Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #4: Depends on Your Point of View (Scene from Downhill)

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There are a number of great comments thus far today and I will not restate what others have already discussed. That said; I agree that the POV dolly shots from the onset of the clip, bring you into the tension of having to make the long walk to face impending doom. Hitchcock as Dr. Edwards points out employed various interesting film techniques throughout his career that became signature traits for him. The POV shots being one of them to such the audience in such as in the clips this week as well as later films such as Spellbound for the suicide scene. The desired result is to pull you out of the theater and into the scene and if successful, even for a moment at a time, vests the viewer in the outcome. POV can also be detracting if not used judiciously as in Lady in the Lake which for me, is very hard to watch. Hitchcock gets it right!

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First of all, let no one say Ed Grimley invented the up-to-the-chinpants. These guys and their pals did. Also, I cannot help but notice the lovely bad teeth in the silent films. Maybe it's because I work in the dental field. And the thick eyeliner for the women to make the eyes jump out. Of course, the men did this, too.   OK, as far as the POV tracking shot(s),  it made the huge distance between the naughty boys and the stern headmaster appear that much greater. The fear and trepidation is palpable there. The big, serious wood-paneled room seemed churchy, emphasizing the gravity of the situation. Looking forward to putting this all in context when I watch this movie.

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 

 

Moving along on the dolly with the boys (Roddy & Tim) evokes that feeling of having to go see the school principal or going to your boss’ office for an unexpected talk. You know what that's like and you don't want to do it. It puts you there in the moment with them, and because you are walking with them and looking at the scene from their POV, you automatically sympathize with them. However, if the characters were ones you didn’t want to sympathize with, moving together with them in this way would feel very uncomfortable. You may be thinking, “Umm, I’m not with these guys. Get me outta here.” The tracking shots ensure that you stay with them whether or not you feel comfortable/uncomfortable. The action on the screen cannot escape your view of it.

 

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

 

Especially in a silent movie, I think that using a POV tracking shot helps the viewer focus on the story; you know you’re not missing anything happening off to the side of the main view, etc. It keeps you alert to where each actor is; you don’t lose sight of anyone, so if they do something behind someone else’s back, you can be in on it, rather than not realizing it happened at all. Meanwhile, in a movie with sound, you would be able to hear someone doing something out of frame. (Example: In “Dial M for Murder”, you don’t just see the doorknob shake, you hear the key fumbling in the lock beyond the door. Without this particular sound, you may think that someone is just jiggling the handle to see if the door is open. The sound of the key clues you into the idea that whoever is out there in fact has a key and is using it to get inside.)

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples.

 

1) There are still the close-up shots of women's faces. At one point, in Downhill, the girl looks (to me) like a witch speaking an incantation, cursing the boys. Quite a difference compared with the helpless woman screaming in fear at the beginning of The Lodger. 2) The eye movements of the actors (specifically the men) in Downhill feels a lot more natural than in The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger where people seem to be overacting. In Downhill and The Ring, the art of acting natural seems to have taken hold. Less camera-awareness on the actors’ part. The relationships between characters feels real now, not put-on. 3) Characters are given time to act — taking time to follow them through the room (Downhill) rather than seeing them enter the room and then cutting straight to the desk. There is more real emotion being shown in Downhill -- a precursor to the pent-up emotions displayed in the erratic montage sequence in The Ring. 4) The space the scene takes place in, in Downhill, is a large decadent space, compared with the closed-in, humble housing in The Lodger and The Pleasure Garden. In The Ring, we are treated to a ritzy party in an expansive home setting. 5) Scenes are becoming brighter in each movie... which helps to lighten the mood... which allows for more in-depth characterizations because people/things are less hidden in the shadowy darkness of stage lighting -- but also because when you do see a shadow now in a brighter room, it can be given more meaning than all the other shadows due to darkness in general (if that makes sense). [A technical advancement?] In other words... it *seems* that scenes are not as dependent on light vs. dark to express good vs. bad. Etc.

