JazzGuyy

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About JazzGuyy

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  1. Did anyone mention the ultimate McGuffin movie: Repo Man?
  2. Lynda LaPlante would be my choice for a writer. She was the creator/writer for the original Prime Suspect TV series and I think her gritty approach to crime and English background would appeal to Hitch.
  3. The Conversation is certainly about voyeurism and uses lots of through the window and high angle shots à la Hitchcock.
  4. Clouzot is often considered the French Hitchcock. I think the humor element is stronger in Clouzot's films. There is certainly an affinity between the two.
  5. The real shop clerk is a clear comedic figure. She seems to be a bit scatterbrained and has a silly element. She reminds me in some ways of the kind of character Edward Everett Horton played in many 1930s films. I also noticed that the birds are all upstairs in the pet shop. Hedren's character has to climb a staircase to get there--another classic Hitchcock element. Also the birds are above the rest of the pet store animals and we are getting a bird's eye view almost immediately. It's plain that the birds are not ground animals. There are also lots of birds in that shop and they are shown grouped together. Is this already a portent of the birds ganging up on the humans? I suspect so.
  6. I'll say up front that this is my all-time favorite Hitchcock film. It has everything that became part of the Hitchcock 'touch': the handsome leading man, the cool, cool female lead, mistaken identity, a chase that takes us to famous or exotic places, humor, a British actor or two (Grant, Mason, Carroll), fear of heights and falling (Mt. Rushmore), moments of sheer terror (crop dusting scene), sexiness, etc., etc. This movie just has everything and in perfect proportions. This scene on the train is certainly one of the great seduction scenes in the history of film (maybe the greatest) and it is different because it is the woman who is very much in charge and doing the seducing. This is where I think Hitchcock plays with the audience expectations of the actors. People in 1959 would have been more likely to see Grant as the seducer and Saint (who had mainly played nice girls on the screen previously) as the seduced. But the roles are flip-flopped. It is clearly Saint who is doubling up on Grant's flirtatious talk and pulling him in. We realize quickly that Grant doesn't stand a chance. When I saw this film and was old enough to understand what was going on, I marveled at what Hitchcock was able to get away with in 1959 under the Production Code. Both of them are elegantly dressed and both their attire and conversation indicates that Saint's Kendall character is every bit the equal (and maybe the superior) of Grant's Thornhill. This again will turn out to be significant later since we will understand what Kendall gives Thornhill that his ex-wives never could: a woman who is his equal and provides a level of mystery and adventure. The whole sound design contributes to the seductive atmosphere. Saint barely speaks above a whisper with a smoky voice on top of that. Grant is not much louder. The background music and the sounds of the train's wheels on the track are at a low level. It is like we the audience are eavesdropping on the most intimate of conversations (and that is what the conversation is: intimate). Grant and Saint are clearly already in bed (at least in spirit) by the time this scene ends. The quietness of the scene makes us concentrate on every word that is exchanged. As to the matchbook, it seems to mainly be a bit of business that allows the actors to physically touch and continue the seduction. But it will also play an important role later in the film. Hitchcock always had the ability to slip in something that would turn out to be important later without the audience immediately seeing any significance.
