Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #6: Knocking 'Em Cold (Opening Scene from The Man Who Knew Too Much)

221 posts in this topic

1)  Character or plot?

Plot is the sequence of events that make up a story.  Plot is going to be more important than character in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934); that is a Hitchcock signature.   

 

2)  Abbott/Lorre, what do we learn?

LAWRENCE:         You all right, sir?

ABBOTT:               I don’t know, my English is not good enough for me to know!

LAWRENCE:         That daughter of mine’s knocking ’em cold before her time!

ABBOTT:               Knocking them cold? What does it mean?

LAWRENCE:         Just an expression.

 

After being knocked down with the rest of the immediate crowd, Abbott displays a sense of humor.  He is laughing as he stands up, brushing snow from his coat.  He jokes with Lawrence.

His tone contrasts with that of his curmudgeonly nurse.   Then, Abbott’s jocularity is interrupted briefly when he and Louis exchange glances, foreshadowing something darker.  Lawrence is oblivious.  Right off the bat, Abbott is likeable, and we are not supposed to like the bad guy.

 

Abbott’s line is also an inside joke, as Lorre was learning English and, supposedly, reading his lines phonetically.

 

3)  Opening scenes of The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger, and the 1934 The Man Who Knew Too Much, similarities and differences?

The openings of The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger, and the 1934 The Man Who Knew Too Much share signature Hitchcockian techniques.  The overall impression is movement accomplished by quick cuts, tight frames, close-ups, and crowd panorama shots.  In The Man Who Knew Too Much, the images are brighter and less claustrophobic.  The tone is lighter.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on these opening scene, I believe characters will be more important than plot to this film. 

Abbott (Peter Lorre) noticeably reacts to Luis Bernard, and Luis reacts either to Abbot's reaction or to Abbott's presence.  What is their relationship? Abbott's light-hearted reaction to the near miss from the skier's wipeout changes in an instant; is there some deceit here?

This opening scene is somewhat similar to the opening scene in The Pleasure Garden, in that both tease the audience with light and dark moments, and point to something more yet to come.  The opening scene in The Lodger, a screaming woman reacting to a murder committed in a public space, tells the audience what the film is about: a murder and a murderer.

 
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.    Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet)

 

I haven’t seen the film yet, so I’m guessing that the plot will be character-driven, based on the Peter Lorre character who seems intriguing . . .

 

 

2.    What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? 

 

Abbot seems winsome and friendly—not villainous at all.

 

 

3.    We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. 

 

Like The Pleasure Garden, we see the swift panning of the faces in the crowd, a girl with curls, and anticipate danger based upon the pacing.  The danger motif also appears when we see the face of the skier as he anticipates his fall or collision with the dog.  All these acts work to build suspense—this time, however, we’re more attuned to the characters *without* the use of morose or escalating music.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Based on this opening scene, characters are going to be more important than plot.

 

2. Abbot was a good sport about the accident, laughing it off, but when he got a good look at the skier, his expression turned cold for just a second. Obviously he knows the skier, and has an unpleasant association with him. Despite the outward appearance of being jovial and carefree, something sinister has been teased. My impression is he is not as happy-go-lucky as he wants everyone to believe.

 

3. This scene is similar to both The Lodger and The Pleasure Garden in that a physical act, whether murder or an accident, sets in motion the intersection of the characters in the story. The Man Who Knew Too Much makes a departure from the others not only with the obvious with the use of sound, and visually he opens up the camera to a wide mountain vista. This scene is bright and open and crowded, as opposed to dark and intimate like the first two opening scenes.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) In the opening scene, I feel the characters are more important.

 

2)I feel the character of Abbott, although seemingly jovial about the near miss,  is a bit deceitful as well.

 

3) It is somewhat similar to the opening scene in the pleasure garden because  they both give the audience some light and dark moments and point to something more yet to come

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the characters will be more important than the plot. Four of the main characters are introduced immediately in the opening scene, and Abbott recognizes Louis and immediately attempts to hide the fact with laughter. Louis seems to know that something's amiss but it's like he can't quite put his finger on what it is. There's an indication of possible marital issues between Bob and Jill because of the way Betty prattles on about how her mother simply adores Louis and her father keeps replying "yes dear" and nothing else. So we learn important things about the plot through the interactions of the characters in this first scene.

 

Abbott makes no attempt to hide the fact that he's a foreigner, pointing out that his English isn't good enough for him to say whether he's alright and also being unfamiliar with the expression "knocking them cold." He seems like such a good humored, easy going person, apparently with health issues because he's traveling with a nurse. His kindly, cheerful persona is going to make it harder to accept him as a villain!!

