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About dweigum

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  • Birthday 04/14/1956

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    Movies of course, reading, photography, golf, knitting.
  1. This course has opened m eyes to many things I have neglected related to the movies I enjoy and or admire. I love watching movies old and new but only lately have I explored more closely the elements and or collaborators that make the movies a success or failure. So the basis for my answer or discussion is purely a deeper look at my favorite movie last year, Arrival. I suppose you would characterize it as science fiction but it was so much more. A character study, a suspence thriller that used an innovative approach to the sci fi genre that I think would have intrigued Alfred Hitchcock. The movie was intelligent and even combined humor and tragedy very effectively. It presented a new concept related to communication, time and the way in which we react to strangers and used the element of surprise and emotion to captivate our attention. Denis Villeneuve director, Joe Walker, editor, screenplay Eric Heisserer and music Johann Johannsson all created a work of art as far as I.m concerned. I think it would have been interesting to see how this team along with Hitchcock might have explored new territory in the art of film.
  2. Jodie Foster's Flight Plan actually had similar plot points to The Lady Vanishes, in this case her daughter vanishes. It even borrowed the scene where MIss Froy uses her finger and condensation on the train window to write her name. The same effect is use in Flight Plan,difference being the action takes place on a plane and not the train.
  3. I am thinking of another movie that may have had some Hitchcock influence. "Dont Look Now" was directed by Nicholas Roeg and involved a couple grieving the death of their child. It starred Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. Some of the scenes occurred in a church and the setting itself was Venice. So you have a mystery/suspence feel, the travelogue aspect, and it was adapted from a story by Daphne du Maurier. There were scenes that appeared surreal and I remember there were lots of flashbacks and innovative use of light and sound. Checking out google it was released in 1973. I saw it on Netflix a couple of years ago.
  4. Still of thte Night a Robert Benton film starring Roy Scheider and Meryl Steep in 1982 had a very Hitchcockesque feel to it. Murder, a bit of voyeurism, obsession and some "dream sequences" and in this case the "wrong woman" theme. A psychological thriller somewhat reminiscent of Marnie. I don't think it was well received when released but I remember really liking the film, both stars being in their prime.
  5. Hello: My question is for Mr. Phillipe and Professor Edwards. Alfred Hitchcock has said that german expressionism was a great influence, if not the greatest inflence on his work. Which one of his movies best exemplifies the influence of german expressionism? Thank you!
  6. 1. I actually found the trailer at the end of the Lecture Notes today resembled the opening to the Lodger than did the opening of Frenzy. Frenzy could have been a substitute title for The Lodger. The panic, frantic pace, silent scream, police movement, and all of that happenng under the darkness of night bears no resemblance to the opening of the actual film Frenzy. We are treated to a beautiful aerial view of the Thames as though we are traveling along the river and entering the city through the Tower Bridge. I feel as though Hitchcock was happy to be back in London and wanted to share this with the audience. The music by Ron Goodwin sounded like a entry march to the city, majestic, I was fully expecting that the first person we would see might be the Queen. The eventual scene of the body floating down the Thames was also different in that it was nude and the crowd reaction was much more tempered than in The Lodger. Also all filmed in broad daylight. 2. The Hitchcock Touch was evident in his whole approach to this opening, the juxaposition of the welcome to my city and the nude body floating down the river, the impressive dolly shot beginning with the glories of the city and ending with the dead body in the river. The politician's reference to cleaning up the river and ending polution, then the image of the body - some very dark humor perhaps. 3. A common pattern/strategy employed by Hitchcock and seen in this opening is to throw the audience off guard. He creates a sense of calm as he shows us this beautiful city, a city like our own perhaps then reveals the evil that lurks even in the most benign places. Making the revelation all the more distrubing. The cinematography is lovely, the long dolly shot then the close up of the crowd, body etc the care that is taken in every frame are also typical patterns found in a Hitchcock film.
  7. 1. The scene opens with a dark haired woman, we do not see her face as she walks down the hall into her room. She is carrying a bright yellow purse that the camera appears to focus on possibly carrying something of interest. The scene reveals to us a woman of mystery who is trying to hide her identity and or change it. She is packing two suitcases, one very carefully with brand new clothing and in the other suticase she thows items in as if to discard them. She empties a large sum of money out of the yellow purse into the carefully packed suitcase suggesting a criminal/nefarious basis for her behavior. We do not see her face until she washes out the dye from her hair. Where she is revealed to be a very beautiful woman. She has number of fake social insurance cards and selects her next identity by placing one of the cards into her wallet. She switches from the bright yellow to purse to a biege one. It is obvious she is abandoning one identity for another which is confirmed when she disposes of her second suitcase in a locker along with the key 2.. The Bernard Hermann score complements the feeling if mystery and intrigue created by the visuals. The mood and atmosphere suggested by the music reflects a sense of suspense as opposed to horror that is so nicely intertwined with the action on the screen. The tempo doesn't change until the dye is washed out of her hair and then crescendo the beautiful blonde is revealed along with a new identity. It serves to change the pace, by revealing her face at least one piece of the mystery is revealed. Then no music as we enter the train station, hearing only boarding calls where the second suitcase is abandoned in a locker and the key discarded. 3. The ever so slight variation in Hitchcock's cameo is created by the brief look back as he exits the door as the woman walks past. The diffence I see in this cameo by that brief look back suggests he could be involved in the story as opposed to being present by coincidence. Perhaps he knows the woman and is checking to see if someone is following for example, or as voyeur interested in her comings and goings. Maybe her latest victim, after all they stay in the same building and there is that cash in her suitcase.
