ShawnDog

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  1. 1. The opening of Frenzy differs from the opening of The Lodger in that Frenzy builds up to evidence of a crime, whereas the latter opens with the crime (the screaming women) and the discovery of the victim. Frenzy's opening uses Hitchcock motifs of injecting menace into a commonplace setting - a municipal presentation becoming a crime scene - and humor - a declaration to clean the river of pollution, only to have a dead body float by. The Lodger goes from the crime, to the victim, to the witness, to the mass media reporting the murder. Frenzy opens with a casual flight along the river to a political speech, then discover of the body. Both convey the public's morbid curious of the crime as both films' opening have citizens crowding about to observe. 2. As referenced above, there are three Hitchcock touches presented in this opening scene. First, the familiar setting and event interrupted by the unusual and macabre. In this case a speech by government representatives along a river bank in London is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body floating in the river. Second, the layer of humor is played by having the politician declare the river will be cleaned up just prior to the corpse being noticed floating in the same river. Third, is the Hitchcock cameo, as one of the throng listening to the speech. 3. With this opening, Hitchcock has not only set the location but introduced the main (and most familiar) star of the film - the city of London - with it's beauty and it's warts. He has also brought the audience up to speed on recent past of this story - establishing that a murder spree has been going on, and providing evidence of it's latest victim (very much like the opening of The Lodger). The exposition of these components provide the framework of the environment which the characters will eventually be inserted. This is Hitchcock's way of layering in the foundation first.
  2. One item about Marnie that I was surprised was not explored in the discussion video, was the parallels of marine to Spellbound. In both you have psychologically scarred characters, who are being investigated/examined by someone who is attracted to them emotionally and/or sexually. The genders are reversed between the two films, but both Gregory Peck and Tippi Hedren have present issues were originated from traumatic childhood events. With Peck, it is the guilt from the accidental killing of his brother. For Hedren's Marnie, it is her killing the sailor in protection of her prostitute mother. Both have psychotic episodes initiated by visual triggers - Peck from the dark lines on white background, planted from the murder of Dr. Edwards, whereas Marnie's is the color red from the blood of the sailor. In both films, the examiner eventually discovers the source of their trauma. As to the Dose questions: 1. In this opening sequence, Marnie is depicted as deceptive, and hiding behind a disguise. The abundance of cash suggests some it is ill-gotten, as she is hiding it in a suitcase. She then changes her appearance, even replacing her wardrobe and identify (via Social Security cards). These deliberate acts, and the availability of these replacement objects, convey her preparedness, and thus experience, at this practice, suggesting this is not her first crime. Her locking away the items of her former identity and discarding the key, let us know she does not want them discovered, and that she is moving on to the next identity. She is very good at this game. 2. Herrmann's score through the first half of this clip is one of repetition, indicative of procedure (adding the suggestion that Marnie has done this before), as well as a degree of mystery, as her identity is not revealed as we follow her. the theme builds up quickly as the black hair dye is washed down the drain, in anticipation of the revealing of her identity as she is finally shown in close-up. As she puts the suitcase in the locker, the music ends - we've gone from the subjective/artistic opening which sets anticipation with help from the music, past the reveal, to reality, moving on with the present narrative, which does not need music influence. 3. The one obvious variation to Hitchcock's cameo is he looks at the camera (and the audience), breaking the fourth wall, after stepping into the hall and looking at Marnie pass by. It breaks the attention away from Marnie, perhaps to distract the viewer momentary from the persistent view of her from behind, unidentified. It's an amusing inhale for the audience, before proceeding with this mysterious figure in transit. It is almost like he caught us looking at him, when we are supposed to be following this woman of interest - shaming Hitchcock style! :-)
  3. 1. This scene seems to be more of a set-up for a romantic comedy as it introduces our male and female leads as strangers, but brought together by coincidence in a public place. Mitch acts as if he mistakes her for a pet shop employee (which we find out soon after this clip that its an act he is putting on), while Melanie plays along with him, putting on her own act. This set-up of prankster-ish behavior, play acting, misunderstanding and deception are often used to create comedic situations. Add to this that her assumed motivation is only to become acquainted with this attractive man. It is discovered later that his deception is based on knowledge of her notorious history, disguised in a desire to show her up - but is actually an unrecognized attraction. It's the ying/yang of antagonistic attraction. 2. The audio of this scene starts with the sound of gulls dominating the street scene, (which draws Melanie's attention), followed by the boy's wolf-whistle at Melanie (or a 'bird' to use the English slang). Once inside the pet store, the sound of the various species of bird's is a persistent layer to the interior scene. This despite the presents of other types of pets, which go unheard. This lays a foundation for the entire film, that the birds are ever present, populous, and cannot be ignored. To some degree it adds a layer of distraction, if not irritation, to the scene. 3. As to Hitchcock's cameo in the opening, it was known he wanted to get his expected cameo out of the way early in his later films, so as not to have the audience attention focused on finding him, rather than the narrative. As Dr. Edwards mentions, the fact that Hitchcock is walking two identical dogs, does suggest the theme of doubles or pairings - as with the two love birds in the subsequent scene. It also re-emphasizes that this shop is a pet store which Melanie is entering.