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1) There are still the close-up shots of women's faces. At one point, in Downhill, the girl looks (to me) like a witch speaking an incantation, cursing the boys. Quite a difference compared with the helpless woman screaming in fear at the beginning of The Lodger. 2) The eye movements of the actors (specifically the men) in Downhill feels a lot more natural than in The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger where people seem to be overacting. In Downhill and The Ring, the art of acting natural seems to have taken hold. Less camera-awareness on the actors’ part. The relationships between characters feels real now, not put-on. 3) Characters are given time to act — taking time to follow them through the room (Downhill) rather than seeing them enter the room and then cutting straight to the desk. There is more real emotion being shown in Downhill -- a precursor to the pent-up emotions displayed in the erratic montage sequence in The Ring. 4) The space the scene takes place in, in Downhill, is a large decadent space, compared with the closed-in, humble housing in The Lodger and The Pleasure Garden. In The Ring, we are treated to a ritzy party in an expansive home setting. 5) Scenes are becoming brighter in each movie... which helps to lighten the mood... which allows for more in-depth characterizations because people/things are less hidden in the shadowy darkness of stage lighting -- but also because when you do see a shadow now in a brighter room, it can be given more meaning than all the other shadows due to darkness in general (if that makes sense). [A technical advancement?] In other words... it *seems* that scenes are not as dependent on light vs. dark to express good vs. bad. Etc.

Really good comparisons and contrasts

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene?

 

The point of view shot puts us in the perspective of the character. We start to empathize with them. As they slowly approach the headmaster, we are feeling the nervousness of what they are feeling, as we see it through their eyes. 

 

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling?

 

I believe Hitch uses the POV to achieve the empathy with the character. We start feeling what they are. As the boys slowly approach the headmaster, we feel the nervousness and suspense. As Mable approaches the boys to accuse them, we  feel the suspense of what her decision/statement will be. The POV creates in the audience a connection to the action on screen - a participation to the action on screen. We become more involved and less detached.

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this

 

The montage at the end is very similar to the montage in The Ring where it becomes an internal POV - we see what the character is thinking. In Jack's case, we saw in his mind his wife sitting on the other man's lap and their kiss. In the same way we see into the Waitress' mind in this clip. The montage of superimposed images is what she is thinking.

 

The extreme close up of the waitress is similar to the one that begins The Lodger clip - that of the woman's scream. We see her whole face. The extreme close up, used sparingly, creates emphasis in those key moments.

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1) I found this scene extraordinary as it uses POV from different characters point of view. It brings a kind of reverse emotion to the scene when you see the person being looked at provide the emotional reaction to the character, whether it be the girl or the boy in the headmaster's office.

 

2) Hitchcock uses POV to stress the emotion and reactions while at the same time making you feel with the person who is providing the point of view. It is a technique that he provides throughout his career to provide the emphasis on reaction and emotion.

 

3) There has definitely been an improvement in lighting and editing techniques, although, there is still a long way to go on the editing side of things. Although, not able to tell from this scene, I found the use of background action must better in the Ring than in the Lodger. This is a development that will continue throughout his career. I cannot help but think of "Rope" and how the background of the city steadily dims as day moves into evening and eventually night. I also found the closeups of the girl and the memories that are superimposed, quite interesting.

 

So far, I have not been able to find the film "Downhill", but I will continue to search.

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1. The effect of Hitchcock's POVs is especially powerful when the boys are walking toward the headmaster. Most people know that feeling of being called to the principal's office and walking to your doom. On a side note: the actor playing the headmaster does a great job of looking stern and scary.

The POV of the girl walking toward the boys to accuse one makes the viewer really feel the unease of the boys.

2. I think Hitchcock used the POV shots to bring the audience into the head of the characters. The POV shots give the character's perspective much more thoroughly than an inter-title. The story flows on without the interruption of extraneous information.

3. The connections I see between the films are the use of visual techniques that allow the audience to enter the mind of the characters. The use of close facial shots, interesting ways of framing a shot (the mirror shot from The Ring comes to mind; as well as the use of the shiny side of the food cart in The Lodger), and of the the POV shots. 

One of the things that really struck me was Hitchcock's use of techniques that dramatically reduce the need for inter-titles. He used creative camera shots and montage, especially, to move the story along. This is especially true of the The Ring and today's clip of Downhill. The audience learns the girl's story without the use of any inter-titles.

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The effect of the POV dolly shots is that “you are there and receiving an abundance of story information”, witnessing the actions and reactions of a very carefully composed sequence of events orchestrated by the director.  Hitchcock’s vision captures for the audience the full range of emotions (fear, anxiety, dread) felt by the two schoolmates as they approach the headmaster (stern, authoritarian) and his unrelenting glare within his over elaborate office.

 

I believe Hitchcock uses the POV tracking technique because it is the most effective tool for framing the action, drawing attention to details and moving the story forward while keeping the audience informed.  As opposed to a stage play, for example, where the audience has the entire proscenium to gaze upon, a competent film director like Hitchcock uses his camera techniques of well-composed shots, to guide or often force his audience to follow his story and the details they should be focused on or at least need to know for continuity and dramatic effect. 

