ckusama

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  1. I never liked musicals but now I look forward to seeing many more. Thank you so much, Dr. Ament and Dr. Edwards for another fantastic Ball St/TCM course! I started with Hitchcock and regret terribly I did not take the noir class as this is my favorite genre! I learned so much about film history and about the culture each decade these films were made. Fascinating. I hope to learn more and more since I was a film major in college!
  2. Hi! I'm Carol Kusama and musicals have never been my favorite genre but I keep seeing several over and over again! I love "American in Paris" and "My Fair Lady". Talk about eclectic, I love "Jesus Christ, Superstar" - that is a rock opera but I love it and have the words memorized! I love old movies including musicals! Busby Berkley spectaculars, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland - you name it, I've seen it.
  3. I'm surprised no one has mentioned adventure films like Captain Blood or any Douglas Fairbanks film? Aren't there enough for a class or is this the stepchild of movie making? I noticed in the book "The Essentials" 52 Must-See Movies" that not one adventure film was in it. Are they just trivial? I love to see Robin Hood or Sea Hawk! Errol Flynn is one of my favorites. Just fun movies. No respect!
  4. How about "Foul Play"? Another parody of Hitchcock. I watch so many TCM movies that it's hard to process what I've seen. There's so many! I learned so much during this course and it will take a long time before I go into a crowded event and not think "Oh! Something could happen here.....!" "Hitchcock would love this venue!" The Third Man by Orson Welles. Dark, suspense. Wonderful
  5. After watching all the Hitchcock films on TCM and listening to your input on the movies, I'm very anxious to see "78/52". Where will we have a chance to see your film and could you give us a time frame on when we can? Really looking forward to it. Have enjoyed all your input and I feel I know Hitchcock as a filmmaker so well now! Thank you so much for all the sharing of your knowledge!
  6. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Lodger opens with a scream - this movie opens with a grandiose anthem that sure sounds British and we are swept into a crowd of people listening to a politician speaking about pollution in the water and how it will be all cleaned up when someone yells "Look!" and it is the body of a blonde in the water. Lodger opened with chaos and just kept going - very different. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. As mentioned, the humor that a man is speaking of ending pollution and then there's a body floating in the water. Also the camera move from the wide shot of London slowly moving to the crowd on the banks. The shot going through the bridge also is Hitchcockian. Also, she had to be blonde! 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. This opening scene, as in most of Hitchcock's films, provides the viewer with crucial information. Here we know we're in London and there's been a murder. This sets the story for the viewer. This film has to do with a murderer.
  7. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects. This is a woman that knows what she's doing. She's been shopping for a whole new wardrobe and is getting ready to travel. She washes out that black hair and we get a close up of that face! She looks radiant and in charge. She meticulously packs one bag and and carelessly throws things in another. She finds the ID she intends to use next. Is it her real name? We don't know yet.....The $$ she dumps into the suitcase and the dyed hair puts together a picture of a woman thief - a good one. Surprising at the station that she throws the key to one of her suitcases in the locker down a drain. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? Swelling to beautiful crescendos, this is a beautiful piece of music. It's not as threatening as other movies but still is disconcerting. We think things are maybe not as in control as we saw earlier for the young lady. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? This is the only time I can think of that he looks directly at the camera and then back to where Marnie went with a look that portends drama!
  8. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigo and North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? The music and the graphics are staccato and slashing which puts the viewer in an anxious frame of mind from the start. A person watching knows this will not be a walk in the park! 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? The time and date specificity establishes the lunch hour and also that it's not the end of the work day yet. Ms. Crane has not much screen time as we know, so this is itemizing the time she has left on earth.....We have entered the room this way in Shadow of a Doubt to gaze at the murderer and Rear Window as we meet our hero for the first time. 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. It is Marion Crane who is dictating the terms of this relationship. She is strong enough to tell him it's the last time and that this isn't working. (Of course we know it's her last but that's getting ahead of ourselves!) We realize the film will be about her, not him. She's given the most camera time and most of the dialog.
  9. 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. These were both big Hollywood stars so the audience is used to the sexy banter that Cary Grant takes part in a lot of times in his prior movies. Also, the female reaction to him is predictable too and Eva Marie Saint certainly has the class to pull of the role of a seductress. They both are such classy actors that this kind of repartee is predictable. 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. ROT is the initials of the character Roger Thornhill. You can see her react but quickly recover and ask what the O stands for. She explains she already knew who he was before he sat down with her. ROT is a chance for Roger to mock himself and it leads to one of the sexiest lightings of a cigarette I've ever seen! How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. The music in the background is sexy muzak appropriate for the cocktail/dinner hour. Works perfectly for the smooth talking that ensues. Cool, smooth tunes.
