Janeko

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About Janeko

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  1. To me, the opening sequence images and the tone of the music let me know that we'll be watching a film about a relationship between two people that becomes mysterious, dark and disturbing as it deepens. The changing, swirling patterns reflect the many twists and turns that will be occurring in the story. I love the transition from black and white to color as the sequence plays out. Relationships aren't black and white, and the use of color reflects the range of emotions that the characters (and we) will be experiencing. Bass' images and Bernard Herrmann's music are perfect together. I've not seen this film in many years and had forgotten just how striking the opening sequence is, as least to me. It is mesmerizing! I've loved Bernard Herrmann's music all my life. I don't know anything about how a composer creates music to enhance what we're watching on the screen. So I don't know what this opening sequence would be like if someone like Dimitri Tiomkin had written the music instead. It makes me wonder how a producer/director chooses a composer to write the music for a film.
  2. This scene shows so many aspects of film noir. The scene starts with children playing in the bright light outside, and then moves to the dimly lit room of a run down rooming house. There's the contrast between innocent kids playing in their neighborhood, an everyday occurrence and, not so far away Uncle Charlie, a serial killer, stretched out on the bed. He's well dressed, a contrast to the condition of the room. He appears depressed, almost resigned. The scene is so similar to the one showing The Swede in The Killers. When the landlady comes in, she's a middle aged woman, like Uncle Charlie's victims. She's not a target, though, because she's not wealthy. It's established that Uncle Charlie is able to charm women, because the landlady is sympathetic towards and protective of him. He's polite to her, but his whole manner is "off." She makes him aware of the men looking for him, and, of course he knows it's the police. When the landlady pulls down the shade and his face is covered in dark shadow, I thought two things. First, it was symbolic of the police closing in on him and second, it was like a foreshadowing of his own eventual death. But unlike The Swede, who was resigned to his fate, Uncle Charlie suddenly gets out of the bed and pulls the shade up completely, defiantly. He smugly assures himself that the police have nothing on him and arrogantly goes outside and walks right past them in a show of bravado. He doesn't think much of them, the way he doesn't think much of the women he's killed. In the video lecture, Dr. Gehring mentioned Uncle Charlie's "losing it" at the dinner table. I think there are signs of his starting to unravel even in this scene with the way he is so careless with the money, rambles on to the landlady about the men not knowing him and maybe he'll have to go out and meet them,etc. And then there's the way he suddenly throws the glass hard enough to shatter it. Dimitri Tiomkin's music underscores the rapid changes in Uncle Charlie's emotions and actions. I haven't seen this film in ages and am looking forward to watching it again. I'm a big fan of both Joseph Cotton and Teresa Wright, enjoy Alfred Hitchock's films, and love Dimitri Tiomkin's music. He did wonderful scores for so many films in addition to Hitchcock's, including one of my all time favorite classic Sci Fi films from the '50's, The Thing from Another World.
  3. The opening scene is at a much slower pace than the earlier films we've seen, no crowds in a public place. Instead, there's an eerie, otherworldly feel to the scene as we slowly move along the overgrown path and eventually see the ruins of the house. It's sad and creepy at the same time. At one time it was a showplace with manicured gardens and well kept grounds. Now, it's in a state of decline and disrepair. It echoes the events that took place in the lives of everyone who lived there, the tragedy and heartache...I've not seen this film in a very long time, but it feels like the house, dark and forboding, is the architectural representation of Mrs. Danvers. The use of light and shadow and mist as well as the twists and turns of the camera angles, are Hitchcock touches. We're suddenly introduced to the main characters during a potential crisis. Laurence Olivier is apparently contemplating suicide by jumping off the cliff. We hear Joan Fontaine before we see her. While she doesn't scream, she does shout to Olivier,trying to stop him from jumping. As with previous films, the initial interaction between the man and woman destined to become a couple starts out on rocky footing.
  4. I sometimes have a problem where the entire video suddenly freezes and I have a really hard time getting it started again.This happens both with the daily doses and the video lectures. I've tried shutting it down and reopening it, but that doesn't always work. Yesterday I had to watch daily dose of The 39 Steps by watching the movie on YouTube. Today I had no problem at all. If anyone has a solution, I'd love to hear it. This is the 3rd online class I've taken with TCM/Canvas and I've never had a problem like this in the past.
  5. The opening scene of the film is bright and cheerful, and the music underscores the lighthearted atmosphere. Sometimes it adds to the comedic tone, such as when the cuckoo clock with the soldier instead of a cuckoo starts playing its kind of boisterous tune, causing the clerk to hold his head as he is trying to talk on the phone. The folk melody also lets the audience know that the scene is not taking place in Great Britain. Caldicott and Charters come across as a parody of upper class travelers who view the British way as the best way, and look down on the cultures and customs of other countries as being lacking in some way. (Unfortunately, this kind of thing is very much in existence today. When I've traveled to other countries on vacation, the attitudes and observations of some of my fellow travelers have made me squirm!) Caldicott and Chambers also provide running commentary and comic relief in the scene. When Iris and her friends enter, the clerk immediately walks past all of the others to greet her, letting everyone know this is a VIP! The bantering seems lighthearted, but some of the comments made to him are rude (like his not even having the sheets changed), but he ignores those comments in a sort of subservient way and focuses only on what Iris is saying. The camera focuses on Iris as he accompanies the ladies up the steps, continuing to take in all of the instructions Iris is giving.
