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Everything posted by JamesRusso

  1. 1.) Another Hitchcock inspired thriller is 1987's "The Bedroom Window". The films is a homage to Rear Window and stars Steve Guttenberg and was directed by Curtis Hanson. 2.) Another Hitchcock remake is 1976's "The Lady Vanishes" starring Elliot Gould. This was the last film produced by Hammer Studios. 3.) Full title of The Birds II is The Birds II: Lands' End and the film was 1994 made for Showtime movies.
  2. 1.) Most definitely I think Brian DePalma would. I think composer Giorgio Moroder and Alan Silvestri. Also, Tangerine Dream. 2.) As for screenwriters, I could see Hitchcock working with David Mamet.
  3. 1.) Another film inspired by Hitchcock is the 1994 suspense thriller (American giallo as well) Color of Night starring Bruce Willis and directed by Richard Rush. 2.) Some of Italian filmmaker Dario Argento's films are inspired by Hitchcock most notably 1975's Deep Red and Do You Like Hitchcock ? 3.) There was a science-fiction retelling of Hitchcock's film, Lifeboat. A 1994 TV movie entitled "Lifepod" was about several people trapped in an escape pod in outer space.
  4. Also inspired by Hitchcock is Halloween directed by John Carpenter The movie "Bats" starring Lou Diamond Phillips was inspired by "The Birds".
  5. 1.) A series of films that were not just inspired by Hitchcock, but were direct continuations of his storyline from "Psycho" were the three "Psycho" sequels: Psycho II Psycho III Psycho IV: The Beginning (This third sequel was a TV movies and was written by Joseph Stefano) 2.) Currently, there is a series on A&E Network called "Bates Motel". There was also a TV movies called The Birds II". I think it was broadcast in the 1990's, but I would have to double check. 3.) No to mention that Anthony Hopkins played Hitchcock in a biopic about his life entitled "Hitchcock" which was released a few years ago. 4. ) There was also a TV movie remake of "Rear Window" starring Christopher Reeve. 5.) The Burt Reynold's directed crime drama, Sharkey's Machine (1981) features numerous scenes where Tom Sharkey Is observing Domino (Rachel Ward's character) using binoculars from another apartment building across from hers. The entire scene is directly inspired by Rear Window. 6.) There was also a remake of "Psycho" released in 1998 starring Vince Vaughan and directed by Gus Van Sant.
  6. Casting Sean Connery right after he had done the first James Bond film, Dr. No, as the lead in Marnie was a courageous move on Hitchcock's part. Since we know from analyzing how Hitchcock used stars in his films, do you think Hitchcock was trying play with audience expectations of Sean Connery's on-screen persona in Marnie ? By casting Connery in the role of a man who struggles to help a woman who is suffering emotionally and mentally, he seemed almost to be saying to the audience you thought this was going to be an adventure/romance film like Dr. No where Connery(007) wins the girl's love right away in the first few minutes of the film.
  7. It almost boggles the mind to think that these three Chaplin scenes were repeated, copied, and imitated by almost every slapstick comedian who followed Chaplin right up to the modern comedians of today. Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers, all used scenes like these or scenes very similar. The concept of the slapstick comedies protagonist being pursued by the police and the main character making the cops look like fools began right here with the scene of Chaplin rolling through the hole in the fend in "A Dog's Life".. Think of how many comedies you have seen that have shown police being foiled in slapstick comedy. This concept was continued even into modern comedy films such as Smokey & The Bandit, The Dukes of Hazzard, and The Blues Brothers.
  8. JamesRusso

    What is Slapstick? A Discussion of Definitions

    I agree with the definitions of what encompasses slapstick comedy as presented by Prof. Edwards. I would like to add to that definition that slapstick comedy frequently presents a poor, lower class character invading the high society life of a wealthy person and causing mayhem and chaos. This poor vs. wealthy concept can be found in silent comedy (Buster Keaton, Chaplin), early talkies and two reelers ( The Three Stooges, Laurel & Hardy) right up to today's modern comedy films such as Caddyshack. Yes, I believe that for a comedy film to be considered purely slapstick it must contain all five of those conditions.
