forlorn_rage

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  1. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/peak-years-pt-1-hitchcock-hits-his-high-notes?module_item_id=195749#fragment-4c 1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific. One thing I never noticed before is that both Guy and Bruno take the same taxi company, appropriately named “Diamond Cab,” after a shape with 4 diagonal sides. The top corner contains the letters “I,” “T” and “O” respectively on the sides, and “A” at the bottom. Now I’m curious if those particular letters have any meaning… Anyway, Bruno’s cab is facing toward the camera, so visually he is coming out from the left side. Afterwards, Bruno walks diagonally upward toward the left side. In the next scene is Guy’s cab, facing away from the camera. So, visually, he exits from the cab’s right door and also walks upward diagonally, but this time to the right side. Of course, there’s also the famous crossing train tracks scene as was covered in the discussion by Professor Gehring and Professor Edwards. Watching the lecture video, I’m reminded that there is quite a bit of “Criss-Cross” imagery, not just in the opening, but throughout the film. There is back and forth motion play in Guy’s tennis match for which Bruno and Guy’s fiancée, Ann, are present. On top of that Guy’s lighter has 2 miniature tennis rackets crossing each other. In this instance, the “Criss-Cross” represents the “A to G” scribed on the lighter, the “A” standing for Anne, who gave him the lighter. So, the idea of “Criss-Cross” possibly not only refers to Bruno’s idea of the 2 of them “switching” murders, but also the 2 adverse forces in Guy’s life. Ann, the woman he loves and wants to spend the rest of his life with and, Bruno, a man he despises and wants nothing to do with him. This theory makes sense, especially since Guy never holds up his end of the “bargain.” So, it’s not a stretch that the “Criss-Cross” idea takes on more than one meaning in the film. 2. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example. Just like Shadow of a Doubt, Guy and Bruno represent 2 binaries or “doubles” as Professor Edwards puts it. Bruno comes in with very flashy black and white shoes while Guy is wearing dark monochrome shoes. Guy is wearing a dark suit while Bruno is in a lighter colored suit. Both men are sitting on the opposite sides of the train, Guy on the left and Bruno on the right; the same sides from which they exited their respective cabs earlier in the opening. Bruno takes the initiative to approach Guy, encroach on his side of the train, and talk his ear off. Whereas Guy is quiet, keeps to himself, is polite, but mostly reacting to Bruno to keep him at bay. There’s a lot more to get into, but I’ll keep it short and limited to what we see in the opening clip. 3. While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence? Tiomkin’s score is dramatic and lush, particularly in the scenes where the violin is the dominant instrument. The use of horns makes this sound rather light and airy. This is indicative of the initial clumsiness with which Bruno introduces himself to Guy. While it’s clear that Guy would rather be alone, he finds Bruno harmless and lets him stick around for a bit; a sentiment that possibly the audience shares well… In the beginning anyway… (PS: I'm getting a huge kick out of analyzing this scene for the 2nd time for a different class, lol.)
  2. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/the-selznick-years-part-2-hitchcock-and-genre-film-noir?module_item_id=195509 1. 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? Be specific. In Shadow of a Doubt, we never completely find out the whole story with Charles “Uncle Charlie” Spencer. He remains a mysterious figure all throughout the film. However, there are hints that there is definitely something off about him. In fact, when Charlie’s landlady, Mrs. Martin, comes to warn him about “2 men asking for [him],” the entire exchange between these two seem off. 1. Charles is very cool and nonchalant with this knowledge, indicating that he was expecting these men to call on him. 2. Charles doesn’t divulge information to reassure Mrs. Martin or the audience that there is nothing wrong. In fact, Mrs. Martin is the one who shares all the details with him. Even though, in a regular situation, it would have to be the other way around. 3. Charles has a lot of money casually lying around, which Mrs. Martin picks up for him. And he doesn’t seem the least but mindful or protective of his wealth at all. Either, he implicitly trusts Mrs. Martin or simply doesn’t care for the money much. 4. What little information Charles Spencer does divulge, he’s very cryptic and, even, flippant about: “[The men] aren’t exactly friends of mine. They’ve never seen me. That’s odd, isn’t it?” 5. After Mrs. Martin leaves, Charles goes to window and proclaims “What do you know? You’re bluffing. You’ve nothing on me.” Then, he takes a major risk by strolling out of the house and right past the 2 men in a cavalier fashion, seemingly to invite the men to chase him. 2. 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 like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations) As mentioned before, there is nothing indicative of Charles’ as an innocent or sympathetic character. Even the technical details of the film, itself, give his nefarious nature while he, himself, remains tight-lipped. Film Noir References: First shot with the children playing outside reminds me briefly of M. Next couple of shots: Cant angles of the boarding house where Uncle Charlie is staying. Cant (or Dutch) angles are visual staple of film noir, indicating a distorted worldview. When Charles is finally introduced into the film, there is quite a bit of low-key lighting on him. Probably the most notable difference between The Killers opening and Shadow of a Doubt opening is the attitudes of the two male leads, played by Burt Lancaster and Joseph Cotton respectively. In complete contrast to Charles Spencer, The Swede, played by Burt Lancaster, is a guilt-ridden tragic figure who is aware of his impending doom. Rather than try to