  10. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? The opening is definitely Hitchcokian to me. The camera dollies to an ultra closeup of Carole's eye, for instance. The reveal of the room also is reminiscent of other films of Hitchcock. The music supports a rather light mood and the room is brightly lit to show the room in disarray. It looks like this couple lives a life of leisure and neither mind a mess at all! Particularly telling is the addition of breakfast to the collection of dirty dishes and barely eaten food. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? This film is so much lighter in content that it is hard to compare to other opens. Most of the other opens had a sense of foreboding that was creeping into the story. This movie is not set in a public place and lighting is bright and cheery, not dark and ominous. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? As noted, Carole Lombard was an actress with excellent comedic timing. Robert Montgomery acted in film noir and dramas and comedy. But in this pairing, you see such a sexiness when he slams the door to wake his love and she is downcast because he left. Then he pops up and the smile and their eyes is just adoration personified. He rushes over to hold her and they talk about their "rules" of marriage. A great pairing!
  11. 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. Uncle Charlie is deep in thought with money strewn all over his bedside table and floor which begins to make you feel he's done something not legitimate. When the landlady comes in to tell him about his visitors, he's cool as a cucumber and even toys with her when he explains he doesn't know the men. When he looks out the window he gets mad and you hear an arrogance of a wanted man that says "they don't have anything on my anyhow". Then he is so **** sure of himself, he grabs the dough, goes out the front door and walks straight into the 2 men, brushing one as he strides by. This guy is a smooth character. 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) I've seen the Killers and in that film is an inevitability of fate that weighs on the man lying there - you can see it in his eyes. When you first see Charlie, he seems concerned as he lies there but you quickly see how cooly he collects himself as the scene proceeds. 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 score contributes to the mood and setting of the film in the open. It is background music to begin with, but when Charlie gets ready to leave his room, the music "screams" like a woman alerting us to danger! Then it continues to keep us on edge by the frantic cadence as he walks up to the men and then passes them. It really puts you on edge! Something wicked that way went!
  12. Describe how this opening is different from the multiple opening scenes you have seen in the Daily Doses from the British silent and/or sound period? In many of the openings we've seen in Hitchcock's prior films, we are drawn in immediately into the fast paced action. This is a slower paced, richer feeling opening that languishes more than propels you. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? The camera tracking shots are long edits. The music makes the viewer feel somewhat ominous as does the decayed trail to the house. The viewer is treated to a burn out shell of a house and quickly changes to what looks like a man ready to end it all on the cliffs. I loved the segue of the house to the ocean swirling and waves crashing the rocks - Hitchcock all the way - painting a picture for us. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What affect does the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene? The first character you are introduced to IS the house. By the voiceover you know it is a very important part of the story as the dreamer describes returning to Manderley. The flashback portrayed as a dream that shows us the decay of this once beautiful home indicates to me that this was a grand house but it has a dark story and many secrets. The burned out shell gives me the creeps and the cameral moves are hypnotic, drawing you to Manderley.....The flashback on the cliff itself sets up the first meeting between the main characters and you see the dreamer finally and you also sense the depths of despair in the man playing with the edge of cliff.
  13. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. The opening seems cozy with folk music playing in the background. It's only when the door is opened that the viewer senses chaos. When the innkeeper is focused on initially, one senses his anxiety and stress - especially when he starts announcing in the different languages and people storm the front desk. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Caldicott & Charters act as kind of narrators to explain what is going on. They view this international scene with British viewpoint as they express irritation when English isn't spoken first. Comedy aspect established here. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. When the 3 ladies come in the door, the innkeeper runs over to them, bypassing other clients waiting. The camera follows the ladies and definitely keys in on the lead one - the star. As they proceed up the stairs, the star is the one to speak and the camera stays with her mainly. The star is perceived as wealthy, American, and spoiled.
  14. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? The opening of this film is in a public place, same as Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew Too Much. The mysterious introduction of Donat's character turns out to be quite innocuous, unlike the introduction of other characters like The Man Who Knew Too Much or the introduction to the murder of the girl in the Lodger. The panning of the Music Hall sign reminds me of the panning of "Golden Girls Tonight" of the Lodger as well. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? Yes. This time there is no momentary interaction with another character - just someone watching and participating at a show. No agenda is lurking behind that man's eyes! Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? Takes place in a public place. The reaction of the crowd to Mr. Memory is rather disrespectful but at ease - but we know that evil lurks at this fun place too. Donat's character is a regular joe - not as base as most of the audience so he does stand out a bit as he seems cultured. When I see the film I'm sure I'll agree with Mr. Phillips entirely!
  15. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet.)​ I haven't seen the film yet but cannot wait to! From the beginning, one may think the characters are more important but I can see where a plot may overtake them maybe! What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? Peter Lorre "brushes off" being mowed down by the crowd and skier, which makes him seem very easy going. He doesn't get a comment the other man makes which shows his English may not be as sharp as it could be. He becomes instantly more intense when he meets the eyes of the skier (I think it was the skier!) but immediately recovers and cordially waves goodbye to him as he exits. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. Both opens of the silent films draw you in immediately. The Lodger with the scream and the girls coming down the staircase out to the stage makes the viewer want more information. The dog getting away from the girl with the skier coming makes you anxious immediately the same as the scream in the Lodger. Pleasure Garden makes you anxious when the thieves are after the purse but not until then. The Lodger picks right up with murders so the viewer is in quickly. The Man Who Knew Too Much makes you anxious for the girl and dog but there's foreshadowing of more to come when you see Lorre's reaction for a brief moment.

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