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Everything posted by picasso55

  1. Here is an out of the box or left field suggestion; Knight and Day. Tag it to the combination of wrong man, blonde, plane/train/bus/car/etc, exotic locales, quirky relationship, crossed with screwball comedy. Box office failure but a good flick non-the-less.
  2. I too was thinking of a picture that until this, no one mentioned. Who knows, perhaps only you and I saw it. The Hot Spot has many Hitchcock like elements and if people have not seen it, I believe it is worth your time.
  3. To add to your point in #2, "You get the picture of what is going to happen - no graphic scene needed." Hitchcock loves playing with the audience and in the ending of this movie, perhaps a tease to the censors. As our lead characters are back in the train, in their stateroom and we all know what is about to happen, the scene cuts away to the train going into a tunnel. I get a chuckle every time I see it and I am sure this is what Hitchcock was going for.
  4. This opening sequence suggest being off balance, fear, and dread. It goes without saying if you are viewing a Hitchcock film one is already prepared for a suspenseful ride and this opening only solidifies that feeling. I find the eyes and of course the swirling graphics support each other just as the design and score. When the eyes look back and forth, I see the concern of looking out for danger and then the widening of the eye indicates the fear that the danger has been seen. The swirling graphics make you feel off balance, dizzy, and then perhaps falling in a death spiral as the movie title suggests. When coupled with the score, you really get the feeling of impending doom. If you have not seen Sicario, I recommend taking a look at the score by Johann Johannsson is brilliant and absolutely sets a feeling of dread in the viewer. Even at the ending sequence when there are children playing, with this music in the background you know that despite the simple innocence of children playing, there is great evil all around them. It received an oscar nomination. Score plays a more significant role in pictures than most people recognize. A scene can absolutely pop if the score is right or fizzle if it is not. Sometime watch powerful scenes with the sound off and see if it hits you the same way.
  5. Lots of great posts today, thanks everyone! I would like to focus in just one area as it relates to vesting the audience into Jeff's world by the viewpoint from the Rear Window. Hitchcock has introduced you into the extent to his life in the chair, in the apartment, and through the window which is all Jeff has since his injury. The question of whether he is a voyeur or an observer is a key here. He is evidently an action photographer which requires him to be involved in the action to a degree and therefore is the ultimate observer who is out in the world experiencing all of the exciting things it has to offer. It is that life and excitement that likely attracted a mate that on the surface seems to be a mismatch. A bit like why supermodels seem to date rockstars and other types of adventurers that often from looks alone appear to be a mismatch. I suggest that since the accident, Jeff feels that his life has been placed on hold. Everything he loves about living an exciting life is out of his reach. He has become frustrated, closed off, and irritable causing the tension and distance in his relationship. Inwardly and to others, he is no longer the person that made him interesting and exciting. Since he has been trapped in the apartment he has gone from an observer and participant in life to a voyeur who is forced to live life at a distance and therefore vicariously through others. This forced narrowing of his world causes an unaware jealousy of the people closest to him and they too are frustrated and trying to find their place in this. His need with finding action in his tiny new world has resulted in an obsession with what is occurring across the courtyard. The problem is that this obsession has gravity sucking in the people in his life as they want to again feel the connection to him. Hitchcock has brilliantly hooked in the audience to take that same ride.
  6. I totally agree with your observation that this opening is a close parallel to a silent film. If there was no dialogue at all, the viewer would still receive the same information and foreshadowing about the couple, their life, and the tone of the picture. It has been mentioned in a number of comments that this opening differs from the typical Hitchcock opening in that it is not a chaotic crowd scene. I would suggest that it is indeed a chaotic crowd scene in that the dished and clutter in the room IS the chaotic crowd.