escape, he condemns himself to meet his fate, What gives that Noir world is the fatalism that it embodies is the overarching hand of fate, which renders even the strongest of men and women absolutely powerless, as established with the Swede’s character, “There’s nothing I can do about it. “ and “There ain’t anything to do.” In most, if not all, of these movies, audiences are never reassured that the protagonist will meet any kind of refuge or salvation when they die. The most that audiences get might be final thoughts of regret as expressed in The Swede’s final statements, “I’m through with all that running around” and “I did something wrong… Once.” This existentialism is what ultimately gives Film Noir that tragic, haunting quality that tears ripped through the peace and idealism of the American fabric of life for Post-WWII audiences, especially for veterans. Oddly enough, Joseph Cotten does play a disillusioned veteran in a couple of films after Shadow of a Doubt, including I’ll Be Seeing You (1944) and Niagra (1953). If Shadow of a Doubt were made even a couple of years later, Cotten’s nefarious portrayal of Uncle Charlie probably wouldn’t have gone well with American audiences. For so long, the proclaimed enemies of the Americans were foreigners, whether it was the Nazis or the Axis Powers of the Germans and the Japanese. In fact, many of Hitchcock’s early villains are “foreign” or unrelatable in some way, whether it’s foreign agents from Sabotage, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes, Lifeboat, Notorious or wealthy and/or respected, corrupt official from Foreign Correspondent, Saboteur, etc. Charles is not like any of the above villains. He’s not an outsider that the Oakley family has to get to know or contemplate whether or not to give him their trust. He’s part of that family, even a blood relative. Also unlike the aforementioned villains, as suave as Joseph Cotten is, Charles is still a small-time villain. He doesn’t political or patriotic motivations. This time it’s purely personal and purely evil. He’s operating under his own family’s noses and possibly endangering them in the process. But even with all that, this was still during the war. At this time, audiences are still reassured that all able-bodied “good” American men were fighting the enemies overseas. In the aftermath of the war, however, Charles would’ve probably been seen as a representative of the returning GI’s trying to get back into the American routine of life. It would simply be unthinkable for American audiences that after coming from war, that one of their own that they had grown up with and loved, could come back as the enemy threatening to destroy the peace and sanctity of their home. 3. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. 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? The music is absolutely chilling! Because Charles Spencer so carefully conceals his nature and motives, as mentioned before, it is the technical aspects of the film which give him away as someone not to be trusted. Dimitri Tiomkin’s score adds to corroboration with the film in exposing Charles. The music builds up when Charles looks out the window and prepares to head out. Then goes soft once Charles heads out the door in order to build the suspense, as the audience is not sure how Charles will handle his “not friends” outside. However, once he spots them, Charles directly faces them (as well as facing the camera and the audience respectively) and walks right toward them. Once Charles walks right past them, the music quiets down. But, there is still something very menacing about the banging of the keyboard, which happens once Charles walks past and the men are watching him walk off in the distance and follow him. As if by choosing to follow him, they’ve chosen a very dangerous path to take.
  3. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/british-sound-years-p-4-hitchcocks-british-stars-of-the-1930s?module_item_id=194812 1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. I’m not very familiar with instruments, so I can only make a guess. I believe wind instrument(s), including the flute, some string instruments (a violin?), possibly an accordion as well. Anyway, they create a very cheery lighthearted atmosphere, which oddly enough, contrasts with the gloomy faces of the passengers that have been reluctantly displaced from their train. One bit of music comes from a soldier blowing a bugle from the clock, further frustrating an already frustrated hotel manager. (NOTE: Just to remember the difference between tone and mood. Tone refers to the attitude of the “author” (or auteur in this case) toward a “subject” while mood is how the readers/audience is made to feel (or “meant” to be[?])) 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne are an interesting comedy team to watch. It is interesting thinking of them as a comedy team because if asked of the average (American?) classic film viewer of the great comedy teams, they’ll probably answer The Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, the 3 Stooges, Crosby & Hope, etc. All of these comedic thrive on farce, slapstick, starpower, and chaos whether it’s done to others around them or (better yet) toward each other. Radford and Wayne or rather Caldicott and Charters (as it is the characters rather than actors that make repeated appearances together in other films) don’t do physical comedy. In fact, they don’t do any kind of comedy as they have no sense of humour. In fact, it is possibly their complete lack of humour, stiff, upright manner and body language, and abundance of pomp and self importance (while given no importance by the other characters) that make them so amusing to watch. The characters add an almost elitist kind of self importance that juxtaposes the lack of attention which they are given. 