aoohara

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  1. Given his penchant for writers with commercial successes, I could see him adapting a work by John Grisham and perhaps even Stephen King. King's work especially has a certain irony and humor, particularly his short stories which are not necessarily seen as horror. I could even see Tarentino as a collaborator. Actors like George Clooney, Jude Law, Harrison Ford, Robert Redford would have made perfect everyman archetypes while fitting the commercial star desirability quotient. I could see Meryl Streep and Charlize Theron as perfect muses as well.
  2. I think the opening sequence is meant to evoke the subconscious and the sometimes unreliable workings of the mind. The woman's face is disturbingly close, it's raw and exposed. The eyes seem to express fear or concern...and then the fade to red....it's frightening...what is she seeing?! The music moves along a similar arc....beginning with a dreamy or fantasy like tone, to fear then horror. This hasn't always been my favorite H movie, but it's one that compels me to watch again and again and I think that is the magic of it. Powerful and influential art doesn't always make us feel good, we can be repelled and confused, horrified and angered....This film does that for me. I love the moment at the end of the opening sequence when Hitchcock's name rises from the woman's eye...it leaves no doubt for us who's vision and mind we are seeing. It is perfectly punctuated by the music as well and reminds us that he is in charge.
  3. As others note, we are being introduced to our surroundings, our neighbors, our environment and our routines. It's our own personal vantage point that we are seeing. All of the bits and pieces that we take in, as the camera pans, are subliminal, yet overt. We take in just enough to settle us into our proper place while leaving room to want to know and see more. I love the music coming from somewhere within the courtyard....it sounds distant and we hear it's echo. I believe that the opening sequence is meant to cast us in the role of useful and even helpful neighbor. The tone and music are light and energetic..we rise to greet the day together. As we get to know our neighbors we will want to help them....we are invested in their well being. We become voyeurs but we are benevolent. Hitchcock is giving us permission to look by making us one of them. I first saw this movie when it was rereleased in the 1980's and I've seen it many times over, it absolutely is Hitchcock at his very best and most cinematic. The very best movies have a timeless feel....like a perfectly choreographed dance. Each character movement, uttered sentence or camera shot is exactly as it should be and this movie has that. For me this film reads both like a play and a silent film. Hitchcock fires on all cylinders here and he provides his viewers with multiple points of entry to the story...with sight, sound, feel and even taste......(oh, that snifter of brandy is so delicious!)
  4. There are so many ways that the notion of criss crossing is presented to us. Obviously the rail lines, but also the car pulling into the station, moving in front of us from left to right. I love the bustling passengers moving in front of us, through and around Bruno and Guy...I think it keeps us grounded in the banal and normal when what is about to happen is far from normal. Later, after Bruno has presented his idea he even quips "criss cross!", with childlike excitement and logic. Bruno is so disturbing but I can understand how Guy might feel that moment they meet. Haven't we all sat down somewhere with a book only to be interrupted with polite chatter that we feel helpless to escape? If only I'd chosen another seat! The urge to remain polite when a stranger interrupts our routine and even behaves oddly is so utterly understandable. It's also what makes this movie so sinister and Bruno so scary. Incidentally Patricia Hitchcock is really perfect in this movie and in this clip she shares a little about her role.
  5. I think the biggest difference between this and other Hitchcock openers is the fact that we hear the voice of our narrator played by Fontaine. Her voice has such a dream like tone and coupled with the POV shot of the drive, the fog and the burned shell of a manor home we begin to feel that familiar sense of dread and suspense. I think this opening also serves to introduce us to the house as a main character....we see it before other humans. There is love in the second Mrs. de Winter's voice, but also sadness, regret and perhaps a resolution that things are as they should be even though something sinister has happened....maybe that is relief. It's an incredibly powerful opening.
  6. I agree with Gehring in that this is a hard one to watch because of the angst and turmoil we feel for the relationships. I think that Hitch is at his best, creating real tension for us as a viewer because we have the information each of the principles are missing. I also appreciated the lecture info about the repeat POV shot...I think good artists, do not simply try a technique and then abandoned it....he is practicing, perfecting, revising. All marks of an artist dedicated to craft. This film does push buttons with regards to the stars and their personas...but only so far. We are led believe Alicia is a party girl...but really down deep she's loyal...Dev is hard and even cruel, but down deep he's devoted. I love the pairing and for me this film is timeless. By the way....Claude Rains has one of THE best movie voices ever....right next to Paul Henreid.