  7. I noticed the hole in his suit jacket as well and as the rest of his suit looked pretty good, was this a bullet hole? Many people have commented that he may be in hiding and from the nonchalant attitude with the money, perhaps it is not his focus. There are also a number of comments about the landlady looking out for him as a sign he charms older women. I offer a slightly different view; Let's assume we don't know anything about the rest of the film as if we are seeing it in the theater in it's first release. He is in a low rent boarding house yet he has money, he is lying on the bed but fully dressed like he may be resting momentarily but he is planning to be on the move soon, he is completely at ease with the landlady looking out for him almost as if he expects to be treated that way, and he is interested that the men are looking for him but is not intimidated as he tells the landlady to invite them up and then decides to go to them. I offer that all of these are signs that although he may be lying low while he plots his next move, he is such a narcissist that he feels he does not need to care about the dangers. He feels he has the ability to handle anything that comes as he is the smartest, smoothest, and slickest guy around. He may steal others money but he does not worry about his own. The landlady fawns over him but why shouldn't she, everyone should because he is just that amazing. The guys outside may be after him but why worry, they can't have figured anything out because I am too smart for them. He is so confident, he walks right by them, taunting them to do something and knows he can get away any time he feels like it. The score sets this tone as well.
  8. To your point on "Note"; In my view, Hollywood has become entrenched in the tension they want to create with the so called secrets that will be revealed over time. Sadly, it is difficult to pull this off as when you have seen as many movies as I have, all to often, I see these pieces of withheld information quickly and therefore there is very little reveal for me. With your Westworld example, although I enjoy this series, in their effort to avoid revealing the "secrets", they follow threads that, I think could be more interesting and have greater depth if you knew the secret and it was more about where they would go with it.
  9. Agreed but with one additional observation; this is not a location where a gentleman would typically frequent so the viewer is faced with a question of his motive for being here. Is he slumming? Is he looking for a brief escape from his more upper class life and simply wants to be a "regular guy" for a bit? Is he using this location as a place to disappear for a while as it is out of character for a gentleman? No matter the motive and despite his demeanor of innocence, he is out of place and the viewer is therefor drawn to him with just a bit of intrigue.
  10. There are a number of great comments thus far today and I will not restate what others have already discussed. That said; I agree that the POV dolly shots from the onset of the clip, bring you into the tension of having to make the long walk to face impending doom. Hitchcock as Dr. Edwards points out employed various interesting film techniques throughout his career that became signature traits for him. The POV shots being one of them to such the audience in such as in the clips this week as well as later films such as Spellbound for the suicide scene. The desired result is to pull you out of the theater and into the scene and if successful, even for a moment at a time, vests the viewer in the outcome. POV can also be detracting if not used judiciously as in Lady in the Lake which for me, is very hard to watch. Hitchcock gets it right!
  11. Additionally, I would suggest that the manner in which the interaction takes place between the manager and the boxer gives the impression that the manager may be creating tension to fuel the boxer's anger and drive to win.
  12. Why did people get so dressed up in the "olden Days?" This continued through the 60's as my father wore a tie at our dinner table every night. People dressed up to go to parties and even air travel. You rarely would see someone on an airplane who was not in their best clothes. I love the casual environment we live in but in some ways I admire the respect shown for daily events in those "olden days"
  13. You mentioned "dizzying blur of warped, elongated, in-and-out-of-focus images" and I believe these are to illustrate the boxers growing fear but also cement in the viewer's eyes that this is a distorted view in the boxer's mind. Hitchcock wanted, whenever he could to put you in the character's mindset to vest you in his vision.