 

The opening shots of Pleasure Garden and this film clip show crowds gathered for the purpose of having a good time; the scenes are brightly lit and the tone is lighthearted. There's emphasis on the personal interactions of the characters. In The Lodger, the scenes are dark and the crowd has gathered to gawk at a murder scene. As the action continues, the focus changes from personal interaction to showing the impersonal work involved in reporting the news of another murder...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1)  I feel that the characters will be the more important to the film because you are first introduced to the characters, not the plot. Also, I feel that since the characters have made acquaintances with each other so early on, this would be an indicator that the focus of the audience’s attention will be on the characters specifically, what happens to them, and their dynamic as a whole unit.

 

 

2)  With Abbott’s brief introduction, we learn that he is a very jovial and care-free guy, who takes nothing to heart and everything lightly.  This introduction would tell me that maybe Abbott will not be a major player in later climatic sequences. He seems to be more of a supporting character, who follows the other major characters instead of leading them.

 

 

3)  There is no direct similarities between this opening scene and the Lodger, but there is one similarity between it and the Pleasure Garden. Both of them had fun, little flirty comments made between guys and girls.

 

One difference is that this opening scene is less technically pleasing, compared to the other two. The Lodger and the Pleasure Garden both had innovative shots, like the tracking scenes, where the Man Who Knew Too Much did not. It almost appeared to be cookie-cutter in a way. Another difference is that this opening scene had more dialogue and less visual story-telling, than the other two.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In watching Daily Dose 6 I am struck by the refinement of technique in this move. 

 

1.  From just this opening scene I am convinced that this film will be more about character than plot. We meet the Peter Lorre, who seems like an intriguing character, we meet the girl who is annoyingly precocious, we meet her father who seems a bit secretive or dull and the skier friend who seems energetic and kind.....we also hear about the girls mother who is a sharpshooter which is very interesting. This opening scene creates a relationship immediately between the audience and these characters which I imagine will continue throughout the film. Of course we know that Hitchcock believed that the classic chase movie should have the audience involved with and worried for the characters and not the reason for the chase.

 

2.  Peter Lorre as Abbot makes an interesting appearance here...he pops up covered with snow and immediately comes across as a nice guy, who is pleasant and self effacing.....he makes fun of his difficulty with English and laughs off the concerns of the people around him....his female companion adds a dimension of something unknown about him though...in her seriousness. When he finally comes face to face with the skier there is an expression on his face for just a moment that makes us see that maybe his appearance as a good guy is not accurate. Hitchcock adds this element of "nothing is as it appears to be" to his spy thrillers. 

 

3.   The opening scenes of The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger and The Man Who Knew Too Much there are some similarities. They all start with crowd scenes, they all have spectators looking at something , the Pleasure Garden and The Man who Knew Too Much are happier scenes...with bright music and smiling people, the Lodger is a darker opener with a dead body and onlookers. I see more differences than similarities though. In the Pleasure Garden and in The Lodger, there are many more odd camera angles, more frenetic movement, and lots of dark shadows (low key shots), there are also jolting changes of shots from scene to scene....crowd to individuals etc. In the Man Who Knew Too Much, the scene is lighter and brighter, the music adds to a bit of gaiety, the cross shots from action to bystanders is not sudden or disorienting. There is also a measure of comedy even in the way the skier, covers his eyes when he decides to fall.....and in the unveiling of Pete Lorre from the fallen crowd. Of course in The Pleasure Garden there is also comedy in the men looking at the women and the man who finds that her blonde curl is fake but the humor is mean,  not like the humor here which seems to be innocent..yet one knows it's not what it appears to be. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I believe the characters are going to be more important. Time has been taken to establish relationships ("Uncle" Louis, father and daughter, a questionable history between Louis and Abbott) but also the quirkiness of their characters. For example, the daughter, as Wes remarked in the video, is annoying and used to getting her own way with her father; plus she doesn't seem that sorry for causing a near-catastrophe and ruining Louis's competition! Very little has been offered in terms of the plot; just a sense of unease due to the accident and Peter Lorre's shocked expression.

 

2. Unlike others in the crowd, his English is admittedly poor and his fur coat, hat and white gloves further single him out as unique. Given the shock on his face and hasty exit upon seeing "Uncle" Louis the skier, the two share a negative history; although Louis seems perplexed by Abbott's reaction to him. His laughter and toothy smile suggest a jovial good nature but because it's Peter Lorre, that is usually masking something sinister underneath! The daughter even remarks on his toothy smile and sets him up as being creepy. The fact that Louis falls and then remarks that the young girl and dog nearly killed him, in conjunction with his association with Lorre, suggests that Louis may meet an untimely demise.

 

3. The "act of watching" or voyeurism is immediately emphasized in these three openings. Each offers a unique perspective of a subject (dancers descending a spiral staircase, flashing neon sign/screaming woman, and the wide shot of a ski jump) and move to shots of an audience watching that subject (burlesque theatre, crowd on the street watching a dead body, crowd watching a skiing competition).

In The Man Who Knew Too Much, however, the initial shot orients us in a wide landscape, not in a series of close shots of a stage or the lamplight of a suggested Thames embankment. The location of the action, St. Moritz, is clearly established, not suggested.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot?

