Mrs. Archie Leach

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  1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. In the Lodger, the very first image is of the woman screaming and being strangled. We get to the action immediately there and in this scene from Frenzy, it takes us a few minutes to get to it. Hitchcock takes more time to set the scene here. In the Lodger, the typewriter serves as a way to convey the information that there is a serial killer on the loose. This opening scene clip doesn't give us any information about the woman in the river. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. Use of landmarks/famous places -- London Bridge in this case. The way the drawbridge is raised for the camera to pass through reminds me of going through the window into the courtyard in Rear Window and perhaps even through the hotel window into the room in Psycho. The music feels like more of a return to earlier scores. It's not the edgy Bernard Herrmann-type score. The dark Hitchcock humor is there ... the politician is making a speech about how soon the water is going to be clear of industrial waste and then a moment later a dead body is found floating face down in the water. When everyone started to turn their attention away from the politician, it reminded me a bit of the tennis match that everyone except Robert Walker/Bruno Antony is watching in Strangers on a Train. The cameo, of course. 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. As a visual artist, Hitchcock was able to give us images that were often more informative and more moving that any dialogue might have been. Sometimes the most important purpose to Hitchcock was introducing a character (Rear Window, Marnie, Vertigo) and other times it seems it was more vital for him to set the scene. In Frenzy, I think he's setting the scene. The music is very traditional, the postcard-type opening shot. We enter the action through the drawbridge and we see a gathering around a politician. The sight of the woman in the water is a direct contradiction of the politician's words. That seems meaningful.
  2. 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. We learn that she has recently spent a lot of money on a shopping spree. As she is filling the second suitcase with a new wardrobe, she is carelessly tossing other items into the first suitcase. When she sorts through the different social security cards hidden in her compact mirror, we understand that this wardrobe she is assembling is for a new identity and she intends to discard the old one. She has multiple social security cards so we can assume that she has done this before. Considering the cash she is carrying, we can assume she is on the run, most likely in trouble with the law. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The most dramatic moment comes when Tippi Hedren flips her newly-blond hair back and there's a swell in the music. This is the first time we are seeing Marnie's face and the moment is memorable. The music is less jarring than previous scores. It's more in line with the music in a melodrama than previous horror-type films. It implies to me there will be a romantic element to the story. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? The most notable thing about this cameo is that Hitchcock looks directly at the camera. He looks at Marnie after she has passed by and then he looks at the audience and then away again quickly. He seems to acknowledge us. It's different from most of the other cameos in that regard.
  3. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene? It's a typical "meet cute" from a romantic comedy. The scene is light and playful. There is nothing intimidating about the location. Melanie plays the part of the salesgirl to talk to Mitch and the exchange is flirty and fun. He catches on quickly to the fact that she is pretending and his questions meant to expose her allow for some comedy as she makes up her answers. I think they have instant chemistry. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere? We hear ambient street sounds along with the sound of the gulls. The sound of the gulls gets louder and is more prominent than any other. When she steps into the shop, the sound of the gulls is replaced by the more benign sound of the chirping caged birds. Right away we know that the sight and sound of the birds is unusual, even to Melanie, because she mentions it to the sales clerk. The sales clerk responds that there must be a storm brewing at sea. So the stage is set between the sounds of the birds and these few lines of dialogue. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene. I've always loved the Hitchcock cameos and thought it was a fun touch. Hitch is walking out of the pet store as Melanie is walking in. He's walking his two dogs. Maybe it's a fun suggestion that she should have been shopping for something safe, like a dog. Some animals can be domesticated while others should remain wild. Maybe he's escaping the film before all of the chaos begins. Melanie has just been whistled at by a stranger on the street but Hitch walks past her without looking up. I'm not sure ... I'll be interested to read other people's theories.
