debbi-c

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  1. This list is great! Thanks for posting it. Some of the films listed I've seen, but many I haven't. I'll have to find opportunities to see at least some of them. I was glad to see some of the films listed: Charade Dark Passage Niagra [last night on TCM] Witness for the Prosecution Gaslight [love, love, love it!] The Spiral Staircase Leave Her To Heaven The Uninvited [i just watched this again today] The Stranger I'd add to the list: Beware My Lovely (1952) - Ida Lupino & Robert Ryan. Widow hires handyman who turns out to be schizophrenic who decompensates into psychotic episode, & widow is unable to escape from her home. The ordinary person put in an extrodinary situation, & having to rely on her wits to get through it alive. Limited set to film in [like Lifeboat & Rear Window]. Crisis (1950) - Cary Grant is a neurosurgeon in a South or Central American county in the midst of a revolution, forced into operating on the dictator. Trains, some great POV shots, the ordinary person put in an extrodinary situation, & having to rely on his wits to get through it alive. This course has been great! Thank you to Dr. Edwards & Dr. Gehring for bring all this info together for us. And, thank you to everyone here in the TCM Message Board for your insights. And, special thanks to TCM for offering this course to the public. TCM is very unique to the world of TV. May they continue to evolve over the upcoming years in the fan interactive fashion that we see today!
  2. We can tell in these opening scenes that Marnie is a thief, she's good at it, done it before (multiple SS cards), she's cold, calculating, with a plan that has worked in the past. You just have to wonder, what is up with that? What makes her this person? She's cool & calm as she places her new items of clothing in the new suitcase, & tosses the old clothes into the old suitcase. She further sheds her old skin/identity when she rinses the dark hair dye out of her hair. I hadn't thought of the Psycho connection, but when Dr. Edwards mentioned it, it definitely clicked for me. Bernard Hermann's score is very moody, flowing back & forth in almost a hypnotic affect. It draws you into the film & makes you want to know more about Marnie's character. Hitchcock's cameos are often easy to miss. He's usually in the background, though not always. Here, he walks right out toward the camera. He wants you to see him.
  3. I think most people have responded better than I can, or at least have said everything I was thinking, so, instead, here's something for some comedic relief....all of Hitchcocks cameos: (I hope the youtube link works!)
  4. The title design with all the lines reminds me of looking (peeping?) through blinds in a window on the one hand. On the other hand, it also seems like the credits are being sliced up. Add the music to that, & you know that something scary is about to happen. The use of the exact date & time reminded me of a police report (a la Dragnet....just the facts, ma'am). You're being given information that can help you understand the context of what is about to happen in the film. Marion Crane is the person doing most of the talking. She's giving you information about her & Sam's relationship, including the fact that she's not happy with the relationship's current state. She has control of the focus of the opening scene, much more than Sam. She is the obvious main character.
  5. Pretty much everyone has discussed most of the criss-cross imagery: the shoes of the two men exiting their respective taxis, crossing the train station, & finally almost coming together as they prepare to enter the train; the maze of train tracks at the station, crossing, separating, re-crossing; the shoes of the two men again crossing in the train, & eventually accidentally touching, which finally brings them together. I found Bruno's handshake very interesting, too. Bruno crosses to Guy, grabs Guy's hand with both of his hands, almost as if pulling him into his web. Very manipulative move. Bruno has "moved in" on Guy, & has no intention of leaving him alone. The contrast between the Bruno & Guy is very obvious: Bruno's shoes are "flashy"; Guy's are conservative/utilitarian. Bruno talkative. He wants to strike up a conversation, & seems to have no intention of leaving Guy alone; Guy seems to want to be left alone (just politely responding to Bruno's questions).
