Hawk223

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  1. 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.
  2. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects. She's carrying a lot of baggage! (Pun intended) There's a calculated precision to her character that we see as she discards one identity for another. She's prepared with a social security card, and we can tell she's done this before. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? I feel like it builds up to us seeing her face for the first time, but I don't feel that the score does a ton for me here. It isn't bad or anything, just not as gripping as some of the other musical openers. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? He breaks the fourth wall. As we know, this is advertised as a sex suspense, so Hitchcock checking out Marnie then looking to us draws more attention to her, objectifies her more.
  3. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene? It follows Melanie while having the underlying component of the birds. We follow her trying to fool Mitch and their interaction. I suppose ultimately this seemingly harmless buildup will make the story all the more upsetting/horrifying. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere? The sound of the birds is constant and very intrusive. What we don't get is music, there is no score. The birds remain front and center in our ears. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene. He exits the store with two dogs. Maybe I'm missing the joke, but perhaps it's meaningful since he's with an alternative animal.
  4. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? The visual cuts are obviously cuts, which lends itself to the film. The music in strings, as I think Edwards comments, also adds to the cut theme - you wouldn't normally think so, but it does match with the music of the shower scene. The pacing of the music also lends itself to the sense of urgency. 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? Also, why do you think Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds from the outside? Does this shot remind of any other Daily Doses we have watched? I think the time might add a sense of urgency as she runs later in the film with the money. I think the blinds add to the voyeurism, but also inserts us much like Bates is in the film. Perhaps it adds to why, as Wes comments, we are rooting for Bates as he submerges the car. It reminds me of Rear Window's opening, in that we are in a viewer POV (or Hitchcock's). In the remainder of this sequence, we are introduced to Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin). The scene pushed the boundaries of censorship, especially considering our last Daily Dose for North by Northwest was edited for a line of risqué dialogue. 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? Defend your answer. I think it establishes her as someone pushing against the norm, more daring. She's just slept with a married man, during her lunch, and in a pretty revealing outfit for the time. Hitchcock continues to push the boundaries here, and establishes qualities that will better justify her reasoning to steal so much money.
  5. Even at the level of the dialogue, this film is playing with the idea that two Hollywood stars are flirting with each other (e.g. the line, "I look vaguely familiar.") How does our pre-existing knowledge of these stars function to create meaning in this scene. It's difficult to truly piece together the context of these actors at the specific time of 1959, but my understanding of Grant as having some challenges with fame and identity add to the inconspicuous goal he has in the scene. Saint I knew from On the Waterfront of course, but I'm not sure I have a great deal of background knowledge on her to add to the scene. Her eye contact with Grant is very consistent and adds to the flirtation. There is minimal action in this scene, so any deviation from the overall pattern of focusing on the faces of the two leads will have increased significance. In that sense, discuss how Hitchcock uses the R.O.T. matchbook as an important piece of acting business (or as a prop) in this scene. Again, Saint's eye contact is engaging, and I feel we're waiting for Grant to remove his sunglasses. The matchbook allows them to have physical contact. Overall, it's an intriguing/steamy scene, as we don't yet understand Saint's involvement but are to believe she simply finds Grant attractive. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. Initially we hear more of the railroad track monotony, but eventually the music adds to the romance of the scene.
  6. Describe what you think this film will be about simply from the sounds and images in these opening credits. Even if you have seen the film, try to focus on these sounds and images themselves and “the story” (or if not "the story," the mood and atmosphere they are establishing) that this sequence is communicating to the audience. Visually, I feel like there's a level of detail expressed in the opening, followed by a disorienting component (due to the spin). The music is haunting, so all these qualities are certainly expressed later in the picture. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. The sound is the most powerful part to me - it demands attention and is scary. But since the question was the most powerful image, I think of the eye often. The closeness of the face, the detail. The camera purposefully shifting around. The spinning is the final component to the sequence, but perhaps I'm biased nowadays compared to earlier viewings (now that I have a better understanding of clinical vertigo, whereas when I watched this as a teenager I had no clue what vertigo actually was). How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? They work so well together for me. Both have a clear quality to them - in that we are shown very specific images - a mouth, an eye, a spin, and musically we are getting very defined notes. Much like the film, we are deliberately shown very specific things to follow. A different score may not have had this haunting quality, and that might have taken away from the seriousness, obsessiveness so central to the film.
  7. How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window? I feel the opening shot lays out the canvas for the film, and introduces several of the characters we will be watching with Jeff. The music feels lighthearted and does not suggest the dark nature of where we are heading. I suppose it's not anyone's vantage point, though one could argue it's essentially Hitchcock's. What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design? Obviously establishing the injury and then a dangerous profession indicates he likely got injured on the job. We cut to the magazine covers which are a departure from his active lifestyle, which obviously foreshadows some of his debates with Lisa later. And finally, we learn that it's really hot out and a terrible time to be in a cast. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? It does, simply because we are the observers in this opening - a departure from the early openings where we watched watchers (though we will later). What makes it so voteuristic to me is that we are seeing seemingly harmless, mundane activities - shaving, changing music, waking up, sleeping. Normal everyday morning activity, nothing scandalous or out of the ordinary yet. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I thought about this question awhile, considering what it means to be cinematic. I would say so because it's a stationary set - a man in a wheelchair the entire film. To create suspense, to avoid boredom, Hitchcock - and certainly the editing - must be at best throughout. It is an excellent example of the film medium and what can be done with it. I was discussing with my fiancé how timeless the film is too, in that it draws upon society's building nature of watching - reality TV, social media. Very relevant concepts at work here.