3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. When Margaret Lockwood and the other actress enter the scene, it is difficult to tell which is supposed to be the lead actress. Especially since Lockwood’s position is veered off on the opposite end of the frame, facing stage right, opposite from the hotel manager. This blocking initially displaces the attention away from her and more toward the centered actresses. However 1:52-2:02, once Lockwood and the manager turn toward the camera and walk away from the entrance, the reasoning behind the initial blocking makes much more sense as now Margaret Lockwood is in the forefront with the other actresses now in the background. The camera begins panning to the right, leaving the other actresses behind completely for a couple of seconds and letting Lockwood completely dominate the shots. When all the actors stop walking, the blocking is reversed from the prior stationary positions. Margaret Lockwood is locked dead-center now with the most flattering lighting whereas the other actresses are facing their side and in less flattering light. 2:05-2:26 When the manager is speaking to the female group as a whole, everyone is in the frame (although Margaret Lockwood is still in the center). Whereas whenever Lockwood talks, the camera cuts to a 2 shot with just her and the manager. This is repeated a couple of times throughout this length of time. While all the actresses are given witty dialogue, it is Margaret Lockwood that’s given the most dialogue. She is the one who establishes character by talking about her plans and personal concerns over the avalanche potentially disrupting those plans. Notice throughout the entire scene, the manager’s main interactions are with Lockwood. It is Lockwood that the manager is facing opposite against blocking-wise. When they are all going up the stairs, the camera follows them. Lockwood takes complete charge by telling the manager to take them to their rooms and making orders for food and drinks for herself and her group. The camera position is back and toward the side of the stairs, so that even with her back to the camera, Margaret can still turn her head enough toward the manager to still establish visual dominance in the shot.
  4. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/british-sound-years-p-4-hitchcocks-british-stars-of-the-1930s?module_item_id=194812 1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. I’m not very familiar with instruments, so I can only make a guess. I believe wind instrument(s), including the flute, some string instruments (a violin?), possibly an accordion as well. Anyway, they create a very cheery lighthearted atmosphere, which oddly enough, contrasts with the gloomy faces of the passengers that have been reluctantly displaced from their train. One bit of music comes from a soldier blowing a bugle from the clock, further frustrating an already frustrated hotel manager. (NOTE: Just to remember the difference between tone and mood. Tone refers to the attitude of the “author” (or auteur in this case) toward a “subject” while mood is how the readers/audience is made to feel (or “meant” to be[?])) 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne are an interesting comedy team to watch. It is interesting thinking of them as a comedy team because if asked of the average (American?) classic film viewer of the great comedy teams, they’ll probably answer The Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, the 3 Stooges, Crosby & Hope, etc. All of these comedic thrive on farce, slapstick, starpower, and chaos whether it’s done to others around them or (better yet) toward each other. Radford and Wayne or rather Caldicott and Charters (as it is the characters rather than actors that make repeated appearances together in other films) don’t do physical comedy. In fact, they don’t do any kind of comedy as they have no sense of humour. In fact, it is possibly their complete lack of humour, stiff, upright manner and body language, and abundance of pomp and self importance (while given no importance by the other characters) that make them so amusing to watch. The characters add an almost elitist kind of self importance that juxtaposes the lack of attention which they are given. 3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. When Margaret Lockwood and the other actress enter the scene, it is difficult to tell which is supposed to be the lead actress. Especially since Lockwood’s position is veered off on the opposite end of the frame, facing stage right, opposite from the hotel manager. This blocking initially displaces the attention away from her and more toward the centered actresses. However 1:52-2:02, once Lockwood and the manager turn toward the camera and walk away from the entrance, the reasoning behind the initial blocking makes much more sense as now Margaret Lockwood is in the forefront with the other actresses now in the background. The camera begins panning to the right, leaving the other actresses behind completely for a couple of seconds and letting Lockwood completely dominate the shots. When all the actors stop walking, the blocking is reversed from the prior stationary positions. Margaret Lockwood is locked dead-center now with the most flattering lighting whereas the other actresses are facing their side and in less flattering light. 2:05-2:26 When the manager is speaking to the female group as a whole, everyone is in the frame (although Margaret Lockwood is still in the center). Whereas whenever Lockwood talks, the camera cuts to a 2 shot with just her and the manager. This is repeated a couple of times throughout this length of time. While all the actresses are given witty dialogue, it is Margaret Lockwood that’s given the most dialogue. She is the one who establishes character by talking about her plans and personal concerns over the avalanche potentially disrupting those plans. Notice throughout the entire scene, the manager’s main interactions are with Lockwood. It is Lockwood that the manager is facing opposite against blocking-wise. When they are all going up the stairs, the camera follows them. Lockwood takes complete charge by telling the manager to take them to their rooms and making orders for food and drinks for herself and her group. The camera position is back and toward the side of the stairs, so that even with her back to the camera, Margaret can still turn her head enough toward the manager to still establish visual dominance in the shot.