 

The most noticeable connection I see with the film clips we’ve viewed so far would be that the characters are under duress or emotional conflict.  In The Pleasure Garden, Patsy the showgirl is dealing with the attentions of an unwanted, overzealous fan while Jill the want-to-be showgirl is the victim of a pickpocket.  With The Lodger we are seeing people of the street, police and reporters reacting to a local murder.  In The Ring we see Jim, the boxer along with his trainers and managers dealing with his anxiety and insecurities over an upcoming fight. Visually in Downhill, I’m seeing Hitchcock relying on the more fluid, camera dolly shots to accomplish the effect previously created by quick cuts from different positions/angles of the same shot.  So the schoolmates dilemma captured within a couple of dolly shots in what would have required numerous static camera set-ups, cutting back and forth to show the boys, the schoolmaster, the office and the girl.  

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene?

The use of the POV shots really make you connect to the characters in this scene. You're set up to feel what they feel, for example with the boys you can feel how tense and anxious they are when they're walking up to the headmaster. With Mabel, you could feel almost the power she had as she walked up to the boys before she made her decision.

 

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling?

I think he uses it to really make the audience connect with the actors and their characters. It adds more meaning to think story because as he mentioned,film stars were important because whatever situation you put them in the audience is going to feel for them more because they're fans. So using a pov shot in a tense case like this really ramps it up a Bit.

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples.

In The Pleasure Garden and The Ring, there were points made to see things from characters point of view (i.e. the binoculars scene in The Pleasure Garden and the montages and the mirrors in The Ring). There's always some connection of trying to put the audience in the character's shoes.

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1) point of view- As the camera moves closer to the headmaster, you can see the expressions as they appear to getting closer. Shots appear to made from their angle or position. Their eyes move to that angle. It's so awesome! I had never considered that before in a silent movie.

2) why? It made me feel their anxiety as they approached the headmaster without a clue as to why they were summoned. You really feel their emotions. Even when the friend left, you even felt his hesitation to leave his friend. Incredible idea to include this.

3) similarities between this and ....

Pleasure Garden- the purse!!!! Both movies rely on a purse. The girl's purse is robbed in PG and there us a closeup of it. In this clip, she drops her purse accidentally, and there is a closeup of it, and this causes the men to turn around and her presence. Wow!!

The Lodger- both involve a character that is falsely accused of something

The Ring- both movies include superimposed scenes heavily

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1. The dolly shots make me feel like I'm very passive and I'm being pushed/drawn towards

    something inevitable, dreadful and yet irresistible. It's sort of like being on a carnival ride 

    or a fun house.

 

2.  I think it allows Hitchcock to function as an unseen & silent narrator in the scene. This adds a 

     layer of psychological and subconscious storytelling that allows for more complexity and effect.

 

3. Purses!

    Dancing feet

    Phonographs

    Doorways used as frames

   

   Signs conveying unusual or specific information (Closing Wednesday at 10:00! Why Wednesday? 

    Is it somehow more shameful that it happened on a regular weekday?)

 

    Carefully staged groupings of one, two and three that indicate opposition, conspiracy, etc.

   

    Multiple exploitations or predations going on simultaneously causing torn sympathies, confusion

    and an overall feeling of helplessness against a difficult world.

         -In the Pleasure Garden, an old lecher hits on a showgirl while a naive girl arrives to presumably

          be a part of the exploitative dance show, only to be robbed.

         -In The Lodger, a woman is killed and the press immediately starts to try to make money off of

          it while the witnesses garner attention and sympathy for their stories.

         -In The Ring, a boxer is primed for exploitation by his trainers as his wife considers

          cheating on him (and while dancers are leered at and raucously force fed champagne).

         -In Downhill, a student is falsely accused by a woman and then betrayed by his friend who 

          knows he didn't do it. 

    

 

    

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 

The most striking is the end of the scene when the young lady (the accuser) is being watched by the young man who was accused. AH "leans in closely" so you can see the anger in the oung lady's face. The use of POV is a stroke of genius because situations like the one depicted make viewers have to read nuances of facial expression to try to ascertain which of the two (the accuser and the accused) is "sincere," or "credible. The POV where the two young men go forward to see the (dean, schoolmaster, vicar, i.e.) who is a symbol of authority symbol and judge adds a sense of dread. 

