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About Yakutyokel

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  1. 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. Lodger starts with a scream and then body, and ends with the closeness to a crowd and alarms sent out to the City in general; Frenzy begins with an overview of the city , a public city announcement and ends with the revelation of the body with a scream. They are inversions, one of the other. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.Experimental shots: dutch angle and long helicopter shot, droll humor, a depiction of crowds as a herd. 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. In Frenzy, the title says it all, so he contrasts the implied violence and disorganization with a long, composed helicopter shot. Clearly, contrast and tension are foremost on Hitchcock's mind, and how to achieve them. In other words, he carefully chose the opening scene to provide enough information to propel forward, but not so much as to bore the viewer. After a lingering pan around the neighborhood in Rear Window, he shows the cast on a man in a wheelchair, a broken camera, and photos of a car race wreck. We fill in the exposition, allowing the director to take time and care with the development of the situation that will unfold. In Frenzy, the crowd represents the city and the terror felt. The naked body floating contrasts with the clothed and upright (pun perhaps intended) crowd.As in Rear Window, we know the entire setup almost immediately. In General: Frequently, he likes to start with a bang--immediate (or soon to be danger) or shock value. He rarely waits for the 10 minute point to get curiosity and blood pumping. This has a way of accelerating the momentum of the drama by eliminating too much exposition and creating immediate attention.
  2. 1) Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? They compliment each other synchronously and asynchronously, but especially at the end of the intro when the graphics resemble nothing so much as a medical monitor output, facing toward the centerline and the score 'dies down' at the same time. Classical instruments and non-classical music--striking contrast--which is one of the themes of the film. Also, the dischordant score personifies the panic of the one attacked and the energy of the attacker, just as the bold graphic lines slash across the screen like a knife will later. 2) 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? Tension--building a sense of time slipping away, accelerating. The blinds hint at both privacy and voyeurism, which will be echoed in the scene where Marion prepares for her shower. 3) 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. The camera follows her. Although it takes shots of Loomis, it does not dolly around and swing to his movements like it does hers. by this and the sheer amount of time the lens spends on Marion Crane, the audience comes to identify with her.
  3. 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. Hitchcock is pranking the audience, openly flirting with them, in a way. It is HIM seducing US by proxy, winking the whole time, pointing to the film itself as a fiction, a construct, a convention. Grant is played ironically and Marie-Saint is played against type. Everything is inverted and toyed with for fun. 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. R.O.T., as in "what a lot of rot"? Or R.O.T. as in Roger Thornton is a scoundrel, or decadent (rotten). Or, reflexively, that Thornton takes pride in being a 'dirty old man' and is really pranking himself, only to be caught in his own snare by a young woman. Also, the use of the match and her pulling it back to blow out the flame, gently, has explicit sexual implications that are somewhat hampered for discussion in an open forum. I'll just say detumescence and leave it at that. Finally, there is the ironic implication to "Mr. suave" Cary Grant, that "you're not that hot. See, I can quench that flame barely exhaling." I see the matchbook and matches as LOADED with irony and implications. It is Hitchcock playing cat and mouse with the audience for his entertainment and ours. 3 How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. Almost subliminal. I would say that while the violins and 'romantic' music are classical usage, they are also ironic given the inversion--young and female seducing the older male, etc.
  4. 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.I think Hitchcock was onto something with the remark about studying it forever. I got dizzy looking over the details. This is just a skim: For instance, just before the main characters meet one walks past an woman who crosses her legs, then he sits and crosses his immediately. The other character also walks past a woman seated with knees together, not crossed, then that main character sits, legs not crossed, then crosses them and taps Bruno's foot in the process. The possibilities: hesitation, double-cross, etc. are almost endless. 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. Striped lighter suit and garish ties vs dark solid suit and checkered tie. Beyond the obvious (conservative vs loud), does this mean check, as in "checkmate"? Stripes, as in bars, say, prison bars? Quiet somewhat halting or guarded speech vs assumed confidences. The camera work (and editing) are fast, with a lot of edits for that time period. Somebody had a lot of fun with this. Probably several people were involved because of the range and depth. 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? It moves along with it sometimes, propels it sometimes--another criss-cross. Mostly it is FELT rather than heard, another accomplishment. It tells us we are headed somewhere, that we viewers are taking a voyage--another doubling, an intersection, a cross.
