DrNickatNite

Members
  • Content count

    31
  • Joined

  • Last visited

1 Follower

About DrNickatNite

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://rhetoricsoup.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling

Recent Profile Visitors

40 profile views
  1. Hitch did some really good work on the television series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour." This topic is a place to discuss, share favorites, etc. To get us started, note that there were 17 episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” directed by Hitchcock: 1. Revenge (02/Oct/1955) — *1.1 (*Season.Episode) 2. Breakdown (13/Nov/1955) — 1.5 3. The Case of Mr. Pelham (04/Dec/1955) — 1.10 4. Back for Christmas (04/Mar/1956) — 1.23 5. Wet Saturday (30/Sep/1956) — 2.1 6. Mr. Blanchard's Secret (23/Dec/1956) — 2.13 7. One More Mile to Go (07/Apr/1957) — 2.28 8. The Perfect Crime (20/Oct/1957) — 3.3 9. Lamb to the Slaughter (13/Apr/1958) — 3.28 10. Dip in the Pool (01/Jun/1958) — 3.35 11. Poison (05/Oct/1958) — 4.1 12. Banquo's Chair (03/May/1959) — 4.29 13. Arthur (27/Sep/1959) — 5.1 14. The Crystal Trench (04/Oct/1959) — 5.2 15. Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat (27/Sep/1960) — 6.1 16. The Horse Player (14/Mar/1961) — 6.22 17. Bang! You're Dead (17/Oct/1961) — 7.22 Do you have favorites?
  2. 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. a. The opening music and aerial shot puts one in mind of a travelogue, but while we can see St. Paul’s and Parliament in the distance, we are taken through the gritty, dirty, polluted side of the Thames south of Tower Bridge with industrial wharfs and canneries, etc. The speaker augments this vision with his explanation that the pollution is going to be taken care of and everything will be cleaned up. (This situates us in the kairos of the “ecology” movement of the 70’s.) But to contradict the speaker’s rosy picture of the future, the onlookers’ attention is shifted to more pollution in the river – a corpse! Maybe cleaning up London is going to be more difficult – and require attention to more than just water quality? 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. a. The zooming shot that gives us locational perspective in a significant site – in this case, London – and the Hitchcock Cameo are two elements of the touch. Also – the introduction of a victim’s body is reminiscent of The Lodger. 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. a. Hitchcock accomplishes several things in many of this openings: i. Sets the mood or tone with music (e.g. Vertigo, Psycho, Rebecca – *Frenzy is an outlier, since the music gives no clue of the brutality to come ii. Introduces location as a key player (e.g. San Francisco in Vertigo, London in Frenzy.) iii. Introduces us to the key character with whom we will relate. (*normally a known quantity such as Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart, but Frenzy doesn’t depend on Star Power.) iv. Either hints at, or directly introduces, the conflict early in the exposition. (hints at: the birds gathering in The Birds; directly introduces: the murder victim in The Lodger)
  3. 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. Marnie is a con artist who changes identities with regularity to cover her criminal tracks. We see little of the Black-haired Marnie – but the “new model” is celebrated with choreographed technicolor. (And isn’t Tippi Hedren also changing from The Birds’ Marion to Marnie’s Margaret?) How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The music evokes a transformation from something dark to something beautiful (dark hair Marion to light hair Margaret). The building an swelling music puts one in the mind of a butterfly emerging from the cocoon. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? Hitchcock first turns his gaze to “Marnie” – or is it to Tippi Hedren? Then, he breaks, or at least cracks, the fourth wall by briefly looking at us, the audience. Is he trying to tell us he is aware of our presence, and knows that we are looking for him, and that we should be looking at Marnie the character (or Marnie the film?)
  4. 1. 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? a. The movie begins with a light, comedic mood set by the humorous gesticulations of the shopkeeper, and the flirty banter of Melanie and Mitch, who show themselves to be urbane, fun-loving players in a romantic sketch. 2. 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? a. The squeaky, scratchy, squawking of the birds is an unsettling counterpoint to the casual, lackadaisical actions of the humans, who show little attention to contradictory moods. (*See below.) 3. 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. a. Hitch is a canine-lover, who is handling TWO dogs, which represent… NO, JUST KIDDING – I don’t see any particular meaning, other than it is a cool cameo. **Here is a modern version of the ElectroAcoustic Trautonium - Something Hitchcock would have surely loved!
  5. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigo and North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? The mixture of the tight, fevered score with the slicing graphics gives the sense of tightness, tension, anxiousness, jitteriness, even frenzied action. 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? This time/date trope reminds me of a crime drama – like “Dragnet,” where we are told “it was Monday and I was working the day watch out of homicide with my partner Frank Gannon when a call came in at 12:05 – a 187 in Hollywood.” It’s like a touch of film noir realism added at the beginning of the film to make us anticipate a crime. 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. Marion is an adulteress, a “bad girl” – regardless her beauty. That we see her in a vulnerable position creates sympathy for her, and I think we quickly accept that she is going to be our protagonist, and we are going to pull for the villain as our heroine throughout this movie.Little do we know…
  6. 1) 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. a) We are comfortable with these faces (“it’s a nice face”) – and that is what Hitchcock wants from his stars: the ability of the audience to connect emotionally. 2) 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. a) The initialized matchbook further proves Thornhill’s 1st identification to be a lie – and this has LAYERS of meaning: 1) Cary Grant’s character is NOT Jack Phillips; 2) He is NOT Kaplan; 3) He is NOT a murderer; and… 4) Eva Marie Saint’s character is NOT an industrial designer. 3) How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. a) The diegetic sound of the rhythmic rail ride, and the foley stage (glass clinks, etc.), work together to settle us in for the ride. And is the MUSIC Diegetic? It seems to come from the rail car? Can all the passengers hear it? It seems like it – but the romantic strings work as non-diegetic sound to accompany the romantic banter of the stars.