  8. 1. The opening scene of "The Birds" introduces us to Mitch and Melanie two of the main characters of the story. Melanie is attractive, elegant, and a confident individual who also appears of the upper class based on her wardrobe, style and the fact she is entering an obviously high end pet store. She meets Mitch an attractive well-dressed man. He mistakes her for a sales clerk (or pretends to) and she takes the bait and they have their bit of fun. The dialogue is light and clever,he is looking to buy a pair of love birds (the MacGuffin perhaps?) for his younger sister. The name of the movie is The Birds so this could be a romantic comedy based on a relationship that begins in a Pet Shop that specializes in birds, but we are into a Hitchcock film and this is a very unikely. We are in a place where under normal circumstances we would have no need to worry. This is a common theme in Hitchcock films - theatres, churches, ski hills, dance halls and small towns.... Two ordinary people, ordinary circumstance who will face terror in short order from the least likely of sources. 2. The sound design is used very effectively to introduce signs of impending trouble. A very attractive well dressed woman walking the city street towards a shop. In the background we here cars, whistles, sirens so subtle that if you aren't listening for it you might not notice. Oridnary city sounds. We also hear gulls cackling in the distance again not very loud but as the woman approaches the door to the pet shop the gulls sound much louder so much so that it catches her attention, she looks up the see a large flock of them. So initially the mood is light, with that small foreshadowing created by the circling gulls. When we enter the store all of the birds are in cages in contrast to those flying freely outside hmmm.. 3. Hitchcock's cameo occurs just as Melanie is entering the store he is exiting with two dogs on a leash. The theme of doubles comes to mind, two dogs, two people who meet cute and two love birds to introduce the story. Things happen in pairs signifying relationships. Melanie and Mitches relationship will become a focal point of the story and Hitchcock the auteur.
  9. 1. The images of gray lines on a black background create a symbol of perhaps crossing the line, and individuals crossing paths. The music is frantic, creating a feeling of urgency and danger, it left me with the feeling of being chased, trying to get away. As I have seen the movie many times before, during the famous signature scene, the lines and music may also mimic the murder, the scream, the knife. 2. We are introduced to the date, time and city at the opening of the movie. Once we enter the hotel room via the window this information makes it clearer that this is an illicit rendevous on a Friday afternoon. Two people who have crossed the line and meeting in the seedy hotel to have a few stolen moments together. It had a noir feeling to it in the beginning. We enter the room through the semi closed blinds. Hitchcock has shown us through a window on different occasions like Rear Window and Shadow of a Doubt. As a matter of fact the similarity to Shadow of a Doubt is striking as in both cases the camera moves us though the window into the room where we see the characters lying on a bed. Like Shadow of a Doubt, Psycho will move from the city to an "out of the way location" In Shadow of a Doubt the action switches to small town America. 3. Poor Marion Crane, fate was so cruel. In the hotel room when we are introduced to her, she immediately becomes the focus of the scene despite John Gavin's shirtless chest. The camera and lighting establish her as the center of attenion. She was also a well known Hollywood star. In the early 60s the censors would not allow nudity so the closest Hitchcock could go was having Marion Crane in her bra. It is quite clear that the two people in the room have been making love and we learn out of marriage another taboo in 60s filmmaking, a bit of ground breaking for Hitchcock. Marion is dissatisfied with the situation we learn of her feelings and frustration and desperation, so this sets up the rationale for some of the fateful decisions she makes as the story unfolds.
  10. I just wanted to say that I loved the short Hitchcock clip at the end of the Lecture Video today. Great Hitchcock humour!
  11. 1. I suppose in this scene Cary Grant and Hitchcock are having a little fun with the audience, he is a well known and popular actor so lets get that out on the table and proceed with the story at hand. We also have a bit of role reversal here regarding who is the pursuer and the pursued in this bit of double entendre/word play. This would be a conversation more likely lead by Grant in previous films, here we have Eva Marie Saint not known as femme fatale arranging the meeting leading the flirtation and not being partcularly subtle about her intentions, but being ever so effective and sensual in this scene. 2. The R.O.T. matchbook and more importantly the match provide two points of interest. Is it confirmation of his identity? It also provides an opportunity for intimacy as Ms. Kendell reels in her prey. 3. In this scene the music and sounds are exactly what you would expext. Quiet romantic music and the train moviing on the tracks ever so subtle. A deliberate strategy to keep the audience engaged in the flirtation between the couple. No changes in tempo or surprises so as not to deflect us from their conversation.
