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Daily Dose #20: Look! (Opening Scene of Frenzy)


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#161 DrNickatNite

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 07:04 AM

1.    How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison.

a.    The opening music and aerial shot puts one in mind of a travelogue, but while we can see St. Paul’s and Parliament in the distance, we are taken through the gritty, dirty, polluted side of the Thames south of Tower Bridge with industrial wharfs and canneries, etc. The speaker augments this vision with his explanation that the pollution is going to be taken care of and everything will be cleaned up. (This situates us in the kairos of the “ecology” movement of the 70’s.) But to contradict the speaker’s rosy picture of the future, the onlookers’ attention is shifted to more pollution in the river – a corpse! Maybe cleaning up London is going to be more difficult – and require attention to more than just water quality?

 

2.   What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

a.    The zooming shot that gives us locational perspective in a significant site – in this case, London – and the Hitchcock Cameo are two elements of the touch. Also – the introduction of a victim’s body is reminiscent of The Lodger.

 

3.     Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

a.     Hitchcock accomplishes several things in many of this openings:

 i.     Sets the mood or tone with music (e.g. Vertigo, Psycho, Rebecca – *Frenzy is an outlier, since the music gives no clue of the brutality to come

ii.     Introduces location as a key player (e.g. San Francisco in Vertigo, London in Frenzy.)

 iii.     Introduces us to the key character with whom we will relate. (*normally a known quantity such as Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart, but Frenzy doesn’t depend on Star Power.)

  iv.     Either hints at, or directly introduces, the conflict early in the exposition. (hints at: the birds gathering in The Birds;  directly introduces: the murder victim in The Lodger)


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#162 Alynia

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 06:41 AM

1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. -- The scene is in color and has a majestic soundtrack - we are in London! (Also a note on the screen tells us so; because without the Ferris-Wheel, how would any identify the city now?) We finally enter the crowd scene and once the body is discovered, people look; but they are a silent crowd and do not show the agitation of those in the Lodger... the body of the woman is blonde... so could be where Marnie ended up.

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. -- Well, the opening show is a new one, since it's the first time he's ever performed such an action; and the crowd scene is more crowd-like and less individualistic as in the past; but the speaker is a character, from his rosebud lapel flower to his eager expression and speech.

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career. -- Any opening shot of a film is the same as the first sentence in a novel, the first glimpse of a piece of artwork, musical phrase or even the first line of a poem - it is all meant to create the world upon which you will enter. This opening shot is a welcoming shot - here is London. It's huge! It has a bridge and a dirty river that some speaker is talking about cleaning up... removing the body is an excellent first step. His other opening shots, in all the films I've seen (and I did watch Rear Window and didn't mind Stewart half as much as usual - so thank you,TCM!) all create the world we are going to spend some time in; sometimes it's a busy street outside a trainstation, or a mountain side resort, or the inside of an expensive hotel... usually it's been streets though... outside shots to show the big world before moving into the characters and the world they have created.  I must say, I did notice the seagulls in this opening clip and had a shiver... thanks, TCM!  

 

In all seriousness, this had been a wonderful idea and I enjoyed it greatly; it has broadened my knowledge of Hitchcock's style and allowed me to see how others view him as well.  Thank you, TCM... this has been a wonderful month.


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#163 Hawk223

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 05:37 AM

1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison.

The camerawork jumps out to me as particularly different. When I think of the opening of the Lodger, I think of closeups and news spreading of the murder. In Frenzy, we have a long wide shot leading to the crowd in order to show the more widespread news.

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

There still are similarities to other films here I think, particularly the Lodger - the murder, the crowd response and spreading of the surprising news. Even the Hitchcock cameo is here this early as part of the crowd.

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

This feels like a different opening as a whole compared to the others. The touches are here if you look for them, as previously mentioned, but the music just jumps out to me as not imposing any fear or impending death. Perhaps it's intended that way in order to be that more disruptive as the body is shown. We still have this observing of observers we've had so many times, the crowd reaction.
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#164 cmichaelhorn

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 05:10 AM

1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 

The opening of Frenzy showcases technical advances made since The Lodger.

The opening shot of London that starts from a great distance overhead, all the way into the politician speaking on the shores of The Thames would not have been possible even a year before.

 

The Lodger starts with a murder. Frenzy is a lot less personal, with the body seen only from a distance, already dead, and face down -- impersonal.

 

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

 

The long opening shot is a Hitchcock touch. It brings us from on high right down to ground level. London will be a character in the film, but this is a street level story.

 

There is a crowd gathered for the politician. They are spectators both of the politician and the spectacle of the body in the river.

 

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

 

Again, I think he meant to establish London as a character, but also to telegraph that this will be a down in the mud, low level view of London.

 

At this point the people of London are certainly less shocked by the body, which has narratively been reduced to the level of pollution in the Thames.

 

The victim is a woman and the woman is nude, so there are elements that suggest there is a sexual dynamic to the murder.

 


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#165 dwallace

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 04:17 AM

I can remember visiting London in 1972. The London we are returning to with Hitchcock is not the one he left. Hitchcock has enjoyed opening with scenes, or having scenes of famous places in his films, here we have one of Europe's great cities. Not only the city of history, Shakespeare or antiquity, but a New London. The cranes on the right building modern skyscrapers, and tall buildings standing over the old London. The minister of parliament is talking about cleaning up the Thames River, you can see the river is low and clogged, it is not low just because of tides. It also looks brown, dirty and smelly. They are talking about cleaning the river, even further up and bringing to the city a river that is again clean, that they can be proud of. Then the man yells “Look”. And we see a naked body, disposed in the river like the dirt and refuse and sewage that has been dumped in the river for hundreds of years. It is the opposite of what we have been hearing about.