  7. 1) 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. a) The abstract images and evocative musical score call to mind: Falling, Mental Illness, Uneasiness, Tension, Mystery. At first blush, I would assume the film is about someone dealing with mental illness. 2) In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. a) The spinning spiral image – it is repeated numerous times; it is center screen; and the motion causes the perception of falling into its center. 3) How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? a) Bernard Herrmann is one of my favorite film score composers. The images, while cool, would lack semiotic and emotive context without Herrmann’s score.
  8. 1. & 3. 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? Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? a. The POV in Rear Window is always that of a close co-conspirator with Jeff. Since we are also “watchers” like him, his napping gives us a chance to look around inside HIS room – and when he awakes, we join him in looking inside the rooms of others. Before we even know of Jeff’s voyeuristic tendencies, (his back is turned to the action,) we are already implicated as voyeurs. And in this first scene, our voyeurism is absolutely covert with no threat of discovery, and the illusion of invisibility and anonymity. 2. 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? a. Jeff is an “action photographer” – and sometimes the “action” is of the hubba hubba kind (with supermodels) – but is now taken completely out of his routine by an injury that changes his perspective of watching the world – from up close and in the heat of things, to distant watching through a zoom lens of the camera. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? b. I agree with Hitchcock because, well, he’s Hitchcock.
  9. 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. 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. a. The criss-cross and the contrasts work together hand-in-hand – like a poetic chiasmus in filmic trope. Train tracks that criss-cross are the most obvious visual semiotics, but the juxtapositions of the fancy v. understated footwear, plain v. striped pants, loud v. conservative ties, reserved v. engaging facial expressions, talkative v. reserved personalities – all reinforce the intersection of two opposite forces. 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? a. There is a playfulness in the score that varies from Bruno’s sections (higher pitched, more brassy) to Guy’s sections (lower tones, softer instrumentation) – and the overall pace of the music (coupled with the footage of the feet briskly moving towards the train) give us the feeling that we are hurrying along towards some destination or meeting.
  10. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?​Close-ups zooming into the faces of the characters to provide an extra layer of information, using the “ordinary girl” who finds herself in an extraordinary situation, and the disorienting camera angles are all obvious Hitchcock touches. 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?Bergman’s character is in emotional turmoil; disheveled and troubled as revealed in her “morning after” state – Devlin has it all together, as demonstrated by his professional demeanor, smart dress, cold and precise logic, and even prepared audio prompts. 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? This scene plays to the strengths and personas of Bergman as emotionally complex and deep, and Grant as suave and sophisticated.
  11. 1. 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? a. It appears they live in the lap of opulent decadence beyond the wildest dreams of avarice. (Not exactly the “ordinary man” of the thrillers, huh?) The focus of the cameras on the facial expressions as they react to off-screen cues is very Hitcockian. Hitchcockesque. Ish? 2. 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? a. The happy, light mood is similar to The Lady Vanishes inn scene, but there are many elements atypical to the style generally expected from a Hitchcock film. 3. 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? a. I think this is a great pairing – they could have easily been a staple in comedy for years following.
  12. Sorry - a day late due to travel: 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. 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? a. Even before reading the notes for this film – I had immediate Déjà vu of the Swede in The Killers. In the beginning of both films, it seems that we have walked in on the film at the end. The protagonist is trapped in a dark corner, waiting for the inevitable end the agents of fate will bring to him. And, in film noir, the beginning of the film is often the beginning of the end, the long slippery descent into darkness and doom. 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? a. At two minutes into our clip, there is a low drone from the strings/horns. This is not the crescendo that precedes the smashing of the glass, nor the timpani that follows the smashing – though both those musical cues have significant semiotic weight. But the low drone is more guttural, more visceral – and lends a great deal to the tone of the film at this point.
  13. 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? The setting is far from pedestrian and commonplace (as we have seen in the British period films) – it is the shell of a great remote mansion (albeit in ruins.) 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Hitchcock touches include the POV dolly shot and close shots of Maxim’s face to visually convey information when the narration stops. 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? Ruins are evocative – they contain the promise of untold stories.
  14. 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 opening is comedic with light, whimsical music and humorous interactions between the travelers and each other, the travelers and the wind, the hotelier and the noisy environment, etc. Touches like the unusually loud cuckoo clock and the correction of the pronunciation of “ava-lawnsh” lend to the humorous texture. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. They are our stand-ins, and provide (our) audience commentary to the scene before us. 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, i.e. OUR eyes, follow her, as do the eyes of all the travelers, as do the feet and attentions of the hotelier. She and her companions move left to right – as eyes on a page would move – and leave us wanting to flip the page to go upstairs to follow them.

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us