  6. The opening scene of Mr. & Mrs. Smith shows the couple in a bedroom suite that has not been tidied up for quite some time....dirty dishes all over the place, blankets on the sofa showing someone was sleeping there...makes you think that this is a couple in the midst of a quarrel. Yet the music is soft, kind of pastoral....you can almost hear the birds chirping....What's going on here?? We soon see the maid bringing the breakfast tray, not being let into the room, & trying to assess if she'll be able to remove some of the previous meals' dishes this time, or will she have to wait, again. Eventually, they make up after Mr. S. tricks Mrs. S. into thinking he's left the room, & we get a clearer picture of what's going on. This opening is not like most of the "Hitchcock openings" that we've seen so far, but it does have the humor & muted slapstick that Hitchcock likes to use. Most of Hitchcock's openings are in more public places. The Smiths are alone together in their bedroom, although, many people are trying to get in, or trying to figure out when they're going to exit the room. I think Carole Lombard & Robert Montgomery are well cast for this type of movie. There is much good chemistry between them; their faces light up when they're in that scene when they make up.
  7. After first seeing a bit of his surroundings, we see Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) lying on a bed in a rooming house. He seems to be calmly contemplating what to do, but you can sense the tension just below the surface. He has left large amounts of cash out on his side table much of which has fallen on to the floor. Maybe he feels that his fate can't be helped by money any longer. His landlady enters the room. She tells him about his "visitors". He remains seemingly calm, controlled, but with that underlying tension. He loses control once she leaves the room (throws glass at the wall). We know that Uncle Charlie has done something wrong, & is now running from either the law or the "un-law". On the surface, Charlie seems in control & ready to force a confrontation, so he leaves the boarding house. He walks directly toward the 2 men waiting for him, even bumping into one of them in a show of defiance. He's forcing their hand, testing them to find out what they do/don't know about him. Obviously they do know what he looks like because they follow him. But he still manages to elude them. The implication is that this isn't the first time he's been in a situation like this. The same kind of tension & foreboding is apparent in the opening of the Killers. Burt Lancaster in the shadows, waiting for someone, something. The music is muted/gloomy/foreboding when we first see Charlie lying in his bed smoking the cigar. The landlady pulling the shade, & the shadow that it produces coming down on Charlie's face, lets you know that something is about to happen. At that time the music gets louder & more intense. It becomes increasingly fast till we see the shot of the door to the boarding house (#13, unlucky?). As he opens the door & walks out, the intensity of the music continues till he walks past the men at the corner. The music plays a big part in setting the emotional tone of the opening of the film. As an aside, is it Philly or NJ that this scene is taking place in?
  8. Rebecca opens not in a crowded public place with lots of activity, which previous Hitchcock films usually did, but in a dream. The dream is being narrated by a woman speaking in a slow, soothing voice, with little emotion, almost as if she's in the state of hypnosis. Eerie soft music is playing in the background. It's very visual. You feel like you're floating. You want to know the story of Manderley. You know it's something tragic - "...we can never go back to Manderley again..." Hitchcock expertly draws the audience into the film. Very interesting that we never know the name of the 2nd Mrs DeWinter (Joan Fontaine). I guess in part that's because she's the narrator, but you'd think that someone would call her name at some point in the film. It seems to emphasize the difference between her & the larger than life (& death) Rebecca.
  9. Opening scene seems very light, no one seems to have any major concerns. Caldicott & Charters seem to be the only ones, at first, to show any minor annoyance over the delayed train. It appeared like a scene out of a doctor's office waiting room. People reading, & just glancing up when someone new enters the room. Caldicott & Charters are very funny in that droll "British" sort of way. (What is it with English speakers & privilege?? Oh, well....another conversation, another time...) They seem to be oblivious to the politics of the day beyond the cricket scores. In fact, when one of them seems to have injected a political topic into their conversation, we quickly see that he's really only referring to cricket. Iris & her friends' entrance in many ways like Caldicott & Charters, but more so. The innkeeper stops what he's doing to cater to them, (overlooking C&C, much to their surprise). Iris & friends obviously feel very entitled to "the best", oblivious to what is going on around them, except in the most superficial sort of way. I love Miss Froy's entrance. We don't even hear her speak. She seems very happy, lighthearted. Kind of the sweet old aunt who always has a candy treat ready in her handbag for one of her nieces or nephews. Definitely not someone who you would think anyone was interested in kidnapping! The opening was great; the best is yet to come! A later scene, when Gilbert is in the room above Iris' room is almost exactly a scene out of Top Hat. Look for it.
