12Ben6

Members
  • Content Count

    20
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About 12Ben6

  • Rank
    Member
  • Birthday

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  1. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? As we progressed through the ’30s and neared WWII—when women entered the workforce en masse while men served in the military—it seems that female leads in movies were given increased opportunities to match wits with their male counterparts. Depicting female characters as equal to males reflects the changes that were going on in society. That is not to say, however, that equality was a universal experience for all women in film and real life, but simply that the pendulum was swinging in that direction. Furthermore, putting female characters in nontraditional roles or male-dominated fields [e.g. newspaperwoman Hildy (Rosalind Russell) in His Girl Friday], simply created more opportunities for conflict and comedy. The kookiness of a woman thinking she can do what a man can! Who’d have dreamt it!
  2. 1. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. While the two characters are playful with one another in the first scene, there doesn’t seem to be any genuine emotion there. One factor in the “lack of feeling” is the lack of eye contact, which is very limited due in part to their position in the canoe. The female character’s playfulness is illustrated when she mockingly impersonates the singing of her love interest (i.e. operatically). At the end of the second scene, the characters make eye contact. His face softens, and you can see his affection for—and also pity of—her. You can see that she is humiliated and uncomfortable with her love interest seeing her in such a state. Having her love interest witness her failed attempt at singing in the pub exacerbates her deflation. 2. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. I don’t think I’ve seen Jeanette MacDonald in anything before. I saw the 1943 version of Phantom of the Opera, but it was too long ago for me to remember Nelson Eddy’s performance well. 3. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? Under the code, there was limited physical contact between characters who were romantically involved. The pursuit of romance is a rather chaste affair. I got a good laugh when Nelson Eddy says the following in the first seen: “It doesn’t work with some names. It didn’t work with Maude. But then nothing worked with Maude.” The implication? Wooing Maude with song didn’t escalate things to the physical level.
  3. Season 12, episode 5 of American Dad, titled "Bahama Mama," features a murder-swapping story line à la Strangers on a Train.
  4. Two of the most Hitchcockian films I’ve seen that are by directors who aren’t Alfred Hitchcock are Charade (1963), directed by Stanley Donen, and the French film Diabolique (1955), directed by H.G. Clouzot. Charade features murder, romance, mistaken identities, and espionage. The combination of suspense and humor are what really echo Hitchcock, in my opinion. Charade has a fantastic score by Henri Mancini. Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn are the charismatic leads. Diabolique deals with a murder gone awry and is very suspenseful. The cinematography reminds me of Hitch’s B&W Hollywood films. The plot, which involves the gaslighting of one of its characters, strikes me as something Hitch and Alma would have loved. A more recent Hitch-inspired film is Disturbia (2007), starring Shia LaBeouf. LeBeouf’s character, who becomes a voyeur while under house arrest, witnesses what he thinks is murder. The film, directed by D.J. Caruso, is an homage to Rear Window.
  5. (1) The Lodger opens at nighttime whereas Frenzy opens in the daytime. In The Lodger, the body is discovered at the beginning of the opening scene, but in Frenzy, the body is discovered a few minutes into the opening scene. We immediately know that the victim in The Lodger was murdered because of the Avenger’s “calling card.” In Frenzy, we do not have immediate confirmation that the victim was murdered. In both films, the victim in the opening scene is female. (2) One of the Hitchcock touches in Frenzy is Hitch’s cameo. He’s in the crowd listening to the politician in the opening scene. Another touch is the humor and irony. The politician is talking about making the river clean again, and no sooner does he say this than a dead body is discovered in the river. The river is tainted by pollution but now also by a person’s death, which we presume is the result of murder. (3) In general, I would say that Hitch consistently establishes the scene in the opening shots of his films but an immediate action takes precedence in his opening scenes. Usually, something immediately ignites the audience’s intrigue in the opening of Hitchcock’s films, e.g. a ski jump, the discovery of a dead body, an ominous flock of birds in the sky, or the camera focusing on a key object such as a handbag. When creating his opening scenes, Hitch wastes no time engaging his audience.
