Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #2: To-night Golden Curls (Opening Scene of The Lodger)

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Hi Hitchcock50 students:


The second Daily Dose is the opening sequence from Hitchcock's third film, his 1927 hit The Lodger


Watch the clip in the second daily module labeled JUN 27 module in Canvas, and then post your reflections and observations on this message board. 


Today's three prompts are: 


1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? 


2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? 


3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? 


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Although both professors indicate that Hitchcock was influenced by German Expressionism, and Hitchcock himself seems to state as much, the clip from "The Lodger" (1927) reminded me of the 1931 film "M."

 

In our course of two years ago, about Noir, we studied "M" and learned it was an early example of Noir, directly growing out of German Expressionism. While Hitchock's film is made several years before "M," he uses carefully developed vignettes, which are edited in such a sequence as to clearly tell the story of the blonde's murder and subsequent sensationalistic reporting of that crime. Hitchcock greatly aids the exposition of the film by using written narratives which flow organically from the situation.

 

For example, the newsroom printing of the story in real time lets any reader of English know precisely what he or she has just seen. This particularly reminds me of Lang's use of the same written signals which come organically from the unfolding story such as clocks, wanted posters, etc. Although "M" is a sound film, Lang uses visual cues effectively, the same way Hitchcock does in our clip today. Lang also built suspense in his opening by constantly cutting from Elsie's mother waiting for her to come home from school, to the clock on the wall letting us know how late Elsie is to the wanted poster, to the balloon vendor, and to the faceless man who lures her to her death. I am surprised at how much better at building suspense Lang is in "M" compared with how little suspense Hitchcock engenders in the opening of "The Lodger." Hitchcock's subject matter is also more in line with Noir than Expressionism.

 

The audience actually sees the murder just the way we almost see Elsie murdered in "M." In "The Lodger," Hitchcock is much more graphic and realistic than Expressionistic, while Lang is more Expressionistic in "M" by suggesting Elsie's murder when we see her ball gently roll from the bushes where she has just been slain, rather than actually seeing her throttled by Peter Lorre. Consequently, Hitchcock is more Noir here than Expressionistic, while Lang is still heavily influenced by his Expressionistic past.

 

Sorry not to answer the essay questions, but I was struck by how much Hitchcock's opening reminded me of the unforgettable opening of "M." Perhaps Hitchcock's film is more in line with Noir than Expressionism.

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Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films?

similarities:

the use of point of view shots

the minimal use of title cards

differences:

The Lodger starts dramatically with a murder of a “golden curled” girl whereas The Pleasure Garden starts more leisurely setting the scene/introducing characters.

The Lodger’s opening shot is one self-contained story strand (the murder and spreading the news of it) whereas The Pleasure Garden’s has at least 2: the story of the self-assured Blond inside the theatre (performing and being accosted by the leery “gentleman”) and the story of the timid dark-haired girl (being robbed and entering the theatre).

In the Pleasure Garden Hitchcock uses camera movement as a story telling/mood setting device, whereas in The Lodger the camera is static and (rapid) intercutting is used achieve this.

 

Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion?

Visual storytelling (limited use of title cards)

Distorted images (the reflection the man mimicking the murderer)

Rhythmic cutting (used throughout the entire clip)

 

Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work?

The tilted camera shot and the fade to black provides a sense of unease, which an audible scream would also have done.

To me it brings the famous scream in the 39 Steps to mind, where at the moment of the actual scream upon discovery of the body, there is an abrupt cut to the train leaving a tunnel and the sound of the scream effectively replaced by the train whistle.

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Although both professors indicate that Hitchcock was influenced by German Expressionism, and Hitchcock himself seems to state as much, the clip from "The Lodger" (1927) reminded me of the 1931 film "M."

 

In our course of two years ago, about Noir, we studied "M" and learned it was an early example of Noir, directly growing out of German Expressionism. 

 

I don't think one can necessarily easily draw a hard line between Expressionism and Noir, but I feel I should point out that in Professor Edwards' Viewing Guide for the Film Noir course, M is listed in the section European Precursors to Noir, and furthermore is explicitly labeled a "German Expressionist masterpiece."

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Hello everyone. I'm really enjoying this course so far. I was able to watch The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger in full yesterday thanks to the link on openculture.com. The films were very different from one another but both of them did contain some Hitchcockian themes and elements that would later come to define his work.

