TCM_Film_Fan

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  1. I'd be interested in learning more about the Hollywood Blacklist scandal of the 1940s and 1950s.
  2. What a great summer of all things Hitchcock! This course has been incredibly insightful and really gave me a new appreciation for the true master behind the scenes. I wasn't familiar with his silent and/or very early days at all, so it was very enlightening to see clips of films like "The Pleasure Garden," "The Lodger," and "Blackmail," etc. I never even knew they existed until this course! I had stumbled on "Family Plot" in the wee hours of the morning on TCM last summer and loved it. Missed the credits and had no idea it was Hitchcock, so that was one of the many, many things I've learned. My sincerest thanks to Professor Edwards and Professor Gehring for the time they put into making this such a great experience for 16,000+ students. What an amazing feat! I'll truly miss logging on every day to do my Hitchcock homework!
  3. I would say "Niagara" from 1953, starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten (directed by Henry Hathaway). It seems to have several Hitchcock elements, starting with a famous location and a blonde beauty up to no good.
  4. What actors who are popular today would be considered the "type" Hitchcock would choose for his starring roles?
  5. The opening scene of The Lodger has a frantic, terror-filled vibe, with the first visual of the woman screaming into the camera setting the tone. The crowds seen in The Lodger are clearly lower-class by their attire, while the crowd in Frenzy appears well-dressed and affluent. We see police rushing into action in The Lodger, yet Frenzy has an almost casual feel to the discovery of the body...."Hey, look!" The rolling view over the river into the heart of London is in true Hitchcock POV fashion. We are treated to a fantastic birds-eye view, as we sweep along the river. The regal/royal music is perfectly matched with the setting, and viewers are immediately put in a famous and familiar location. Hitchcock sets a unique tone with his opening scenes, always making the viewer eager to know what has happened and what will happen next. He's able to draw us into each story line with a mix of graphics, set design and music. Once we see a few minutes of the opening scene, we always want more!
  6. The viewer sees expensive items being carefully packed into an exquisite suitcase, which is next to an older piece of luggage where worn clothing is being carelessly tossed. The last item added to her suitcase was bundles of money, which we suspect may be stolen by the scene we are shown. With the fanning of the Social Security cards, we know the character has several identities. It's notable that Hitchcock appears to have an obsession with names starting with "Ma," as we see Martha, Mary, Margaret and Marion on the cards. Of course, the lead character is Marnie, right in line with the others. I wonder if Hitchcock called his mother "ma" (which is common), and these M characters have some twisted connection? The music adds a tone of intrigue and suspense, as we wonder where that money came from and why she is using multiple identities. There is a sense of urgency and anticipation with the quick pace of the music, but not real danger. Hitchcock's cameo is a direct nod to the viewer with a different kind of "do you see me" vibe to it, when compared to his earlier ones. It's almost as if he's saying, I know you're expecting me, so here I am!
  7. The violins are played in a unique way in the opening score, making them sound like motion associated with stabbing (or quick, jolting movement). Coupled with the sharp music, there is a cutting, scissored pattern appearing as the credits roll. The tone is set as frenzied and chaotic, and intentionally makes the viewer uneasy. The mention of day/date is notable, in that we know it's a Friday going into the weekend. The time of 2:43 becomes significant when we hear Marion say that check-out is at three. The viewer once again becomes a voyeur to the hotel room scene. The opening shot brings the characters into view through the window blinds, making it similar to Rear Window. As the scene plays out, the viewer is hearing what Marion Crane wants out of life, rather than what Sam Loomis wants. She is setting the stage for the story to revolve around her and what is to become of her future, with or without Sam.
  8. Viewers know Cary Grant's ease at being dashing and charming, even in his off-screen persona, and we almost see a natural attraction between the two. They are well matched in this film, as viewers are treated to two of Hollywood's hottest stars together on screen. It almost doesn't matter what they're saying as we watch them interact. When the camera goes to a close-up of the matchbook cover, we see the ROT initials, and know this prop may be significant later in the story. According to Roger, "O stands for nothing, " which adds a bit of intrigue to his character. Eve is using the matchbook cover to engage Roger to reveal his true identity. The music isn't overwhelming in this scene, but rather takes a backseat to the onscreen flirtation we are watching. The tone of the music makes both characters appear playful and seductive, and the viewer gets the clear impression that some type of romance is in the cards for these two.