  9. JamesRusso

    The Flaw in Blow-Up

    I have to agree with some of the views posted here in that the Sister who hosted TCM's "Condemned" series completely missed the point and theme of Blow-Up. I was disappointed by the commentary she provided before and after the movie. I was hoping, as with other forewords and concluding remarks by TCM hosts on learning some trivia concerning the film's production or something about the film's director or stars. Whole books have been published concerning what the imagery in Blow-Up symbolizes and even with all of the films available, Blow-Up is still a staple in many films schools. None of this was mentioned in the commentary.
  10. 1.) The swinging light also obscures the violent beating of the scene. We don't really see the gangsters hitting Steve, just the reactions on their faces. 2.) Mann and Diskant's changing points of view draw the viewer close into the action of the scene. First we see Steve's beaten face from the gangter's point of view (lead gangster played by Raymond Burr, I believe). When Burr breaks the bottle and threatens Steve with disfiguring his wife unless he confesses to the cops, we see the broken bottle up close with the sharp glass practically touching the camera lenses. This puts us right into the scene; the viewer can almost sense those sharpened edges on the bottle.
  11. 1.) The swinging lamp containing a solitary light bulb lends tremendous atmosphere to this scene. First we see the gansgters in shadow then the light swings and we see them with a key light.
  12. 1.) The film depicts this unnamed city as appearing almost bombed-out. We see scenes of streets littered with debris. In fact, the city almost resembles scenes of bombed-out European cities in other postwar film noirs such as The Third Man. Huston utilizes this city in decay as the background of a character who may also be in some decline or decay. The title The Asphalt Jungle suggest a hybrid of jungle adventure story (like Tarzan) and a gritty urban thriller. The title suggest that this burnt-out unnamed city is akin to a jungle existing within an urban landscape. 2.) The city shown is a urban cityscape based on an existentialistic view; we see a city that is dark, decaying, morose, depressed with a characters who appears to feel the same wandering through it. the character Dix appears to be in some trouble as he enters the diner and asks the owner to hide his weapon. He is a disintegrating individual existing in what appears to be an equally disintegrating and disoriented world. The film shows postwar economic effects on US city. Some cities flourishing in America while others have infrastructure decay. We learnt hat Dix appears to be able to get himself out of trouble with the police quickly and has a lot of power to influence people to help him.
  13. 1.) Miles' Davis' score works with and contributes additional layers of meaning to Malle's visuals in that as the camera pulls back from the main character talking on the phone, we see he is occupying one room in a large apartment or hotel where there appears to be no one else in the other apartments or hotel rooms. The score underscores the isolation of the scene and further complements Malle's visual style. The building shows a sens of symmetry and geometrical repetetiveness; the viewer sees that each room is exactly the same, a complete clone of the room next to it. The character appears lost in this and the music emphasizes an overall sense of loneliness and malaise. 2.) The idioms of jazz resonate so well with film noir because many jazz scores such as the Miles Davis score in this film usually highlight the saxophone as a major instrument in the foreground of the music. The saxophone has a lonely sound used to punctuate scenes of a character living is isolation or a deepening depresseion. The saxophone can also become stronger to underscore romantic scenes or scenes of dangerous passion. A quickening of the sax can be used for chase scenes or suspense sequences.
  14. 1.) The film's opening shot of the Salvation Army band shows us the happiness of Christmas time. We associate the Salvation Army with goodness and generosity. This scene establishes a mood of happiness which eventually becomes progressively darker. It tells us, in essence, that drifting just under the happy moods of the holidays, there is death and murder. 2.) Film uses many postwar films noir themes present in 1950's era films noir. The man working as a handyman brings to mind the postwar noir theme of men's disillusionment with their postwar roles. There are also several extreme close-ups of items such as the calendar showing December 1918 and the "to do" list with several chores checked off. Also, the use of the mirror on the wall -we see the handyman's reflection in the round wall mirror just before he discovers the dead woman's body in the broom closet. The mirror's reflection serves as a forebearer of the horror to come; an inverse flip-side of the this man is shown first in the mirror's reflection and then that id-like reflection become real. Did he kill the woman ? We can't tell from the scene, but the mirror's reflection and the handyman's mental state after he discovers the body show a descent into an existentialistic madness.