  8. 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. Obviously we get a cross in direction by having each individual walk in opposing directions. We get an overlapping of different soundtracks. The railroad track shows us a crossing pattern. 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. I've been a fan of this film for a long time. I've always enjoyed this beginning, and the smoothness of Bruno's gait and slid into his seat while gracefully crossing his legs always jumped out to me - as opposed to Guy's less flashy movements and stumble in bumping Bruno's foot. The show choice also jumps out in the more conspicuous/eye-catching black and white that Bruno wears. Guy has a darker jacket on. Bruno also does nearly all of the talking here, contrasted by Guy's silence. 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? There's a building up on different soundtracks that add to the crisscross, coming together as they meet.
  9. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?
 The Bergman point of view shot of Grant obviously jumps out, but also the doorway framing of each character jumps out. The darkness of Grant jumps out, as Bergman is more of a mix of shades. 2. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?
 As I mentioned, the doorway framing is notable, as is the contrast of Grant's dark suit with Bergman's stripes. The spinning shot is always great (as mentioned in the lecture by Professor Edwards). 
 3. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? 
 I am a huge fan of this film. I think you get a bit of a flip in this scene of what each character may be known for - you get Bergman clearly not at her best, and Grant may very well look charming but is darker, manipulative. I actually compare this scene a lot to the scene in Vertigo where Stewart and Novak meet, though obviously very different emotions are driving each of the characters. The females are in confused, vulnerable states, and the males each want them in some (essentially perverse) way.
  10. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? Certainly the first shots jump out to me as Hitchcock touches, as we observe both Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith watching each other. The disarray certainly begs attention, as well as the confinement of the leads. The production visuals and camerawork did not jump out to me as much. The "community" involvement of talking about the Smiths did remind me of earlier work we've discussed such as The Lodger opening. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? I felt there were some similarities as I mention above, but also some really different elements at work here. We haven't really seen Hitchcock do a screwball comedy. The interaction and disarray certainly draw attention to continue watching. As I'm guilty of overlooking this film, I'm interested to see more, as it looks like a departure from some of the subject matter we are used to. This feels a bit more character driven in a way. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? I really can't tell as of yet. They have very brief interaction at the end, and I must admit I am less familiar with both of them.
  11. 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. It's made clear that it's daytime, and he wishes to be alone inside. We see a carelessness for his great deal of money. We see an edge as he throws a glass. And once again, we see observe a watcher, as he watches the two men. We also see a fearlessness as he walks right by them. 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) I love the Killers. The difference that jumps out to me is that we are focused, in the Killers, on the two men, whereas here we are focused on the Charlie. Given the different outcome of each lead, this seems deliberate and effective in shedding light on the character. 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? I found it escalated the scene in intensity as Charlie begins to rise to action. It could have been a rather boring opening if the music didn't assist with the drama unfolding.
  12. 1. Describe how this opening is different from the multiple opening scenes you have seen in the Daily Doses from the British silent and/or sound period? This is a very different opening than we've seen. We aren't watching watchers as we have in the past, unless there are those that the house is watching. The camera is very mobile for the tracking toward the house, but fairly still once introducing the two leads. I suppose between the narration (also different) and the tracking shot potentially a POV shot of sorts, we may in a way be watching someone. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? I find there are less touches in this opening, but the darkness of Olivier (literally and figuratively) steps from death strikes me as a bit of the thrill/suspense we've come to expect thus far. 3. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What affect does the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene? I'm struck by the mobility of the camera through the woods to the house. It's the first thing we hear about (through the narration) as well as the first thing we come to - not the actual characters - and the house is where the camera stops.
  13. 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. The atmosphere is busy, active I would say. There's a great deal of overlapping dialogue and sound, such as the entrance of the two man with the cuckoo clock. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Similar to what others have said, they seem to be a sort of stuffy British type common of the time, and their performances provide a sort of Muppet-like (Waldorf) comic commentary on Iris bossing around the hotel manager and how they're passed over by manager upon her entrance. 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. The camera keeps Iris on top. She also disrupts the scene the from the chaos to essentially direct the hotel manager. The camera follows her as she bosses him, and we don't really get much of a view of the other two companions.
  14. 1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? It fits the pattern of watching observers and watching some sort of spectacle. But what's different here is the interaction that the protagonist participates in it. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent lead character than in previous opening sequences of his films? Perhaps, though I can't really tell from the opening. In reading the opening, then watching the protagonist enter, it very much resonates the opening of the Lodger and that he may be the villain. I'm not sure we see enough here for me to agree with Rothman. 3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? I find the touch formula very interesting, and particularly the elements here we see of more relatable, ordinary people seems to ring true. I suppose that's why so many openings have been in more common, public venues thus far as well. Bonus Reflection #4: For those of you who are more familiar with Hitchcock's films, do you agree or disagree with Rothman's contention that The 39 Steps can be seen as a bridge--perhaps the critical bridge--between the early experimentation of the silent films and the mature Hitchcock touch on display in his masterworks from the 1940s - 1970s? I am a big fan of North by Northwest, and I can see how this film can draw comparisons. What's interesting to me in this opening is that the protagonist is an active participant in it as one of the observers. It draws us into the action, much like how I think of Thornhill in NbNW getting wrapped up in the paranoid web.
  15. 1. Based on these 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) I haven't seen the original but did see the remake (though I do not remember it well), but based on the opening I initially felt it was more character driven due to the more stationary camera and interaction displayed. 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? He's laughing at the incident and has a curt reaction initially when the skier arrives, but we don't see very much of him. He's very well covered in darkness, but he has the strongest reaction in the scene in a way. He's laughing amidst a potentially dangerous incident, so I can away with a more villainous opinion of him (that, and he was mentioned in the lecture as the villain). 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. There's still that watching the watcher component, but what's interesting is the watchers (the dog) interact with what they're watching (the skier), which kind of gets us into the excitement more. It's a larger scale than the other openers, so I do feel like we are in for a larger story here.

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