  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 see two vantage points in this shot. The camera pans the courtyard and apartments but then moves into Jeff's apartment. So we see his view but we also get a taste of the view of his neighbors into his apartment as we track into the apartment. This reminds us that sometimes the voyeur can be 'voyeured'. This will become important later in the movie. It is interesting that when we see Jeff, his back is to the window and he is asleep so it couldn't be his eyes that were sweeping the courtyard and apartments. It had to be our eyes via the camera work. 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? ​I think everyone else has already covered this pretty thorough except that the fact that he is sleeping may also indicate that, despite all the activity viewable from his apartment, he ultimately finds it boring enough to sleep through. Compared to the kinds of things he photographed for a living, the view from his apartment hardly seems to be all that interesting. Of course, that will change. 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? Yes, I as a spectator am clearly a voyeur too but maybe unintentionally so since I am at the mercy of the camera. I am certainly curious immediately as to why I am being dropped into this scene of snooping on others' lives. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? ​​Yes and no. Yes because it uses all the capabilities of the large soundstage and the ability of the motion picture camera to move around, focus in and out, and capture motion and different points of view. No, because like some of Hitchcock's other films (Rope, Dial M for Murder, Lifeboat), it doesn't open out into a wider world which is what film could do that the stage never could. We are essentially dealing with a single set as we might see in a stage play. The set for Rear Window ​could possibly be mostly transferred to the stage but with great difficulty and not as elaborately, of course. A piece of trivia about the film: The composer character is played by a real composer of popular songs: Ross Bagdasarian, who had already written a major hit song (Come on-a My House) by the time of this movie and would become really famous as the creator of The Chipmunks.
  8. Earlier comments have covered a lot of what is in this scene but I have a couple of additional observations. The opening musical theme from Tiomkin at the very beginning of the scene sounds more like the theme in a romantic movie than in a suspense one. For me, this prefigures the perverse kind of 'bromance' or even romance that will take place between Bruno and Guy. This romance has sadomasochistic elements with Bruno being the dominant and Guy the submissive. Just as in Rope, ​I find more than a hint of a homosexual romance, even if in this case probably only from Bruno's perspective. Several people have mentioned Guy's suit. But in reality he is wearing slacks and a jacket and not a suit. This would be instantly recognized by the 1950s audience as casual attire as contrasting with the pin-stripe suit Bruno wears. People dressed up a lot more in the 1950s and travel on a train required at least the kind of nice casual attire Guy wears. If you get a chance, look at ads for train travel from this period and you will see all portrayed passengers in jacket and tie for men and dresses for women. Even children dressed up then. Jacket and slacks vs. suit is a further way to contrast the two men. Suits would indicate businessmen or bankers or lawyers (though not the two-tone shoes); casual attire would indicate a more average person. Those two-tone shoes really don't go with a pin-stripe suit. The only people who might wear such a combination in the movies are usually gangsters or the like. A further prefiguring of Bruno as a criminal type perhaps? Guy appears to me not merely reserved, as several comments have described him, but outright shy, even extremely so. While he may be a celebrity, he is still shy in one-on-one meetings and is surely put off by Bruno's aggression. Already we see him as someone who can possibly (probably) be dominated by a more powerful personality. Finally, it is mentioned in the lecture notes that many of Hitchcock's movies from this era will deal with guilt. I don't know if further lecture notes and discussion will include this, but it is hard for me to talk about Hitchcock and guilt without understanding something about Hitchcock's Roman Catholic background. Guilt was a significant element in the religious education of Catholics of Hitchcock's era. While Hitchcock only made one overtly Catholic movie (I Confess), there are touches of this background in many of his movies.
  9. Grant, as in his earlier work for Hitchcock in Suspicion, ​is playing against type to a great extent. Grant was really most known at this point in his career as a comic and romantic lead. But in this film, while still suave and sophisticated, he is a darker, tougher character than the public usually expected him to play. There is not a hint of comedy here and rather than being debonair to a woman, he is playing tough with Bergman's character. He is asking (practically forcing) her to do things she doesn't want to do. The romantic Grant of many of his earlier films would have been more into sophisticated banter and romantic language. Here his dialogue is all no-nonsense and very direct. I think this is an example of Hitchcock deliberately choosing actors who would play against type for most if not all of the film.