  6. (1) The opening scene shows that Marnie has something—or many things—to hide. She has various aliases, as indicated by different social security cards. She has altered her appearance by dying her hair. Marnie is probably involved in illegal activity based on the amount of cash she has on her person and her disposal of the key to the locker where she stores a suitcase. (2) The score in the opening scene is dramatic and mysterious. It effectively builds intrigue as we see the various images that give us clues about Marnie’s character. The music builds and crescendos to the big reveal, the point at which we see Marnie’s face on screen. I’d say there is also dream-like quality to the music which suggests things may not be as they appear. (3) In Hitch’s cameo in Marnie, he glances at the camera. I don’t recall him ever breaking the fourth wall before. I’m uncertain about the meaning of this variation of Hitch’s cameo. Perhaps his eye contact with the audience is to cue the viewer to keep his eyes peeled for clues pertaining to the mystery surrounding Marnie.
  7. (1) In the opening scene, we learn that Melanie has ordered a myna bird which she’d hoped would already be able to talk when she picks it up. We learn that Melanie has a playful side as she pretends to work at the pet store when Mitch mistakes her for an employee and asks her for help finding love birds. Mitch, we see, is quick-witted and playful as well. He is quick to discover Melanie’s charade, posing questions and making comments that reveal she is not knowledgeable about birds. The opening scene of The Birds is like a romantic comedy because of the mistaken identity trope and the flirtation that ensues. Furthermore, the characters talk about love birds and the demonstrativeness of their affection, which is sexually suggestive. (2) Initially, I considered the sound of the gulls outdoors as normal ambient noise, but when I saw how many gulls were in the sky—an exorbitant amount—the noise became a little unsettling. Immediately upon Melanie’s entrance into the pet shop, however, I was put at ease by the singing and chirping of the birds in captivity. The sound of the birds inside the pet shop is relaxing. The birds there are in captivity, so it is a safe space, a sanctuary. In this opening scene, we see the prelude to chaos outside juxtaposed with the mood of safety and security that remains intact inside. (3) The movie is called The Birds. Seeing as how Hitchcock exits the pet shop with two dogs—an no birds—I think his cameo serves as a foreshadowing of the havoc the birds will wreak. (Birds are not his pet of choice.) Having two dogs with him could represent the concept of safety in numbers. The two dogs, as mentioned in the curator’s note, also touch on the Hitch’s frequent theme of doubling.
  8. (1) Anxiety is a major theme in Psycho. Marion is anxious about her theft, and Norman is anxious about his murder of Marion. The title design and accompanying music induces anxiety in the viewer. The titles enter the screen from different directions via lines that slice through the frame, which reminds me of stabbing. (The “slats” of the titles resemble Venetian blinds, which reference the theme of voyeurism. The different directions from which the titles enter the screen symbolize the unpredictability of Marion’s attack and allude to the fact that Marion is being watched from various angles—by Norman, and by us, the viewers.) The transition time between each title is rather quick, thereby creating a sense of urgency and stress. In the case of the lengthier titles, it was difficult for me to read everything on the screen before the words disappeared, thereby further stressing me out. The music is paranoia-inducing. The melody, tempo, and dynamics of the string accompaniment put me on edge. (2) I think Hitchcock is so specific about the time and place of the opening sequence because he wants to establish that the story begins in a “normal” U.S. city and that it is the middle of a work day. His specificity adds to the “scandal” to which the censors would have objected. The characters are unmarried and having an affair. While on their lunch breaks, they meet for an afternoon tryst. This type of “reprehensible” behavior is normally associated with nighttime and shady characters as opposed to regular people with everyday jobs. We enter the post-coital scene through the semi-closed blinds because it shows that the couple has some discretion when it comes to their sexual relationship. This entry method also establishes the viewer as a voyeur and foreshadows Norman’s voyeurism. I am reminded of the opening of Rear Window. (3) Marion is established as the main character in the opening scene. Hers is the first face we see. When the camera pans to her, she is lying on the bed partially clothed and looking up at Sam, whose head is out of frame. She tells Sam that her extended lunches give her boss “excess acid,” which shows she is aware of her employer’s stress level and has some level of concern about it. We learn that Marion wants more from her relationship than just the secretive meetings between her and Sam. This shows a desire for “respectability” on Marion’s part, thereby preventing early ’60s sensors from considering Marion a straight-up tramp. In other words, for the censors’ sake, redeeming qualities are given to the main character, Marion, a sexually-active unmarried woman. I wonder if Psycho was the impetus for the horror film trope that puts “impure” females (such as those sexually active outside of marriage) at the top of the kill list.
