GeezerNoir

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About GeezerNoir

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  • Birthday 02/14/1948

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  1. In the three TCM/Ball State/Canvas online classes in which I have now participated, I have always looked forward to Dr. Edwards’ insights into dozens of films across multiple genera, and I will continue to do so for the remainder of this class and (hopefully) in future classes as well. I do have to take exception, though, to part of Dr. Edwards’ assessment of the film Marnie that was presented in the Curator's Note for Daily Dose #19. Dr. Edwards tells us that, while Marnie was not especially well received by critics and audiences when it was released in 1964, there has been a reassessment of the film in recent years. He goes on to state: “Part of the current shift in Marnie’s critical assessment is that Hitchcock was ahead of the curve (again) in how he used the formal elements of films in an experimental fashion.” And then he says, “As Robin Wood has argued as a fan of the film, things that many critics saw as ‘unreal’or ‘artificial’ are really just Hitchcock going back to his German Expressionist roots, and using the formal devices of film—such as rear screen projection—to bring greater subjectivity and emotional resonance to the film.” I gotta tell you that I think Robin Wood is making one heck of a stretch right there. I’m thinking that Hitchcock was very likely burned out after dealing with all of the technological challenges of The Birds. And here he was producing a second film in back to back years for the only time in the ‘60s and beyond. And he may well have been sorely disappointed that a role he had envisioned for Grace Kelly was being filled by Tippi Hedren. I’m thinking that burned out, disappointed Hitchcock simply did whatever was the easiest thing to do in order to get the film into the can and into theaters. I’m probably wrong about this, but it’s what I think happened. What do YOU think?
  2. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? The moving lines of the graphic along with the strings of the score tell us that what we are about to see is going to be ‘edgy’, nervous. It’s also going to be fast paced and constantly on the move. The actual words presenting the title of the film, the names of the main players, etc., are fragmented, skewed, one might say schizophrenic. As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona, and a very specific day, date, and time: “FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH” and “TWO FORTY-THREE P.M.” What is Hitchcock seeking to establish with such specificity? We are about to enter a very specific reality. The world of a very specific, mostly ordinary, person at a very specific point in time. This is a person whose day to day reality might not be all that different from your own. At least up until now. Why do you think Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds from the outside? Once again we, the audience, are being implicated as voyeurs. Much as we were in Rear Window. Someone else will be revealed as a voyeur later in the film, peering at this same woman through a cleverly hidden little peephole. Since this is the opening scene of Psycho, how does the hotel room scene function as a way to establish Marion Crane as a main character? Marion is clearly the one in charge here. We are on her turf, and Sam has come here to be with her. Also, Marion tells Sam that they are not going to continue the way they have been going with this relationship. She is the one who is calling the shots here, and Sammy Boy better toe the line. We get the feeling that Sam will soon be heading back to wherever he came from and we will be left behind to share Marion’s reality.
  3. Not all of Hitchcock's movies (or, in fact, anyone's movies) are based on actual books or published stories. Many films are based on original story ideas pitched to film producers. Of the four films that we concentrated on this week (Rebecca, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Shadow of a Doubt and Notorious) only Rebecca was based on an actual book, which was, of course, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. It's a fairly easy task to discover the literary source for any given film. Just go to IMDb.com and search for the film by its title. Then check the writing credits under "See full cast & crew". It would be a very time consuming task to compile a full list of all the literary sources for all of Hitchcock's films, but it could be done in this manner. Not by me, though.
  4. 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? We definitely learn that Uncle Charlie is a bit manic/depressive (to use an old but very descriptive term). Initially he is very lethargic and seems resigned to whatever fate has in mind for him. Then, after the landlady’s visit, he suddenly is up and flinging a glass into his wash basin. He now is clearly about to swing into some sort of fate defying action. 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. How many times in watching noir films have we seen a character holed up in a seedy boarding house or hotel? And oft times that character has reached ‘the end of the line’ and is ready to ‘cash in’. That seems to be Uncle Charlie’s status when the scene begins. But, as I said above, Uncle Charlie isn’t ready to ‘throw in the towel’ quite yet. He will not be going quietly into the night. Oh, no. This thing is just getting started. And, when you think about it, manic/depressive characters aren’t exactly scarce in noir films, now are they. 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? There is very little background music heard until Uncle Charlie is up and flinging the glass. Then the music suddenly becomes as loud and defiant as Uncle Charlie’s mania. Look out mysterious guys standing on the corner! Also we hear, for the first time, a snippet from the “Merry Widow Waltz”. We’ll be hearing much more of that tune as the film moves along.
  5. I took the course when it was offered in 2015. It was outstanding! So much so that I would take it again if it was offered, say, next year; and I'm thinking that I'm not the only one. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if, were it offered again, more people would sign up than did back in 2015.
  6. My favorite underrated Hitchcock film is “I Confess”. Takes us back to Hitchcock’s roots in the Catholic church and deals with some very interesting issues. Such as a priest being involved in a love triangle and the question of how far that priest will go to preserve the sanctity of the confessional.
  7. Here's what I have discovered relative to this issue. I tried to run the game on a Windows 7 PC using the Firefox browser. The game would never load a second question - even when I waited three minutes. I switched to the Internet Explorer browser and the game ran just fine. Although Dr. Edwards did kick my sorry old butt.
  8. Sure, How about the image of the hand of The Lodger sliding down the handrail as he descends the staircase. Is he The Avenger going out after his next victim? The landlady begins to think so.
  9. The Rest of Hitchcock

