogue.  A great wink, I think, from the master.  
     
  2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smithis a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? Not typical in that the opening occurs in a more domestic, even intimate, setting -- not in a busy place with a crowd or in an urban setting as in some of the earlier work.  Typical, however, in that Hitch goes several minutes into the opening, giving the audience a lot of information visually without spoken dialogue.
     
  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? Having never seen the film, my first reaction was the contrast between the two visually.  Although both characters are first shown early in the morning, disheveled after what is later revealed to be a quarrel, Montgomery appears as what most audiences would associate with a typical guy, not a chiseled 'matinee idol', while Lombard seems to exude the glamour-under-the surface (the first view of her after all is underneath a blanket) that audiences associate with blondes.  Perhaps a bit of an 'opposites attract' thing?  


#53 Temperancegirl1971!

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:37 AM

1. The Hitchcock touches are more muted here than in a drama of dark shadows and menacing music. There is the exotic location of the lush location of a room filled with dishes and a maid at the door. I thought it was room service in an hotel at first. The silky covers on the bed that flopped around regularly with one eye in close-up to tell us what the husband doesn't know and the boredom on the face of the unshaved man as he plays cards in the room that requires scaling the love seat to walk around. 

 

We learn that the couple has been in there awhile and they are messy. We know they are wealthy from the size of the room, the bedcovers, the existence of a love seat in a bedroom. The man seems to be uncomfortable cool, as a bedroom would be at night, because he wiggles on the floor as he sits playing cards, bored. We know the time is morning because of the light through the windows.

 

2. I don't think this is a typical opening so far although Hitchcock seems to be moving away from the crowded public places we saw in the silent beginnings. Then, with Rebecca, there was one voice, disembodied, followed by two people. It was unknown, at that time, that the place was the south of France and since Manderley was a ruin, it seems hard to call it exotic. With SOAD, there is no exotic locale, the crowd is a few boys in the street, and one man lying on a bed in silence, soon to be joined by a loquacious landlady. All are different, but the brightness of Mr and Mrs Smith contrasts starkly with the darkness of scene and darkness of mood of the others.

 

3. I think they are well cast. Carole Lombard is mischievous from the beginning, hide and seek, come and find out if I'm awake, but not willing to give up the game until she thinks he stopped playing and left her. Then, she is hurt and worried. Robert Montgomery is good as a harried husband already in the first five minutes. He's bored with the game but sticks with it. He starts to wake, changes his mind and thinks of himself first, and then tricks her with the door. They are deep into game playing with different personalities and different styles of playing. 



#54 vhclark

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:01 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 shots are fairly tight. Again, Hitchcock prefers to show instead of tell. There's humor: when David signs the paperwork in pencil and Sammy objects, and when David closes the door with a cane. The camera angles are more conventional than the other opening scenes we have watched. But, this is the most conventional film so far. There are shadows in the lighting scheme, but far less pronounced than we have previously seen.
     
  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 agree. Again, we are shown instead of told. Our view is restricted, behind doors and covers. Even the conversation between the housekeepers is framed in a doorway. Dialog is economical and doesn't reveal too much of the plot. We are shown a very ordinary situation.

     
  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 think this is a good pairing. Montgomery shows affection for Lombard and vice versa. It shows that Ann loves David, and he her. But, David is at the point where he has decided that he can no longer live with her. Montgomery shows this. 

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#55 msmukmuk

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 09:13 PM

1) Hitchcock offers plenty of information to the viewer as he pans the room.  We see half eaten china plates of food, an unshaven husband playing solitaire in front of a sofa that was slept on. The wife is tossing about in her sleep on the bed. The next POV shot is a close-up of her open eye. Without  much dialogue or other narration, our gifted director tells only us the story of a couple holed up in their comfortable bedroom. We can tell they are well to do by their silky surroundings and by the fact that they have maids.

 

2) This opening is typical of Hitchcock in terms of the POV camera work and his focus on what he wants us to know in the story. it is not a typical Hitch opening because the music is continuously upbeat, the tone is humorous and romantic and there doesn't seem to be any major crime or evil to contend with.

 

3) I think that the casting is perfect. Their embrace on the bed is very intimate and sexual. Lombard's comedic timing is perfect and Montgomery's balance of wit and sarcasm is unbeatable.The forlorn look on her face when she thinks that he's left the room and then her welcome back gaze is magic.



#56 brooke.fenton

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 07:36 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? 

 

​There are definitely lots of Hitchcock touches. His focus on particular objects that tell us about the characters and location. He tightens a shot on Carole Lombard and focuses on the cards, messy dishes and decorations in the room. 

 

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 would agree the the way in which it is filmed is a typical Hitchcock opening, but I would say this movie differs because it is a comedy rather than his typical mysteries or thrillers. 