  12. 1. At the outset of this movie the audience is ensnared into the story that is to follow. In a way we are being hypnotized at least that is the feeling I had while watching the title sequence. The eye, the spirals creating a feeling of uneasiness, off balance, things may not always be what they seem. We are being invited into the character's nightmare. This will not be a comedy, but then again I wouldn't put it past Hitchcock to try something like that. 2. This title sequence is one of the most creative opening sequences that I can remember in my years of movie watching. The image of the face starting with the mouth and ending with that powerful image of the eye. The lips symbolic of lust, love, the eye of course being the mirror of the soul. The image of the eye reacting in fear followed by the spiral as it exits and laters enters is the most powerful image but as the spirals change shapes and sizes and swirl about the credits the whole sequence is an exercise in creatvity. It establishes the psychological nature of the story to follow. 3. The music score and images worked so well together and are actually at cross purposes, as the spiral images have a dizziing effect an attempt to lull you into a trance. The softer creepy music, and bang, you're wakened, then thrown off balance again. It is hard to imagine this sequence with any other music. The changing tempo, rhythm, cadence, movement from loud to soft along with the images work so well to create a feeling of anxiety even before a line of dialogue's been spoken.
  13. 1. The opening scene takes the film audience from inside the "rear" window of an apartment and as the camera pans to the outside, into the courtyard and finally into the windows of the neighbors' apartments. Hitchcock is inviting us to participate as voyeurs in this particular neighborhood. As spectators the camera creates for us a feeling of walking to the window to look outside. We are seeing the courtyard, apartments, people, our POV shot as it were. It is actually a reflection of a typical beginning of a day and the people we see are a reflection of a small cross section of ordinary people of various ages, sex, and relationships. We also get our first introduction to the main character who has his back turned from the window as the camera brings us back into the room. We are provided more details about this man through an effective use of visual technique as there has been no dialogue to this point, just the radio in the background. 2, In this opening the camera pans to a man in a wheelchair and in a body and leg cast. We learn the man's name, L.B. Jeffries as it is written on his cast. The camera pans to his sweating brow and thermometer so we learn it is hot. Sweeping across the room we see a smashed and broken camera, many graphic pictures, explosions, car crashes etc, establishing his work as a photographer who was most likely injured while on the job. This man under normal circumstances, involved in action, investigative journalism is now restricted by his injuries. 3. In the opening scene we have entered the world inside Jeffries' apartment and the windows of the neighbors, so yes we are now voyeurs. The fact that we are looking into other's windows is the definition of voyeurism, when the windows are open curiousity will get the better of us. 4. I think anytime you associate the word "most" with anything it's tough and in Hitchcock's case there are so many of his pictures through set design, the use of black and white photography, light and shadow, color, miniatures, location, clever camera techniques etc. that are impressive. I own a few Hitchcock film's so upon reflection I have to say of all of them Rear Window is the one I have re watched the most. The set design, camera does most effectively create this small world to which we are invited and in many ways seems so familiar. It is so successful in relating the screen experience into the everyday world of the audience i.e. feelings, fears, relationships of the audience while creating suspence and thrills and I think in this way it could be said to be the most cinematic.
  14. 1. The criss crossing theme is represented visually when we are introduced to the two main characters by the cameras focus on there shoes as they exit their respective taxis, crossing the street/curb as they approach the train station, we assume these gentlemen will soon cross paths, they cross the pedway towards the train, we see wide angle shot of the train tracks as they cross as the camera creates the constant forward movement. When the men enter the train and are seated, one of the men crosses his legs and then the other. This crossing motion results in their shoes making contact. One man sitting across from the other crosses over from one side of the table as he introduces himself to the other. At this time we meet Bruno Antony and Guy Haines. 2. From the moment we see the conrast in the men's shoes it is evident that these men are very different. Both wearing Oxford style shoes, but one man wearing the more "flashy" wing tip oxfords. There is a subtle difference in the pace of their steps, one man more deliberate another a bit lighter on his feet. When we are finally introduced to the men on the train it is the man with the less conservtive suit and shoes that introduces himself to the other man. He appears more extroverted, wearing an unconventional tie, providing some personal information i.e the tie is a gift from his mother. The other man is polite and much more reserved in his interactions. 3. Dimitri Tiomkins music when the credits are rolling is very dramatic and intense underlying the likelyhood of some thrills and suspence provided by the creators of the film. AS soon as the camera closes in on those Oxford wingtips the music becomes much lighter, the mood changes. We are soon introduced to Bruno Antony and the music becomes a reflection of the man's attitude that at this time is in contrast to what we will learn is his actual nefarious plan.
  15. I like that these message boards hightlight things I miss or don't give enough attention too. Your comment about the hairpiece falling out of place is an element of comedy a Hitchcock touch that I neglected to mention in my post even though I found it funny while watching the clip!

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