  4. 1. The title sequences to Psycho, introduce themes of the film both graphical and aurally. Bass' visuals shows each name and titled, fragmented and skewed, then readable, then fractured, indicative of attribute of the multiple sides to individuals' personality - as seen in the film with Norman's multiple personalities, as well as Marion's good-girl/bad-girl sides being exposed, as well as other characters. As every credit is handled in this manner, it defines this segmentation as being part of everyone, including the director. There is also the dissecting aspect, reflective of the method of murder to be presented. Herrmann's opening theme, with its layers of rapid strings, slashing the music with a persistence, depict quick action, as that of the thrusting of slashing of a knife. The choice of only string instrumentation also embodies tension, as they derive their sound from the taut strings, and a grating friction from a bow. 2. The direct and unambiguous detail of time and day conveys to the audience that this is taking place during normal working hours - or at least when most people are at their jobs. Instead of tracking to a place of employment though, we take the voyueristic route of peeking through a window - just like Rear Window - to see something hidden and desired to be secret; a man and woman in a hotel room bed, and not using the time to eat the lunch that was brought. And prioritizing this affair over her job, as she is late in returning to where she should be at this time of day. Thus providing Marion's desire for this man over and above everything - that she would do anything to marry him. 3. Marion is seen in white under garments, showing her to being good at heart, but in a situation she is not comfortable with, as she tells Sam that this is the last time. She wants to marry him, to make an 'honest woman' of herself and her relationship with him, rather than such tawdry hidden rendezvouses. It gives Marion a degree of frustration and perhaps desperation to seek a quick solution, and establishes her motivation for her rash actions to follow.
  5. Criss-cross - love this film! (how many times have I said that in the past three weeks?) 1. In this opening, Hitchcock uses many visuals to imply convergence of separate paths - not just in direction. It starts with the two separate cabs, shot at opposite angles, as a character emerges from each. We have Bruno going from right to left as he goes through the station, and Guy going from right to left - they are on a collision course from the vert first. Also noticeable is an 'opposition' of styles, as Bruno is shown in flashy two-toned wingtips and pinstriped pants, whereas Guy in modest attire. This transitions to a train-point-of-view shot angled down at the rails guiding its path (destiny?), while also intersecting, briefly sharing, then diverting from other tracks, just as our principal characters' coming from different paths, suggesting they will briefly intersect. Also note the shadow of the train cast over the coming rails, a bit ominous sight of darkness ahead. This cuts back to our characters, again, only seeing their legs and feet - strangers to us and to each other. Bruno still moving right to left, but now through the train car; Guy again left to right. Bruno sits, then Guys sits, his swing foot taps Bruno's. They see each others' face for the first time (as does the audience) acknowledging each other. Bruno recognizes Guy as a famous tennis player then (criss)-crosses over to sit next to him, introducing himself. He then tells Guy that he won't disturb him (false) and he doesn't talk much (false) - in this way bring is already deceiving (or criss-crossing?) Guy. 2. As stated in #1, Hitchcock is contrasting Bruno and Guy by shooting their motion in opposite directions, as well as displaying a difference in attire style, from flamboyant Bruno (two-tone shoes and pinstripe suit), to conservative Guy's basic dress. To add to Bruno's style, there is his tie clasp with his name on it, and the bizarre tie with lobsters on it! Bruno 'aggressively' pursues Guy, introducing himself, moving over to sit next to him, grabbing his hand to shake, and dominating the conversation. Much more outgoing than Guy, who is friendly yet reserved. Ying and yang. 3. Tiomkin's music in this clip gives a slight musical cue to each characters' introduction, where Bruno's in simple violins, whereas Guy's sounds like a brief harp interlude - suggesting Guy as angelic or the innocent, whereas Bruno is commonplace. The reset of the music as we follow them is similar. As the scene progresses, the music has a movement, in a stepwise fashion of strings, mirroring the strides through the station of the principals. The shot of the train moving over the rails is more dramatic suggesting approaching conflict. The train interior shots, as the guy separately move through the cabin, are quieter, as indoors typically are, with Bruno's shot covered with small, high (flute?) notes, typically conveying mystery, which is absent from the shot of Guy.
