Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #3: Fighting For Her (Scene from The Ring)

278 posts in this topic

Again, SO amazed by what Hitchcock conveys through visuals minus sound!

 

1.     How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? 

 

I was immediately uplifted by the lively music and the wide shots of the dancers and party people moving furiously.  The quick cuts to the fast spinning record, the piano player, and different people in the room laughing and drinking intensified the jovial atmosphere of the scene.  The music slows as the camera gets a close up shot of the wife looking pensive and then cuts to the husband’s reflection in the mirror.  The music slows even more as the camera focus shifts to Jack’s room where he’s talking to the guys about his training, but clearly distracted about his wife.

 

2.     As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. 

 

Jack’s growing anxiety is played out by what he sees in the mirror. On screen, the viewer sees the mirror’s reflection of the wife sitting beside Bob.  The screen then splits adding an image of what Jack views in his mind -- that his wife is kissing Bob.  The kissing image gets superimposed over what’s actually in the mirror. Then that kissing image is split again with an image of the manager explaining how the wife can stay here.  That just intensifies Jack’s anxiety knowing that while the wife stays here, she’ll be with Bob.

 

3.     How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?  

 

Bob and Jack are in separate rooms with a hallway in between to show the contrast between their lives.  Bob is with the wife; they’re having fun, drinking, smoking, dancing to lively music.  Jack is reviewing his career with a couple of men, talking about going on the road, leaving his wife behind.  He is an outsider to the fun the wife is having with Bob.  The mirror gives each spouse a look into what is to come.  Jack sees his wife with Bob, and his imagination takes over.  He is distracted, bothered, jealous.  The wife sees Jack through the mirror and takes a pause.  He only seems interested in his career and she quickly erases Jack from her mind and gets back to partying with her friends.

 

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This great clip illustrates Hitchcock's inventiveness with visual narration and use of the possibilities of shots and editing. One thing I notice about his use of the set to create the sense of rivalry is the frames within the frame. The doorway between the two rooms, the mirror each one sees the other reflected in, the poster on the wall and the photograph on the mantel representing a world of fame that lies just ahead for the fighter--all of these things separate the people and elements from each other while also presenting them as things to admire, to be longed for. The superimposition shot of what the fighter fears--the seduction of his wife--reminds us of such superimposition shots in other films, notably Joe's "vision" of the clues in The Lodger and Hannay's memory of Miss Smith's warnings in The 39 Steps.

 

I was also very taken with the contrast between the wildly rhythmic dancing of the two girls and the other partygoers with the stillness of the fighter in one room and his wife and his rival in the other. The blurring of the dancers into distorted piano keys is also a bravura moment--it's one of those moments in Hitchcock's silent films when you would swear there is sound.

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1: Hitchcock begins the scene with upbeat lively people having a great time. He stays on that long enough for the viewer to be in that moment and to feel the moment and surroundings.

2: then we pan on the main male character. He is in another room talking with his people about another fight and becoming as famous as one of the other boxers. As we are now in the characters head we are listening half heartedly to his people and now watching his wife who is in the other room talking to a fella. This is where Hitchcock begins the montage where we are in his mind trying to figure out what to do. We are there with him in those moments now separated from the party.

3: The set is limited to two rooms. He pans out to get the living/party area. So we can see and get into that moment. He knows when to pan in and get stills of faces and shots such as the girl sitting down to drink from the bottle. We get close ups back and forth between the two gents with the added takes of his wife and her increasing closeness to the other man.

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1.    How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? 

 

 

Hitchcock employs graphic relationships to blend and blur ideas on the screen, as they are blurring and blending in the mind of the protagonist.  For example, the elongated dancers’ bodies become the elongated piano keys—an interesting confluence of material and sensory.

 

 

2.    As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. 

 

The mirroring within the shots—seeing individuals “performing” by way of a reflection definitely places us in the mind of the character, a bit removed from the action perhaps but acutely involved nonetheless.

 

3.    How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?  

 

I thought the double-meaning of “I thought you would fight for her,” brought an ironic touch to those attempting to motivate the boxer. We know that the character will have to “win” his wife back and he must “win” the matches.  Clever.

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1.  A technique that Hitchcock uses here, that he will use in many later films, is to use more editorial cuts as the scene progresses.  So early on, the shots are several seconds long, later on when we see the distorted images of the piano, inter-cut with the dancing girls, the cuts come much quicker, with specific shots lasting only a couple of seconds.  This increase in cutting contributes to the frenetic pace to which the scene builds.

 

2.  The subjectivity is achieved through POV camera shots.  We see the main character, then we see what he sees, then we see his reaction.   As he becomes more jealous, the almost absurdly frenetic pacing helps us to understand his emotional state.