  9. (1) North by Northwest is the final of the four Hitchcock films in which Cary Grant appears. Thus, he is very familiar to fans of Hitch’s films. Grant’s line about looking vaguely familiar adds humor to the scene. It also references the fact that his character is a wanted man. The line precedes his failed attempt at introducing himself to Eve Kendall using a fake name. She catches him immediately, citing that his picture’s been on the front page of every newspaper. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about Eva Marie Saint to comment on how her stardom creates meaning in this scene. (2) The matches are an excuse for the actors to touch each other. It’s gentlemanly of Grant’s character to offer to light the cigarette of Saint’s character. She knew that he’d offer to do so if she got out a cigarette. Because of this, I’d say she makes the first move, so to speak. Had Eve Kendall believed Roger was really Jack Phillips, as he first introduces himself—or pretended to believe it—I wonder if Roger would have gotten out his matches, which show his real initials (R.O.T). (3) For the most part, the only sound in the scene apart from the dialogue is that of the train traveling along the rails—a slight jostling sound. The score in this scene consists of subtle romantic music at a low volume. While romantic-sounding, the music has an innocent quality to it, which I think serves to downplay the suggestiveness of the dialogue exchanged between Roger and Eve.
  10. (1) In the opening of Vertigo, the extreme close-ups of the individual parts of the female character’s face are very jarring and produce anxiety in me as the viewer. Coloring the images in red conveys danger and/or death (as I associate the red with blood). The score conveys a sense of urgency. Based on the opening sequence, I would say that this film might be about a kidnapping, and the woman in the title sequence is the victim. (2) The zoom in on the eye is the single most powerful image in my estimation. When the image becomes red and her eye starts to blink and water, I feel panicky. Then the spinning disc appears, and the effect is intensified. The image is frightening and hypnotic. (3) The combination of images and music in the title sequence of Vertigo effectively works together to create a sense of foreboding. The sequence sparks the viewer’s curiosity certainly. It is visually and aurally interesting. With a different musical score, the mood could be changed, perhaps from ominous to forlorn. With a melancholy score, for example, the viewer could get the impression that woman in the sequence is depressed rather than fearful. A melancholy score in combination with the images (including the spinning discs) could convey anxiousness over someone else’s death rather than anxiousness over what I anticipate is her own impending death (which I predict based on the existing score).
  11. (1) As the camera pans around the courtyard, the viewer enters Jeff’s world. The bustling and variety of the goings on remind me of an ant farm. Since Jeff’s back is to the window, I consider the opening camera shot as that of an omniscient, silent “narrator.” (2) Based on the words on his cast—“Here lie the broken bones of L.B. Jeffries”—being lame, to Jeff, is akin to being dead. He thrives on action, and inaction is torture to him. We learn that he is a photographer and that there is an element of danger to his profession, as evidenced by the photo equipment in his apartment, the content of the photos hanging on the wall, and his current state of injury. (3) Yes, I feel like a voyeur during this opening scene. However, given that the opening scene occurs in the daytime, I don’t feel as guilty about peering in on the neighbors as I would if it were night. Something about the daylight makes the voyeurism less intrusive, in my opinion. The subjects the camera finds, i.e. the neighbors, illustrates that we all have our morning routines but that each of us lives a different life and has different struggles/obstacles and motivations. (4) I have seen Rear Window at least three times. I would agree that it is Hitch’s most cinematic. The conceit, the design, the cinematography, everything about it is masterwork cinema. I get something new out of every viewing of it.
  12. (1) I noticed two ways in which crisscrossing in demonstrated in the opening of Strangers on a Train. First, we see Bruno—or rather just his feet—walking from the right side of the frame to the left upon getting out of his car at the train station, while Guy, on the other hand, gets out of his car and walks from the left to the right side of the frame. They are headed toward each other. Second, there is a shot of the intersecting train tracks. (2) The characters of Guy and Bruno are contrasted significantly in the brief opening of the film. Bruno is flashier. He wears pinstriped pants, two-tone shoes, and a tie clip that spells out his name. Conversely, Guy is more neutrally dressed in non-attention-getting attire. Bruno comes across as more outgoing. He initiates the conversation with Guy. Guy, in contrast, who seems to want to keep to himself, is reading a book when his shoe bumps into Bruno’s shoe. While Guy is known tennis player, he doesn’t seem interested in people’s adoration. (3) Both characters’ departure from their respective taxis is accompanied by the same bars of fanfare-like orchestration (featuring brass). The common musical introduction of each character implies that they will have something in common. The “fanfare” is immediately followed by a brief, whimsical phrase that includes strings and woodwinds. The brassy phrases and the fanciful phrases alternate throughout the opening sequence. As the Guy and Bruno approach each other, the tempo of the music increases, and there is a staccato nature to the score, punctuating their steps. The viewer anticipates their meeting as a result. There is an adventurous mood to the music that carries on up through the point in the opening when we see the train tracks.
