judith46

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About judith46

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    all forms of artistic expression, nature, books
  1. Present-day collaborators for Hitch might include: Julie Taymor, set designer. She does mostly stage production, but her imaginative use of puppets and scenic design would please him, I think. I recently went back and looked at the scene in Saboteur where they are searching the circus train after learning that they used cut-out figures with tiny flashlights! That is the kind of thing Taymor would think of. Shondra Rimes, TV writer-producer is an expert in plot twists and turns The Ephron sisters, screen writers, directors had an edgy, humorous approach to relationships. (When Harry Met Sally), Sleepless in Seattle, Children of a Lesser God, etc.) I would have loved to see what they could have done with Hitchcock! Mark Isham, a new-age composer who works in film and television. Very evocative music Chris Thile, the new host of Prairie Home Companion, plays classical mandolin. I can just imagine his music as background for some twisty scene!
  2. I've mentioned this one in an earlier post: The Net, starring Sandra Bullock. It has the wronged protagonist, the double chase, and it has obvious homage elements to Notorious. In one scene a scarf over the midriff is used, and the villain's name is Devlin. Someone else mentioned the Murder She Wrote homage "South by Southwest". I was watching a Martin Scorcese film last week and remember thinking "how Hitchcock" but now I can't remember the film! This happens a lot. Body Heat had the look and feel of a Hitchcock noire.
  3. As in The Lodger, we are led unsuspecting into the scene and then confronted with a murder. In Frenzy, though, the victim is not so personalized, is almost an attraction for the crowd. The Hitchcock touches I see are the POV, moving shots approaching from afar, moving in and through the scene; the use of landmarks, and a crowd engaged in a non-dangerous activity. Also, the sudden turn of events. One of the purposes of the opening is to set the location. Another is to contrast the serene backdrop with unfolding events The music here sets a majestic, almost pompous tone, lulling us into a false sense of security. Then, WHAM, we have a body floating in the Thames that according to the politician is getting cleaned up. The title "Frenzy" is also presented in fragmented red in contrast to the quiet blues and greens of the land and water.
  4. The pet shop scene with Taylor and Hedren has a lot of banter and keeping up a ruse. Hedren pretends to be the proprietor and leads Taylor on, and then Taylor figures it out and starts leading her on. We are shown that these are two smart, equally matched people. There is a bit of dialog where they touch on the morality of locking up birds in cages, but neither seem to be much bothered by it. The sound design leads us in with the distant call of seagulls, so we know we are near the coast. There is city street noise mixed in also. Then we cut to a flocking of gulls and they are screaming at us. When we arrive in the pet shop, the sounds of cheeping and cooing are quieter, more reassuring. The dialog is mixed into the bird sound, both equal in volume. The cameo, besides being amusing, may have relationship to the scene in that we are seeing "trafficking" of animal life here; some will have good consequence, some will be bad. I have seen the film only once and found it rather disturbing, suggesting the revenge of nature on man. I always cheer for nature!
  5. The title design in Psycho makes you feel as though you are peeking through blinds, with the distortion and partial vision that incurs. The words come in with opposing directional lines, increasing unease. The furtive string music adds to the feeling of danger and adds a rhythm of telegraphy, like a news room. The specific date that keeps repeating reinforces that feeling that we are getting a news flash. The entry through the window blind is similar to Rear Window in its intimacy, but this is more secretive. Leigh's character is established as the central one in the way she dominates the conversation and we are privy to her reasoning more than his; he simply reacts to what she says. No doubt the sexy posture helps too.
  6. The clip just wont play for me, so this is from memory. The characters here seem very close to our public perceptions of the stars themselves: sophisticated, cool, and sexy. They are equal in status and sure of themselves. The matchbook gives them something to do with their hands; first he fiddles with it, explains it, and then it is used to express sensuality in the connection of their hands while lighting cigarettes. Remember the lighting of cigarettes in Now Voyager? A lot said in a few expressive movements. The way the camera focuses on the ROT matchbook alerts us to its future importance. The rhythmic train sounds and the muted clatter of table service as they talk serves as background to their travel. The sounds are quiet until the end of the scene when the characters become active. It provides a needed lull in the action of the chase.
  7. What will the film be about? The zoom in to parts of a woman's face, not a whole face, suggests fragmentation. The spirals and sound suggest hypnosis or psychosis. The eyes appear to express fear of being pursued. It is about a woman who is more than meets the eye. The single most powerful image in the opening for me is the zoom into the eye with red background. Besides the dangerous red, there is an outward spiral like a psychological explosion. At the end of the clip we come back into this eye with the inward spiral. Hard to imagine the images without the score and vice versa. The music is haunting, makes us on edge, dizzying like the images. It is easy to see that the composer and artist share a creative spark.