 

3.  The use of the mirror is a great device to increase the stakes.  The image of the couple overlaid over the image of the protagonist makes his feelings all the more real.  It is worth pointing out the brilliant work of Jack Cox in this scene, particularly when one considers that in the 20's special effects were not added in after the fact but were shot "in camera", making it all the more challenging, and all the more powerful when done properly.  I think Cox is as important to Hitchcock's British period as Robert Burks would be to his American period.

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1. The use of montage and editing raises the stakes and tensions between the boxers and builds up to almost a crescendo when one screams and then shuts the door. It's then when he realizes that he is fighting for his wife and for the championship.

2. The back and forth with the reflection on the mirrors,, the funhouse-looking distribution of the revelers and the piano, and the superimposition of images indicates intense subjectivity.

3. The boxes are in two rooms adjacent to each other and Hitch sets this scene where it is almost like the boxers are squaring off in the ring the way the scenes go back and forth.

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The ways Hitchcock used montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene I feel begins with the music. The way the piano changes tempo and rythm from the 'fun' party the boxer was currently not attending back to his meeting set and immediate pace and climax to the scene by the boxer being increasingly frustrated by his lady getting too friendly at the neighboring party.
The clips starting by him seeing their reflection in a mirrior originally caught my attention because mirrors are a figure for 'reflection', so though he was seeing others, the viewer gets a reflection into the boxer's first person insecurity.
Outside of the music was the laughing, dancing, partying etc in the one room's contrast to the boxer's quiet cold atmosphere where he is reminded he's not the champ.
Other ideas I felt were expressed was the 'warped' lens on the camera when it played the piano keys. It made me feel as if the perception of 'fun' was warped (as you are put into the boxer's psycology).
He seemed like a 'disciplined' fighter who probably rarely got to have any fun.
I wanted to note the record spin. Often that goes into the imagery of 'rotation'. Which could allude a feeling of ongoingness or possible a rotation of lovers, or champions to be. Maybe both.
The superimposed clock over the fighter's unimpressed face was also key for me.
Time cuts like a knife.
Every second the boxer's wife was away from him, he began loosing his control, until he eventually snaps and lashed out at the crowd who were fairly innocently just having a good time.
I feel the ways the action, use of set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen occur as you see the woman and that man closing in closer and closer mouth to mouth it seemed to almost kiss as the boxer's deal looks closer and closer to finalizing.
The boxer had 3 concerns; the fight, his wife and the pressure of leaving her alone.
I feel I must return to my original thoughts about the music, the mirror, the clock, the warped lens on the keys, the rotation of the record all as techniques to 'tighten the strings' of the boxer's nerves until they eventually snap as he did.

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The ways Hitchcock used montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene I feel begins with the music. The way the piano changes tempo and rythm from the 'fun' party the boxer was currently not attending back to his meeting set and immediate pace and climax to the scene by the boxer being increasingly frustrated by his lady getting too friendly at the neighboring party.
The clips starting by him seeing their reflection in a mirrior originally caught my attention because mirrors are a figure for 'reflection', so though he was seeing others, the viewer gets a reflection into the boxer's first person insecurity.
Outside of the music was the laughing, dancing, partying etc in the one room's contrast to the boxer's quiet cold atmosphere where he is reminded he's not the champ.
Other ideas I felt were expressed was the 'warped' lens on the camera when it played the piano keys. It made me feel as if the perception of 'fun' was warped (as you are put into the boxer's psycology).
He seemed like a 'disciplined' fighter who probably rarely got to have any fun.
I wanted to note the record spin. Often that goes into the imagery of 'rotation'. Which could allude a feeling of ongoingness or possible a rotation of lovers, or champions to be. Maybe both.
The superimposed clock over the fighter's unimpressed face was also key for me.
Time cuts like a knife.
Every second the boxer's wife was away from him, he began loosing his control, until he eventually snaps and lashed out at the crowd who were fairly innocently just having a good time.
I feel the ways the action, use of set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen occur as you see the woman and that man closing in closer and closer mouth to mouth it seemed to almost kiss as the boxer's deal looks closer and closer to finalizing.
The boxer had 3 concerns; the fight, his wife and the pressure of leaving her alone.
I feel I must return to my original thoughts about the music, the mirror, the clock, the warped lens on the keys, the rotation of the record all as techniques to 'tighten the strings' of the boxer's nerves until they eventually snap as he did.

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1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? 

 

The montage in this sequence is a representation of The Boxer's jealous mind which started by the first mirror reflection shot. In terms of the pacing, the party sequence is more fast that it gives dynamic feeling. While The Boxer's sequence is executed in slow pace and the feeling is more tense. 