  15. 1.) There is evidence in this scene from "The Narrow Margin" to support Foster Hirsch's claim that this is a parody of the hard-boiled school. When the two detectives exit the train station, we see they are dressed in what was perceived by film noir audience to be the definitive "detective" wear which is fedora hat, gray or black trenchcoat, suit worn underneath and an ever present cigar or cigarette. The dialogue is atypical films noir dialogue; delivered at a fast clip in between puffs of the cigarette. 2.) Some of the major film noir elements in this scene are the train itself. Trains and the action taking place on trains was a traditional setting for films noir. The lighting is reminiscent of other films noir; the two detectives leaving the train car at night surrounded by steam; the two detectives emerge from the shadows of the train cars into the bright, key light of the train station. The scene in the backseat of the taxi cab when the two private eyes are discussing the woman they are about to meet is a variation on several Daily Doses we have seen. Typically, in films noir the main characters ( most especially the male protagonists) do not discuss the femme fatale before meeting her. The adjectives the two detectives use describe the as-yet unseen woman characters are the words used to describe a femme fatale which is further evidence to support Hirsch's claim that the dialogue in the film is meant as a parody of1940's films noir.
  16. 1.) The main character is constantly aware of time ---the time it takes for the florist truck to deliver flowers, the time its takes the bank guards to deliver the money. We see later in the see that he has a whole diagram written out where he keeps track of these times every day. Clock are very prominent --his wristwatch, the bank's clock. 2.) One element of film noir style I noticed was the extreme close-up of everyday objects. The close-up of the wristwatch, the note/address book. An element of film noir substance is the character/situation of Kansas City Confidential is keeping with the overall style of films noir postwar. Male characters are disillusioned after WWII and seek to steal from big banks and corporations. 3.) A heist films taps into hidden audience desire to rob from the rich. Kansas City Confidential shows postwar breakdown of censorship restrictions after WWII; characters are shown participating in criminal acts previous unseen on the big screen and this taps into the dark desires of viewers psychology.
  17. 1.) When we are actually viewing the boxing match, we are inside the ring with the two fighters and the referee...the sound of the fight is loud and distinct. The cutting is fast-paced. When we are viewing the fight from the viewpoint of a television viewer, the fight is in slow motion and there are no cuts; the sound , now through the the TV sets tinny speakers, is low and unclear. One major statement the scene makes on television over movies is when Ernie's wife shuts the TV off on him while the match is going on ---almost as if Karlson were saying that when you watch TV an outsider can ruin the experience for you as opposed to seeing movies in a cinema where no one (short of the projectionist) can shut off the film. 2.) The relationship between Ernie and Pauline shows changing roles of men and women in films noir. Pauline is tougher than female characters un previous noir films. Ernie is a new model of postwar male characters; having trouble finding work; failure to live up to the middle class working male image. 3.) Scene shows noir substance; characters seemingly lost and adrift in modern postwar society with no direction.
  18. 1.) The scene begins with Sam and Walter talking in an office. The two men are in close proximity to each other and are framed tightly; as the viewer, we see very little of the whole mise-en-scene. When Martha enters the scene, the camera frames her closer and the camera hold on her for much longer than the male characters. Also, she is introduced standing in a doorway so we see her in better perspective to the set. As Sam begins to talk to Barbara and she realizes who he is, Martha is then shown to enter the scene with the two male characters. Just at that point, Walter, Doulgas' character, exits the scene. While Martha and Sam become reacquainted we cut to Walter in a shot by himself pouring a drink. He is made to appear "ousted" and isolated from the other two characters just at the pivotal point when Martha remembers Sam. 2.) From this early scene we can see noir theme of the male character questioning his masculinity...it appears as though Walter is annoyed about the reunion of Sam and Martha and now must face what this mean for the strength and future of his marriage. The noir theme of a strong female character is shown right at the onset of the film; a female characters who is dissatisfied with her married life which is somewhat similar to the female character shown in the opening scene of the previous Daily Dose. 3.) Other films noir which took place in a vaguely Midwestern town: A Postman Always Rings Twice, Detour, Kiss Me Deadly.