  6. The Pleasure Garden, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and The Steps all open with scenes of people in public places, out for an entertaining, fun time. There are similarities in the use of camera angles, like the shot of the screaming woman in The Lodger and the man buying the ticket to the show in The 39 Steps, as well as the combination of long distance shots and closeups. For example, there's the closeup of the woman screaming in horror combined with the activities the theater dressing room in The Lodger. In The Man Who Knew Too Much there's the sweeping views of the ski run combined with the close up of the skier's face showing panic as he thinks he's going to hit the dog. Robert Donat is introduced as an ordinary looking man from Canada who has decided to go to a show one evening. It's a commonplace thing to do. The opening scene of The Man Who Knew Too Much shows upper class people enjoying themselves in a ritzy setting, a lifestyle many in the audience might fantasize about. But the opening scene of The 39 Steps is in a more working class setting, and I think audiences would be more accepting of Robert Donat as "one of us." He seems like a "regular guy," relaxed, easygoing, having a good time. The music hall is a "safe place" frequented by a cross section of the population looking for fun entertainment. Mr. Memory is simply (we think) an entertainer trying to earn a living, having to deal with hecklers as well as those who genuinely want to test his memory. Ordinary people doing ordinary things. But this is going to change for Robert Donat and Mr. Memory, who both are drawn into dangerous circumstances.
  7. I think the characters will be more important than the plot. Four of the main characters are introduced immediately in the opening scene, and Abbott recognizes Louis and immediately attempts to hide the fact with laughter. Louis seems to know that something's amiss but it's like he can't quite put his finger on what it is. There's an indication of possible marital issues between Bob and Jill because of the way Betty prattles on about how her mother simply adores Louis and her father keeps replying "yes dear" and nothing else. So we learn important things about the plot through the interactions of the characters in this first scene. Abbott makes no attempt to hide the fact that he's a foreigner, pointing out that his English isn't good enough for him to say whether he's alright and also being unfamiliar with the expression "knocking them cold." He seems like such a good humored, easy going person, apparently with health issues because he's traveling with a nurse. His kindly, cheerful persona is going to make it harder to accept him as a villain!! The opening shots of Pleasure Garden and this film clip show crowds gathered for the purpose of having a good time; the scenes are brightly lit and the tone is lighthearted. There's emphasis on the personal interactions of the characters. In The Lodger, the scenes are dark and the crowd has gathered to gawk at a murder scene. As the action continues, the focus changes from personal interaction to showing the impersonal work involved in reporting the news of another murder...
  8. The sound swirls around Alice; she is separate from it. This emphasizes how emotionally isolated she is from everyone around her, especially her parents. They're oblivious to the inner turmoil she's experiencing. To me, the silence of the phone booth becomes a physical representation of the emotional isolation she's experiencing. When she asks her father if he has Frank's phone number he says no but that she an find it in the phone book. I was wondering if Frank's phone number just happened to be on the same page as that of the police but it's her tremendous feeling of guilt that causes her to focus on the police phone number. When sitting at the table, her overwhelming feelings of revulsion and guilt about the previous evening's events cause her to only hear the word "knife" as the customer drones on and on and on! It's Alice's own emotional state that makes her hear the word knife shouted that last time, and she "loses it," tossing the knife away in a panic. Even then her clueless father reprimands her, with the comment, "you could have cut somebody." How ironic. But he and his wife never once wonder what is wrong with her. They're just as insensitive as the talkative customer! And that bell sounds like a death knell! I'm assuming that this particular use of subjective sound doesn't happen frequently because directors felt they found better ways to make a point in their films.
  9. The POV camera action draws us into the scene. Rather than being voyeurs, outside looking in, we are united with the actors. The icy expression on the face of the headmaster as Roddy and Tim walk towards him let all of us know that something really bad is going to happen. Hitchcock's use of POV intensifies all of the emotions; the scheming, malicious expression on the waitress's face as she looks at both guys and then singles out her victim is magnified by the closeup. Her motive is clear. She picks out the one who's father is "rolling in dough." Tim's display of cowardice is almost painful to watch--his "hang dog" expression, his constant refusal to make eye contact with Roddy. Incredible! The montage towards the end of the clip tells us quickly the story the watress is relating to the headmaster about how the events took place. Is any of it true? Will Roddy be cleared? We're emotionally invested in the outcome.