 

Hitchcock uses the montage technique by superimposing two shots consist of

- The Boxer's fife and The Other Man at the party with

- The Boxer's POV shot in the meeting room ; a man's talking, explaining something to The Boxer.

Then the Boxer's wife and The Other Man shot is getting closer and getting more close up approaching the camera until the other shot in the meeting room is gone. So the audience can see that the only thing in The Boxer's mind is about his wife with The Other Man at the party.

 

Another application of the montage is also by superimposing (cross dissolve) two different shots with matching object. Just like what we see in the shot of blurry dancers dissolving into the shot of tuts piano.

 

2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. 

 

The feeling of subjectivity is shown in some sequences that put the audience into the psychological mind of the main character. 

 

- The mirror reflection showing the wife with another man at the party.

- The superimposed of the close up shot of the wife kissing the man, the spinning record and the very close up shot of The Boxer's face with annoyance expression.

 

3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?  

 

I think by differentiate the feeling and tonality between the two sets ; the party and the room.

The party is set up in a wider room and the feeling is more relax where the meeting is happening in smaller room with limited space and the feeling is more tense.

The pacing for those two sets is also different as I mentioned earlier.

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How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? 

At the party scene, the shots are filmed further away, including many of the partygoers.   There’s so much to look at all at one time, your eyes are forced to examine so many people in a short period of time.   You can also tell that the cuts are quicker and shorter and from different angles of the scene which quickens the pace.  The blurred scenes leads us to wonder how long this party has been going on and how much these people have had to drink and their ability to make sound judgements about their actions.  A simple shot of a turntable reminds us that there is music playing; even though you can’t really see the turntable spinning, you know it is, adding to the quick pace of the editing.

 

As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity.

While the party scenes are shot from further away, shots of the main characters (the protagonist and the girlfriend) are shot much closer allowing us to see minute changes in their emotions.  In many places in this clip there are a great many superimpositions which helps us get into the characters heads, especially the male lead.  We know he’s being distracted by a great many thoughts in his head while he is trying to pay attention to the conversation he’s having with his rival.

 

How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?  

The party room seems quite expansive compared to the room the two men occupy.  It seems much smaller.   Hitchcock forces two, even three men, into the frame at one time.  It seems that they are passively trying to dominate the frame.  The editing in the room with the two men is slower, which brings to it a more melancholy feel.  It leads me to, perhaps, a feeling of worry, despair, or isolation.

 

Craig Alner

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How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? 

The party scene is most often viewed in a wide shot, inclusive of all the partygoers.  The center of the shot, with the dancing women is where your eye is drawn, but if you glance to any other area of the shot you still encounter continual movement.  EVERYONE in the shot, except for the wife and her male friend (whom you can barely see because they are behind a party goer)  is engaged in large expressive movements.  Most of the cuts in this scene are to smaller caches of party attendees who are fully engaged in the merriment. The pianist is feverishly attacking the keys while smoking.  Even the few moments when the women fall into chairs exhausted...their lost energy is replaced by the constant movement of fawning men and fanning handkerchiefs. Cuts to the spinning record seem to echo that continual, dizzying energy in the room. 

 

As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity.

The position of the main character immediately sets a tone.  He is as physically distant from his wife as he is emotionally.  He is as removed from merriment and happiness in distance as he is in mood.  His appearance and attire are pristine, suffocating and starched.  While the partiers have loosened their ties and shirt collars, are tossing their hair around wildly as they revel and openly drinking and smoking.  The use of the mirror to see only the reflection of his wife's behavior removes him from her even further.  Her glance of him in the same mirror solidifies that distance.  The elongated keys of the piano and the blurred shots of revelers provide two things.  Not only do they remind us of the drunken state of the group but they also confirm the husband's distorted view about his wife's behavior.  The use of superimposition reflects the husbands nagging thoughts about his wife that become more and more intrusive until they don't just co-exist with reality, but blot it out completely.  All our impressions are confirmed with just one inter title about him not being a champ - yet. 

 

How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?  

In addition to the above, the use of visual story development clarify the multiple layers of the rivalry. It's not just that the husband is in a separate room.  It's that he isn't even allowed to join due to training.  The woman isn't just a crush, she is his wife!  She see's his dismay and doesn't care.  the rival makes assumptions that he can take her out again.  The set has two rooms, two worlds that seem to only connect in the reflection of the mirror, like the husband and wife.  The frantic energy of the party begins to wake us up, but the real slap in the face occurs when we learn they are rivals in multiple ways.

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That Hitchcock with something else. Amazing cinematic shots. The party scene wide shot fun frivolity and almost madness of joy. Then close up on the man in the other room was looking through the mirror at his wife on the rivals lap. And then going to the tight frenzied shots of the music the album that goes round and round and round like he's jealous thoughts tormenting him. It all comes to ahead when he screams out of the partiers and then is ashamed of his outburst. Guess what I'm not great at explaining how awesome that scene was. But Hitchcock was awesome at filming.