  6. Notorious is one of my top 3 favorite Hitchcock films - grown on me over the years. 1. As Dr. Edwards mentions in the video, the POV shot of Alicia watching Devlin come into the room, turning the camera to see Devlin upside-down, is a re-use of a shot from Downhill (again where the female is observing the male lead). (Similarly, the high-angle tracking shot to the key in Bergman's hand is a repeat of a shot in Young and Innocent, where the high-angle camera surveys a ballroom, moves over the dancers, etc and eventually zooms into the drummer's twitching eyes). Also a Hitchcock 'touch', this scene is serving as exposition of Devlin as strictly business, dressed in a professional fashion, talking plain and unemotionally. Whereas Alicia is dressed in her party clothes from the night before (dark and light stripes), like conveying conflict, perhaps guilty feelings, but also, as a prisoner, feeling cornered/trapped by the questioning Devlin. Devlin's business proposal involves her personal commitment, emotionally and physically. This establishes a conflict between these characters which will recur through the film, a layer to their relationship. Eventually though, with the revelation of her recorded conversation, her true attitude is provided to the audience. 2. Hitchcock chooses to shoot the two characters separately, never together, through most of this clip, as they are on opposing sides - as she thinks he is a cop trying to get her to inform. Physically, she sees him in canted angles, and a hangover fog, or she keeps her back to him, indicative that she has a distorted (and perhaps incorrect) perception of him. Devlin on the other hand offers advice (drink the beverage), and moves towards her in pursuit and attempting to engage - to win her over for the job. It is not until the record is played, where Alicia is heard defying her father, and showing loyalty to the United States, that she steps into the doorway next to Devlin, and indication that they are on the same side, and not really in opposition. 3. as to the persona of the two stars, as discussed in this section, Bergman's character reflects the vulnerability, and eventually, goodness of her established image. Grant at this point is more restrained, or limited to showing his professional self. Very business-like, without direct influence (or revelation) of his personal feelings. Eventually though, the familiar romantic image of Grant comes out, but this role does lack the humor and playfulness frequently seen in his prior performances.
  7. First, I have always enjoyed this film and ADORE Carole Lombard. 1. This opening sequence features Hitchcock's creative methods of exposition to introduce his characters, circumstance and attitudes. Rather than verbally telling us this information, he allows the setting and actions provide these details, as well as allowing them to interconnect with some sense of logic, to join them into one, instead of itemizing. It flows. The indication of duration of the couple's 'sequestering' is given to us by the about of dishes laying about the bedroom, as well as Mr. Smith's unshaven appearance. The location of the bedroom, with the female in bed and the man separated from it - each in separate shots, with Mr. Smith repeatedly shooting glances toward this woman indicates some form of marital issue. The query of his office conveys the repeat nature of this activity, an amusing quirk of this couple, and recognize it as a point of interest to his co-workers (as it does to the audience). The visit by the office boy transitions naturally to Mr. Smith's trick to break the silence between the couple. All of this information provided to the audience through visual and narrative flow is cinematic, and is more involving to the audience than just telling it verbally. 2. This is a typical Hitchcock opening in regards to cinematic exposition, to ramp up the audience's education of the setting and circumstances of the film - as we have seen in other films. The music gives it a light-hearted attitude (as opposed to the ominous and stressful music opening Shadow of a Doubt), but the use of music to set emotion is the same. 3. I think the casting is great, as I think there is chemistry between them in this scene, despite the indication their has been some feud going on that has gotten them to this situation in the bedroom. It shows all is not roses as a couple, but their willingness to play the same unorthodox game to address these confrontations indicates some common attitudes. And there willingness to stick it out.
