obuprof07

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  1. Hitch at 50!!! I have jpeg from (presumably) the set of "Torn Curtain" that shows Hitch flanked by Julie Andrews and Paul Newman with a cake that has a banner that reads "Congratulations Hitchcock Number 50!" http://pin.it/anl6Dns You made need to copy the URL and paste it into a new search bar if clicking on the link does not work.
  2. As far as a writer, I can imagine that Stephen King and AH would have been an incredible team. As regards music composer I think AH might have found some great scores with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Steven Spielberg certainly comes to mind as regards direction. I think Tom Hanks possess the "every man" quality that would have made him a great male lead. I think Meryl Streep would have made a great leading lady. Nicole Kidman would be another blond (yes she is a red head but she would look fabulous as a blond.) I would also love to have seen AH collaborate with Martin Scorsese and of course Frances Ford Coppola. As regards costumes I think of Colleen Atwood and Sandy Powell. Given AH's love of new technology I think he would have worked with Steve Jobs and PIxar. I save the "best" for last. I think and AH - Quentin Tarantino would have been dynamite.
  3. Which murder scene was more difficult for Hitchcock to choreograph: the famous murder of Janet Leigh's character in the shower in "Psycho" or the murder in the farm house of the East German agent in "Torn Curtain?" Explain. Thanks for taking time to share your expertise with us!
  4. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 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. Frenzy opens during the day time. It involves a speech opening a public works project and is attended by the press as well as social activists and donors. The Lodger opens at night with a rather seedy looking group of people – much “lower class.” In Frenzy the body is floating in the water and is just being discovered. In The Lodger the body has been discovered and the police are making notes of the crime scene. Frenzy is a “talkie” in color and The Lodger is a silent film in black and white save for a blue or neon blue sign that is some type of advertisement. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. A public place. A vantage point that is above the crowd, the shot pans into the River Thames as if you are on a helicopter swooping in. So once again the locale is a character. The public event is disrupted by the discovery of a body. 3. 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. AH used his opening scene to set the tone by using locale as a character – just as John Ford did with westerns. AH uses a public place or event – the discovery of the body in Frenzy versus the assassination in Foreign Correspondent or the murder that occurs in a foggy street full of people (The Lodger). The aerial shot coming into the Thames reminds me of how AH framed Rear View Window in a public square in an apartment complex – the voyeur.
  5. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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. She is a criminal, a thief. She changes her identity then disposes it (e.g. dyed hair, complete change of wardrobe and accessories (the old wardrobe stored and literally “thrown away with the key.”) She has multiple Social Security cards. 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? To me the score sounds like one from a romance or a romantic comedy – it is light with no undertones of anything sinister. The music juxtaposes with this woman who is a hard-core, very clever, criminal – but not a gangster or anyone violent. 3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? It seems as if Hitchcock is in on the crime or knows what has happened and is watching out for Marnie – it feels as if he “has her six.”
  6. I could not find the DD#19 thread (on Marnie opening scene) so I am adding my response here. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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. She is a criminal, a thief. She changes her identity then disposes it (e.g. dyed hair, complete change of wardrobe and accessories (the old wardrobe stored and literally “thrown away with the key.”) She has multiple Social Security cards. 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? To me the score sounds like one from a romance or a romantic comedy – it is light with no undertones of anything sinister. The music juxtaposes with this woman who is a hard-core, very clever, criminal – but not a gangster or anyone violent. 3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? It seems as if Hitchcock is in on the crime or knows what has happened and is watching out for Marnie – it feels as if he “has her six.”
  7. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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? The dialog between Melanie and Mitch is indeed the type of dialog one would expect in a romantic comedy. It is fueled by puns about love birds. Melanie seems to be some kind of collector of rare birds. Mitch seems to be shopping for a bird and it seems unclear if the “shopping” for love birds or saw an opportunity to meet Melanie. 2. 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? The sound of the cluster of birds downtown and they seemed to be gathering themselves, like airplanes or tanks or battle ships getting into formation. The sound of the birds in the pet store seems to be at a very high volume. 3. 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 think it was a tongue in cheek statement that Hitch prefers dogs to birds and Hitch seems to be in a hurry to get away.