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1 - “How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene?”

 

The scene contains a lot of shots, and none of them lasts more than a few seconds:  this avoids boredom from having to watch the same shot for too long a time and keeps the action moving.

 

Hitchcock also uses a variety of shot types, including long shots:

 

post-74120-0-63410300-1498883748_thumb.jpg

 

(This is recognizable as a long shot because the entire bodies of both dancing women are visible, head to toe.)

 

medium shots:

 

post-74120-0-29364900-1498883798_thumb.jpg  post-74120-0-31068100-1498883811_thumb.jpg

 

and close-ups:

 

post-74120-0-48377800-1498883834_thumb.jpg  post-74120-0-57676000-1498883844_thumb.jpg

 

The close-ups of one character’s face tend to occur when Hitchcock wants to show that the character is feeling some emotion, such as misgiving (Mabel) or suspicion and jealousy (Jack).

 

Shots from one room into the other from both Mabel’s and Jack’s perspectives draw attention to the physical separation of the two characters, which parallels their emotional separation:

 

post-74120-0-45398300-1498883908_thumb.jpg  post-74120-0-06145800-1498883921_thumb.jpg

 

Hitchcock also uses dissolve and multiple exposure very effectively in the scene.  The first shot shows the dancers at the party:

 

post-74120-0-04443500-1498884001_thumb.jpg

 

which dissolves:

 

 

post-74120-0-59161900-1498884049_thumb.jpg

 

and becomes a close-up of the spinning record:

 

post-74120-0-09123000-1498884086_thumb.jpg

 

and then dissolves into a multiple-exposure of the record and guitar players superimposed over the piano keyboard:

 

post-74120-0-37243600-1498884115_thumb.jpg

 

and finally becomes a close-up of Jack’s distressed face with the guitars and record superimposed:

 

post-74120-0-63288700-1498884153_thumb.jpg

 

These techniques add visual interest to the scene and synthesize the external (physical) action of the party with the internal (emotional) action.

 

2 - “As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character.  Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity.”

 

One technique is the close-up, which forces the view to focus his/her attention on one character (first Mabel, and then Jack) and the emotions that manifest on their faces (this requires the actors to emote appropriately).

 

 

A second technique is the perspective shot, which is a shot from the perspective of one of the characters.  We see this first first from Mabel’s perspective, and then from Jack’s.  This shows the physical and emotional separation of the two characters, and makes clear that they are on each other’s mind.

 

 

A third technique is double-exposure, which is used in the scene where Jack is talking with his manager but is thinking about Mabel and Bob and imagining them in a more intimate situation than what they are in reality.  One represents the objective reality, the other is subjective and does not occur in the actual action of the scene but rather depicts what is going on in Jack’s mind.  It also shows that, although Jack is with the manager in the physical setting and is talking with him, his mind is very much on Mabel and Bob:

 

post-74120-0-64224800-1498884514_thumb.jpg  post-74120-0-30873200-1498884520_thumb.jpg

 

These techniques help Hitchcock to put the viewer “into the head” of the characters.

 

3 - “How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?”

 

Hitchcock first stages the action in the form of a discussion between Jack and the manager about boxing and what Jack needs to do (whom he needs to defeat) in order to move up the hierarchy and become Bob’s sparring partner.  This establishes Bob as Jack’s future rival in boxing.  Then Hitchcock moves the camera to a shot of Mabel and Bob sitting together and flirting with each other at the party, as Bob sees them through the window of the room that he is in, establishing Bob as Jack’s rival for Mabel’s affections.

 

In terms of set design, Hitchcock shows the two men in different types of settings.  Bob is with Mabel at the party, in a lively and happy setting in a larger room, enjoying themselves.  Jack is with the manager in a smaller room (perhaps an office), which is a more serious setting, discussing the “business” of Jack’s boxing career.  In the scenes with Mabel and Bob at the party, there is a lot of action and merry-making, the camera work is much more interesting, and the set is more attractive, whereas the scenes of Jack with the manager are just of the two men talking:  the camera work is much more conventional and the set is businesslike rather than festive.  The viewer understands that Bob can offer Mabel fun and excitement, but her life with Jack might be more ordinary.