  4. This is the only film of the three mentioned that was shot in black and white and the result is a stark, sharp sequence. The music is brilliant and very deliberately jarring. The way the lines sweep from side to side reminds me of a window curtain being pulled open and closed. It reminds me of the figure in the window of the house. Also, the way the lines appear to create names ... at first you get part of the word but you can't necessarily decipher what the names are until the whole word is assembled. To me, that was reminiscent of the storytelling technique. We will get parts of the story throughout but the whole picture won't be revealed to us until the end when it all comes together. I think the reason for the specific date and time is to establish that these people are playing hooky. They are doing something wrong ... at least Marion should be at work. Hotel rooms in the middle of the afternoon would tend to imply an illicit affair. We enter the blinds and the window as voyeurs and it reminds me of Rear Window in that regard. In that situation, we are looking outwardly at the world. In this situation, we are looking inside ... maybe a hint that this is somewhat of a psychological thriller. We immediately know Marion is having an affair with Sam. It's not just an affair -- she loves him. We know that what she wants is to be married and for some reason, that can't happen at the moment. I think she's sympathetic in that regard. She is introduced as someone perhaps grappling with moral dilemmas -- she says this is the last time she will meet Sam. This is a good set-up for the dilemma with the money she will face later. She is tired of not having what she wants and is about to take action to get it,
  5. 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. 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. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. This is Cary Grant doing what he does best. His amused surprise at Eve's forwardness is trademark Cary Grant -- sexy but never appearing to take himself too seriously. At this point in his career, Grant was becoming more self-conscious of the age gaps between himself and his leading ladies but Eva Marie Saint is so strong and direct in this scene that you know she can handle herself. The audience is drawn into the flirtation. The matchbook in this scene is primarily a device to allow Saint to make that memorable gesture of pulling Grant's hand back and blowing out the match. But it also speaks to Thornhill's shallow life. The O stands for nothing in the same way the character stands for nothing, He's essentially a salesman and doesn't seem to have meaningful relationships or much purpose besides making money and meeting women. The harrowing situations he finds himself in actually force him to develop as a person. The sound design in the scene is all about seduction. The sounds of the train are soft and soothing. The music playing is similar to what would play in an intimate, upscale restaurant. It's subdued and lets the focus remain on the interaction between the two leads while creating a warm, relaxed feeling in the viewer. It enhances the scene and allows us to enjoy the flirtation more fully. In a sense, we are being seduced along with Grant.
  6. 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. 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. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. This is Cary Grant doing what he does best. His amused surprise at Eve's forwardness is trademark Cary Grant -- sexy but never appearing to take himself too seriously. At this point in his career, Grant was becoming more self-conscious of the age gaps between himself and his leading ladies but Eva Marie Saint is so strong and direct in this scene that you know she can handle herself. The audience is drawn into the flirtation. The matchbook in this scene is primarily a device to allow Saint to make that memorable gesture of pulling Grant's hand back and blowing out the match. But it also speaks to Thornhill's shallow life. The O stands for nothing in the same way the character stands for nothing, He's essentially a salesman and doesn't seem to have meaningful relationships or much purpose besides making money and meeting women. The harrowing situations he finds himself in actually force him to develop as a person. The sound design in the scene is all about seduction. The sounds of the train are soft and soothing. The music playing is similar to what would play in an intimate, upscale restaurant. It's subdued and lets the focus remain on the interaction between the two leads while creating a warm, relaxed feeling in the viewer. It enhances the scene and allows us to enjoy the flirtation more fully. In a sense, we are being seduced along with Grant.
  7. 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. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? The extreme closeup of the woman's face is uncomfortable and unsettling. Combined with the score, which is both intoxicating and jarring, you get the sense that something frightening will occur. The Lissajous figures are fascinating but I felt myself afraid to stare at them too deeply for fear that I would be lost in them. The overwhelming feeling i get from the opening sequence is unease. The single most powerful image in the sequence is the closeup of the woman's eye, particularly at the moment when it widens in fear. The hypnotic spiral figures have a quieting, lulling effect but the eye, combined with the loud, jarring parts of the music knock you out of that pretty quickly. It feels too intimate. It's an invasion of space and privacy for the audience to see her so closely, when the eye widens and she seems to flinch, we feel violated with her. It's visceral. I think the score and the titles work brilliantly together. It's hard to imagine them separate from one another. They each support the other's artistic purpose. The images alone, if set to a more upbeat and lighter score might not seem so intense and frightening. The score without the images/titles would only be vaguely ominous but would not hint at the psychological aspects of the story.
  8. 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 think Hitchcock is immediately bringing the audience into the action. We move through the open windows. We survey the courtyard the way we might if we were just waking up, stretching and looking outside. In addition to wanting to show off his elaborate set, Hitchcock wastes no time in establishing the players. We're going to be allowed to observe these lives, including Jeff's. 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? From Jeff's framed photos and camera equipment, we can tell that he is a talented, working photographer. Most of his shots are so action-packed that it's safe to assume he is willing to put himself in harm's way to get the shot he wants. His broken leg backs up that assumption. The last photo of the fashion magazine cover lets us know that he dabbles in whatever will pay the bills and it makes Lisa's role in his life a little more understandable. We can assume that's how they met. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? It does make me feel like a voyeur. We are viewing these people in very personal moments. The man shaving, changing the radio station when the ad comes on asking if he's over 40. That made me chuckle. The scene with Miss Torso putting on her bra made me feel as though I shouldn't be looking, perhaps that I was doing something wrong. But Hitchcock created such a vibrant scene that you can't help but be interested in these people. It's irresistible. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I agree. The set is so elaborate that even though it's a confined space, each apartment is like a perfectly realized little world. Hitchcock delves into each one along with us, It's beautiful to look at. I love the use of color. And it must have been a challenge to be in charge of that production ... to keep all the moving parts operating correctly.