 

The first similarity I noticed when comparing the opening scenes of the two films is that both rely predominantly on visuals to tell the story. For example, in The Pleasure Garden, the camera does all of the work in establishing the characters of the dancers on stage and the observing men in the audience, even injecting humor into the situation, without the use of intertitles. In the same way, in the opening sequence of The Lodger, visuals are telling the story and every moment, very frame, matters greatly to our understanding of what is occurring. Both openings feature rapid cuts and there is no wasted shot.

I also thought about how, once again in The Lodger, we are experiencing the story through the eyes of observers. This time, the woman who has just witnessed the murder is our primary source of information as we experience the horror of what had happened through her emotive deptictions. Although we have seen a girl screaming in the opening shot, we do not actually see the murder take place, yet we are witnesses to the horror of the moments following it. In this way, just like in The Pleasure Garden, Hitchcock is using the technique of observing the observer.

 

Clearly, there are many more elements of the Hitchcock style to be found in The Lodger than in The Pleasure Garden. The subject matter deals with a Jack the Ripper style murderer and an innocent man accused of a crime. These themes would be repeated frequently in later Hitchcock films. Equally important is the scream in the first frame. It is reminiscent of the scream of Janet Leigh in the shower sequence of Psycho. Hitchcock is able to make this scream almost audible despite the fact that the film is silent, due to the close up of the young woman's face emphasizing her open mouth, and the angle at which the shot is taken. Also, the action taking place before we know who is responsible is typical of Hitchcock. The image of the triangle piece of paper left at the scene of the murder symbolizes this.

 

My final observation is that this opening sequence of The Lodger blatantly establishes the blond woman as a focus, which is a theme we all think of as one of Hitchcock films.

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What strikes me about the opening sequence in The Lodger is the great tension from the very first frame. In quick succession, a woman screams; a dead body is discovered (apparently the body of the woman who screamed); a female witness is questioned; reporters, photographers, police, and onlookers gather and "need to know"; a man in the crowd jokingly mimics the look of the murderer and briefly becomes an early version of "the wrong man"; the newspaper account is rushed out to a rabidly fascinated public--and all this is represented in a clip slightly over four minutes in length, to the accompaniment of impatient, frantic drums, horns, and violins. (I can't help thinking of those relentless violins accompanying the opening credits of Psycho.) One clear message that emerges from the clip is, "Don't look away! You'll miss something shocking!" And as viewers of the film we join the onscreen public in its morbid, impatient fascination with violence. WE become looky-loos, too--Hitchcock-incited voyeurs who MUST know Who Dunnit, and Why.

 

(Today and often, I'll be counting on the more diligent students in the course to address the specific questions that Professor Edwards has set out for us. I believe he'll accept responses from undutiful as well as dutiful scholars!)

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1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films?

 

The Pleasure Garden starts interior with a theatre setting the music accompaniment is light. The Lodger is exterior night with music that is foreboding. You realize murder is a foot. The very first two images back to back is a silhouette of the avenger/murderer? And followed by a screaming woman closeup on her. The difference between the moods of both clips seems like Night and Day in terms of dark German expressionism or the upbeat entertainment mood of the pleasure garden. The Lodger in terms of themes seemed to be the direction Hitchcock was taking a liking to. In terms of visuals. The montage and reactions of the people plays into the storytelling techniques he also was developing. Both exemplify visual style nicely.

 

2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion?

 

The editing influenced by Russian montage, and the German expressionism are at play I.e. The mechanized printing press environment equates to an industrial influence. Man made, darks and lights are more contrasting in The Lodger. The mood also enhanced by the music and theme of murder really envelopes the whole clip. Look forward to seeing because the full picture will help my understanding and appreciation.

 

3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? Psycho for sure! She got a crazed reactionary look that emphasizes the Scream. He framed it tightly where visually seems unmistakable.

 

As a bonus was Hitch the man mocking the woman? The reflection is freaky and suggests a warped sense of humour. In a strange way he's saying he's the murderer metaphorically... he is in fact the architect behind that whole picture :)

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To be literal, blond curls appear in both films clips examined here -- themes of voyeurism are pretty clear with the crowd reactions in both.  This is more externally energized crowd reacting to the discovery of the corpse, but we are involved in their energy in both clips.  The performances here are much more focused, and less general than in the Pleasure Garden, the actors don't seem the least bit capricious in their choices -- they are being directed with specifics, it seems.