 

The editing techniques focus attention on the characters’ emotions and what they are thinking.  This is especially the case with Jack:  close-up shots and subjective double-exposure shots portray the character’s concern and jealousy regarding Mabel’s dalliance with Bob.  It also makes clear that Jack feels that he must “win” Mabel, even though he is already married to her at this point in the film.  This reflects the dual meaning of “ring” of the title:  on one level, it is the ring in which Jack will fight Bob and, on another, it is the wedding ring that signifies Jack’s marriage to Mabel.

post-74120-0-63410300-1498883748_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-29364900-1498883798_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-31068100-1498883811_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-48377800-1498883834_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-57676000-1498883844_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-45398300-1498883908_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-06145800-1498883921_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-04443500-1498884001_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-59161900-1498884049_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-09123000-1498884086_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-37243600-1498884115_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-63288700-1498884153_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-64224800-1498884514_thumb.jpg

post-74120-0-30873200-1498884520_thumb.jpg

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1. The dancers and musicians are the expressions of vitality and rhythm. Especially the fingers playing across the keys. It seems to build as more and more people start to dance.

 

2. The husband, watching in an almost detached manner, as his wife  flirts with another man and practically  sits in his lap. The scene really builds as his paranoia takes over thinking about what she might do, sort of highlighting his insecurities.

 

3.The room the husband is in is smallish and fairly sparse except for a bunch of photos of boxers in the background. The main room is wide open and full of music and frivolity. The mirror shot shows the detachment they both seem to be feeling at that moment.

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1.  A technique that Hitchcock uses here, that he will use in many later films, is to use more editorial cuts as the scene progresses.  So early on, the shots are several seconds long, later on when we see the distorted images of the piano, inter-cut with the dancing girls, the cuts come much quicker, with specific shots lasting only a couple of seconds.  This increase in cutting contributes to the frenetic pace to which the scene builds.

 

2.  The subjectivity is achieved through POV camera shots.  We see the main character, then we see what he sees, then we see his reaction.   As he becomes more jealous, the almost absurdly frenetic pacing helps us to understand his emotional state.

 

3.  The use of the mirror is a great device to increase the stakes.  The image of the couple overlaid over the image of the protagonist makes his feelings all the more real.  It is worth pointing out the brilliant work of Jack Cox in this scene, particularly when one considers that in the 20's special effects were not added in after the fact but were shot "in camera", making it all the more challenging, and all the more powerful when done properly.  I think Cox is as important to Hitchcock's British period as Robert Burks would be to his American period.

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1 - “How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene?”

 

The scene contains a lot of shots, and none of them lasts more than a few seconds:  this avoids boredom from having to watch the same shot for too long a time and keeps the action moving.

 

Hitchcock also uses a variety of shot types, including long shots:

 

attachicon.gifLong Shot.jpg

 

(This is recognizable as a long shot because the entire bodies of both dancing women are visible, head to toe.)

 

medium shots:

 

attachicon.gifMedium Shot 1.jpg  attachicon.gifMedium Shot 2.jpg

 

and close-ups:

 

attachicon.gifClose-Up 1.jpg  attachicon.gifClose-Up 2.jpg

 

The close-ups of one character’s face tend to occur when Hitchcock wants to show that the character is feeling some emotion, such as misgiving (Mabel) or suspicion and jealousy (Jack).

 

Shots from one room into the other from both Mabel’s and Jack’s perspectives draw attention to the physical separation of the two characters, which parallels their emotional separation:

 

attachicon.gifWindow 1.jpg  attachicon.gifWindow 2.jpg

 

Hitchcock also uses dissolve and multiple exposure very effectively in the scene.  The first shot shows the dancers at the party:

 

attachicon.gifDissolve 1.jpg

 

which dissolves:

 

 

attachicon.gifDissolve 2.jpg

 

and becomes a close-up of the spinning record:

 

attachicon.gifDissolve 3.jpg

 

and then dissolves into a multiple-exposure of the record and guitar players superimposed over the piano keyboard:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Dissolve 4.jpg

 

and finally becomes a close-up of Jack’s distressed face with the guitars and record superimposed:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Dissolve 5.jpg

 

These techniques add visual interest to the scene and synthesize the external (physical) action of the party with the internal (emotional) action.

 

2 - “As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character.  Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity.”

 

One technique is the close-up, which forces the view to focus his/her attention on one character (first Mabel, and then Jack) and the emotions that manifest on their faces (this requires the actors to emote appropriately).

 

 

A second technique is the perspective shot, which is a shot from the perspective of one of the characters.  We see this first first from Mabel’s perspective, and then from Jack’s.  This shows the physical and emotional separation of the two characters, and makes clear that they are on each other’s mind.

 

 

A third technique is double-exposure, which is used in the scene where Jack is talking with his manager but is thinking about Mabel and Bob and imagining them in a more intimate situation than what they are in reality.  One represents the objective reality, the other is subjective and does not occur in the actual action of the scene but rather depicts what is going on in Jack’s mind.  It also shows that, although Jack is with the manager in the physical setting and is talking with him, his mind is very much on Mabel and Bob:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Double Exposure 1.jpg  http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Double Exposure 2.jpg

 

These techniques help Hitchcock to put the viewer “into the head” of the characters.