  19. 1.) The three Daily Doses which opened with highway scenes (The Hitch Hiker, Kiss Me Deadly, and this scene from Too Late For Tears) are all post war film noir which were filmed at time when the U.S. was at the height of consumerism. After the war. millions of people were purchasing automobiles who never owned cars previously and many of those new found car owners found themselves travelling on America's still young highway system. These films show the fears and paranoia Americans felt travelling these roads and the various people they might meet along those roads and situations they could potentially find themselves involved in. The fateful twist that occurs in this opening scene from Too Late For Tears is different that the other two Daily Doses in that the two main characters are unwillingly pulled into this situation. In Kiss Me Deadly, Hammer agrees to pull over and give Cloris Leachman a ride as do the two men who pick up the gun wielding hitchhiker in The Hitch Hiker. In both of those films, the protagonist made decision to stop and aid these individuals albeit unaware of the terrible consequences which then followed. However, in Too Late For Tears the characters are completely innocent and are pulled into the situation when a bag full of money is hurled mistakenly into their rear seat. 2.) After WWII, people were travelling more and driving cars to parts of the United States that were not as densely populated as the cities. Also, the U.S. was facing the Communist threat. There was a fear of a repeat of the horrors of WWII. People were vigilant in looking for a communist infiltration of the country. 3.) The films contains much of the substance of film noir.. Two people driving down a lonely road in the darkness. The two characters are "dragged" into the story when a bag full of money is thrown into their car. The film vey clearly shows the changing roles of women if films noir; the woman takes over from the male characters and drives the car away from the other vehicle.
  20. 1.) Unlike Kiss Me Deadly and The Hitch hiker, Hitchcockc rythmn and purposed are different in this opening scene from Strangers on a Train in that we see each of these characters for several scenes sepearately before they meet. The music and the quick cutting rythmn of these scenes seems to emphasize a light-heartedeness to the meeting that will soon change. In Kiss Me Deadly and The Hitchiker the scenes begin with a much more ominous tone. 2.) Noir elements which are present in this scene are the close ups on objects. The close shots of the luggage and of the characters shoes. In terms of films noir substance, the existentialist element of fate is used in this scene; it is fate and destiny that these two characters, unknown to each other, will eventually collide. 3.) Yes, I agree that Hitchcock should be treated as a special case in films noir.. Not all of his films are pure film noir , but rather a hybrid of several styles and genres.
  21. 1.) In comparing the opening scene of D.O.A. with the other three scenes from this weeks Daily Doses many parallels do emerge. One aspect which runs like a thread through all four scenes is that in keeping with the style and tradition of films nor, is that all four films open very strongly. The unsuspecting viewer instantly and dragged into the action without no hope of looking back, These films waste not even a second of screen time with extraneous storyline In Caged, we immediately driven to a prison and dragged into the prison without hope of escape; in The Hitch hiker the mysterious individual which the two men grant a ride pulls a gun on them and there is not going back; in Kiss Me Deadly we are only minutes into the film when an lone driver picks up a mysterious woman running on a highway; and in D.O.A. the viewer (and the police ) can't believe their ears when a man wanders into a policed station at night to report his own murder. 2.) The opening of D.O.A. shows elements and motifs of film noir in that the film is about desperation, paranoia, and desolation. A man comes to the police in the dead of night to report that he has been murdered while he's still alive is bizarre and in keeping with noir a concept loaded with darkness and hopelessness. 3.) The style of the opening of D.O.A shows a lonely man in a dark suit walking down long dimly lit corridors almost as if he were walking to his death or to the electric chair. The whole time he is walking towards the "man in charges" office, we do not see his face. He is lonesome and tragic figure
  22. http://www.themave.com/Noir/Noir.html Check out this site. It contains some info re; MGM house films noir.