  9. 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. The railroad tracks are the most obvious metaphor. The tracks are seen ahead, criss-crossing one another. I think it's interesting that the train starts off heading straight on the tracks and then veers to the right, off the original path. This is symbolic I think of Guy veering off his path in life. The men meet when guy is crossing his legs and taps Bruno's foot. The way each man is shot walking diagonally towards one another is an indication that their paths will eventually cross. 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. Their shoes are the first thing we notice. Bruno's are flashy while Guy's are non-descript, more conservative. Bruno is wearing a tie with his name on it, Guy's dress is much more subdued. In terms of their speech, Guy says very little -- polite acknowledgments of Bruno. Bruno recognizes Guy as a tennis star, immediately invades his space and explains about the tie his mother bought him. Then he tells Guy to continue reading his book because he doesn't talk much, which may be Hitchcock's subtle humor or in this case may be an early indication that Bruno is shady --- he's already lied to us. 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? The music over the opening credits is grand, dramatic with a hint of melancholy. When the men exit their cars it turns a bit playful and lighter.As they are striding towards their eventual meeting, there is a march-like element to it. Then it halts abruptly when they meet. It conveys that this is a significant, fateful meeting.
  10. The Hitchcock "touches" I notice are the creative camera angles ... the famous upside-down POV shot of Cary Grant walking towards her as she lays on the bed ... subtle humor as when she finds her hair piece/bun. She is slightly comical in her hangover state which makes her more likable and sympathetic. I've always remembered the gown she wears in this scene ... the stripes might imply she is a prisoner; trapped in her party-girl life, daughter of a traitor, etc. Cary Grant is low-lit in the beginning of the scene. His face is slightly obscured. He is framed nicely in the doorway but on an angle. She isn't sure of him yet and neither are we. Ingrid Bergman is lit very brightly early on ... almost as if she is being interrogated under a bright light. I liked how when Devlin is playing the recording that proves her patriotism, she steps from shadow into light. Cary Grant is calm and commanding in the scene. He's dressed neatly and is in control of himself and his environment. Ingrid Bergman is a bit of a mess in this scene, albeit a beautiful one. A strange man is in her bedroom, she is hungover and disheveled, still wearing her crumpled gown with a bandana tied around her waist from the night before. Her hair is a mess. She is shot from close up. Grant is part of a wider shot usually. I love this movie and I've always liked their chemistry together. I think this film conforms to their star personas for the most part. Perhaps some feel Grant is less likable in this, perceived as hard and using Bergman as a means to an end. I've always looked at the character as protecting himself from someone he doesn't trust yet. He feels a fool for falling in love with her, particularly given his line of work and her lifestyle and background. Maybe the party-girl image was a departure for Ingrid Bergman but I think this character is likable and sympathetic as almost all of her characters are. She is sweet and funny and we know from the recording she has integrity and good intentions.
  11. The primary Hitchcock "touch" I notice is the use of humor in the scene but I wonder how much of that is Hitchcock and how much is the genre. We learn that the couple is wealthy and has been in the room for a while. The lighting is bright in the Smith home, more shadowy in the scenes depicting the law office. We can tell by the bystanders in the office and the staff at the home that the Smiths are a couple whose antics capture the interest of others. It piques the audience's interest in turn, The one camera shot that stood out to me was the closeup of Lombard's partial face under the covers. When there is a knock at the door and she opens her eye, it reminded me visually of the end of the shower scene in Psycho when Janet Leigh is laying on the tile with her eyes open. The tone of this film is obviously completely different. It's hard for me to call this a typical Hitchcock opening because this doesn't seem to be a typical Hitchcock film. But I do think he manages to convey a lot of information in a short scene. We are interested in what is happening in the room. I haven't watched the film but judging by this clip, I think the casting of and chemistry between Lombard and Montgomery works well enough. They are both playing the scene with a good mix of lightheartedness, stubbornness and vulnerability. It's clear that he wants to engage her and coax her out from under the covers when he tricks her with the slamming of the door, When she sits up her face conveys so much emotion -- disappointment when she thinks he has left turns into relief and then happiness. He is quick to console her and seems affectionate. The scene works in my opinion.