 

3 - “How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?”

 

Hitchcock first stages the action in the form of a discussion between Jack and the manager about boxing and what Jack needs to do (whom he needs to defeat) in order to move up the hierarchy and become Bob’s sparring partner.  This establishes Bob as Jack’s future rival in boxing.  Then Hitchcock moves the camera to a shot of Mabel and Bob sitting together and flirting with each other at the party, as Bob sees them through the window of the room that he is in, establishing Bob as Jack’s rival for Mabel’s affections.

 

In terms of set design, Hitchcock shows the two men in different types of settings.  Bob is with Mabel at the party, in a lively and happy setting in a larger room, enjoying themselves.  Jack is with the manager in a smaller room (perhaps an office), which is a more serious setting, discussing the “business” of Jack’s boxing career.  In the scenes with Mabel and Bob at the party, there is a lot of action and merry-making, the camera work is much more interesting, and the set is more attractive, whereas the scenes of Jack with the manager are just of the two men talking:  the camera work is much more conventional and the set is businesslike rather than festive.  The viewer understands that Bob can offer Mabel fun and excitement, but her life with Jack might be more ordinary.

 

The editing techniques focus attention on the characters’ emotions and what they are thinking.  This is especially the case with Jack:  close-up shots and subjective double-exposure shots portray the character’s concern and jealousy regarding Mabel’s dalliance with Bob.  It also makes clear that Jack feels that he must “win” Mabel, even though he is already married to her at this point in the film.  This reflects the dual meaning of “ring” of the title:  on one level, it is the ring in which Jack will fight Bob and, on another, it is the wedding ring that signifies Jack’s marriage to Mabel.

 

I am a true newbie, so I thank you for your indepth response, citations, and explanations as they help me understand more of the topics and wrap my head around the prompts so as to construct my own analysis - which I'm sure will be heavily influenced by your posts and others who have also shared their considerable background knowledge.

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1 - “How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene?”

 

The scene contains a lot of shots, and none of them lasts more than a few seconds:  this avoids boredom from having to watch the same shot for too long a time and keeps the action moving.

 

Hitchcock also uses a variety of shot types, including long shots:

 

attachicon.gifLong Shot.jpg

 

(This is recognizable as a long shot because the entire bodies of both dancing women are visible, head to toe.)

 

medium shots:

 

attachicon.gifMedium Shot 1.jpg  attachicon.gifMedium Shot 2.jpg

 

and close-ups:

 

attachicon.gifClose-Up 1.jpg  attachicon.gifClose-Up 2.jpg

 

The close-ups of one character’s face tend to occur when Hitchcock wants to show that the character is feeling some emotion, such as misgiving (Mabel) or suspicion and jealousy (Jack).

 

Shots from one room into the other from both Mabel’s and Jack’s perspectives draw attention to the physical separation of the two characters, which parallels their emotional separation:

 

attachicon.gifWindow 1.jpg  attachicon.gifWindow 2.jpg

 

Hitchcock also uses dissolve and multiple exposure very effectively in the scene.  The first shot shows the dancers at the party:

 

attachicon.gifDissolve 1.jpg

 

which dissolves:

 

 

attachicon.gifDissolve 2.jpg

 

and becomes a close-up of the spinning record:

 

attachicon.gifDissolve 3.jpg

 

and then dissolves into a multiple-exposure of the record and guitar players superimposed over the piano keyboard:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Dissolve 4.jpg

 

and finally becomes a close-up of Jack’s distressed face with the guitars and record superimposed:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Dissolve 5.jpg

 

These techniques add visual interest to the scene and synthesize the external (physical) action of the party with the internal (emotional) action.

 

2 - “As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character.  Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity.”

 

One technique is the close-up, which forces the view to focus his/her attention on one character (first Mabel, and then Jack) and the emotions that manifest on their faces (this requires the actors to emote appropriately).

 

 

A second technique is the perspective shot, which is a shot from the perspective of one of the characters.  We see this first first from Mabel’s perspective, and then from Jack’s.  This shows the physical and emotional separation of the two characters, and makes clear that they are on each other’s mind.

 

 

A third technique is double-exposure, which is used in the scene where Jack is talking with his manager but is thinking about Mabel and Bob and imagining them in a more intimate situation than what they are in reality.  One represents the objective reality, the other is subjective and does not occur in the actual action of the scene but rather depicts what is going on in Jack’s mind.  It also shows that, although Jack is with the manager in the physical setting and is talking with him, his mind is very much on Mabel and Bob:

 

http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Double Exposure 1.jpg  http://forums.tcm.com/public/style_images/tcm/attachicon.gif Double Exposure 2.jpg

 

These techniques help Hitchcock to put the viewer “into the head” of the characters.