  5. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/british-sound-years-pt-2-hitchcocks-spy-thrillers?module_item_id=194603 1. Based on this opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet) Definitely the characters are more important than the plot. In fact, it can be argued that the plot of this film is a MacGuffin, itself. From what I have seen the films mostly seems to focus either entertaining the audience with various touches of humour throughout or pulling them into the anguished states of the parents, particularly the mother, to get their kidnapped daughter back. The plot serves as a blueprint and catalyst that sets events in motion. But, after that, is the emotional journey of the main characters and the ethical implications they are forced to contend along the way. Example: The mother struggling to stay quiet for the sake of her daughter’s safety, during the Albert Hall climax, all the while wrestling with the knowledge that an assassination is about to take place. It's interesting because about the plots of these types of films focusing more on the emotions of the scenes and characters; as opposed to its American counterparts that tend to focus more on plot progression. 2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? Abbot is a very easygoing character. He doesn’t mind being overwhelmed or knocked down by a crowd. He even uses self-deprecation as a source of humour when referring to his limited English. Humour usually makes it very difficult to dislike a character, especially a villain, no matter how despicable they may show themselves to be ethically. Almost anyone that entertains in the fictional world (or even in real life) earns a very hearty appreciation from the audience and is even exempt from ethical consequences, that main characters are required to be bound to, as long as they continue to entertain. 3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. Just like in The Lodger, there is a moment of frenzy in The Man that Knew Too Much. Betty’s dog escapes from her clutches and runs to the path of a Luis Bernard, the skier. Frightened, Luis topples over and barely misses Betty as he falls to the bottom. The crowd is in a panic. They rush over to the fallen Luis, and topple all over themselves as a result. The event goes by so quickly, it hardly even lasts 20 seconds onscreen. Unlike The Lodger though, after the moment has passed, everyone is strangely calm and humourous about it. Bob, Betty’s father jokes is constantly “knocking ‘em cold” while Luis flippantly comments about the possibility of meeting his demise amidst of Betty’s outrageously unapologetic smiling demeanor. In fact, the girl is more sorry that that day is Luis’ last day of vacationing St. Moritz than the fact that she was the cause of Luis’ accident. While the Brits are good about keeping a stiff upper lip, this American still has to question the priorities of these characters in this particular scene. In The Pleasure Garden, there is a series of character interactions and events that take place, from a dance number featuring chorus girls to a pickpocketing outside the theatre. The Man Who Knew Too Much also focuses quite a bit on character interactions. The difference is this opening stays on consistently on the same set of characters while The Pleasure Garden goes from one set of characters to another.
  6. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/british-sound-years-part-1-hitch-on-the-rise?module_item_id=194570 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. The sound goes off normally with the female customer in Alice’s family’s shop talking. Once Alice enters, she, her father, the customer all exchange dialogue normally. Once Alice enters the phonebooth, there is silence. She takes the phonebook and looks through it until she finds the section for the police. The customer keeps babbling the details of the murder. Once, she starts talking about the difficulties of handling a knife, the structure of the sound changes. The details of the dialogued are drowned out and only “knife” is clearly heard over and over again. The only other sentence clearly heard is Alice’s father asking her, “Alice, cut us a bit of bread, will you?”; another direct reference to the knife. 2. Describe the different ways that the sound design of this scene operates in counterpoint to the visual track. For example, how does Hitchcock set up the shot where the knife flies out of Alice's hand so that it registers a shock in his audience? Pay attention to both what is happening visually and aurally. Be specific. When Alice is in the phonebooth, there is total silence, so that audience can concentrate fully on the nervous range of emotions Alice shows on her face, as well as, the jittering of her head as she skimming through the phone book. The camera zooms in when she finds the section for the police. Alice looks up and shudders. She lets go of the phonebook and walks out of the booth, dejected. Once Alice grips the knife, rather than only “knife,” audible dialogue is extended to “mustn’t use a knife.” It is said once as Alice holds the knife and twirls it around. Alice prepares to slice the bread when the word “KNIFE!” becomes heavily emphasized in the audio track. 3. Why do you think this particular use of subjective sound is not used frequently in cinema? I suppose it can be rather distracting. Personally, when I hear he woman saying “knife” over and over again in that screeching voice, I laugh. I do recall many instances in film and television where sound design was used in a similar junction as in this scene. But, rather than only certain words being emphasized, usually all the dialogue is drowned as a way to aurally show the turmoil of the focused character.