  10. The husband and wife are apart physically at the party. She's in the room where the party is taking place while he's in another room talking business. But there's an emotional distance, too. They can only see each other reflected in the mirrors. She's married but is having no problem flirting with the guy she's sitting next to. When the guy says that the next time they go out, he'll have to take her to see the dancers' show, she looks excited at the idea, likes the "good life," but then catches sight of her husband's reflection in the mirror and her smile fades. It's like she's thinking, "yeah, but what about him?" The spinning record reflects the spinning thoughts of the husband in the other room. The superimposing of the image of his wife sitting next to the guy over the scene him sitting in the other room helps shift the drama from what's actually happening at the party to what the husband is becoming more and more preoccupied with in his thinking. The image finally becomes so big that we realize he's feeling overwhelmed with anxiety about what will happen if she stays behind when he leaves for training. He even says he'll be training for a divorce. He doesn't feel he can trust her. The distorted images reflect his distorted thinking. He's going to have to become a champion in order to hold on to her! Not a great commentary on the state of their marriage!
  11. In the first daily dose, the for the most part, the audience members are leering at the girls on stage, partaking of a guilty pleasure. In the second daily dose, the crowds around the murder victim are drawn to the scene, staring at the victim much in the way people "rubberneck" when passing an accident on the highway. It satisfies a darker, guilty need. In the first dose, humor is light but in the second dose, when the man makes fun of the woman and her description of the killer, it's a dark humor. Sometimes people will use humor to distance themselves from the horror of the situation. But of course some people are simply insensitive. The camera angle and close up of the woman screaming helps to say it all without any words. The horror and terror of her discovery is written all over her face. It made me think of Janet Leigh screaming in the shower scene in Psycho.
  12. The use of dry humor (the dozing woman sitting next to the leering men, the guy smoking his cigar by the "smoking prohibited" sign,etc. ) and the sense of voyeurism he creates (like that in Rear Window) are Hitchcock touches. And there's even a blonde! even a blonde actress! Hitchcock is able to tell the story despite the lack of dialogue through his use of camera angles, closeups, etc.
  13. I was unable to see Sidewalk Stories but am going to rectify that!
  14. I can only base my response on the two clips we saw from this film because I've not seen Anchorman in its entirety. ZAZ defintely was a big influence in this film. Ferrell's manner and attitude are so like Nielsen's--serious and tough. The whole fight scene is nonsensical! Everyone is dressed in business suits and yet are able to pull out these big weapons from under their jackets!! Ferrell's coworker has a hand grenade and has no idea where it came from. These guys are all going to rumble but set up the ground rule that there's to be no touching of faces and hair!!! The fight starts and violence escalates quickly and in a crazy manner from the guy getting thrown on top of the car to the guy who is set on fire and the one who has an arm amputated and states "I didn't see that coming!" The cameos added "highlights" to the scene and I think added to the audience's enjoyment as they got to see familiar people break out of the mold and take on a completely different (and outrageous) persona. I picked up the influence of Peter Sellers and Gene Wilder in Ferrell's style-- the man trying to come across as controlled, in command, even as all hell breaks loose around him. I am so going to miss this class. As with the film noir course, it's has been a great experience. I've learned so much from the lectures and videos and from the comments of my fellow classmates!! I hope we meet again when TCM, Dr. Edwards and Ball State University offer the next course! A great big thank you to everyone!!
  15. Woody Allen has never been a favorite of mine. It has nothing to do with his personal life. There's just something about him as a person that I've never liked. I tried to watch Bananas with an open mind. But the film is 45 years old and the world has changed so greatly in terms of the violence we're all dealing with these days. The blatant violence portrayed in this film--televising an assassination like it's a sporting event, the merciless firing squad scene, etc., just didn't seem funny to me. I guess I've seen too much news coverage of shopping malls and restaurants and movie theaters being attacked by terrorists and mentally ill people and people being murdered in the cruelest of ways. Foul Play was a great spoof of Hitchcock films! In Rear Window, James Stewart initially can't get anyone to believe him when he tries to tell them about Raymond Burr murdering his wife. Goldie Hawn can't get anyone to believe her story about the dead guy in the theater. In Dial M for Murder, Grace Kelly stabs her would be strangler with her sewing scissors and Goldie Hawn stabs her would be strangler with her knitting needles. The entire film spoofs The Man Who Knew Too Much as, eventually, Hawn, Chase, et al realize that there's going to be an assassination attempt made on the Pope at the opera and that they have a limited amount of time to stop it!! In the end, our heroes save the day!! Young Frankenstein is the most lovingly created spoof of horror films I've ever seen. Every scene, line of dialog, facial expression and gesture is perfect. From Frankenstein's asking the kid "Is this the Transylvania Station" to Igor's movable hump, from the little girl asking The Monster "What should we throw in (the well) now" once the flower petals are gone to the blind hermit's dismay at The Monster's rapid departure, saying "I was going to make espresso," this film never misses a beat. I have to confess that since seeing this film when it first opened, I can't hear Ave Maria without thinking of Gene Hackman!!

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