  9. The opening images and musical score give the impression that something ominous has happened, or is about to happen. The scrolling figures are hypnotic and trance-like, easily drawing in the viewer's full attention as the credits roll. The plain, square text of the names is a stark contrast to the Lissajous figures. The single most powerful image is the close-up of the eye, just before it spins into the title. The extreme close-ups, along with the other partial images inserted, are meant to make the viewer feel unsettled. This title sequence is a brilliant mix of graphics and sound, and I think it's probably the most clever (and recognizable) in all of Hollywood history. Bass and Herrmann created a dizzying and suspenseful mood for the viewers, perfect for Hitchcock's story line.
  10. The opening shot shows that a variety of activities, both usual and unusual, are happening in this busy apartment complex. Hitch makes the viewer an immediate voyeur, whether we like it or not! We are not seeing through Jeff's eyes, but rather our own. When the camera pans around his apartment, we can see that Jeff is an accomplished sports/action photographer. We are not certain how his leg or camera got broken, but we assume it was in a dramatic fashion, judging by the pictures we are seeing. We get a humorous touch to his unfortunate situation with the message on Jeff's cast. He appears to be a stoic and serious man, however, based on the initial shots we are seeing of him. This scene/movie gives the viewer a front-row angle of what Jeff is seeing. We have no choice but to let our eyes follow along, if we want to see what's going on. We are watching someone watching others, which is rather odd! I do agree that "Rear Window" is Hitchcock's most cinematic film, with the set itself taking on a life of its own. The fact that it's in color adds a realistic dimension that is not always captured in black and white.
  11. The crisscrossing of train tracks seems to be a parallel to life, where we find ourselves making split decisions on which paths to follow. The tracks in the shot are all connected, but we know each twist and turn leads to a different destination. The legs crossing and shoes touching seem random and typical on a train, but the viewer senses something more significant about this encounter. Bruno and Guy give off completely different vibes when compared to one another, just from their attire. Bruno presents a flamboyant air about him, with his fancy shoes and flashy suit, while Guy is just the opposite. Guy clearly wants to keep to himself, as Bruno keeps pushing with conversation. The viewer gets a clear sense that Bruno is up to something, and Guy is about to find out what it is. The music does a great job in bringing the viewer into the mood of each character. The musical track stops playing as the two men begin to interact, leaving the viewer totally focused on the verbal exchange.
  12. The viewer is once again seeing through the eyes of the characters on screen. We have classic POV shots, with notably brilliant use of it in moments such as the upside down view of Devlin. Devlin first appears as a dark figure from Alicia's view, but when the camera pans on him speaking, the room is no longer dark. He is sharply dressed and on point, but Alicia has clearly slept in last night's outfit and is dazed. I noted the sparkling of sequins in some shots, which reminds the viewer that she is not in sleepwear. Her large earrings and messed up hair complete the impression that she had fallen asleep drunk. The casting works perfectly in this film, as viewers have a vested interest in the characters who are portrayed by Hollywood royalty.
  13. The close-up of Mrs. Smith's eye under the covers is one of Hitchcock's noted touches. The use of props and panning is also present. Without any dialogue needed, the room service trays laying around set the scene. We can see that the couple has been holed up in a luxury hotel for days, and people are making a fuss about them, which intrigues the viewer to continue watching. I believe it's a typical Hitchcock opening in that it's using the set and camera angles to let the viewer discover (in steps) what is going on. In line with a screwball comedy, the music is lighthearted and whimsical, so we don't sense any danger coming (which is atypical). I thought the casting worked well, as the two seemed to have both a comedic and romantic chemistry. They appeared sincere in their embrace at the end of the clip. Ironically, while they embrace, the viewer is hearing about some of the major fights they've had in the past. This dialogue tells us as to why Mr. and Mrs. Smith are in the hotel room.
  14. In the opening scene, the viewer learns that two men have called upon Charlie at the boarding house. He appears to be pondering over something that has already happened, and is planning his next move. The money strewn all over, as if it had no value, makes the viewer wonder where Charlie got that windfall. The overall dark mood of the film gives it that film noir vibe. One gets the impression that Charlie is dealing with a sinister situation, although we don't have a clue as to what it is yet. The beginning of the clip goes very quickly from an innocent street scene (with "happy" music) to the dark view of the boarding room with ominous music setting the mood. The music ignites the viewer's anticipation as Charlie is walking towards the two men. We are waiting to see...will they stop him?
  15. The opening scene is different in that the rush of movement is coming from the ocean water, rather than from people. We see the crashing waves as an indicator that something very dark and mysterious is brewing in this story. In classic Hitchcock POV filming, the viewer experiences the journey on the road to the Manderley estate up close and personal, as the background story is narrated. We are seeing through the eyes of the character as she is approaching the house. Manderley is given life-like qualities with such references as its "staring walls," and it appears to come to life with lights at one point. I think seeing this particular scene sparks the viewers interest in how we got to that point in time, and what role the house itself may have played in the story, if any.

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