 

There are almost two identical stories being told of the spread of energy from the micro to the macro; we discover a body (loving the orchestration that pusles with what seems to be the screams of the victim.  I notice that in the first sequence, at the scene of the crime, we start with singles until we get to the crowd -- the screaming victim, the woman discovering the body, the cop AND THEN the crowd which brings in the energy; similarly in the second sequence we linger for what seems like forever on the copy being typed at the telegraph office and move into a controlled manner of single shots until we get to the machinery, which does look like something out of German expressionism in which people are dwarfed by the machinery.  I love the shot of the newpaper delivery van which looks like a face with the two men framed like pupils in its eye. And then we get their point of view moving rapid to the crowd of a voracious public. In both sequences, the mob swallows up the individual story.  Because of the cutting and the two parallels we really see a story grow like wildfire.  It's remarkable as a silent film that so much is said about the story becoming a sensation.

 

I recall a lot of Hitchcock using sound to punctuate action. Whether it's the sharp strings accompanying Marion Crane's shower stabbing, the whistling of a train to cover screams in Shadow of a Doubt or the anticipated crash of cymbals in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hitchcock treated soundtrack as very specific in moments.

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1. I think one of the similar things to me from each film was how each one to seemed to have certain focal points of the story to make a certain point such as in The Pleasure Garden how the focus was on say the women then the men who were gawking at them to in the Lodger, how it was focused on the witness, the dead body, and the words that were meant to be stick in the mind. Also both seemed to have someone or someone(s) who stood out as as an antagonist of sorts, in The Pleasure Garden you had the men who stole from the womans purse, and in The Lodger you had the man who thought it would be funny to cover his face when the women was speaking to put her in a fright.        While both films did have the similarities of having certain focal points, it was also what made them different, such as in The Pleasure Garden, the focal points seemed to be a bit more hurried, or light and and airy and even though we saw the men with their lears and tongues that suggested what they were thinking, to the thieves who looked proud of themselves when they stole, it was a bit more comical, like a bit of a dance, that made you feel a bit of a sneer of your face, but not to much of a need that much of anything was really wrong. What I mean by that is you see the one man go from a lear to blushing as he talks to the woman, and it seems boyish and comical, to the man who is smoking he seems to ooze confidence that even though we know he should not be doing that, we can not help but to feel, oh I wish I had confidence like that. To the men who stole we see them laughing and talking, and when they do take something the woman than can not find a letter, and it seems confusing, but we also do think it was a letter they took why would they do that and it seems comical in a way.  While in The Lodger it was more sharp and jagged, it cut deep as the focal points were more of a knife, of fear, such as the words To - Night Golden curls flashing on the screen, as we had just seen a curly haired girl screaming in fear, making us wonder was it about that girl or was someone going to be next. Also the words Murder flashing jumping from Mur to Der as if wanting us to read it over and over each part of the word on its own so that even though we knew there had been a murder it made sure we knew there had been. To the man who covered his face while he had done nothing more than be a jerk, it made people think what if that is him, is it him, did he do something, he did do something. Thus making us hate him not only for feeling afraid that it was him, but because there had been a murder it seemed so wrong to do something so callus to anyone just to give them more of a fright.


 


 


2. I think what stands out is how one film can feel like a dance, and not just from the woman dancing which I think did help, as it moved from seen to seen quickly, and made us feel like for the most part while we watched the film it was nothing but a dream if you will and it made us smile.  While the other film while things did move a bit fast they seemed to be most thrust in your face, in your mind, you felt the need to look everywhere in the film in fear that a monster was lurking in the darkness at the edge of the screen moving about in delight at the fear he was causing. We hoped that our scrutiny might save someone even though we know it is a film out minds scream tell them no.


 


 


 


3. It makes us know that something bad is going on, that what was going on was not something that was quick, it took a bit of time, like she had been snuck up on and had turned in a scream and had fallen from either tripping backwards or being pushed, we feel the fear that she does, and even though their is no sound we can hear the scream because her faces makes us from her fear.   I would have to say physco.


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Comparing the two openings: The Lodger reminds me of The Pleasure Garden in that both have a person or persons giving a "performance" and an "audience." In The Pleasure Garden it's the girls on stage, but in The Lodger it's the woman who saw the killer and provides the description of him to the crowd and police. Also, Hitchcock's focus on faces and facial expressions is common to both. The difference, to me, between the two is the general tone. The Pleasure Garden starts of with a lighter tone. The Lodger is very intense in its opening moments, with the silent scream.

 

Elements of Hitchcock style for me: the closeup of the woman screaming; the black humor (the young man wrapping the coat in front of his face as he mimics the description of the killer; the newsboy who's lucky day is Tuesday); the flurry of activity with the newsmen, the ticker tape, the printing press.