  7. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/beginnings-pt-2-hitchs-cinematic-influences?module_item_id=194413 1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? Some striking similarities I found between both films are: There is humour in both openings. A blonde woman is a major source of attention in both openings. In both openings, there are innocent women in peril (even if the woman in question in The Pleasure Garden isn’t necessarily a blonde) 2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? Powerful images: 00:36- 00:39 TO-NIGHT “GOLDEN CURLS” flashes over & over again 3:11: Dramatic graphic of: MURDER… WET FROM THE PRESS Surprisingly, there manages to be moments of humour amidst such dark subject matter 1:29-1:36: A man kids around by imitating woman’s description of “the Avenger.” (“Tall he was- and his face all wrapped up.”) 1:37-1:44: The woman becomes startled and the man is chastised by the crowd as a result. 3:54: The paperboy immediately gets swarmed and quips, “Always happens Tuesdays- that’s my lucky day.” 3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? The woman’s face is in a close-up in a Cant/Dutch angle. Dramatic music makes up for the lack of “audible” scream. The image is reminiscent of Janet Leigh’s scream during the shower scene in Psycho.
  8. https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/beginnings-part-1-hitchs-early-life-and-career?module_item_id=194168 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto assessments that this sequence contains elements, themes, or approaches that we will see throughout Hitchcock's 50-year career? 3. Since this is a silent film, do you feel there were any limitations on these opening scenes due to the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For the opening scene from The Pleasure Garden (1925), there are indeed examples of the famous "Hitchcock touch." Including the following: 00:22-00:33 Tracking shot of different reactions from various different (mostly) men: 1st man: Nervous, middle-aged & rubbing self with napkin 2nd: Eager, young man with dark hair slicked back bearing a large grin 3rd: Bald, stiff upper lipped man shaking head in disapproval 4th: Old man with monocle leering perversely At the end; Only Woman at the end in the row- asleep Example #2 shows an example of voyeurism, a prominent theme in several Hitchcock films: 00:38-41 Blurred POV shot of dancers. Man with monocle raising binoculars to see better. 00:41-00:45 Picture becomes adjusted through POV of binocular: ECU POV shot of dancers' legs 00:45- 00:49 Binocular's gradually raised up to glean at Patsy (Virginia Valli)'s profile. Example #3 shows Hitchcock's humour, as well as light flaunting of rules and authority, which is also prominent in Hitchcock's films. Particularly The 39 Steps (1935) and North By Northwest (1959) 1:31 Gentleman smoking away obnoxiously by a "Smoking Prohibited" sign. Example #4 again shows Hitchcock's humour, as well as, showing witty, playful Blonde Patsy as an object of desire. She is reminiscent of the sexual, romantic confidence that Ingrid Bergman would later show in her movies with Htichcock, especially in the way that she thwarts unwanted suitors with a smile and biting wit. 2:12-2:33 Tête-à-tête between the monocled man and Patsy over her "lovely curl of hair" (which turns out to be extensions). Example #5 shows Jill Cheyne (brunette) being a woman/innocent being in peril after getting her purse stolen by a couple of pickpockets. 2:57 Jill Cheyne's purse is shown to be extremely brightly lit just like the glass of milk from Suspicion (1941). The film is not at all marred by "the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue." The actors, direction, cinematography, music, and setting convey the story, characters, and events very well. While dialogue can be significant, it is apparent in this film that it wasn't something that kept Hitchcock and his crew from being the master craftsmen that they are.
  9. John Garfield enters as a hitchhiker to an unknown destination with an open spot for employment by the seaside. He doesn’t belong anywhere, doesn’t stay anyplace very long, or carry very many belongings outside of one suitcase. Lana Turner’s entrance is brought to attention from the sound of a dropped and rolling lipstick. When Garfield turns around, the rolling lipstick leads his eyes to the legs and eventually the entirety of Turner. Entranced by what he sees, Garfield gets up and picks up the lipstick. After Turner sees that he picks it up, she immediately turns her eyes to a compact mirror, while still keeping her attention on him. After Garfield enquires about the lipstick, Turner nonchalantly confirms about the dropped cosmetic, only giving him a brief looking before putting her hand out, and setting her eyes back on her reflection in the compact. Interestingly, Garfield doesn’t seem offended or even surprised (hinting at plenty of experiences with the opposite sex and how to gain their attention). Rather, he mirrors (the compact may or may not be symbolic of Garfield being Turner's male reflection of herself and her desires) her nonchalance with an open defiance by leaning back and inviting her to take the lipstick back from him. Unlike Garfield, Turner is surprised, signifying that this is a break in habit for her (unlike Garfield, who is getting the usual "routine"), as she is accustomed to being pursued and indulged. However, she immediately recovers, drops the ladylike mask, and becomes equally defiant. Turner begins her transformation to a femme fatale by accepting Garfield’s challenge, discards her habit of being the desired object, and takes the proactive approach in getting what she wants- an approach that she will continue for the rest of the movie. Noir elements include the ominous “man wanted” sign, serving as both an omen, as well as, a very obvious double entendre. Another popular noir element is narration by the protagonist, recounting his story. He’s not necessarily “down on his luck” like the usual noir protagonist, since by his own admission he is a wanderer who doesn’t stay put long. But, still without a background, family, wealth, material possessions to tie him down- he will have to break his way out of obscurity like many noir protagonists. The way Lana Turner tries to seduce Garfield is very much in a femme fatale fashion. While, Garfield doesn’t play into her hand (yet), he is still very much