  8. Dr Edwards mentioning 'doubling' in Shadow of a Doubt - there is plenty of it - but one of immediate notice is the word 'shadow' in the title - a 'dark' double. 1. The prelude establishes Uncle Charlie as hiding something which is of interest to two strangers.. we don't know what he is hiding, or who the men are (the law or criminal?) - so mystery is injected immediately. Charlie seems subdued and submissive to his circumstance, but quickly flips to defiance (the throwing of the glass, and strutting by the men who he feels threatens him). This suggests potential emotional instability; another layer of mystery. The music builds to punctuate dramatic circumstance, and tension. 2. This scene initially matches the opening of The Killers in that the subject of interest is laying in bed - both physically and emotionally suggesting submissiveness and surrender to circumstance. It differs though in that with Shadow, Uncle Charlie changes from this initial attitude to anger and action. Also, the two men visiting do not force their way in, suggesting, rather than specifying, their attitude of lawfulness or 'good guys' (as opposed to the title characters of The Killers bursting in - eventually). If they are 'good', the Uncle Charlie may be 'bad'. There is also the Hitchcock 'touch' of shot/reverse-shot of Uncle Charlie walking towards the two-men, showing his attitude, then POV of what he sees, and back, to put the audience in his position of feeling stalked/pursued, building the spectators' tension and paranoia. 3. As mentioned above, the score in this scene heighten the tension (and potential confrontation) with building volume, drama and rhythm. It matches Uncle Charlie's pace towards and past the two men, and there subsequent pursuit.
  9. 1. The opening of The 39 Steps introduces the main character, providing details about them in a manner within the context of the narrative, similar to some of the other films we have seen, but he builds towards it a bit more slowly. Like The Man Who Knew Too Much, the character who is the 'tool' of the villains is also introduced without revealing their importance or corruption. My impression is the details of Hannay are given more slowly in The 39 Steps than the prior films; as he attempts to be the first to submit a question to Mr. Memory, he is pre-empted by others in the enthusiastic crowd, delaying our introduction to Hannay. Thus he focuses more on the MacGuffian of Mr. Memory first, a figure which is an oddity, and difficult to relate to for normal viewers - but entertaining as an anomaly, along with the layers of typical humor. Hitchcock then returns to Hannay, who has good-naturedly and patiently (likable traits) awaited his opportunity to ask his question which reveals that he is a Canadian. 2. I agree with Rothman's assessment, as described in the discussion, Hannay is shown mysteriously from behind, at canted angles, alone going into the theater, never revealing his face or expression to unveil a clue to his attitude or purpose. But once the audience is shown after Mr Memory is introduced, he is part of the jovial group, not singled out or shown in a sinister fashion. He smiles and goes along with the fun of the group, thus he is presented as an ordinary character - one which is very easy for the audience to relate to. There is no indication of secrets or evil motives. And his ordinary question reveals him to be Canadian, and is applauded by the audience. The audience is hooked. 3. Regarding Phillips' framework of the Hitchcock touch, as previously mentioned above, Hannay is presented as an ordinary guy, part of the spectators of the music hall - enjoying himself, laughing and participating. The film audience can easily frame him as a common man, one they can relate to and grow to sympathize with (#1 on Phillips' list). And as this initial action takes place in a music hall, it also fits Phillips' #3 'touch' of an ordinary setting which will reveal some sinister activities, via some 'mayhem (Phillips' #4). And as previously mentioned, the introduction of Mr Memory in this opening scene provides the mechanism of the MacGuffin (Phillips' #6), although not known at this point in the film.
  10. I love Blackmail, and even wrote a paper for a recent film class comparing the silent and sound versions, including analysis of the scene shown in the Daily Dose. (I highly recommend seeing both versions) 1. As referenced in the video lecture, the audio is filtered/distorted to be Alice's 'point-of-listening' (similar to point-of-view, but aural), to make it subjective, immersing the audience in Alice's thoughts. She is pre-occupied with the prior evening's events, and thus her thoughts can only be penetrated by the one word heard which is relatable - 'knife'. To hear it repeatedly pounds the point into her, building her anxiety until she snaps - physically throwing her knife, psycho-spasmodically to 'eliminate' her guilt. 2. While the visual of the scene shows Alice slow in motion, and introspective, the subjective audio, in combination with the audience knowledge of the prior evening activities, build tension in Alice and the viewer as the repetitive reference to the knife remind her and threaten to reveal her anxiety. The visual stays locked on Alice, (with only one cut to bring the shot in a bit tighter on Alice), to focus audience attention and empathy with her. It may have also been a technical necessity/restriction to minimize the number of shots/edits, to maintain the continuous audio of the customer's prattling about the murder. (Per my paper, this sound version sequence uses five shots, whereas the silent version, uses ten - excluding title cards. It is also shot and blocked completely differently.) 3. This method of subjective audio ("point-of-listening") likely is not used frequently as it is really only effective when applied to put an audience into a character's experience, to relate to the character's conflict. It defeats the purpose if overused or not applied to audience engagement. I wish the lecture would have also mentioned that Hitchcock creatively 'live dubbed' Anny Ondra's dialogue - she had a Czech accent - by having Joan Barry speak Ondra's lines during the scene, to record her dialogue with the other character's lines, while Ondra lip-synched to Barry's speech. They didn't have the ability to mix the single-track audio in post. Amazing.