 

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

In my opinion it is the ultimate mise-en-scene taking you into the world of the character. In addition, AH takes total control of your viewing of the film and adds an element of determinism. You only see what he sees. (This technique is what I think made "Lady in the Lake" such a fascinating movie. Ditto "Dark Passage." 

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 

 

As regards films that came before this I see how AH literally compartmenalizes characters by putting them in different rooms in the same scene, e.g in "The Pleasure Garden" the chorus girl and the old gentleman are offstage while the burlesque continues, and, in "The Lodger" the scene when three characters are downstairs and peering up to the ceiling which is the lodger's floor.  As regards "The Ring" this same use of  physical barrriers is used when the boxer is in one room with his manager and trainer versus the party going on in the living room versus shots of the boxer's wife in another room with another man. 

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 


By using this technique...AH heightens your feeling of dread, ominous....as the female is drawn closer you are also drawn in to the emotion of dread and doom


2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 


To heighten your involvement in the film...emotionally...I felt bad for Ivor Novello an innocent dupe...I am interested in watching the whole film...What becomes of him because of this accusation?


3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 


I see the failings of humans in each clip  ...and how people are used...also the superimposing of images in the Ring and this film


 

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1. The effect of the POV dolly shots and tracking shots was communicated powerfully. In the scene of the boys moving closer to the principal, the principal's emotions become more apparent through his face, sensing signs of destruction and the problems and conflict that might be apprised later on in the story. The shot also portray a sense of suspense psychologically, as we are now seeing in the boy's point of view. We can see how the principal's emotions were expressed towards them; a scary, thrilling sense, as well as suspense will be develop in us as we sense that problems might occur later on. We are now seeing a boy's point of view getting into trouble with the lady and the principal, and it makes us feel that we are also in trouble as well, which cause the feeling of suspense, thrilling, and unstable emotions to be develop in us as we go along the story.

 

Hitchcock's use of a subjective POV portray is so effective that it puts us on the story, as if we were in the scenario. We are now seeing in the boy's point of view slowly creeping in and getting closer to trouble and conflict. It makes us feel troubles and the feeling of "suspense" and emotional instability will be develop on us.

 

2. To cause intensity and anxiety in our emotions. The POV shot portrays the character's emotions and psychological thinking. By putting us in the character's point of view, we feels like there's a "bond" or a feeling of "relationship" connection between us the audience and the point of view we are in , which is the boys.

 

3. The themes are similar and the stories in the films all related to the corruptness human nature. In the Lodger, it explores the theme of human cruelty involving around the murder of a young blonde girl. While in the Ring and the Pleasure Garden, it explores human's sexual desires and lust. (Pleasure Garden: the man looking at the girl dancing through the glass lens (or some sort of binocular) depicting his interest and sexual desires for a particular girl. In the Ring, there was a scene where the girl was kissing the other man (not  her husband) . It was a visual interpreted in just the husband's mind, but the actions of the girl to the other man in reality was full of interest, desire and happiness which depicts how she's ready to be with other man when her husband is not around as she express so much interest in the other man.

 

In all films, the use of montage can be seen to depict what's on the character's mind visuall ,psychologically, and internally. We also see through the main's character point of view subjectively in all these films, which builds up the tension. There's also use of a girl dancing and blonde girls in the Pleasure Garden and Downhill. 

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The quote of the day was from the Lecture Notes video. When talking about directors that yell and scream to get what they want this was the reply.

 

"All the Drama on the Set and none of the Screen" - Hitchcock

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1.       In the first POV tracking shot, we feel the fear the young men feel approaching the stern-faced headmaster, who keeps getting closer in our vision. By cutting to their worried faces as they approach, we understand they know this is bad. In the second POV tracking shot, we feel similar apprehension for the young men as Mabel moves closer to them to identify the father of her child. We again see their fearful reactions as they get closer crosscutting with her determined look as she approaches “us.”

2.       By editing together these POV tracking shots, there is no need to explain in titles how the young men feel approaching the reproachful headmaster or being approached by Mabel. More importantly, we empathize with the characters and feel accused too.

3.       The scene from The Lodger opened with an extreme close-up of a woman screaming. The Downhill scene includes an extreme close-up of Mabel as she accuses Roddy of fathering her child. This allows us to study how trustworthy she might be and also serves as a transition into a montage of her story. The scene from The Ring featured a montage of how Jack imagined things happening in the next room. Similarly, the montage here is a subjective, perhaps fabricated version of what happened. We see a record playing, the feet of a man and woman dancing by a fringed curtain, a male hand passing money to a female  hand, a sign that says “CLOSE ON WEDNESDAY AT 1 O’CLOCK” and then that sign smaller with a “CLOSED” sign. (Without having seen the film, I don’t know if this is to represent an abortion service.)