desires her and the burned hamburger (which he promised to keep an eye on) is indicative that she will be his downfall. MGM’s famous “house” elements, which romanticize their movies visually, set this noir apart from its contemporaries- making a “glamorous” noir (if you will). First off, the location at first looks barren except for some signs and a rundown burger house, which would’ve kept faithful the existential noir setting, but expanded shots eventually open up to reveal trees and a lovely seaside view that take away from the initial desolation. Secondly, unlike other noirs, which are seeped in shadows and dark lighting (usually due to budget constraints) throughout the movie, this movie has much brighter lighting; particularly when it comes to lighting Lana’s beautiful face. Turner’s entrance alone, capitalizing her famous legs and gorgeous form epitomize the famous “house” style. Other noir address the loveliness of their and Garfield’s good looks only add to the beauty and visual appeal of the movie, elements that are not a requirement for other noir heroes and anti-heroes, otherwise Humphrey Bogart, Richard Widmark, Dick Powell, etc. wouldn’t have flourished in the genre. MGM did pride itself on its multitude of beautiful stars after all; doing anything to contradict their mantra would’ve been sacrilege. Note: I originally posted this June 25 on the canvas website, but forgot to post this on the TCM website. Better npw than never. xD
  10. Hello Professor Edwards. I'm thrilled to finally be able to interact with you directly. I wasn't sure you would see my final post (I ran out of time to post it on Canvas), but took a chance to post it on here anyway. I'm so glad you were able to read my post after all- it was totally worth the time. And thank you for your very thoughtful reply- even numbering the points, very thorough. 1. I wondered if viewing the openings had to do with avoiding spoilers for the films. Note: Some of the articles did actually contain spoilers, but I was careful to skim through quickly to avoid them. I'm so glad that TCM doesn't encourage spoilers (although sometimes their brief interview promos of film veterans do wind up spilling the endings. Go figure). I hate it when people say that they're entitled to spill the beans about events in films just because they're ------ years old. If I haven't seen it, it's new and I don't want to know what happens until I see it! 2b. No thank goodness, not too many of Daily Doses were repetitive. I'm glad to have seen the openings on a lot of these movies. As I said in a previous post, they utilize quite a bit of artistry and often establish plots and characters so well in just a few minutes. I can't really think of any films today that do that. Even if they were repetitive, I could deal with it, if the information was readily available. As I said before, I couldn't find the link or any mention of "canvas" anywhere on TCM, the sign up page for the class, or even the Summer of Darkness page. I never received an email on it until several weeks into the class. I think I managed to find the page through the right keywords on google. If nothing else, I hope this is corrected above all else. Although any improvements within the class is certainly welcome as well! Amen to your last part about the lack of time! I tried putting in what time I could, but it was only toward the end of July that I could really put in all the time and energy into all the daily doses. I do regret not being able to do them sooner since it's the first couple of posts that got a lot of the buzz. I would've loved a lot of viewings and feedback on my posts because some of them turned out to be absolute beauts! Anyway, your curator's notes and discussion questions provided great starting points. I didn't bother just limiting myself to those though. It would've hindered my learning experience if I did that. Whatever came to mind, I wrote it down, like a film viewer's diary. All the work did come with a setback. Not only was there the 2 months of Summer of Darkness; back in May, Sterling Hayden was the star of the month and Orson Welles' films were the Friday Night Spotlight. So, there were actually 3 months that noir films were being showcased! Now they're gone and I'm feeling the withdrawal pains. :/ I watched Shadow of a Doubt yesterday to try to alleviate them somewhat, giving quite a bit of attention to the lighting and mise en scene than I would've otherwise. It helped to soothe the pain... A little.
  11. Hello VanHazard, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post. It’s great that we can still comment and discuss the class even after it is (sadly) over. Unfortunately, I wound up sending the post before realizing I didn’t even finish my thoughts about The Third Man! Whoops. You can re-read the post again for the changes if you’re interested (as long as you don’t start a fight, lol). Anyway, there were over 100 films covered in the Summer of Darkness festival. I didn’t at all mean that there should’ve been daily doses on all of them (not sure where you got that from my post). I would’ve gone crazy trying to come up decent analysis’ for all of them! I simply meant that some of the daily doses didn’t inspire any original thoughts or observations from and there would’ve been other films not only more appropriate for discussion- but personal favorites in the noir genre (as well as my own) that I would loved to have seen insight on. I would loved to have read the analysis’ on Detour as it is a film that has such an effect over me beyond what I can convey through sensible words. Since, this is the first time that this course was presented, I think it would great benefit from well-rounded constructive criticism from various students- like emailing or posting the links to the website where the class was taking place. The email service wasn’t working very well (as many found out) and I’ve been looking like crazy for the website! A good 2-3 weeks passed before I finally found it and was able to register! That aside, I was actually taken back when Professor Edwards reminded us this was only a brief “introductory” course. So much was covered in the course that I wound up with much more out of this class than I received from my previous film classes or even dreamed of ever getting from future ones. I hope the class takes place again very soon (with the technical glitches straightened out). I doubt it deep down, but here’s hoping!