  5. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Close-ups, the lighting of the drink, use of the door as a cinematic frame, the skewed angle shot that revolves around, economy/unity of place. 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? Soft focus & high-key lighting for Bergman to give her a glowing, flawless look. Close-ups. Grant has more moderate lighting with higher contrast, giving him a harder look. Grant's dark suit is impeccable, almost a character in its own right. His hair is perfect. Named Devlin, the phrase "handsome devil" comes to mind. Bergman is a bit rumpled and messy, even somewhat frowzy-haired. Her party clothes have been slept in and the top appears sequinned with horizontal stripes, as if it were a party dress for a prison ball. They both get closeups, but hers are with her reclining, either diagonal or horizontal for the majority of the scene. She lives in the bed? Do we know any professions like that? By contrast, Grant is never seated, standing the entire time, a "stand-up guy"? 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? In some ways it challenges them. This is Grant as not so likeable, even something of a tight-**** heel, bloodless. His arc is to move toward being human. I'd say this is moderately against type, and not played for comedy, as in Father Goose. Bergman is also somewhat against type, less so than Grant, because she's still a vunerable woman caught up in men and circumstances beyond her control. But really, she's a tramp seeking redemptive love to purify her. Shes' a bad girl that loves America. At my most pedantic, I could cast this as a kind of male-female version of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, the story of them becoming human together. But that is really stretching it . . .
  6. 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. Logical, dispassionate, justifiably paranoid, careless with his money, likes to 'take in' his naive landlady, Charlie is fearful but gutsy. He likes to play the edge by walking right past, brushing even, the men sent for him. He has an almost indifferent attitude toward his situation, as if the gamble itself were the thing, not the potential consequences. 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? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations) The darkness of the room The darkness of the room and the lighting, the voiceover narration, which is itself somewhat distant and cold, the sense of immediate danger, and the obvious corruption of the character. And the music, emotive and eventually thundering. Also note that even the two men waiting for Charlie do not just walk in unison, as if a force rather than individuals, but both put their LEFT hands into their jacket pockets as they pursue Charlie. There is the simultaneous suggestion of a weapon, the automaton aspect just mentioned, and the emphasis on the LEFT side of things, that all is not 'right'. Seems like a lot of noir aspect here. 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? The music is almost unnoticed, until Charlie starts to leave his apartment and risk death. Then it rises almost to a crescendo as he steps through the threshold of the door, emphasizing the intensity of his decision and the potential consequences. This stands in stark contrast to the almost banal narration of Charlie's thoughts and his toned-down questions and responses to his landlady. A DOUBLE emphasis (yet again).
  7. 1) Of course the flashback, but also the lack of either the mundane or the striking (in terms of action). The camera work adds to the dreamlike quality, as does the slowly emotional voiceover. This is an interior view and retrospective, not an external view of events. It is subjective. Additionally, it follows the Romantic tradition of being out in nature, not in a public metropolitan or village setting. 2) The camera work. Note the ANGLE as the camera moves through the gate--it points downward rather than straight ahead. Also the constant and slow movement of the camera eye from side to side, as if the camera itself had been drugged, weaving its way to Manderlay. The lighting is very much like the Expressionist work, but with and interesting series of changes between light and dark, indicating simultaneously the surrounding nature (weather/clouds), the psychology of the story to come, and also Hitchcock's evolution of the technique beyond the Expressionist canon. 3) It is an impressive and brooding presence, entered into by a dream, as if (like the castle of Herzog's Nosferatu) it may have no objective existence, or that the objective existence is of no actual importance. The voiceover narration is emotive and slow. The slowness and length of the narration lends itself, in combination with the pendulous camera work, to a kind of viewer hypnotism. For camera work, the very torpor and winding back and forth along a path, interspersed with the light and dark of what one presumes to be the influence of clouds, creates a sense of skewed reality. Rather it provokes a distinct sense of unreality, culminating in the appearance of the mansion, and a pan across it to emphasize the ominous and weighty influence it has on the story. For those few moments, it IS the star of the film.