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Morning all!

Today's clip from Downhill is an example of Hitchcock's use of POV tracking shots to heighten the anxiety of a moment. When the two boys stand in the headmaster's office, we have the feeling that they are surrounded, partially because the accusing girl is seated behind them with the headmaster before them. As we watch the confrontation, Hitchcock deliberately uses a slow, smooth moving camera to put us in the boys' perspective. The first time the technique is used, it is when the boys are first confronted by the headmaster. The camera brings us closer to the boys' faces, creating the feeling of no escape. In the same way, when the girl is asked to point out which one of them she is accusing, the POV tracking shot is used to make us feel that Ivor Novello's character is trapped by the inevitable as the camera hones in on him.

I noticed that in one shot, the camera is placed behind the boys' backs at the headmaster's desk. This adds to the feeling of them being surrounded as they sheepishly turn their heads towards the camera.

When I watched the clip, I couldn't help but think of yesterday's scene from The Ring. Although the scenarios of the two films are very different, similar feelings of isolation and anxiety permeate both clips. In the scene from The Ring, the boxer's feelings of helplessness about his wife's affair with another man are accentuated by his being seated in an adjacent room and watching the couple through a mirror. In this way, he couple is distanced from the boxer, suggesting that they are out of reach. His anxieties about leaving his wife while he embarks on a training are emphasized by the wild dancing and exuberance of the next room, in contrast to the stillness of his. The superimposition of images and the montage effects help us to feel his increasing nervousness. In the same way, in today's clip from Downhill, the boys' escalating anxiety is expressed through the use of POV tracking shots.

I think that this observation points to Hitchcock's evolution as a filmmaker interested in the themes of anxiety and psychological torment. These emotions would continue to appear with increasing frequency in his later films.

Just wanted to add that this morning, I checked out a book on Hitch from my local library. It is The Dark Side of Genius by Donald Spoto. Not sure if this is one of the books that you would recommend, Prof. Edwards, but I found it interesting and insightful. It is chronological but focuses on Hitchcock's inner life and childhood (so far). My plan is to read it alongside this course. Not knowing much about his private life, I was struck by how much of his childhood seems to fit with the themes we have been discussing. Notably, in my post above I wrote about themes of anxiety and isolation. Reading this biography, I see some of those same traits in Hitch himself. For example, Spoto describes Hitchcock as an enigma. As a child, he had some dark fears and a deep sense of dread. He was always a loner and an observer rather than a participant. Finally, I was just reading about how Hitchcock was always very visually oriented, even as a child, and with an active inner life of fantasy.

It's very interesting to me how much of the man himself is reflected in the themes of his films, even when viewing these early silent films. Sorry if this went somewhat off topic, but I think it's interesting.

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 

The movement is smooth, it puts us into the scene.  The wide angle of the room, then coming in close, like we are walking into it ourselves.  I can feel the impending doom entering the headmasters room.

 

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

It puts the viewer on the same visual footing as the characters; what they experience we experience.  At the beginning, the boys enter the room shoulder-to-shoulder as equals, friends.  By the end, minute 3:20, they are positioned like bookends, one looking left, the other right.  No longer friends. 

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 

 

​The clip is very "vampire-ish".  Even though Dracula came out in 1931, the gothic darkness of this clip reminded me of Dracula.  The close up of Mabel, with her dark eyeliner brought it to mind again.

 

Mabel is portrayed as a villain and victim.  Like in Pleasure Garden, she is a women who is taken advantage of and tries to get the best deal she can by blaming the wealthy Roddy. 

 

In the scene itself, Roddy, is wearing a jacket that is too small for him.  He has outgrown the school?  He has grown up.  ​Tim Wakely is shown to be physically Weak.  Slumped shoulders, head down. 

 

​The superimposing of images one on top of the other is like The Ring.  Mabels face, the record playing, dancing up close, hands exchanging money. 

 

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The two POV dolly shots in this clip, while subliminally building suspense, almost literally deliver us -as in you are on a conveyor belt being offered up to the headmaster and/or the waitress- to our own feelings of dread, guilt, and perhaps even shame. 