  13. (1) In Notorious, as is often the case with Hitchcock, the viewer is thrown right into the thick of the story right off the bat. Another Hitchcock touch is the creative camera angles, which in this scene include a POV (from Alicia’s perspective) with a rotating tilt. In addition, Alicia—though she doesn’t seem to be an "ordinary" character—is being thrown into an extraordinary circumstance, and extraordinary circumstances are common in Hitchcock films. (2) I think the costuming in Notorious denotes an element of glamour/style/sophistication to both characters. Devlin is in a suit, and Alicia is in her eveningwear from the previous night. What’s not glamourous, however, is that Alicia had passed out drunk in last night’s clothing. Devlin is initially obscured by shadows, and when he approaches Alicia, he casts a shadow on her. I think this foreshadows the danger Alicia will be in if she accepts Devlin’s mission. A key shot in this scene involves Alicia is lying on the bed with her face obscured by the glass containing the hangover remedy. This shot suggests that she has something to hide. Is her secret that which drives her to drink? Likely so. Furthermore, Devlin is standing throughout the entire scene, which puts him above Alicia most of the time. (She is in bed for a much of the scene.) Perhaps this signifies that Devlin is the more powerful of the two of them. Toward the end of the scene, Alicia emerges from the bedroom, now on her feet, framed by the bedroom doorway. She is rising to the occasion of the mission Devlin is proposing. (3) Based on this scene alone, I would not say that Cary Grant’s persona is being challenged. As Devlin, he is suave and debonair—typical Grant. However, there is an aura of mystery around him. It is not clear that Devlin and Alicia will be romantically linked at this point, but one can assume based on Grant’s frequent casting as romantic lead. Bergman maintains her European allure and sensibility as Alicia. She comes across as self-sacrificing and inherently good, both qualities that I associate with Bergman as Ilsa in Casablanca. Therefore, in my opinion, this scene conforms to Bergman’s persona as well.
  14. (1) One Hitchcock touch I noticed was a POV shot (from Mr. Smith’s POV when he is looking at his wife). Also, there was attempted voyeurism on the part of the maid. She couldn’t see anything through the keyhole of the bedroom door, so she resorted to just listening in on the couple. We don’t see the attempted voyeurism, but it is discussed. The opening scene is brightly lit, which makes sense as the film is a comedy. There are not any jarring camera angles, which often generate shock or discomfort. Thus, this is going to be a comfortable, pleasant film. I think that Mr. and Mrs. Smith are rather wealthy based on the fanciness of the set (and also the fact that he can afford to be away from the office for three days and that they have servants). (2) In general, I wouldn’t say that the opening of Mr. and Mrs. Smith evokes the openings of the other Hitchcock films we’ve studied up to this point because of the difference in genre. However, like in many of Hitchcock’s other opening sequences, a point of intrigue is set up almost immediately in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. In previous films, the intrigue often related to a crime. In Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the question established is Why have Mr. and Mrs. Smith been in their room for 3 days straight? Also, What document must Mr. Smith sign? (3) Based on the opening sequence, I am sold on Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard as a married couple. In my opinion, both actors are charismatic and share chemistry on screen. There is a playfulness to each of their characters which complements the genre of screwball comedy.
  15. (1) Charlie has a great deal of cash in his possession, and he’s holed up in a rented room. He likely acquired the money through dishonest means, which would explain why there are two men in pursuit of him. According to his discussion with the landlady, Charlie has never met his pursuers before. Later, while talking to himself, Charlie asserts that the two men are bluffing and have nothing on him. We learn that Charlie is rather brash and willing to take risks as he exits the boarding house and marches right past the men on the street corner, who play it cool, as if they are not tracking him. (2) In regards to film noir in general, I noticed the following about Shadow of a Doubt: a man on the run, a probable crime, and an unglamorous setting. (3) The score illustrates the tension of the main character and conveys a sense of urgency. For example, the volume and tempo of the score increases as Charlie becomes more tense and resolves to go out into the street. There is a chaotic nature to some of the orchestration, which goes hand in hand with the chaos of being a man on the run and/or on the wrong side of the law.

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us