 

3 - “How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?”

 

Hitchcock first stages the action in the form of a discussion between Jack and the manager about boxing and what Jack needs to do (whom he needs to defeat) in order to move up the hierarchy and become Bob’s sparring partner.  This establishes Bob as Jack’s future rival in boxing.  Then Hitchcock moves the camera to a shot of Mabel and Bob sitting together and flirting with each other at the party, as Bob sees them through the window of the room that he is in, establishing Bob as Jack’s rival for Mabel’s affections.

 

In terms of set design, Hitchcock shows the two men in different types of settings.  Bob is with Mabel at the party, in a lively and happy setting in a larger room, enjoying themselves.  Jack is with the manager in a smaller room (perhaps an office), which is a more serious setting, discussing the “business” of Jack’s boxing career.  In the scenes with Mabel and Bob at the party, there is a lot of action and merry-making, the camera work is much more interesting, and the set is more attractive, whereas the scenes of Jack with the manager are just of the two men talking:  the camera work is much more conventional and the set is businesslike rather than festive.  The viewer understands that Bob can offer Mabel fun and excitement, but her life with Jack might be more ordinary.

 

The editing techniques focus attention on the characters’ emotions and what they are thinking.  This is especially the case with Jack:  close-up shots and subjective double-exposure shots portray the character’s concern and jealousy regarding Mabel’s dalliance with Bob.  It also makes clear that Jack feels that he must “win” Mabel, even though he is already married to her at this point in the film.  This reflects the dual meaning of “ring” of the title:  on one level, it is the ring in which Jack will fight Bob and, on another, it is the wedding ring that signifies Jack’s marriage to Mabel.

I am a true newbie, so I thank you for your indepth response, citations, and explanations as they help me understand more of the topics and wrap my head around the prompts so as to construct my own analysis - which I'm sure will be heavily influenced by your posts and others who have also shared their considerable background knowledge.

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1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene?

 

How exciting was that dance scene and the dancing. I hear a frequent comment that the action in modern movies goes so fast that older viewers have trouble following the story, and that younger audiences don't appreciate older movies because the plot moves so slowly. I think if I couldn't go back and replay that clip several times I would miss 75 percent of the content. There's no way sitting in a movie theater I could catch all of that. Even now, after several viewings, I want to go back and freeze frame some of those shots to see more precisely what's going on.

The vitality and rhythm of the dancing and the music augmented Hitchcock's expressive editing - wide-angle room shots of the dancers and the partiers which abruptly switch to closer in shots that just show half shots of the blurred dancers, and again abruptly moving to close-ups of the lead actors's faces. (I have not yet learned the technical names for editing shots.)

 

2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity.

 

The most clear instance for me of getting into the psychological mind of the main character was section with the two scenes side by side - The wife and the older boxer in one image and the manager with moving lips in the other. The scene was further strengthened by it being in a silent film because we could no more hear what the manager was saying than the young boxer could hear.

 

Another instance was the visualization of the imagination of the young husband of the older boxer kissing his wife. When I first saw the scene, I wasn't sure if it was real or imaginary and it took me a moment to decide that it was all in his head. My reaction is probably typical of what Hitchcock was expecting.

 

3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?

 

By staging the action in two rooms connected via the mirror and doorways Hitchcock lets the audience understand the disconnect and the angst between the married couple. By limiting the action in the young boxer's room to an austere, business-like setting, And conversely, by limiting the action of the wife's room to reverie and gaiety and an exciting social life, Hitchcock moves forward the conflict of the narrative. The uneven nature of the narrative of the rivalry Illustrated by the quick cutting back-and-forth between the young boxer in the submissive role with his manager and the older boxer holding a dominant position from his comfortable chair.

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Looking at the scene, I definitely noticed the influence of German Expressionism.  I say this because one can feel the anxiety when we're in the mind (so to say) of the protagonist while he is looking at his rival.  During this part, we see an overlapping of the rival with the main character's wife on his lap (what he is thinking), while the rival is discussing the upcoming fight.  It then dissolves into the party, the music begins to play faster, and then party dissolves into a piano.  As the music plays faster, we begin feeling what the main character feels as he looks at his rival.  We feel the anxiety and hatred that is building up within.  I found that this scene does an excellent job of incorporating the Expressionism style, as well as make the audience grasp the mind of the main character through the use of silence and the score.

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1. I need to learn more about montage and expressive editing, so I can only give my initial impressions. There are a lot of wide shots showing the entire party room followed quickly by closer shots of the dancing girls, the wife and rival, and the piano player. Towards the end of the clip the party is increasing in intensity as the record plays, a trio strums away on instruments, and more women begin dancing--again through wide shots juxtaposed with closer ones; only this time the cuts are faster, a little more frenzied.