  8. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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 screeching strings and the gray lines seem to “stab” the dark background from various directions. The strings seem like a “scream” and the gray lines “stabbing” the dark background portend the shower scene. 2. 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? I think AH is giving us a “Dragnet” feel, the exact time when something illicit or criminal occurs. It also grounds the film as realistic as if based on something that actually occurred. There is discussion on the Internet that Psycho is based (somewhat) on actual events. Of course we learn that Janet Leigh steals $40,000 to run away from her employer and leaves town and drives the back roads to avoid capture. I lived in Prescott AZ, about 100 miles north of PHX and I can assure you that the state of AZ roads and the surrounding county roads heading any direction from PHX have some pretty creepy old motels versus Interstate 17 that connects PHX to I-40 up in Flagstaff. The opening shot reminds me of Rear View Window on a grand scale at the start (he pans PHX as a whole) and then microscopes down to the hotel room. In addition, it is very hot – just like NYC was hot during Rear View Window. 3. 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. Marion Crane asserts her control of Sam by telling him that this is the last time they will meet for an afternoon tryst and she spurns his desire to have her skip working Friday afternoon. Marion is clearly an independent person in her own right with her plans to take greater control of her life by stealing the $40,000.
  9. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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? I am a bit confused by the question except to say that our pre-existing knowledge is a prejudice of sorts that has us expecting the two of them to flirt. Cary Grant is, well, Cary Grant and of course we know him from Notorious and as a sex symbol. Eva Marie Saint has just finished a dramatic role in “On the Waterfront” and has played a strong, independent, woman. So we cannot be too surprised when she begins the flirtation. In addition to the line, “I look vaguely familiar,” there is the line “You have a nice face.” To me this use of known stars is akin to AH’s use of locales that are already “starts,” of course in this case Mt. Rushmore. 2. 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 “Roger O. Thornhill. WE do not learn what the “O” stands for. Cary Grant will not reveal it by stating that it does not mean anything. In the matchbook cover a macguffin? Of course ROT is proof that Cary Grant How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. We hear the sound of the train gliding across the landscape and we hear soft romantic music. He is adding to the intimacy of two people sharing a dinner table in a secluded spot (a table next to a bulkhead).
  10. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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. To me, the opening credits indicate this a movie about some person who is mentally disturbed or at the very least under extreme pressure psychologically. To me this film is more a “Who is it?” or a “Who am I?” than a “Who dunnit?” This film is my least favorite of AH’s films. I don’t like the special effects in the credits. To me it looks cheap or dated. The musical score for the opening credits – ugh, ugh, ugh. Too predictable. I am convinced that some mid-century atonal orchestral works who have worked better. My apologies but I think this is AH at a creative low and I am sorry – I cannot square Kim Novak with Jimmy Stewart. Yes, in 1955 she was a perfect visual match with William Holden but with Jimmy Stewart? (I was fine with Stewart and Grace Kelly in Rear Window – her utter celestial beauty offset his every-man look). 2. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. “Costumes by Edith Head.” "Nuff said." 3. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? Please see my answer to #1. I apologize to any and all who may call me too snarky. I am a film enthusiast and not too bright but my instincts say this film’s opening credits should have been handled much differently.