  10. The 39 Steps, & The Lady Vanishes are my favorite Hitchcock films from his British sound era. I'm not sure I can add anything to the conversation at this point. Everyone has already brought up great points. Hitchcock is great at drawing you in to his films by making you care about his characters; you want to know more about them; you're interested in their fates. He does this to perfection in The 39 Steps. Robert Donat's character is introduced anonymously, but then his character is slowly revealed just by observing him in the music hall. He's an "every man"; good natured, pleasant, wants to join in with those around him. He's obviously an innocent man. In Hitchcock's earlier films, the openings were a bit darker, even the opening of The Pleasure Garden where the darker side of human nature is revealed by the learing "gentlemen" in the audience.
  11. I've seen both the versions of this film. I like this version best. The characters are definitely more important than the plot in the film. The plot is really just a way of further defining the characters....you can say that the plot is the MacGuffin. Peter Lorre at first appears to be a happy, laid back guy....until he sees the face of the high-jumper. That startles him, & we briefly see a more sinister side to his personality. He quickly jumps back into the persona he wants to show this group, with only the ski-jumper noticing the change.
  12. Hitchcock's use of sound, & silence, is great. First, when Alice is obviously upset & preoccupied & she enters the phone booth. In the background you hear the gossip going on & on about the murder, but she's silent as soon as Alice closes the booth's door. The silence then transports the audience into Alice's mind. You can feel the tension, & anxiety by the expressions on her face & the rest of her body language. Next, when she's at the breakfast table & the gossip is still going on & on about the murder, Alice's anxiety is intensified by the only word that she, & the audience, are hearing the gossip say: "...blah, blah, blah, KNIFE, blah, blah, blah, KNIFE, blah, blah, blah..." After a while, it's almost as if Alice is lulled by the sound until the gossip says "KNIFE" a bit louder than before which startles Alice so much that the knife she's holding flies out of her hand. Alice is obviously anxious & tense about something, & having a difficult time holding her emotions together.
  13. The POV tracking shots draw the audience into the movie, to become part of the story, to feel what the character is feeling. The audience can feel the confusion & fear that the boys are feeling even before they have any idea of why the schoolmaster is obviously upset with them. You can feel Mabel's anger when she looks at the boys, & feel their fear as she walks towards them, to identify the "perpetrator". From her point of view, she's been used before by men, but never been "caught". Now that she's "copped it", she's decided to go for the boy who can do her the most good financially. The montage when Mabel is reporting how it happened, over the reproachful face of the schoolmaster, reflects her own anger over her situation. The montage in The Ring was more complex than this, but Mabel's story is very clearly communicated, even if not truly what occurred with the boy. Can't wait to see this one on TCM 7/5 @ 9:45pm EST!
  14. I found the use of the mirrors by the boxer & his wife very interesting. The reflections each sees seems to be distorted. What each seems to be seeing is distorted by their own insecurities & fears. The wife doesn't seem very comfortable with all of the frantic action in the room she's in, & her interaction with the "champ" seems forced, not sincere. It's almost as if she's forcing herself to show interest in him, even though it's doubtful that's what she's feeling. Maybe she's trying to force some kind of emotion or action from her husband? Maybe she's afraid that with his continued success, she's going to lose her husband? And her husband, observing his wife, he misinterprets her behavior because of his own fears of losing her. He thinks that she's truly interested in the champ.
  15. You definitely see horror in Martin Balsam's eyes in the stabbing scene on the stairs in Psycho! (There was horror in my eyes the first time I saw this scene, too.) It's that horror in her eyes that to me seems missing in the the victim in the beginning of The Lodger. I just don't see the fear in her eyes.

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