  12. Professor Edwards, I felt I did understand before that everything would close at 11:59 on 8/3/2015 (or 10:59 the same as the quizzes, it's kind of confusing) and was rushing to get everything done. However, I took another look at the due dates and saw that the user survey under "assignments" had a due date of 11:59 8/4/2015 and thought I would have more time on it (as well as the message boards), only to see that it too closed along with everything else. It's too late now and I would've liked to have put in my two cents about the daily doses. Oh well, just wanted to notify that there was conflicting information about due dates between what you were saying and what it said in "assignments."
  13. -- Discuss how the opening of this film exemplifies the noir style and substance. -- Now that you have seen all 32 Daily Doses, what did you take away from the Daily Doses assignment? Did it contribute to your learning about film noir? The film, Criss Cross, starts off with Franz Planer’s crisp, beautiful cinematography of a panning, aerial view of the Los Angeles at night. The dark lighting, desperation of the doomed lovers wanting desperately to be together are all indicative of the noir style. Overall, the Daily Doses have really opened my eyes not only to cinematic artistry, but to understanding the depth of film noir as having a life of its own because its birth came about, not from a need to escape, but from need to plant our feet into the earth of reality. Taking a more critical analysis of these films, I’m surprised to find that my thoughts and feelings toward some of them have altered in completely opposite trends. I used think B films were mostly cheap entertainment that weren’t made to be taken seriously and was indifferent to films like The Hitchhiker and Too Late for Tears. Now I have genuine appreciation and respect for them because of their genuine artistry and unusual look and style. They’re not merely great for B movies, they’re great films, period. I used to feel that The Third Man was the quintessential film noir, but after this course my thoughts have shifted on this. The Third Man is indeed a great film, one of the greatest. Visually, it is a crowning achievement for classic films and the noir style. However, although it is indeed noir, it is a very weak example of its defining noir compared to some of their other counterparts. I’m putting the brief analysis in italics to discern it from the rest of the post. ------------------------------------ Harry Lime is charismatic and Orson Welles does make him charming, but complex he is not, in fact he is probably one of the most black and white (pun intend?) sinister characters in the noir genre. Alida Valli’s Anna is firmly loyal to Lime, not even thinking or acknowledging his crimes, and Martins and Major Calloway both want Harry captured. Martins’ motivations seem more personal than altruistic as he begins longing before the stubborn Anna, but he hardly torn up over what has to be done about Harry or even being rejected by her at the end of the movie. The story and characters are unusually straightforward and uncomplicated as far as noir (even compared to its B-noir counterparts) and totally absent of the moral ambiguity and complexity so vital to the noir genre. Either this is because war-torn Vienna more than makes up it with its intricacies with its own (actual) history and ravaged desolation- as a result, the filmmakers don’t develop the characters as much or perhaps Vienna, itself, winds up overshadowing the characters. Either way, the characters seem strangely unaffected by their environment unlike in The Asphalt Jungle or The Strange Love of Martha Ivers where the setting plays a huge part in driving the characters to their desperation for escape and tranquility. ----------------------------------- I'm sure many will disagree with me. I was surprised that my thinking of noir has changed this much, even of Elevator to the Gallows, a film I loved deeply but now I like some of the other noir better than it. My thoughts haven't changed for the worse though. I still love and appreciate these films for what they are, I'm just looking at them differently now. I wouldn't be surprised if my thoughts were to shift around again in a couple of years or so, etc. Anyway, I do wish there were some things were different about the Daily Doses. For example, I wish we could’ve gotten daily doses on The Big Heat, Detour, Odd Man Out, High Sierra etc., possibly in place of Beware My Lovely, Criss Cross, and 99 River Street that didn’t really inspire anything new or interesting. I would especially loved to have read what people would’ve had to say about Detour. That would’ve made for a fascinating read! I wish we would’ve been given different kinds of clips beyond film openings (aside from just Brute Force and Desperate, both similar scenes) to comment on in the later weeks of the course. As great as some of these openings are, by the time, I got to the final few weeks, I feel like I exhausted what I could have said about the style and context of the openings, themselves. If I didn’t happen to have already seen the entirety of some of these movies beforehand, I wouldn’t have had anything to talk about. Although, on the other hand, the openings are testament to the power and artistry of film noir/classic cinema that so much (story, set-up, characters, tone, etc.) is established in about 4 minutes or less, whereas often the average contemporary film needs 3-4 times that length to do the same. Anyway, I am sad to see this class end and only 3 days after the festival ended on Turner Classic Movies. I’ve not only gained insight and wisdom on film noir, itself, but of cinematography, technological advancements, world history, literature, etc. Thanks so much TCM and Professor Edwards, I hope you reopen (or advance) this course again soon in the future. I'll certainly participate again again!