 

The effectiveness of the silent scream: For me it's the lighting in combination with the close-up and the angle. The light fading out behind her is particular effective for me.

 

This scream in the opening and the flurry of activity bring to mind To Catch a Thief -- although admittedly the tone is completely different. 

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What strikes me about the opening sequence in The Lodger is the great tension from the very first frame. In quick succession, a woman screams; a dead body is discovered (apparently the body of the woman who screamed); a female witness is questioned; reporters, photographers, police, and onlookers gather and "need to know"; a man in the crowd jokingly mimics the look of the murderer and briefly becomes an early version of "the wrong man"; the newspaper account is rushed out to a rabidly fascinated public--and all this is represented in a clip slightly over four minutes in length, to the accompaniment of impatient, frantic drums, horns, and violins. (I can't help thinking of those relentless violins accompanying the opening credits of Psycho.) One clear message that emerges from the clip is, "Don't look away! You'll miss something shocking!"

I like how you put that.

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As a bonus was Hitch the man mocking the woman? The reflection is freaky and suggests a warped sense of humour. In a strange way he's saying he's the murderer metaphorically... he is in fact the architect behind that whole picture :)

I was looking for Hitch and couldn't spot him! Was that him? Now I wonder....

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1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? 

There is less dialogue cards and no names attached to them.  Also to keep the audience in the scene, he used the typewriter instead of more dialogue cards.  I think that was very cool.  A similarity would be they both focus on women.  He even has it be the old lady telling the group what she say and not some random hobo or man passing by.  

 

 

2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? 

 

For me it's the high contrast in the opening that is Hitchcock.  How he highlights certain parts by washing them out in white or creating the rest of the area in pitch black.  I plan to watch closely to see if that transferred to his color pictures and was he using color to draw attention to or away from something. 

 

3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? 

 

He angled the shot and made sure the audience could see her lower jaw move.  This movement allows the audience to not only see the scream but to change it's pitch in their mind.  For me, I found the scream wasn't one tone but varied as she was in frame.  I even went back to look at it and realized it was her jaw moving that made me form a fake scream that wasn't just a high pitch wail. 

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1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden

 

Whereas The Pleasure Garden took time establishing the scenario, The Lodger begins in medias res - with a scream to a murder already committed. There is no set up or establishing of situation. There was no montage in The Pleasure Garden, but In The Lodger Hitch uses montage to create irony - the Marquee sign announcing 'Tonight Only: Golden Curls' cut with shots of a dead fair-haired woman. This is fairly dark humor, which is a common element in Hitch's film career. The Pleasure Garden's scene is more casual in the way it tells the story. There is no sense of urgency. In The Lodger, the whole sequence has the feeling of a crescendo - as the news spreads, from word of mouth, over the phone, through teletype, in the newspaper, and to the multiple news vans delivering that paper to the masses, there is a constant building of tension.

 

Similarities between the two films are in the use of POV shots, and the use of humor. The smoking man in front of the 'no smoking sign' compared with the man covering his face in a mocking nature as the woman describes the murderer.

 

2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence

 

Already we see how Hitch builds tension, as the news spreads quickly like a wild fire. The story telling is visual - the scream, the body, the woman describing the horrible murder, the crowd gathered around the site - all these elements visually tell the story of the murder. But Hitch also uses organic text - the teletype and news marquee - instead of intertitles to inform the viewer. Black humor is a trait of Hitch, and the 'Golden Curls' being matched with a dead woman is an example of this, as is the man mocking the murderer by covering his face as if it were funny. Hitch already cutting together small elements to represent the whole - a scream, a body, a woman in terror describing, a policeman notating, crowd leering. the pinned note - are all cut together to represent the murder site, rather than using a master shot.

 

3. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film

 

First off the scream is shot at a Dutch Angle - slightly askew. It is slightly disorientating, and adds to the disturbing nature, making the scream more effective, even though it lacks sound. In addition by starting the film with this shot it creates a sense of shock which further enhances the scream.

 

Lastly, though it is barely in the clip, the credits of this film have the influence of German Expressionism, with a shadowy figure framed with angular shapes. The intertitle 'Murder' with it's flashing back and forth block lettering is not a normal, simple text intertitle, and is sensational and dramatic.