 

2. I really enjoyed the way in which the images were blurred and elongated in vertical strips to imitate the grooves on a record. Gradually, the husband can only focus on the music playing (it seems to get louder and louder as instruments are shown in close-up over the elongated piano keys) and on his wife and his rival enjoying the music--and each other. It is also jarring at the climax when the husband cries out "Stop!" and brings all action to a halt, both in his mind (the montage ends) and in reality.

 

3. The husband is isolated from the party in a separate room discussing the serious business of boxing while the gaiety and frivolity surrounds his rival; this physical separation sets up the rival as having the upper hand--he is at ease, he is enjoying the party and not tending to business, and he is flirting with another man's wife because he feels he can. The fact that the husband witnesses his wife laughing and chatting with his rival through a mirror suggests further alienation because he is only able to see them indirectly, as if he were spying on them through a keyhole. As the party increases in intensity the camera cuts between the dancing girls and the wife and rival, who are thrust into each other's arms while the husband remains static, yet getting more agitated, in the other room. However, the husband is the only character we see in an extreme, full-face close-up and we are visually led into his "mind" thereby creating a level of intimacy. We are exposed to his anger and determination to beat his rival through emotion.

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1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? 


From the way he shoots the girls dancing, you can almost feel like you are at the party. The music is so upbeat you can feel yourself bouncing along with it, as if you were hearing it live.


2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. 


One technique is the use of music. The music mimics the mindset of the characters. As the man gets distracted, the music slows, then picks up again when his friends fall onto him laughing. The same slow-down (and tone change) occurs after he tells the woman on his lap that they must go see the dancing girls' show.


Another technique is the fade-through, where the man's view of his wife on another man's lap, is magnified. Though he responds to the other man, all his thoughts are on his wife betraying him with another man. To him, that seems to be an all-consuming thought. The audience can see that that fear is more on his mind than the job he will be starting. 


There is also the expressive editing, where the sound of the party outside (a representation of decadence and freedom) is mingled with the vision of the man's wife kissing the other man. Together this is the fruit of a lack of restraint and denial of social conventions.


3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen?  


A technique, which I already mentioned, is the fade-through, where the man's view of his wife on another man's lap, is magnified. To him, that seems to be an all-consuming thought. The audience can see that that fear is more on his mind than the job he will be starting. 


Another technique is the music that plays while the trainer tries to convince the main character that he needs to train, as the other man with his wife is already a champion. I don't know how to describe it exactly, except that it seems to egg him on of its own accord.


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1) Because Hitchcock used the montage in this scene you can tell the party is going on longer and there is more going on.  If it would have been a regular shot it should have been a much longer scene and therefore it would have seemed slower.  In the main characters mind he is seeing the party escalating faster and his wife (or who I assume is his wife) getting closer to the gentleman in the chair.  From the second the main character looks in the mirror to see what is going on the rhythm is increased with the montage of first it being just a couple of people in the room to the whole party to the dancing woman, etc.  Thus the rhythm of the scene gets faster, as does the music.     

 

2)    The use of the superimposing of the main characters wife sitting close to the man in the chair in one way that you can tell he is upset because as this moves into the scene it then gets black around them so that is all that can be seen.  As this is starting the music is starting to get out of control and the spinning record makes us feel like the man's life is "spinning out of control" as well because he will have to leave his wife in this type of environment.

 

3) One thing that Hitchcock did very well in this scene to show the rivalry is first to have the sign on the wall showing them versus each other.  Although this may not seem like it is saying much it is laying out the rivalry quiet literally for us.  Also the use of the mirror and the angling between the two areas of the scene.  This shows the two very different ways the men's lives are going right now.  These are two great uses of the set design to help lay out the story. 

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1.  He adds in shots of the characters viewing one another in the mirror often.  As well as the same objects in opposite corners of the shot (men fanning dancing women & ukulele players on chair), which add to the vitality of the scene.

 

2.  The use of the woman's embrace with the other  man moving from the mirror into all that the boxer can see adds to a peek into his psyche.  So does the melting away of the large group of dancers later in the scene, intending that he can't think straight.

 

3.  The carryover from the mirror into the husband's mind sets the stage for the rivalry between the two men.  The husband's consult with his friends in a separate room does as well.  He is obviously becoming increasingly distressed while "the champion" seems to have no worries.

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2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity.

 

I feel that blurring the images and elongating the piano keys puts us in the mind of the main character as it resembles a dream-like sequence. It makes me think of how we day-dream or think about a memory--everything is blurry and out of proportion.

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