    Hey, Chuck. I'm guessing that Dr. Edwards convinced TCM to substitute The Lodger for Champagne and that TCM simply hasn't updated that Full Schedule page yet. I'm 99% sure that The Lodger will air. Of course The Lodger can be seen online in a number of places (including YouTube), but, because it is such an important early film, it SHOULD be aired on TCM.
  10. The Rest of Hitchcock

    Actually, The Lodger is supposed to be an eleventh hour substitution for Champagne in the schedule. Thank goodness! However, as of 5:55 pm (MST) on 28 June, the "Full Schedule" accessed from the TCM website does still list Champagne as airing after The Farmer's Wife and before The Manxman.
  11. Hitchcock top 5

    1: Rear Window 2: Notorious 3: Shadow of a Doubt 4: North By Northwest 5: Strangers on a Train
  12. HITCHCOCK CAMEO SPOILER ALERT! I couldn't find Hitchcock either, so I cheated and googled it. He's the newspaper man who is seated at a desk and talking on the phone, so we never actually see his face. I've got to believe that this wasn't a planned cameo. I think that Hitchcock was doing yeoman's work here and serving as an extra in his own film. Not an uncommon thing in the silent period. It's not like Hitchcock started doing cameos in every film after this one. He didn't.
  13. Well I just finished the final so that’s that, I guess. No Daily Dose tomorrow. No slapstick films to watch on Tuesday. But what a fun and eye opening experience we’ve had, eh. So thanks to Dr. Edwards and his Ball State student assistants. Thanks to Wes Gehring (and I will read some of your thirty-six books). Vince Cellini was an inspired addition to the course. Thank you, Vince. Thanks to Ball State, Canvas Network, and especially to TCM (and host Greg Proops). Also a big thank you to my fellow students whose insightful comments on this forum have added so much to my learning experience. Looking forward to the next TCM/Ball State collaboration.
  14. Would this film and its gags have worked as well if Young Frankenstein was shot in color? I own a twenty year old DVD of Young Frankenstein. On it there is a documentary entitled “Making Frankensense of Young Frankenstein”. In this documentary cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld tells us that, originally, he thought the film should start out in B&W and then transition to color. However Mel Brooks insisted that the film would be in B&W or else he wouldn’t direct it; and Hirschfeld soon came to agree with Brooks. Hirschfeld also tells us that Brooks intended to do more than simply to replicate the look of Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein. He wanted to satirize that look. The overall mood of the film and the replication of the classic look is accomplished more in long shots. Yet when the camera moves in closer to the players, the lighting is brighter than in the original pictures. Brooks and Hirschfeld felt that this was more appropriate for a comedic parody since now it was important to see the expressions on the actors faces and to see details of comic gags. When I watch the film now, I can clearly see this; although I was never clever enough to notice it on my own. Of course we’re not meant to notice it consciously, are we.
  15. What does Inspector Clouseau add to the history of slapstick characters in law enforcement? One thing, I think, that makes Clouseau distinctive is the degree to which he takes himself seriously and the extent to which others will go to buy into this and to take him seriously as well. Clouseau truly believes that whoever invented the cue stick rack made a terrible job of it. While Maria Gambrelli seems always to regard Clouseau as her heroic police inspector. Clouseau’s high regard for his own abilities makes his ineptitude all the funnier. This characteristic will be emulated in future police procedural spoofs.

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