  14. Long yes but worth the read. Well done sir. I too am a huge fan of Brooks and Wilder.
  15. I understand the talent but I personally boycott Allen since he married his adopted daughter.
  16. The bent pool cue gag is one that has been done many times before this film and by iconic slapstick actors so the audience knows that this is going to go poorly. The fact that he can take what could have been a tired old gag, adapt it to a more modern setting combined with his expressions and timing, and then execute a really funny scene that feels fresh is pretty amazing. Peter Sellers was a rare comic genius evidenced in the Clouseau series and characters he played in movies like The Party to even small cameo appearances in pictures like The Road To Hong Kong. In my view, the brilliance of Sellers is in his ability to so totally own the character and simultaneously take seriously the ridiculous character and situation while also poking fun at the same. Nothing in the scene is off limits as a prop or subject area for a gag. Often when one is viewing a film or TV show, it can be irritating when a gag is entirely predictable. With Sellers, he not only telegraphs the gag but he is painfully patient in its execution so the anticipation adds to the comedy. That is incredibly hard to do even once but he can do this to a viewer continuously throughout a film and it does not get old. The Clouseau character of the bumbling detective takes a step forward from his predecessors in that he is not simply a bumbler who is the butt of the joke. He is a lovable character that you want to succeed and although he leaves chaos in his wake, he does actually, albeit by accident, solve the crimes. Peter Falk performed the next evolution to this character type in Columbo. He dressed like Clouseau and appeared to be a bumbling detective but in fact was the brilliant detective using that persona to his advantage.
  17. I am going to be a cinematic heretic here as I always felt the simplicity of the short black and white TV format was the ideal setting for Lucy and Ricky. She was a brilliant comic and actress without doubt and I enjoyed her other films a great deal but although viewing this film a number of times, I have never particularly enjoyed it. Many people have stated the technical aspects of color and the flexibility the translation to the big screen afforded Minelli to bring the couple to life and in many ways put TV in it's place. I respect what was done in this film, it just never clicked for me. That said; Lucy is a giant in the industry regardless of format and frankly is a national treasure.
  18. I see a parallel between the man and the building. The building is quirky and does not quite fit into the rest of the world as is the man a bit quirky but they are also somewhat charming both because of and in spite of their nonconformity. I love the fact that he appears self aware, comfortable with who he is and as a result is kind to a fault without judgement. Several people have noted the whimsical design of the building and related it to a fun house. I believe Penn Gillette would love it as he designed and built his house in that manner. It would not surprise me if he is a fan of this movie and of course slapstick. Although the Penn and Teller act is based in magic, many elements of the gags are slapstick in their execution.
  19. If you have not yet seen this entire picture, I strongly recommend it as well as It's a Gift. WC Fields sets the standard for this type of character. He is hen pecked and made miserable at home but always strives to provide for his unappreciative family yet his characters always find a ray of sunshine somewhere to lighten his load. The tradition was carried forward to a more sophisticated degree by Jackie Gleason in Pappa's Delicate Condition.
  20. Agreed, Fields pace is a bit slower and I think it adds to his charm. Despite his situation, he is confident and quite at ease with himself.
  21. With regard to Alan Dale's definition of verbal slapstick; would you consider the banter between Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday verbal slapstick? It is brilliant and in my view, one of the best rapid fire exchanges of dialog in classic film.
  22. In reference to your third point about a lack of physical violence, although there isn't any in the clip, it is present in other areas of the film. The Marx Brothers always struck a nice balance between slapstick violence and other types of humor. They each have their own lane that distinguished them from each other yet they blend together seamlessly. Amazing.
  23. It appears that they are attempting to utilize all the elements of slapstick but are struggling to balance the physicality with the sound. Sometimes there are classic gags such as the water in the eye but in other areas they are attempting to experiment with things that will play better with audio without really knowing what will hit. Charlie does use exasperation quite a bit and that continues to generate laughs through the modern age (one of the best is Jason Alexander as George Constanza in Seinfeld). Again, Charlie tones down some of the exaggerated expressions from his silent days in a push to modernize and I believe for the most part it plays well. Clearly as others have stated, the integration of sound was challenging and needed to go through a period of experimentation to determine what worked both for laughs and for the practicality of recording/playback. I am curious to know how stock music was received by the audiences of the time. Did it get old hearing the same music in multiple films or was it simply accepted. The practice still occurs today (to a lesser extent) but I view it as lazy or as a cost cutting effort that is less satisfying.
  24. In reference to your comments about utilizing sound for Our Gang; I recall the exact same music being used in a number of Our Gang shorts.

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