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1) Not much to add to what others have said. Obvious commonality is the blond. The early injection of humor exists in both scenes with the audience from yesterday (although I found the formal attire funnier than the man tripping or the woman snoozing), and the buffoon mimicking the description of the murder. Both scenes are highly energized with the running and dancing in the first and the rush of people and machinery of the second. The mood of the two scenes is very different. Yesterday we saw a confident performer and felt she was about to experience the sleazy side of show-biz but she did not seemed threatened. In today's scene we open with a terrified murder victim, and the whole world seems to be caught up in the excitement.

2) Curiously I couldn't make out the "how" of the murder. Maybe it was the fault of my display, but there were no hands to indicate strangling or stabbing, and no indication in the readable type passing through the newspaper equipment.

 

No bonus points here for spotting "Hitch" either. I thought he might be the guy who crossed from left to right as the crowd began to disperse, but he couldn't have been on the screen for 6 seconds.????

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1. Similarities. Both have women as victims and movement in camera shots.Very little use of cards to tell the story.  Biggest difference is the Pleasure Garden begins with as a story of hope, eg: woman tries to get a job in new town before she is robbed. In The Lodger the story begins with death by murder.

2. In the Pleasure Garden I noticed the top down shots (coming down the spiral staircase) Like the overhead shots in Dial M For Murder. The silent scream in the beginning of the Lodger and cuts to the woman who witnessed the story plus the reporter running to get his story in provided me with the sequence of events. Effective storytelling.

3. Because the movie opens with a head shot of a woman screaming you are immediately aware a tragedy is about to occur. Set the tone for the following events. The witness, the crowds, the police and reporting of the crime. Like the murder in the shower in the Bates Motel only less graphic. The victim is also blonde like many of Hitchcock's leading ladies.    

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What a wonderful clip!  I was struck by the way that the opening moved from visceral human emotions of horror and fear - starting with the girl's scream - to voyeurism and greed.  From humanity to technology (and then back to humanity at the end of the opening -- further than we saw in the clip).  The crowds around the body were certainly voyeuristic, but they were experiencing the real horror of what they saw.  But then things being to move out, away from human emotions to the technology of spreading the news and the emotion.  The reporters first use pencil and paper.  Then one makes a phone call.  We then get that move to the fabulous telegraph machine - so gorgeous - and Hitchcock takes a full 45 seconds to have the story unfold letter by letter.  Next we see the incredible machinery of the newspaper production (the cogs and wheels so like what Chaplin used in Modern Times).  Then we move out in the street through the cars.  And by now the crowds are clamoring, but not in horror.  Now it's all about sensationalism.  And the newspaper seller is happy to count his money, happy that the murder took place on his watch, on a Tuesday.  And the large neon signs catch everyone's attention.  I watched a bit further into the film, and it's interesting that this montage doesn't end where our clip stopped.  Next we move out over the air waves (radio) where people hear news about the murder broadcast.  It's interesting that the opening really comes full circle here.  As people listen to the radio, Hitchcock gives us a series of faces – that fade into one another - listening in horror (some with their mouths open like the screaming girl).  Now they respond with fear to something they hear rather than see.  Overall, the opening was like a lens with a perspective that gradually shifted from a closeup of the girl’s screaming face, out over the crowds, and then to a wide shot of the city.  But then the lens began to move in again, into people’s homes, and then ended with closeups of faces again.  So the opening of the film really ends, I think, at this point.  Very cool.

 

One thing about silent films: the soundtrack is always a gamble.  Usually the score has no relation to anything that the viewers of the original would have heard since later composers and arrangers do the music.  Is there any info about who did the score for the version in our Daily Dose?  I thought it was awfully heavy handed, particularly in the first 2 minutes.  It's like the composer didn't trust Hitchcock's storytelling and ended up over-emoting what the crowd was feeling.  I searched and found another score for the full version.  It was done by the composer Ashley Irwin to commemorate Hitchcock's 100th birthday (according to wikipedia). 

Folks might want to check out the same opening to hear how different music really effects the way we react to a film.  I prefer this version.  It’s more understated, and it stays out of Hitchcock’s way.  It doesn’t hammer us with how we are supposed to feel.  I found yet a third version for further comparison: 

 

Another thought about sound: when the words "Tonight - Golden Curls" and "Mur-der" blink on the screen, it's in a rhythm.  Even though we don't hear that rhythm, as we read these words, we internalize and "hear" that throbbing, ominous rhythm that both sets of words set up.

 

I really enjoyed this clip and look forward to watching the whole film!  Like other viewers here, I was reminded of M and saw the German Expressionist elements there.  I had never known that about Hitchcock, so this was great to discover his early influences from German and Russian film making.