  8. 1) The tone is light, festive, public. Folk music, so it is international, even fictionally regional. The travelers are somewhat somber and disorganized looking compared to the musician. 2) Caldicott and Chartes are more common, less glamorous, proper, and preoccupied with cricket, they provide a droll contrast to the entrance of Iris. In fact, they are ignored, something most regular folks have experienced, so the audience is likely to identify with their plight, even if they do not for them personally, which most will. They are distinctly British, and no hint of homosexuality, except for the rather humorous finding of them in bed together (later), a bit of playfulness on the part of the writers and Hitchcock because their being in bed together is shown as mundane and not improper, while the appealing maid attempting to change clothes brings both men to (ironic) attention, suggesting both a 'stiff upper lip' and an erection. This is the director pranking British manners and mores. 3) Iris stands out by the contrast of the hair colors and closeups, and the attention of Boris to exclusion of all others. The same is true of the camera, it follows her and she has close-ups that linger. Then there is the playful banter, etc. Also note that Boris had been expecting her specifically, not the three women, but her. Notice that she is "pre-registered". She dominates screen time and lens exclusion as an individual character. And how about those outfits! All others, and especially Caldicott and Chartes, outnumbered three to two, are dressed in ordinary and duller clothing. A bit later, we see her room as palatial in comparison to the other rooms.
  9. 1) Slowly revealed billboards, off-angle camera work and a sense of suspense about an unknown character are certainly similar to The Lodger, although the Donnat character is quickly revealed. Here, Hitchcock creates suspense out of an ordinary event, attending a show, rather than a scream and a murder, with the murderer seen, but not identifiable. I prefer not to comment in general because generalizations are, well, general . . . 2) Less guilty, but only innocent of high crimes. Remember, Hannay takes up with a woman he barely knows. The implication is sexual, and casually so. Also, Hanny is worldly, moderately snide and self-amused, jaded. Again, while innocent of the crimes in the film, he's certainly not saintly. 3) A play within a play, hence "playfulness". A mildly voyeuristic overtone. Public spaces as places of performance, where one puts on one's "game face" to interact with others. Social interaction as both common humanity and an "act". Public spaces are therefore characters for Hitchcock, seemingly familiar and innocent but with an underbelly of sinister actions.
  10. 1) Close-up on Alice, prefaced by the local gossip about the murder and the use of a knife. Then the gossip dropping in clarity and volume except for the word "knife". 2) Alice is quavering, insecure under the droning about the murder with a knife, but is asked to cut a piece of bread. The droning goes on, and tension mounts as Alice slowly reaches for the breadknife, and picks it up. Given her apparent state of mind--see 1) above--her actions are somewhat unpredictable. Then the droning spikes in volume and tone on the word "knife", startling (the viewer and) Alice into jerking with the knife in hand. Although it flies to the floor, there is also a split-second of frisson, where the viewer may wonder whether the break with reality is complete and perhaps she will stab someone at the table. 3) Sound is no longer an innovation, but a standard feature in film. We have become used to it. Also, it has to be handled with care or it is just a gimmick. Few can pull it off, even with the right script and actors.
  11. 1) The POV shots are both engaging and unsettling. It is as if I am being transported, rolled along. 2) The subjectivity and the breakdown of audience barriers: In effect Hitchcock does not break the so-called fourth wall--he forces the viewer to cross into the screen images. Point is, these shots engage the viewer strongly, which is a natural goal for any filmmaker. 3) Guilt and innocence; the subjective roles of jealousy and anger; Legs--lots of flesh showing (for the 1920s) in The Pleasure Garden and the woman in the Downhill scene. Also, the schoolmaster's sternness is enhanced by his stiff collar and coat, much as one imagines the killer in The Lodger might look with his scarf off. So clothing becomes almost a character in these clips.
  12. 1) the angle and concentration on the spiral staircase, which is both suggestive (phallic) and suggestive (of the winding, indirect path of the film content). Note also the lighting of and perspective on the spiral staircase, which is slightly unconventional but not overdone, intriguing but not distracting. 2) absolutely. Stairs, for instance. Droll humor. The implacable aspect of circumstance (mentioned by other posters). 3) not much. In fact, careless dialogue could easily be a distraction. At first I kept expecting dialogue cards. On realizing that these were to be strictly metered out, I was able to relax and absorb the actions and scenes. Note that I watch silent films and was surprised at both the clip's sparsity of the dialogue cards and how little they were missed. In fact, I turned off the sound in order to better appreciate the clip. I found that I was no longer attempting to translate the lip movement to dialogue because the lyricism of the film was already carrying me along.

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