  14. The first few seconds when Raymond Burr makes his entrance, it is the only time all three faces of the thugs are visible. After one of the hoods finishes saying, “But I managed to bring him back here for you, Walt,” that is when Burr speaks and becomes cloaked in the shadows at the same time. The only face that isn’t seen is that of Steve Brodie, faced away from the camera, huddled in the far left corner of the frame to show his helplessness and insignificance to his tormentors. The staging of Burr punching Brodie is very interesting. The direction switches from the back of Brodie’s head to the side of his face. So when Burr punches him, despite Brodie being the target, Burr doesn’t pull back after hitting him. Instead, his fist lunges to the edge of the scene and when he pulls back his hand, there is a well-lit, extreme close-up of his fist as if he threatening the audience, itself, and Brodie was merely in the way of (the director’s) real target. The slow momentum with which Burr moves his fist emphasizes the coercion and sadism, telling us that he is no hurry and will enjoy taking his time to whoever he has to terrorize. This scene is a clear example that lighting is an art and never accidental. The faces of Burr and his men are always partially hidden in the darkness and are clothed in dark jackets whereas Steve Brodie’s face and pastel coat are fully illuminated. The only other time that Burr’s face is visible is when he snatches Brodie’s license from his pocket and calls the cops to give the license number of the truck used in the robbery, in the guise of a “concerned citizen.” After getting off the phone, he returns to the shadows. After Brodie is beaten and still proves to be reluctant in following Burr’s orders, Burr breaks a bottle and once again threatens the audience through a close up of the jagged into our POV. The swinging light veering on and off Brodie’s face is symbolic of his pain, but his entire face was still directly visible for the audience to look at while he remained steadfast in his conviction to not give in to Raymond Burr’s threats. The tension heightens when Burr beings up Brodie’s wife. From then on, Brodie’s face is filmed from angle, almost always a sure sign of the shift of balances in the conflict. He is no longer in control of himself and has to acquiesce to Burr and his men, in order save his wife.
  15. Film noir is not just made up of shadows, dark lighting, smoke, and odd camera angles. Without the proper establishment of the location and mise en scene in relations to the particular scene and story, the noir “style” merely becomes a cheap bag of parlor tricks without substance or value. Whether it’s on location shooting or the studio lot, the best of film noir doesn’t use the setting as a mere backdrop, but instead goes out of its way to emphasize entirety of the setting in which the characters get around or have made their home. The audience is given scope of the true nature of the environment through the expansion of the town or city throughout the movie, whether it’s on the streets, someone’s home, a bar, nightclub, bank, transportation depot, etc. This gives film noir its ambiance, social and historical context, and adds to the dimension of the characters and perception by showing (not just telling) the audience dwellings and situations the people encounter on a regular basis. Major examples include Night and the City, The Big Heat, The Third Man, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Gun Crazy, Nightmare Alley, Touch of Evil, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Kiss Me Deadly, etc. Of course The Asphalt Jungle is no exception. The opening is reminiscent of the direction and cinematography of The Third Man. Without words or descriptive texts, the visuals perfectly illustrate how the film got its title. In place of timber and vegetation, there are nondescript, dingy, tarnished buildings and desolate streets so arid that I half expect some random sand and giant tumbleweeds to fly by the moving patrol car. The Asphalt Jungle is a convenient, modern illustration of Charles Darwin’s theory on Natural Selection. Aside from the car and the protagonist, Dix, there isn’t a single soul in sight. It’s lacking in a human population just as a jungle would be. In this unnamed city, only the most adaptive, jaded and/or complaisant can live, much less flourish here. That group just happens to be of the criminal class in the station of wild animals. Dix’s entrance is wonderfully shot from a series of askew, slanted long shots, emphasizing the withdrawal and reclusiveness of the sullen, elusive protagonist amidst a barren, urban wilderness. He ducks the patrol car that is after him and makes his way to a small joint generically labeled “Café” Why not? There’s probably none other around for miles. Dix enters and casually hands Gus, the proprietor, a gun, which he, with equal disregard, places in the cash register, just before the police pull up and take Dix away. On repeat viewings, this opening is very appropriate for a heist film, such as The Asphalt Jungle, particularly when establishing a character like Dix. There are at least two things that are affirmed to him. One, Dix has the effortless ability to intimidate with a hardened grimace as hulking as his large frame or his extensive criminal record and easily gets off by silently communicating threat of violence and coercion to the witness. Another thing is that Dix has no current roots, no home, family, occupation, only his history of unlawful transgressions, which shrouds around his shoulders like a badge of pride. This shows that he has nothing to lose and a heist can only serve to elevate him in the grand scheme of things, while making or breaking others who have everything to lose.

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