  8. The opening camera shots in the film provide a good bit of information. We go outward from an open window into a world in microcosm; the courtyard is full of slices of life. We are taken back to Jeff and are shown he is disabled, so we understand him as a part of the scene, but forced to be. We are shown his photos so we know his profession; note the image of Lisa is both in negative and positive form. We are given a hint that there are conflicts in his life and he is in limbo at the moment, trapped. The views of other people seem merely curious at first, just something we note in passing. As the film progresses, however, the rear window peeping becomes more cringing, unhealthy, like people watching an accident scene. I'm not sure whether I truly agree with this film as most cinematic. It is surely well done artistically and technically, and maybe that is what pleased Hitchcock the most. With his films, "masterpiece" becomes a common thread. When my daughter moved to a large city apartment, she said the courtyard view was "Rear Window". I was so proud of her!
  9. The idea of "crisscross" is displayed in the tracks crossing, diverging and merging in various paths. We also see two men from different walks of life. One character is an affluent tennis star (as displayed in his spectator shoes, trousers) and one just the average guy with mundane shoes. They are arriving by cab and private car, one has apparently a valet to carry his bags. As we travel upward to their faces, one is open and gregarious while the other is reserved, not inviting of conversation. Tiomkin's score is swirling, undefined, and troubling. We can't get a firm sense of mood because the motif keeps changing, putting us off-balance.
  10. Ahh, Notorious! The Hitchcock touches I notice are: the entry of the male main character in back profile; the intimate disarray of the room, the malingering melancholy of Bergman, The POV shots on angles, and the extreme closeups. Hitchcock accents the contrast between the two main characters by setting her in the decadent, upper class bungalow, while he seems more grounded and average in his appearance. She is dressed well but understated, while her character seems wild. He is a "regular guy" who has no time for frivolity, is contemptuous of it. The closeups emphasize these two different characters: she is just waking, non-committal, and vulnerable while he is stone-faced but focused The black and white is in very high contrast (I like). He uses the point of view shots to enter into her confused state. The casting always seemed a bit off to me (though I adore both stars) because I just couldn't see Cary Grant as this hard-boiled, selfish character. yes, selfish, because he seems to feel sorry for himself more than her! I have seen him in other crusty rolls, but always with a touch of cynical humor. Ingrid seems right on target, with her blend of strength vs. panic. She was a terrific actor, plain and simple. Incidently, anyone who has seen Sandra Bullock's THE NET may have noticed the homage to Notorious in the lead male character being named Devlin, and the way Sandra ties the kerchief around her waist.
  11. Hitchcock touches in Mr and Mrs. Smith lie in the movement of the camera through the scene, revealing elements of class and crass. The elegant dishes with leftovers and the room display comfort and class, while he sits in the middle of the mess and plays cards, a little more humble and street-wise. There is always nice arrangement of shapes in Hitchcock films; the characters are posed by duos and trios, and the negative, or background, space is used like part of the canvas with interesting play of light making shapes in the empty spots. I don't find this opening typical of Hitch in that it is more private, intimate, and has a feeling of good cheer. The movement around the room is typical though. The casting of Lombard and Montgomery seems to go off well. She has that classy air about her while he affords the comedic, down to earth humor. It seems to be a pairing similar to The Thin Man series. They are from different backgrounds, but have similar spirit. I think Hitch has set the stage for that aspect in the previously mentioned dishes and cards.
  12. What is learned about the Uncle? He appears to be despondent, has hostility toward possible visitors ("they may not be friendly visitors"), is aggressive. He appears to decide to walk directly into a threatening situation in which his guilt? may be discovered. Similarities in this opening and film noire may include the setting (it is a lower class place), the lighting (b/w, shadowy, harsh lighting on his head), and the feeling of impending doom. Difference may be in the way we move into the house from outside with the traveling cameras which is reminiscent of Hitch's previous film technique. Tiomkin's musical score builds tension from lazy languor to a frantic opening of the door to step into - what?
  13. I just remembered, he used the open gate, door technique in Spellbound, too, to show the inner mind
  14. The posts today are all so good, I feel I don't have a lot to add. But I would like to agree strongly with ESei's observation that this is narrated from a woman's point of view. Am I wrong in thinking that this was the first and only time Hitch did this? It is very important to the story, because we are drawn by the tenuous, wistful narrative to try to understand her experience and the sense of foreboding. The twist and turns of the drive through the woods (or life) is very psychological, and to me more Impressionist, than Expressionist. The house is shown in a shift of light from its glory days to its decline. We are left in a fade to black, immediately shocked by the violent wave action. The stage is set!

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