 

When I was in London in 1972 the great “cleaning” was going on. That alone would be enough to draw Hitchcock back to make a film. I can recall almost anywhere you went you saw the steam cleaning going on. The old stone buildings being cleaned of the decades of residue from the coal fires that made London, that drove the industry that made it the Great City of Europe. Also the coal used in everyone's house for cooking and heating. The buildings dull and dingy with coal smoke residue, about to be made shiny.

 

The floating body, like so many in the Thames, probably since Roman days or before. Pirates set in cages in the river, killed slowly by the rising tide as punishment for their misdeeds. You may be able to clean the surface, and change the landscape, but that won't clean the past. The music is almost majestic even hymnal. We can be sure we will not be staying in the better parts of London.


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#166 Chris_Coombs

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 04:13 AM

How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison

 

The Lodger, Hitchcock’s first thriller, started on the close-up of a scream, and then to the revelation of a dead body, surrounded by a crowd and police. Frenzy starts with a great helicopter shot over the city of London, down (or up?) the Thames towards the iconic Tower Bridge, The music score is very stately, and Hitch is clearly establishing a British feel to this film – a feel that would last throughout the entire picture.

 

Tower Bridge represents London the same way the Eiffel Tower represents Paris, or the Capital building represents Washington. They are icons. So Hitch is establishing the film’s Britishness. The film will feature other typical and iconic British elements in it: Covent Garden Market, The British Pub culture, Dinner Clubs, and so on. The people featured are lower class, but very British –Rusk works at Covent Garden, Babs and Dick work at a pub, The Police Sergeant a typical British character, and so on. Even food is stressed to be simple British fare – meat and potatoes, sausages and eggs – as the Police inspector struggles with his wife’s recent cuisine classes and is making exotic un-British food which he cannot stomach (pun intended).

 

So Hitch is first establishing the atmosphere, which he didn’t do with The Lodger, which starts In medias res.

 

It is also almost a reverse of the events in The Lodger. In the Lodger, A woman screams, there is a dead body, and a crowd forms. In Frenzy, a crowd forms (for a political speech), a person screams, and then we sees the dead body. It is a great shot as first one person, then two, then three then four, then the entire crowd see the body.

 

Because we are in the sound era the irony is expressed through sound and visuals, instead of visuals alone. After a speech about cleaning up pollution in the Thames, we see a dead body floating in it. In the lodger we see the dead blond followed by the sign ‘Tonight Only Golden Curls’ – it has to be told visually.

 

A key difference that we will see later in the film – a fundamental difference – is that in The Lodger we never meet the killer, whereas in Frenzy we spend much of the movie with him.

 

There are similarities to the Lodger though. In both cases we are dealing with a serial Killer. In both cases our lead will be mistaken for the killer. In both cases there is humorous talk about the killing (in the pub).

 

 

What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

 

Irony – the speech on cleaning up pollution in the Thames followed by a dead body floating in it.

 

The opening helicopter shot – which is a directorial flourish but serves a purpose as well, establishing the London setting

 

Of course the cameo – Hitch standing in the crowd with his hat on

 

The cutting – first one person sees the body, cut to two people, cut to three people, cut to four people.

 

The element of danger in ordinary public places. The body is not found in a back alley but rather floating down the Thames by a political speech.

 

Humor – it is not just ironic, it is humorous that a dead body should float by as a politician talks about cleaning up the Thames.

 

 

Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

 

I think the main purpose of a Hitchcock opening scene is to engage the audience, regardless of the design of the openings, which vary greatly from film to film. We have had:

  1. Visual introductions to characters (Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt)
  2. In Medias Res openings (Vertigo, The Lodger)
  3. Voice over narration (Rebecca)
  4. Character set ups (The Lady Vanishes, Foreign Correspondent, Psycho)
  5. We’ve started with murders (Rope, The Lodger)
  6. We’ve built up to murders (Psycho, The Birds, Frenzy)

We can see how many differences there are in a Hitchcock opening, but they all have some method of engaging the audience. The visual introduction of the two characters in Strangers on a Train is no less engaging than the immediate murder in Rope, which is no less engaging than the pan of the apartments in Rear Window.

 

The main thing about Hitchcock openings is it grabs the audience’s attention somehow.


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#167 obuprof07

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 02:38 AM

Further Reflections:  After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own):

1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. Frenzy opens during the day time. It involves a speech opening a public works project and is attended by the press as well as social activists and donors. The Lodger opens at night with a rather seedy looking group of people – much “lower class.”  In Frenzy the body is floating in the water and is just being discovered. In The Lodger the body has been discovered and the police are making notes of the crime scene. Frenzy is a “talkie” in color and The Lodger is a silent film in black and white save for a blue or neon blue sign that is some type of advertisement.

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. A public place. A vantage point that is above the crowd, the shot pans into the River Thames as if you are on a helicopter swooping in. So once again the locale is a character. The public event is disrupted by the discovery of a body.

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career. AH used his opening scene to set the tone by using locale as a character – just as John Ford did with westerns. AH uses a public place or event – the discovery of the body in Frenzy versus the assassination in Foreign Correspondent or the murder that occurs in a foggy street full of people (The Lodger). The aerial shot coming into the Thames reminds me of how AH framed Rear View Window in a public square in an apartment complex – the voyeur. 


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#168 Dr. Rich Edwards

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 12:19 AM

Today's Daily Dose is from Hitchcock's 1972 film, Frenzy

Head over to the Canvas course to watch the clip, and then come back here to discuss.

As usual, here are three questions to get the message board rolling--

1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.


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Richard Edwards, PhD

Ball State University

Instructor: TCM Presents: The Master of Suspense: 50 Years of Hitchcock (2017)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies (2016)

Instructor: TCM Presents: Into the Darkness: Investigating Film Noir (2015)

 

 





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