  7. I really think the whole scene opens as like one of Hitchcock's early silent films. We have lot's of clues to take in and read. We understand the couple has been there for days, they do this often, they are wealthy and they adore each other. Lombard is perfect....and I love the way her expression changes when she realized Montgomery has not actually left. She's completely adorable. The whole notion that days are spent like this is frivolity and silliness at it's finest. For this married couple nothing else in the world matters but these two. It's such a conventional marriage (I mean really...what does she do all day?) but I can't help but love the dynamic between these two.
  8. I think Uncle Charlie is a new kind of leading character...a pathologically, evil person. There are no hobbies for this person, no activities beyond whatever evil doings he's engaged in. He's a criminal who wants or steals money, yet doesn't value it. He's running from something yet doesn't seem to be hiding. He's waiting. Waiting for the next opportunity. For Uncle Charlie, neither legal, nor moral laws exist. For this reason it's film noir at it's scariest. For the innocent there is no honesty or integrity that will prevent Uncle Charlie from changing course.... there is no moral high ground to run to. I think the room itself also sets this squarely in the film noir camp....it's a hot, stuffy, smoky rooming house....used by many. The pace, Charlie's voice, his thought process...it's all slow, like smoke or haze personified. The he picks up his things...maybe even everything he needs to disappear for good and heads out the door. The bullet hole in his jacket confirm all of our fears.....he's bad...but what exactly has he done? For me this music does to us what some of Hitchcock's earlier film work does....throws us off kilter, and tell us something is not right. It's the lilting, slightly off key, waltzy tune...like a pendulum swinging wildly from one side to another....dragging us between good and evil.
  9. The music, the cuckoo clock, the quick dialogue and the exasperated manager bring a level of ridiculousness the the scene.....it's light and humorous. I love they way the camera brings us into the lobby...through a small window, giving us that closed in feeling we've seen in so many other shots. It helps us understand that we are all in this together. The way the people are seated in the lobby is also such a treat...it's a little like a painting and perhaps a metaphor for humanity in general. We like to think we are formal and stately, but underneath we are all a little cuckoo. I also love the crazy wind that blows in as Ms. Froy leaves and the bellmen enter.....another clue that we are all going to hunker down together to weather this storm. I can't help but compare Hitchcock's way of framing his opening shots from tight to wide, to the work Frank Lloyd Wright was doing as an architect. He too would funnel people through a small opening or doorway, leading to wider spaces as a way of setting a tone and making an entrance...a little like a treat for the eyes. I think Caldicott and Charters are the foils for the drama, reminding us again not to take anything at face value or too seriously. There banter is smart, funny and quick. That moment where they get snubbed by the manger is priceless. It's clear Lockwood is to be the star, she has the lines, the forward position, she steps up a onto the stair putting her in a little niche above...the correction of the pronunciation of avalanche and the ordering of food, all establish her as someone to watch. What flirts! Something else which just occurred to me...the concept of time is to be an important player in this film. We notice the clock right away, as we also notice the passengers waiting...captive really. Forced to spend time together. Soon we will be rushed to hurry and find Ms. Froy, but the speed by which we will be forced to travel together is foretold by the oompa tempo of the music.
  10. I think Hitchcock is toying with us a bit and reminding us that we can't always trust our instincts...there are sinister elements to what we see, the neon lights, the faceless man buying a ticket, the shadow of a man and off kilter angles...and yet.... I was intrigued to hear Dr. Edwards discuss elements of screwball comedy present in this film, because I've always thought that The Man Who Knew Too Much has those same elements....especially with the witty and quick banter between the parents and their wealthy, flirtatious, life of the party lifestyle. They remind me of Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man films.
  11. I think in this opening scene Hitchcock is asking us to note the characters and their relationships to each other while setting a tone for what's ahead and what we as the audience are expected to find important. This point of detail is different from our other opening shots in this way. Peter Lorre makes such a great first impression as fun-loving sociopath....nothing is serious, all is a lark, until he sees the face of the skier and reveals, for just an instant, a dark side. In that instant he looks as if he could kill, and then calmly go about his business. His companion shows us that here is a man who doesn't have to worry about the trifles of life (she'll attend to that), but instead the evil mcGuffin-ish details that villains busy themselves with. I think in this moment we decide that we'll like Lorre's character no matter what despicable things he might do. Similarities between this and The Lodger include the way we are knocked off balance--in this case by the skiier, his POV of the impeding disaster and the swirling camera angles showing the crowd. It makes us feel as though we are the ones falling and we don't really know what the outcome will be.
  12. I've also been thinking that the whole subjective sound technique is used more than we realize. It's fun learning some of these technical aspects of film making...even though I've spent my whole life watching classic film, I've never really considered some of these things.
  13. LOL! Clearly I don't know how to use the multi quote.....

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