  10. While the beginning of this film seems to be stock Hitchcock, there are a couple of things I noticed. The Hannay character seems distinctly out of place in the music hall. The audience seems to be composed mostly of working class people. There are plenty of working class accents revealed in their questions. They are wearing working class clothing like mob caps vests without jackets. Hannay, on the other hand, is very well dressed and neat. His expensive looking overcoat, sharply creased trousers and well shined shoes don't seem to fit in. He is also identified as a Canadian. Here we have a Canadian in the midst of a bunch of working class Brits. He clearly seems to contrast with the rest of the audience. Is Hitchcock preparing us for the idea of the man out of place and the automatic subject of suspicion even though he appears quite nice? Even his question to Mr. Memory sets him aside. It's not frivolous and it doesn't focus on the sports that most appeal to the British urban working class: horse racing, football and boxing. Secondly, why is the Music Hall act a memory man? While this kind of act was not uncommon in either the music hall or American vaudeville, is its use here to prefigure the importance of remembering things? It's been a while since I last saw The 39 Steps so I'll have to watch it again with this in mind.
  11. I have not seen Downhill but there are several things going on in the scene we have seen that make me want to see it. We see money moving from a male hand to a female one in the double exposure part of the scene. Does this imply the woman is a prostitute? Is she? The intertitle that identifies that the boy has a very wealthy father implies that the girl may be just a fortune seeker? Is she? Is she really pregnant? If she is, who is the father? Is he some poor guy who has nothing to offer the girl? While the picture is probably not a thriller, there are certainly mysteries here to be solved. One thing that struck me immediately in the scene is the size of the dean's office. It's huge and totally unrealistic. What dean would have an office that size? But the effect of this enormous office dramatically is quite powerful. As someone else pointed out, there is a long walk involved to the dean's desk. The walk is quite ominous because of its length. By the way, why do both boys seem unaware of the girl sitting against the back wall ever though they pass right by her when walking to the desk? That struck me as very strange.
  12. I think the analysis of the scene by the other posters has been pretty thorough but I do have one observation that I haven't seen mentioned. Since the fighter can only observe his wife and the champ through the mirror and not anything else that is taking place in the party room, is the whole scene we see of the wild party with drunken dancing and carrying on taking place all in his mind? When he actually enters the party room, the actions of the people we see are nothing like what the party scene seemed to show. Everyone is relatively sedate. His wife is next to the champ but they are not all over each other. I feel that he was only seeing his wife in the mirror and imagining the wild party. He seems to be excessively jealous and worried about his wife's fidelity (Othello?) and easily able to imagine that she would be acting overly flirtatious and seeking to start an adulterous affair. Was the whole opening wild party just his jealous imagining? By the way, did anyone notice how much the actress playing the wife looks like Betty White?
  13. I think previous postings have pretty much covered the ground here but I do have a few personal observations. The cutting here is much more frenetic than in The Pleasure Garden. I also find that I am less certain of what is going on right away. Clearly something has happened to draw a crowd and involve the police but the viewer is not sure what. This is something that Hitchcock uses in later films. We are thrown into the middle of things without understanding what is going on. Little bits of additional information emerge as the scene unfolds but Hitchcock still keeps us in the dark about a lot of what is happening. I couldn't help thinking about North By Northwest where we get information about someone named Kaplan but don't know who or what he is. We have to wait as the movie goes on for additional information about what it is all about. Part of Hitchcock's suspense technique was to gradually inform the viewer about what is happening. Sometimes red herrings were thrown out to keep us guessing. The clip we saw was somewhat murky. I am hoping that the TCM screening will use the latest high definition restoration which is quite sharp and much more revealing of the action.
  14. The recently Blu-Ray releases in both the UK and the U.S. have the movie in the current best restoration and use tinting throughout. Tinting was not uncommon in silent films to indicate different times of time, interiors vs. exteriors, moods, etc. Filmgoers of the time would probably be familiar with these uses and would take them in as aspects of the film when they viewed it.
  15. The use of the different tints was very common in silent films and an audience of the time would probably be familiar with the uses of tinting. Blue was used to indicate exterior at night and sepia for interior shots. Other tints such as red, brown , and green would also be used in some films.

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