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There wasn't must similarity between the openings of The Lodger and The Pleasure Garden that I could spot. In the first clip, there is no hint as to what the major conflict will be for the film, all that we know is that the young woman, who looks rather desperate, has had her letter of introduction stolen. The real value of that is not known. In the second clip, from today's film, we know right away what the conflict will be because it is set up from the first frame. 


After learning that Hitchcock was greatly influenced by German expressionism and fatalism, you can see that in today's clip. The thread of fatalism seems most prominent - the citizens clearly know of "The Avenger" and it has created an environment of fear. The feeling that if you are going to be his next victim, there is no escaping it. Something else that I associate with Hitchcock's style is the montage effect of his camera work on emotion. From the films I've seen, he is able to capture the emotion of many faces in a scene to develop a more complete picture.


Even though the opening scene of The Lodger is silent, the effect can be felt by the slight movement of the young woman's face. There is a visceral quality to the scream, that even though you can't hear, you can in a way "feel" it. This to me is similar to the strangulation scene in Dial M for Murder. That movie does have sound, but the fact that Grace Kelly is being strangled mutes her scream. The impact is felt because of the struggle between she and the killer, and when she ultimately wins by killing him instead. 


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1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? 

 

Both feature voyeurism as well as numerous POV shots. I think the visual style in the opening of The Lodger is more refined, more surreal.

 

In addition, after reading/listening about Hitchcock's influences, you can see elements of German Expressionism in the angles, the neon lights, and the "fatalist" and "subjective" tone of the opening. The "attempt to 'express' emotional states through a distortion or deformation of objective reality" is there in how the camera takes the place of the crowd at the scene of the crime, or the news people as the ticker writes the news, or the people inside the news car as they drive through the city. We are the people of the city, and we are finding out about this horrible crime as we go through it, we are pushed towards fear by the media (something that Hitchcock revisited several occassions).

 

The music also helps to heighten the tension and the fear among the public, which helps cement what happens in the climax of the film.

 

2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? 

 

A blonde victim; again, the POV shots, and the voyeuristic aspect; murder. As I said above, the way Hitchcock keeps us in the crowd, not from the victim's or the killer's POV, but rather on the outside looking in is what makes everything work better for me.

 

3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work?

 

The skewed angle and the subtle movement in the camera makes you feel as if you were actually hearing the scream. An obvious connection would be Marion's scream in Psycho, but the landlady in The 39 Steps or Tippi Hedren's in The Birds also come to mind.

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1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? 

Not too many similarities from my point of view - perhaps the focus on a young, attractive woman in the opening clip. The Lodger has a much more ominous tone from the beginning, which grips the audience immediately. Very similar in style to Hitchcock's later films. 

 

2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? 

German Expressionism with the use of light and shadow. Also, the shot of the people, the "huddled masses" scene (at the 31-second mark) portrays the "anxious worlds" theme mentioned in the video lecture. Flashing the "TO-NIGHT GOLDEN CURLS!" three times after the woman screams makes a big impact. Almost like a shock. It's also interesting how the "golden curls" references Hitchcock's love of blondes, as shown in his later films.

 

3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? 

The shower scene with Janet Leigh in Psycho... first thing that struck me!

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What a wonderful clip!  I was struck by the way that the opening moved from visceral human emotions of horror and fear - starting with the girl's scream - to voyeurism and greed.  From humanity to technology (and then back to humanity at the end of the opening -- further than we saw in the clip).  The crowds around the body were certainly voyeuristic, but they were experiencing the real horror of what they saw.  But then things being to move out, away from human emotions to the technology of spreading the news and the emotion.  The reporters first use pencil and paper.  Then one makes a phone call.  We then get that move to the fabulous telegraph machine - so gorgeous - and Hitchcock takes a full 45 seconds to have the story unfold letter by letter.  Next we see the incredible machinery of the newspaper production (the cogs and wheels so like what Chaplin used in Modern Times).  Then we move out in the street through the cars.  And by now the crowds are clamoring, but not in horror.  Now it's all about sensationalism.  And the newspaper seller is happy to count his money, happy that the murder took place on his watch, on a Tuesday.  And the large neon signs catch everyone's attention.  I watched a bit further into the film, and it's interesting that this montage doesn't end where our clip stopped.  Next we move out over the air waves (radio) where people hear news about the murder broadcast.  It's interesting that the opening really comes full circle here.  As people listen to the radio, Hitchcock gives us a series of faces – that fade into one another - listening in horror (some with their mouths open like the screaming girl).  Now they respond with fear to something they hear rather than see.  Overall, the opening was like a lens with a perspective that gradually shifted from a closeup of the girl’s screaming face, out over the crowds, and then to a wide shot of the city.  But then the lens began to move in again, into people’s homes, and then ended with closeups of faces again.  So the opening of the film really ends, I think, at this point.  Very cool.