  11. 1. As to Hitchcock's style, you have a form of his familiar shot/reverse-shot of an observer with the front row of leering men. The point-of-view going so far as to include an out-of-focus shot to match the spectators adjustment from monocle to opera glasses (similar to Raymond Burr when attacking the flash-bulb wielding Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window). There are also the comedic touches, of the spectator stepping on the others foot, and the dancer's removal of the admired curl. Then criminal intrigue (which the audience is made aware of, but the character is not), as the young innocent is victimized by a pick-pocket, changing her planned fate. And then Hitchcock's frequent visual symbolism, which is better described for #3. 2. I agree with the assessment that one sees motifs and methods which Hitchcock always used. In general, that the visual as the primary conveyor of information - which has its roots in silent cinema. You don't need title cards to describe everything. The visual was Hitchcock's desire for 'pure cinema'. 3. Considering silent film was the only form of cinema, the only method film-makers knew, and that Hitchcock was an artist of the visual frame, I don''t think silence was a limitation to him. (Not that he wasn't ready for sound, as exhibited with the talkie version of Blackmail.) In this clip, you have the female performers' spiral 'descent' to the stage, 'lower' themselves to be objectified, leered at and hit on by the male patrons. As previously mentioned, the shot/reverse-shot to see what a character sees, then see their reaction. Later, you have the manager, smoking in front of the 'No Smoking' sign, showing he is in control, he makes his own rules. In case it doesn't show, I love Hitchcock! :-)
  12. 1. This scene parodies the classic Universal Horror films in the use of a scientist named Frankenstein (no matter how its pronounced) who is seen as emotionally defiant (perhaps even unstable) in the 'mad scientist' mold. The medical classroom setting did appear a few times in those classic old films. And of course the black and white photography is a direct motif of those former films. 2. Within the scene there is both broad comedy as well as the more subtle, as referenced in Wilder's comments. The subtler gags include the line 'give him an extra dollar', the doctor's glance at the student in anticipation of the pronunciation of his name, and 'the worm or the spaghetti' comment. Broader comedy is seen in the knee to the groin action (including the cross-eyes), the 'do-do' reference, and the self-inflicted stabbing. 3. The gags would still work had this film been shot in color but the linkage to the original films would have suffered, taking away from the parody aspects.
  13. 1.The cartoonish qualities of this clip are mainly emphasized by the bold colors in costumes, props and scenery. The outfits make up a rainbow palette of varied hues. The balloons bright red, white and blue. The catapult which is equipped with a bright red spear, is camouflaged in leaves, looking like something out of a Road Runner/Coyote cartoon. Add to it the boing sound of its release. 2. As homage to slapstick, you have the clear good vs evil characters (see answer #3), and the time setting of early 20th century time, and the use of an amazing stunt to heighten the absurdity of the comedy is a trope of many a silent comedy. 3. Leslie is all in white, signifying him as hero, additionally emphasized by the glint of his teeth. He is handsome, smiling, fearless, clean-shaven, wholesome. Fate is in black, and mustachioed - coding for bad guy. He is hiding in the shrubbery disguise of the catapult, sneaking about to do Leslie harm.
  14. 1. When Clouseau tears the pool table felt, the audience actually does not see it happen, but between his curved pool cue, and the angle he lines up, you anticipate it. Instead of seeing it, you hear it rip the felt. To add to the humor, Clouseau describes it as "grazing" the table, while he is hopelessly trying to put the seam back together. 2. Clouseau tries to maintain his dignity, which his actions continually betray. This resistance, to keep control, stretches and magnifies the humor. It fleshes out and broadens the silent era trope of the snooty socialite getting a pie in the face. 3. Clouseau includes a layer of verbal comedy, with malaprops and mis-sayings, as well as an arrogant delusion of control, that enhances the slapstick foundation, and makes one anticipate perpetual failure for this character.
  15. 1. Hulot is content and good natured, as seen in the literal spring in his step, his friendliness to his neighbors, even his argument with the produce seller is more conversational than confrontational. He seems perfectly accepting of his arduous and maze-like path to his home. 2. The building shows a makeshift and surreal quality to Tati's scene, cartoonish yet indicative of Hulot's financial status of modest means. One can relate to his standing, but not the extremity of the architecture, yet his trek engages us to go along, especially since he seems an appealing character.

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