  11. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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? In my opinion, it is part of that “touch” used by AH. The set is a character and the character is a seemingly private place that is actually a public place. Jeff has his back to the window because he is disinterested. He does not see a sports cars careening out of control, a mushroom cloud from an atomic bomb test, he does not see glamorous people from the world of fashion (I refer to the pictures he has taken that are shown in the opening scene). Jeff’s shattered camera (in my opinion) is also a picture that depicts the realities and messiness of “the real world” that Jeff chooses to see in a very selective way. The courtyard as a public place is interesting in that the neighbors do not connect (i.e. no one looks over to another building or apartment and says, “Good morning” or interacts in any way. The courtyard becomes a vehicle in which Jeff’s neighbors are portrayed as real people – we can see as they act out their needs and desires, e.g. “Miss Lonely Heart.” 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? It is interesting that Jeff’s vantage point is looking down or across to his neighbors so he never looks up to them. In my opinion, Jeff’s vantage point symbolizes the emotional distance that a news reporter must exercise in order to “objectively” report events. While the “camera never lies” we see that the camera is not indestructible. I also throw in this random thought: everybody gets their “15 minutes of fame.” 2. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? Yes it does make me feel like a voyeur and it does make me feel like an immobile spectator. It is the same feeling I have when I watch the news and I see “feel good” stories and then a daily dose of human suffering on a grand scale, e.g. coverage of natural disasters or war or terrorism. 3. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I agree with AH because he uses a mundane “monument” the courtyard of a set of apartment buildings as opposed to Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty.
  12. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. 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 first criss cross occurs when both men arrive at the station. They each arrive via cab but different directions. They are distinguished by the type of suits they wear. One wears a flamboyant pin-stripe suit with spats. The other wears a very conservative suit and shoes but his luggage includes a tennis racket. Then we see the criss cross as the train is leaving the station and moves from one set of tracks to another set of tracks. Then comes the meeting in the dinner car of the train where we their shoes under the table and then the accidental contact between their feet and the conversation (the actors’ dialogue) begins. 2. 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. Please see my answers to the first question. But to expand on my response in #1 I also mention that Guy wants to read while Bruno wants to interact with others and even projects his name via a tie clasp with his name on it. Guy, a pro tennis player is the person we would expect to be flamboyant but Guy appears to be introspective, indeed Guy seems to eschew interacting with others and chooses to read a book. Bruno is reading passengers. 3. 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 score changes from an expansive, orchestral-like, piece one would expect with a romance to a brass piece that literally announces the flamboyant Bruno (see 3 minute mark) and sounds like the start of a Western, then the piece quiets down then has a more cosmopolitan that starts to sound like a piece you would hear at the start of a war movie. The tempo of the score increase as we see people in a hurry to board the train. As the chance meeting is about to occur we get some music that sounds a bit like what you would hear in a mystery movie or a science fiction movie (kind of an eerie quality). There is a quick flourish when the two men meet via the brushed foot.
  13. Further Reflections: After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own): 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Interestingly, AH uses an interesting POV from Bergman seeing Cary Grant towering over her, as if Grant is as imposing as the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore. As per the video lecture AH uses a rotating camera angle as he had done in an earlier movie. 2. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography? At the start of the scene Grant is in a doorway and we cannot see his face. This is juxtaposed with a close up of Bergman. This changes as the scene progresses. The lighting all have a film noir feeling. 3. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? I think the casting challenges us. Cary Grant is a hard-boiled agent who will use Bergman to gather intelligence data. He is not the witty, handsome, matinee idol. Bergman is cast as a world-weary lush who evolves into a spy who turns against her own father and against a man who loves her (Claude Rains) who will pay with his life because of her betrayal. This is a departure from the “wholesome” image that David O. Selznick wanted to craft for Bergman. http://www.ingridbergman.com/biography/
  14. Ah, back again after watching TCM tonight. My wonderful wife is a "Hitch Cameo Freak" and she challenged me to find Hitch in his cameo. Well, I did!
  15. 1. 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 “touch” begins with an apartment that is cluttered with trays of food. The disorganization signals us that things will be just a bit wacky. The trays (this is probably a stretch) symbolize the obstacles the Smiths face in their relationship. 2. 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? I would say, “Yes it is typical.” I base my response on the fact that the background is a “player,” i.e. the clutter of trays of food become a character in the scene. It is not private, as we see there are others who trying figure out what is going on, a kind of voyeurism) the maid and another character try to take a peek at the room. The room (an apartment) has now become a public space of sorts. 3. 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? Yes, I think they are cast perfectly. Carole Lombard was a master of screwball comedy – her finest work (in my opinion) is in “My Man Godfrey.” As regards Montgomery, his 1929 film “So This is College” is a screwball “bromance” Montgomery began his career doing comedy.

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