 

One thing about silent films: the soundtrack is always a gamble.  Usually the score has no relation to anything that the viewers of the original would have heard since later composers and arrangers do the music.  Is there any info about who did the score for the version in our Daily Dose?  I thought it was awfully heavy handed, particularly in the first 2 minutes.  It's like the composer didn't trust Hitchcock's storytelling and ended up over-emoting what the crowd was feeling.  I searched and found another score for the full version.  It was done by the composer Ashley Irwin to commemorate Hitchcock's 100th birthday (according to wikipedia). 

Folks might want to check out the same opening to hear how different music really effects the way we react to a film.  I prefer this version.  It’s more understated, and it stays out of Hitchcock’s way.  It doesn’t hammer us with how we are supposed to feel.  I found yet a third version for further comparison: 

 

Another thought about sound: when the words "Tonight - Golden Curls" and "Mur-der" blink on the screen, it's in a rhythm.  Even though we don't hear that rhythm, as we read these words, we internalize and "hear" that throbbing, ominous rhythm that both sets of words set up.

 

I really enjoyed this clip and look forward to watching the whole film!  Like other viewers here, I was reminded of M and saw the German Expressionist elements there.  I had never known that about Hitchcock, so this was great to discover his early influences from German and Russian film making.

 

Fabulous post! I hope everyone checks out your video examples to see how music affects the images on the screen - it's a great point. For example, seeing a film like this in a live theater with live musical accompaniment (as the way TCM Film Fest showed Speedy this year) can also great improve the overall experience. Thank you so much pointing this out!

 

Best, Prof. Edwards

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Gosh, I want to see this whole movie now. 

 

1. Well again, I see Hitchcock using lens techniques to show us what he wants us to see. What he wants us to focus on. Using the screaming blonde immediately tells us that there is more coming but you've missed so much so far. He's bringing us into where he wants us to be. 

 

2. Interestingly enough, for me I walked away thinking wow...this is the film where he laid out just how important music can be for a scene and a film. The music made me think of Psycho and the importance of it to that movie. The peaks and timing of the pieces in The Lodger were all apart of him setting the movie. Of Hitch using his tools to bring us where he wants us to be.

 

3. I see how he set the mood with silent scream and I think of Rear Window. He set the mood of the murder that happened in the apartment across the way buy a simple scream of one word, shattering glass and drawn curtains the next morning. We don't know that it was a murder until all the little pieces start to come together. In The Lodger..we know there was a murder but we don't know the who's or what's until they come together. Hitchcock feeds us pieces at a time, just enough to keep pulling us in bit by bit.

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1. The settings are obviously very different. Chorus girls dancing in one, and the other a murder scene. So definitely different tonally from the jump. But they are similar in that both scenes include onlookers. One featuring leering men, the other focusing on a horrified woman.

 

2. The close up shot of the "golden haired" victim screaming in the beginning is very much his style. The other stand out is when the woman sees a reflection on the side of the food trailer that fits her description of the murderer. The image is distorted by the metal, giving it an almost monstrous quality. I imagine the idea for this shot was possibly influenced by Hitchcock's exposure to techniques used in German expressionism.

 

3. The framing of the shot gets the audience extremely close to the victim's face. This does well to project the subject's state of panic and emotional distress. Creating a closeness with the viewer and the subject, as if your face was right next to her's. So much so that you can almost feel her scream without having to hear it. The most notable shot comparison that comes to mind would be the shower scene in Psycho.

