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About HaleyVanHorn

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  • Birthday 03/14/1994

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    College student with a passion for all things Classic Hollywood.
  1. 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? The score and graphic design set the entire mood of the film. The haunting vibe of the score followed by the almost cryptic graphic design prepare the viewer for the journey the film will take them on. 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? Part of Hitchcock's signature touch was the oddly specific details of his films. I think this was one of them. He wants the viewer to pay attention to detail. He's setting up the story with the time. He wants to draw attention to the affair and the fact that she was going to be late when returning to work. I also read some other replies talking about how it gives off the feeling of a crime documentary. I've never thought of that before, and I think that's a very interesting point! I think he also chose to enter the hotel through the semi-closed blinds to make us feel like we're witnessing something we shouldn't be, since their affair was a secret. 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. I think we're introduced to Marion this way because Hitchcock wanted us to feel a little off about her. She's seductive and secretive. She will go on to do some not so great things in the film, and eventually meet a horrific demise. I think Hitch wanted us to be skeptical about Marion as a character.
  2. 1) Describe what you think this film will be about simply from the sounds and images in these opening credits. Even if you have seen the film, try to focus on these sounds and images themselves and “the story” (or if not "the story," the mood and atmosphere they are establishing) that this sequence is communicating to the audience. From the opening credits alone, you'd almost think it was a horror movie. The score paired with the mood and atmosphere the images are establishing leave the viewer feeling almost frightened. 2) In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. I think the single most powerful image in the title sequence is the eye turning red, looking up in pure horror. The score gets louder and more suspenseful. I have seen this film multiple times and this part of the opening sequence still freaks me out. It leaves the viewer wanting more, especially a first time viewer. 3) How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? Bass' images are thrilling and psychedelic, while Herrmann's score is haunting. The two paired together build up the suspense that follows in the film. Had there been a different score, I don't think we would have gotten the same effect. The score certainly adds to the mood of the sequence.
  3. 1) 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 would describe the opening camera shot of this film as the formal introduction to the film and it's primary players. We get to see shots of most of the apartments and their residence who we will continue to see throughout the film. I think Hitchcock is seeking to establish the setting for the events that will follow. I think the vantage point being expressed is actually that of the viewer. We're getting to see everything for the first time. It's almost like he's giving the viewer a tour of the neighborhood. 2) 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? Hitchcock gives us the basic introduction to Jeff. We see his current state, wheelchair bound with a broken leg. Then the camera pans around his apartment. We see the camera equipment (the broken camera signaling how he obtained the broken leg), the photos on the wall showing what he does for a living. We're also introduced to Lisa. Hitchcock uses all these visuals as a way of showing us Jeff's backstory. 3) Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? Hitchcock almost makes me feel dirty as he peers into the homes of Jeff's neighbors. I find myself thinking... woah... this is definitely trouble. We shouldn't be spying on our neighbors in their homes! But as you keep viewing you want to learn more. Hitch throws us into these people's lives, and though we know it's out of line to spy, we become inthralled in how Lonely Heart's dates are going or what The Newlyweds are fighting about. 4) Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I absolutely agree that this film is Hitchcock's most cinematic work. From the camera movements, to the set, to the storyline, it's all something that hadn't been done before. It's my favorite movie of all time, and I've seen it countless times, but every time I screen it I notice something new. Truly a masterpiece that has withstood time.
  4. 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. Hitch covers the criss cross metaphor in various ways in the opening sequence. The train tracks, the taxis, walking to the train, and the shoes are the main examples I noticed. 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. In this scene, we already get a taste for the contrast between the two leading characters. Guy is more subtle and shy. He speaks quietly, his shoes are plain, and he intends to read on the train, giving the viewer the idea that he would rather keep to himself. Whereas Bruno is loud and upfront. He speaks with confidence, asserts a conversation with Guy, has bright shoes hinting at his character. In just the opening sequence we are already getting a taste of both characters personalities, and the contrast between the two. 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? Tiomkin's score serves as big part of the mood and atmosphere in the opening sequence. The score begins upbeat and light as the opening credits roll in. As the men reach the train station and we see them exit the cars and move to enter the train, the score becomes a bit darker. We are given the hint that something is going to happen on this train!
  5. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? The POV dolly/tracking shots gave the viewer a deeper understanding of what the characters were feeling in the scene. Whether that be the look on Wakely's face, or that of the woman doing the accusing, we could sense the tension and feeling each character was portraying in a deeper fashion. 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? I think Hitchcock uses the technique of the POV tracking shot to further display the feeling in a scene. Especially in his silent pictures, the POV tracking shot displays more emotion, drama, and overall theme to each scene. 3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. There are several connections in each of the films we have studied thus far. The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger, and Downhill (and many more of his later works) focus on a women in need of some sort of saving, being done wrong in some sense. The scene from The Pleasure Garden that sticks out most to me when reflecting on this discussion was when the woman was robbed of her money and couldn't afford the train ticket. Here again in Downhill, we see a woman who is in a vulnerable situation (whether it be an honest one or not). We also see visual technique connections, like the POV shots to portray more emotion and further tell each characters individual story, just to name a few connections throughout his films.
  6. 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Upon first watch of "Pleasure Garden", I noticed the signature Hitchcock point of view shots that are so famous in his work. Whether that be the point of view of the men watching the women on stage, or the woman fumbling for money after it had been stolen, we see the emotion and can tell what the characters are thinking simply through a point of view shot. We also see the infamous focus on blonde women from the jump! I've really enjoyed seeing traces of my favorite "Hitchcock touch" techniques from his early years in film. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto assessments that this sequence contains elements, themes, or approaches that we will see throughout Hitchcock's 50-year career? I absolutely agree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto that this sequence contains elements we will see throughout Hitchcock's career. Many parts of the sequence reminded me of various films, the busy street scene reminded me of several Hitchcock scenes from various films like Psycho and Vertigo. The point of view shots reminded me of several shots throughout Hitchock's career in films like I Confess and Rear Window. 3. Since this is a silent film, do you feel there were any limitations on these opening scenes due to the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue? I do not believe there are any limitations in this film or any silent film in the sense of lack of spoken dialogue. Occasionally I even find that silent films tell more of a story, and require a viewers attention in ways the talkies do not.

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