 

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 think they have a fun and playful energy together that makes for good chemistry. 

 


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#57 Schlinged

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 06:46 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? One of the Hitchcock touches would be the room pan of the camera, showing a hotel room, a couple, the close up of her eye. The lighting is bright and the music is light, not ominous. 

 

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 agree that the panning shot of the room is similar in a few earlier movies, such as the panning shot of a music hall(Garden of Pleasure) or a variety show ( The 39 Steps).

 

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?  There is a believable chemistry between them.



#58 dizzy.miss.lizzy

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 02:05 PM

The Hitchcock touch that I noticed, as well as everyone else, is the attention to detail. Instead of being introduced to the characters themselves, we're introduced to their surroundings. We learn about them through the clutter in their room, the cards in his hands, and the costume design. Obviously, there's dishes and things everywhere, the bed is a mess (probably mostly from her tossing and turning) as well as the couch, and he's dressed in a robe. All these things tell me that they had a late night, and since they seem irritated with each other, I imagine they got into an argument and she possibly made him sleep on the couch. As the camera focuses on his hands with the cards, we see that he's waiting for her to make the first move, which speaks to me about their irritation for each other. Overall, this scene shows the Hitchcock touch in that he uses visuals, once again, to tell the story. No dialogue or narration is needed.

 

I actually wouldn't agree with the statement. This screams screwball comedy to me, which doesn't seem like a typical Hitchcock opening. There's a lot of silly things going on, such as her tossing and turning dramatically and him stepping over the couch like it doesn't even exist. However, Hitchcock always had bits of comedy in his movies, as we know. I just think this is a huge leap into a different genre than usual for him. As discussed in the lecture videos, though, marriage (especially unhappy ones) is often used by Hitchcock and this is definitely the focus in this opening. So I see similarities in this opening compared to others, but I also think it's dramatically different.

 

I think the casting is great. Of course, Carole Lombard is right in her environment being the leading lady of screwball comedy, but Robert Montgomery also had a knack for comedy. I've enjoyed many of their movies separately, and I think they fit together perfectly.


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#59 Catherine.g.ens

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Posted 14 July 2017 - 07:05 AM

The first scene from Mr. and Mrs. Smith is typical Hitchcock in that it opens with a view of objects. The camera moves across the table strewn with dirty dishes, then up to Montgomery as he plays cards. Next, the camera moves to Lombard tossing and turning in bed. Hitchcock gives us a close up of her face, and we realize she is not asleep; her eyes are open. This is similar to other opening sequences we have watched, because Hitchcock is controlling what he wants us to see. It's all about what he wants the audience to pay attention to. Like the opening of Shadow of a Doubt, we are forced to view objects or people one at a time in a particular order, and then we make a conclusion based on that series.
In this sequence, we learn that the couple are extravagant and carefree. The table filled with dishes followed by Montgomery playing solitaire and his wife lying in bed helps us form this opinion of them. They are in no hurry and feel no pressure to do the mundane tasks awaiting them. We gather, therefore, that they are a couple of substantial means. The lighthearted music contributes to the humor of the scene. We get a feeling of a sort of "game" taking place between husband and wife.
Also, the maid who knocks on the door with the breakfast tray is eager to peer into the room, and there is a discussion about looking through the keyhole. This voyeurism is typical of Hitchcock's films. He establishes the couple as one that is worth spying on.
I think Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery seem very well cast from this opening scene. They have a playfulness that works well in the sequence. Their facial expressions show their feelings towards one another. After Montgomery pretends to leave the room, and Lombard springs upright in bed, their love for each other seems real as they embrace. I'm looking forward to seeing this film, as I have not seen many Carole Lombard pictures, and I am interested to see how Hitchcock handles screwball comedy.
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#60 BarbaraGrahamTucker

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:50 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? 

At first, I didn’t see much here, so I had to think about it.  It seemed like a typical 40s comedy.  My interpretation was that they were hold up having sex for days, not that they were fighting.  Hitchcock lets the visuals tell the stories as much as the dialogue in his early pictures, and there is no talking until 1:40. They are wealthy or at least well off. They would rather fight and hold on to their side of the argument even if it means living in squalor for days on end.  Since real people can’t do that, these are not people living in a real world.   

  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?  If Hitchcock made movies for over 50 years, he is going to change.  Things he would do as a typical opener at the beginning (lots of action and public places) is not going to be that way for every movie.  Since he likes to experiment, he changed it up.  So, no, this does not seem typical up to now.
  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?  Probably.  I haven’t watched the whole thing.  She is wonderful in To Be or Not To Be, a very funny movie.  He’s ok in the things I’ve seen him in, not all that distinguishable.  I tend to get him confused with Robert Young.





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