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What a wonderful clip!  I was struck by the way that the opening moved from visceral human emotions of horror and fear - starting with the girl's scream - to voyeurism and greed.  From humanity to technology (and then back to humanity at the end of the opening -- further than we saw in the clip).  The crowds around the body were certainly voyeuristic, but they were experiencing the real horror of what they saw.  But then things being to move out, away from human emotions to the technology of spreading the news and the emotion.  The reporters first use pencil and paper.  Then one makes a phone call.  We then get that move to the fabulous telegraph machine - so gorgeous - and Hitchcock takes a full 45 seconds to have the story unfold letter by letter.  Next we see the incredible machinery of the newspaper production (the cogs and wheels so like what Chaplin used in Modern Times).  Then we move out in the street through the cars.  And by now the crowds are clamoring, but not in horror.  Now it's all about sensationalism.  And the newspaper seller is happy to count his money, happy that the murder took place on his watch, on a Tuesday.  And the large neon signs catch everyone's attention.  I watched a bit further into the film, and it's interesting that this montage doesn't end where our clip stopped.  Next we move out over the air waves (radio) where people hear news about the murder broadcast.  It's interesting that the opening really comes full circle here.  As people listen to the radio, Hitchcock gives us a series of faces – that fade into one another - listening in horror (some with their mouths open like the screaming girl).  Now they respond with fear to something they hear rather than see.  Overall, the opening was like a lens with a perspective that gradually shifted from a closeup of the girl’s screaming face, out over the crowds, and then to a wide shot of the city.  But then the lens began to move in again, into people’s homes, and then ended with closeups of faces again.  So the opening of the film really ends, I think, at this point.  Very cool.

 

One thing about silent films: the soundtrack is always a gamble.  Usually the score has no relation to anything that the viewers of the original would have heard since later composers and arrangers do the music.  Is there any info about who did the score for the version in our Daily Dose?  I thought it was awfully heavy handed, particularly in the first 2 minutes.  It's like the composer didn't trust Hitchcock's storytelling and ended up over-emoting what the crowd was feeling.  I searched and found another score for the full version.  It was done by the composer Ashley Irwin to commemorate Hitchcock's 100th birthday (according to wikipedia). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KAWQKBIWG0  Folks might want to check out the same opening to hear how different music really effects the way we react to a film.  I prefer this version.  It’s more understated, and it stays out of Hitchcock’s way.  It doesn’t hammer us with how we are supposed to feel.  I found yet a third version for further comparison: 

 

Another thought about sound: when the words "Tonight - Golden Curls" and "Mur-der" blink on the screen, it's in a rhythm.  Even though we don't hear that rhythm, as we read these words, we internalize and "hear" that throbbing, ominous rhythm that both sets of words set up.

 

I really enjoyed this clip and look forward to watching the whole film!  Like other viewers here, I was reminded of M and saw the German Expressionist elements there.  I had never known that about Hitchcock, so this was great to discover his early influences from German and Russian film making.

I found this very enlightening, particularly what you said in your first paragraph about the relationship between technology and humanity. Also, I myself had been wondering about the soundtrack and whether we should pretty much be ignoring it when viewing these clips and films, so thank you.

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1) The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger are two different things entirely to say the least. While the Pleasure Garden is more comical in tone, and I say The Lodger is definitely more of a horror in tone. The woman screaming in the opening and the crowd surrounding the corpse to the man with half of his face wrapped up only escalates the roller coaster of emotions, and images associated within this four minute clip. I particularly loved the men surrounding the press, and we read the words as they are typed and instantly you feel more enveloped within the picture.

 

Similar: Vast in scope, immersive (audience member in regards to The Pleasure Garden, and bystander mostly in regards to The Lodger), predominant focus on a woman, and the voyeuristic tendencies follow suit as a result.

 

Different: Tone, environment/location, The Lodger has a much more escalated plot or story line almost immediately--packs a powerful wallop of fear, and unease, etc.

 

2) German Expressionism was very apparent and at use in regards to the shadowy ominous feel of the opening of the film. Feelings run high in this case it would be the fear in regards to this so called Avenger and as a result the crowds are definitely reminiscent to that of the "anxious world" that was mentioned in the video lecture. This anxiousness escalated the picture in my opinion through their expressions because it came across more significant, and louder than any words really could it seems. I also thought the Golden curls words flashing were particularly important. They flashed three different times and it definitely seemed like they were being shouted in a sense, with that being said it escalated the crowds emotions like a jolt of electricity. And it's extremely clever to use Golden curls because Hitchcock as we may know in the future develops an infatuation or better put an obsession with blondes. 

 

3) The way in which Hitchcock films the opening of the woman who is screaming it almost seems like we are witnessing the point of view of the Avenger. We are the wrongdoer in this scenario and in regards to a silent film of this caliber that speaks volumes. The scream reminded me quite a bit of Psycho with Janet Leigh's infamous demise in a motel shower. That is one thing that always surprises me with Hitchcock is the factor that he can inspire himself. He can take inspiration from previous films and never cease to improve upon scenes of violence and or terror or both. 

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