 

I think Hitchcock uses this for a couple of reasons. He's an innovator at heart and this is (I'm assuming) new technology.... but it's also efficient, it's calm. Here again is that juxtaposition so present in his work; the calmness and quietness of the shot belies the feelings that the boys and even we have. The pace of the scene is slowed, while our hearts begin to race... we begin to wonder what will happen? I understand why these dolly shots are a game changer in film. Hitchcock's capacity to tell a story visually has exponentially evolved with this tool. As viewers, we are be taken somewhere by Hitch, we are not just passive recipients of a story, we are being inserted into the story. It's a delicious manipulation.

 

Nothing is extraneous with Hitchcock and that theme is present here. Things like the opening and closing of the doors at the beginning of the scene which give a sense of being captured; the overall scale of the room and the perceived vast divide between guilt and innocence; the posture and gestures of the two boys.  Also the use of superimposed and montage footage of the salacious events to propel the story and fill in the blanks is present. Although there is still so much room for doubt as to motive.

Hitchcock likes to dwell on the knife's edge...telling stories in which an innocent -even average person's life hinges on the actions and motives of someone else and we see that so clearly here.  

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In my own words, I would describe the affect of the dolly shots as effective in putting me into Novello's head. The camera is focused on the dean and later the accuser, and in both cases there is little other visual information in the shot, giving the effect that these characters are overwhelming the boy's ability to process anything else other than the accusations. As the camera moves toward the accusers I get a feeling that the male character has a lump in his throat and a storm is brewing in his head as he thinks "what the hell is this about?"

 

I think the use of the POV shot puts the viewer into the head of the boys, giving us a sense of their discomfort and their confusion about what is happening. (I don't really know what else happens in this film. I'm assuming that they are not entirely guilty, but maybe I'm incorrect. I'll revisit this after I see the film. Wish TCM would hurry up and start broadcasting these films!)

 

All of the clips we've seen so far have used montage which indicates to me that Hitchcock is as concerned or even more concerned with describing the psychological and emotional states of his characters as he is with advancing the narrative. I also like BillieDawn's summary of some recurring visuals:

 

"Purses!

    Dancing feet

    Phonographs

    Doorways used as frames

   

   Signs conveying unusual or specific information (Closing Wednesday at 10:00! Why Wednesday? 

    Is it somehow more shameful that it happened on a regular weekday?)"

 

The next time I'm feeling emotionally overwhelmed I wonder if I will envision a record spinning on my forehead?

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Once more, Hitch uses a technique, this time POV shots, to subvert the normal objectivity of watching the film and make us identify with the character whose POV we are watching. Everything is about looks here, the angry look of the girl, the even more angry one of the headmaster, the terrified one of the innocent but framed character played by Novello and the guilty but pleased one of his classmate.

 

Hitchcock wants us to understand the characters just be looking at them and getting into their shoes, without showing much. I personally think that one of the reasons he experimented with POV was the fact that films back then were silent, so he couldn't use words and dialogues to bring us closer to the set-up and the characters, only looks and expressions. As it was the case with many of his techniques we have seen this week, such as the rapid cuts and meticulous montage, he probably tried to eliminate the handicap of silent films with them, yet they were very successful and trademark of his in his sound career as well.

 

 

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1.  I think it gives more of a sense of what is going on in the film with the close out shots of the room, moving in on the boys and on the girl, and then the headmaster, we can give a sense of what is going on in the room. I think even without there being an explination of what was going on we can tell that this girl is accusing one or both of them of something, and you can see the boys fear and confusion.


 


 


2. I think he uses it to tell more of the story, as being it is a silent film you can not hear what the person is feeling, you have to be able to see it for yourself, to feel it, to know what is going on.


 


 


3. That while the movies seem to move fast, and have a flow to them, scenes that are happy seem to flow while scenes that have fear tend to be a bit more sharp. That it tends to get close to the people so you can see their face up close so you can really see what it is they are thinking.


 


 


 


 


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1.    In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

When the filmmaker shifts to a 2nd person (i.e. “YOU”) POV in the story-telling for a bit, we lose the detached distance of the 3rd person POV – and this is illustrated by taking us from the long, faraway shot of the headmaster’s desk to a closer and closer encounter with the authority figure, each step putting us more firmly in a subject position to the powers that be. Hitchcock uses this to emphasize the powerlessness of the protagonist (who, for a moment, is US.)

 

 

2.    What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 

Montage as a way to visually communicate a lot of information in a small package. (e.g. the accusation montage.)

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