  23. 1.) Like the last two Daily Doses ( opening from The Hitch Hiker and Kiss Me Deadly) this opening scene stresses constriction and claustrophobia. The scene is fitting for a movie about a women's prison entitled because starting right from the first scene, these women are already "caged" inside the prison van before they even enter the prison building. The design of the scene works to further enhance and support this "imprisoned" feeling. We cannot see any details in the back of the van while it is driving to the prison...essentially our vision is exactly as the same as the women inmates...black, bleak, hopless, without detail. We only see the world outside as they do...through a tiny front window covered with mesh. When the women are let out on the prison grounds, they take one last look at the outside world . The shot of the outside world appears normal...bright sun, traffic, noise, the hustle and bustle of daily city life with the exception of the gate running horizontally across the scene. The gate serves as another tool to create tension, a feeling of unease and entrapment. 2.) The opening is indicative of the gritty social realism stories associated with Warner Bros. The scene of the woman being pulled out by the guard reminds one of I Was A Fugitive From A Chain Gang. The WB style is well used for this story as this is a noir universe where the prison takes the place of the nightscape associated with other studios noirs. 3.) The substance of noir is suitable for a movie about a women's prison because the many of the major qualities of film noir involved bleakness, hopelessness, malaise, dread, fear. All of these qualities come into major play in a prison drama. Noir is associated with isolation, imprisonment, doubt, guilt, and coming to terms with the emptiness of uselessness of ones existence.
  24. 1.) One of the major themes introduced in the opening of The Hitchhiker is isolation. The two men who pick up the hitchhiker are completely and utterly isolated in the automobile with the hitchhiker. There is no way for them to escape and no way for them to alert the outside world. One of the ideas that is presented in the opening scene is an idea that adheres closely with scholars analysis of film noir. In just the first few minutes of the film, the two major protagonists make an minor mistake (picking up the hitchhiker) which leads to disastrous results. Like Burt Lancaster in The Killers stating ...I make a mistake once". the two men in the car have made their one fatal error in the noir world and now the error is coming back to haunt them. 2.) The lighting and the beginning of the scene once the hitch hiker enters the rear seat of the car shows his face enshrouded in blackness an shadow. We see his body but where his face should be we see complete and inky darkness...almost like a black hole hovering over his body. It is the blackness of evil and when the character leans forward and we see his face it is as if the devil himself has risen from the blackness and now has taken human form. The lighting and this unique staging work to reveal the underlying substance of film noir in that we see how technique underlines psychological meaning. First the hitchhikers face is obscured in darkness...not just a shade of gray or a slight shadow, but a deep, bottomless blackness...a total void without light and detail. The audience is left to wonder...who is this figure ? The audience knows instantly that the body without a face can mean nothing good to the two men driving. When the hitchhiker draws his gun and moves forward to reveal his face our greatest fears for the two men driving have come true. Blackness is equated with evil in the noir world and this scene demonstrates that. 3.) Both opening scenes from Kiss Me Deadly and The Hitchiker start with a lone figure on a desolate stretch of highway looking for a ride. Both of the characters seeking a ride are of questionable psychological stability. Both scenes feature protagonists who agree to give the hitchhiker a ride without concern for what fate may befall them as a result. In both scenes, the characters who pick up the hitchikers have but to wait a few minutes to find out something is not quite right with the person they gave a ride to. In the case of Kiss Me Deadly, Hammer has gotten himself into something by picking up an escapee, but he is not nearly the prisoners that the two men in the Hitchhiker have become. Both opening scenes are excellent examples of how to open a film noir because they instantly launch us into the story without wasting a breath or a moment.
  25. 2.) We learn in Kiss Me Deadly that these two characters were on a preordained destination to collide with one another. Both characters appear to be running from someone or something. Once the characters have met, they seem to interlock with one another. Hammer doesn't particularly like Bailey. His training as a private detective tells him something is not right with this scene...a woman running alone at night dressed only in a trenchcoat. His keen instincts tell him he is wrong to give her a lift, but he does it any way. Possibly to see where or to whom the woman leads him. Hammer could turn her into the police, but goes along with the lie that she is his wife. 3.) This opening scene is an important contribution to film noir in that film noir characters are lost, lonely, desperate, troubled, and on the verge of madness. The opening adheres to this; Bailey has escaped from a mental institution and is running alone at night on a highway while Hammer is driving like lunatic lost in his own "crazed" noir universe. The credits scrolling in reverse serves to enhance to disorientation the characters are suffering by showing that even normal conventions (such as the film's credits) are subject to bizarre distortion.

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