  12. The opening scene offers us some insights into Uncle Charlie. He's lying on a bed, fully-clothed with a cigar. He rents a room in a city which implies he's not doing great financially but he has a large amount of cash haphazardly placed on the nightstand and the floor. He seems alone in the world, with just his landlady looking out for him. He looks out the window and says "You've nothing on me." which kind of implies there is something to be had. Right off the bat it seems like Uncle Charlie is in some kind of trouble and unlike some of the "wrong man" characters who innocently find themselves in danger, it seems like Uncle Charlie has done something wrong to wind up in this position. The comments of the landlady make it clear that Uncle Charlie is being pursued. When he throws the glass, it also shows he has a temper and is under some duress. The opening reminds me of a film noir in some ways. The lecture notes mention "a choking atmosphere of despair, a fatalistic ending" when describing French Poetic Realism and I feel that applies to this scene. Even though it's daytime and there are the sounds and sights of children playing, there is an uncomfortable feeling. The use of shade and shadows also reminds me of film noir. I love that the street number on the building is #13. The Tiomken score is especially powerful towards the end of the scene. It reaches a fever pitch when Uncle Charlie breaks his glass. I love how the two men following him march in step with the music implying a relentless pursuit. I notice both of their left hands are in their pockets ... possibly readying concealed guns? The music helps create drama and anxiety.
  13. 1. This opening is different from the other opening scenes we have seen in the Daily Doses from the British silent and/or sound period in a few ways. It's much more introspective. Instead of meeting multiple characters right off the bat, we are privy to the subconscious of the heroine. It's not a public place, there is not the humorous touch. This feels like a more serious story by the way the narrator recounts her dream and then that is backed up when she meets de Winter and for a moment she imagines he was about to commit suicide. 2. The Hitchcock touches I notice in the scene are the POV shots that bring you directly into the action. The audience travels the winding, neglected drive into Manderley along with the narrator. He uses the high angle shot to see the waves crashing down on the rocks, giving us the perspective of de Winter. There is an immediate sense of danger. 3. Manderley is used as a kind of character in the story because most of the opening shots feature her. We know that something has happened to her by the narrator indicating she can never go back. She is mysterious and beautiful ... not unlike the descriptions of her former mistress. The opening scene sets up the fact that something sinister happened here and it makes you want more immediately.
  14. 1. The hotel is quaint and picturesque. The hotel manager is charming and funny in his flustered way. The travelers are relaxed and calm while they're waiting. The music is upbeat and sets a light tone. When the older lady exits and the two men come in speaking loudly, combined with the cuckoo clock chiming ... the scene becomes more lively. It's fun to see the reactions of the different characters. 2. Caldicott and Charters definitely add humor. I liked the line "Why the Deuce didn't he say so in the first place?" after the hotel manager finally makes the announcement in English. Typical traveler to expect his own language to be the most important. They're funny because I don't think they're trying to be. Bickering because they stood for the 20-minute Hungarian national anthem, they were the only two standing, etc. .. very funny. I do think as a pair, they can be a useful storytelling device. 3. The hotel manager addresses Iris by name and only greets the others as "Ladies" which immediately tells us she's the star. The other two blonde actresses resemble one another which makes the dark-haired Lockwood stand out. The camera keeps Iris in the frame even when the others have dropped out and fallen into step behind Iris and the manager. Then there is the two-shot of Iris and the manager when she tells him she's going home tomorrow. She has a laid-back but authoritative way of speaking to the manager ... ordering magnums of champagne, making jokes about changing the sheets and eating horses, correcting his pronunciation of "avalanche". She seems sweet enough -- not unlikable at all -- but maybe a little bit spoiled.
  15. 1. I think this opening scene, ironically about a question-and-answer session, raises a ton of questions. We know who the male lead is because we entered the theater with him. Aside from that, we don't know who may play an important role. The feel is lighthearted like The Pleasure Garden, with touches of humor. It's also similar to The Man Who Knew Too Much in that it's a gathering of people for purposes of entertainment. The crowd as a mob (heckling, not violent) reminded me of The Lodger a bit. 2. I'm not sure I agree with Rothman that Hitchcock is introducing a more innocent character. I haven't watched the film yet. If he is truly innocent, I don't understand why he was shot so mysteriously from behind, at off-kilter angles, obscuring his face. The collar of his coat being upturned adds to the intrigue. Yes, when we see his face it is handsome and pleasant, seemingly at ease. He engages with Mr. Memory so we know he isn't timid. He doesn't mind the boy yelling a question over his shoulder so we know he isn't quick to anger. Beyond that, we don't know anything about him other than he is interested in Canadian geography. Mr. Memory makes the assumption that he is from Canada but I don't know that to be true. 3. The use of this public space speaks to the idea of Hitchcock's protagonists being ordinary men. The music hall is filled with working class people looking for entertainment and fun. Initially it seems like Mr. Memory's act may be a bust but he wins over the crowd when he can answer their questions and speak to their interests -- mainly about sports.

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