 

Hitchcock is more concerned with characters. He introduces the characters - Bob, his daughter Betty, and Abbot - and the plot, though interesting, is not the main focus. The main focus is how the characters comport themselves. How do Bob and his wife Jill deal with the kidnapping of their daughter? How does the victim, Betty, deal with it? How do the villains (Abbot and his crew) behave while trying to pull off their plans? These are the important aspects of the film. Hitchcock focused more on the characters than the plot throughout his career. The machinations of the plot - the McGuffins - are of no concern to Hitchcock. They exist only to give the characters something to worry about.

 

There is little in the short clip to signal this recurrent tendency in Hitchcock's career, except that from the beginning we see only the characters and no real mention of plot is mentioned. However, only 4 minutes into a film this in itself is not unusual.

 

2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film?

 

Right off the bat we learn Abbot is a cool customer. After being hit by the skier and knocked to the ground, he merely shrugs it off with a laugh and a joke. From this we learn Abbot is not one who ruffles easily. It also establishes that his character is likeable. A charming, likeable villain is something found in many Hitchcock films. One thinks of Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train, Cary Grant in Suspicion,  Brandon in Rope, and Ray Milland in Dial M for Murder, just to name a few.

 

3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes.

 

There are some small similarities in the films. There is a quick pan across the people watching the ski jumper similar to the long pan across the audience in The Pleasure Garden. Similar to The lodger, which begins with a scream and a murder, this film starts with a ski accident.

 

There is also some comedy (with Lorre), just as there was comedy in The pleasure Garden (no smoking sign) and The Lodger (man mocking the Avenger).

 

The most obvious difference is that The Man Who Knew Too Much is a sound film, and there is a lot of dialogue establishing the characters.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From watching this brief clip you can see that Hitchcock was entirely more interested in introducing the characters and keeping them at the forefront with the continuing dialogue. The plot is much more secondary and not as important. 

 

The introduction of Peter Lorre gives the audience the impression of a very relaxed, likable gentleman that is not at all affected by the young girl's carelessness. Someone to me that appears smooth and dapper at the same time. 

 

When compared to his earlier silent films you can see a similarity in the energy of the picture which is fast-paced and lively. However, there is the obvious difference of sound which gives us the dialogue at the beginning that moves the picture forward. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. It seems obvious that Hitchcock is going to be more concerned with characters than plot, based on this opening scene. This is also based on the fact that that is what Hitchcock seems to always be more focused on in his films...the audience investment in the characters. Having the audience invested in the characters helps the progress and suspense of the plot. 

All we see and hear in this scene is a discussion of characters. Only one moment hints at a possible plot to come, when Abbott (Peter Lorre) stumbles in his words when he sees the face of the skier for the first time.

2. Abbott (Peter Lorre) seems a jovial, friendly type. He wasn't angry or upset by the collision with the skier. He takes it in his stride, smiling almost the whole time. I want to like this character and possibly even root for him.

3. The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger opening scenes are similar to the opening scene of The Man Who Knew Too Much in just a couple of ways: The focus is on people in all three and crowds or audiences are involved in all three. The focus in all three is definitely on the visual, especially right at the beginning. There is little communication at first except visual. Some differences between these opening scenes are that The Man Who Knew Too Much is a much brighter scene visually (outside in bright daylight). The 2 silent films were darker (inside or at night). Both the opening scenes of the silent films had sexual elements, the legs of the dancing girls, or the blond who is murdered. The opening scene of The Man Who Knew Too Much lacks that overt sexuality (except for the obvious crush of the young girl on the skier). Finally, The Man Who Knew Too Much has a much more open, wider, airy feeling too it, than the two silent films, which both gave the impression of a narrower, darker feeling.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The characters seem to be more important in this clip, given more time in this film to get to know them. Peter Lorre's character seems to be pleasant and has a sense of humor until he recognizes the skier, this sets up the plot.

This clip is similar to others in how the camera use of the crowd scene, but with sound, you become more involved with characters and their lives.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.   definitely the characters are more important; most of the opening scene spent on introducing them; getting to know them a bit.

 

2.  Abbott is an affable man; easygoing, calm.  Left quickly when Louis showed up and this is intriguing to me - what's up?   (I haven't seen the movie yet)

 

3.  I agree with similarities and differences noted by previous commentors.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet)

Even though I've seen the film, I've never even thought of character vs plot in in Hitchcock films. I think generally speaking characters are almost always more important than plot. Hitchcock plots though silly at times are usually interesting, fast-moving, and sometimes complicated, but they almost always serve the same purpose to put the characters through the ringer and see how they come out on the other side.

2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? 

He seems good-natured and likable. He rolls with the punches and laughs and jokes when things go wrong. This gets you on the side of the character, so even if/when he turns out bad, you still like and respect him.

3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films'/ opening scenes. 

I think the main thing all three have in common is that all three have crowds of people witnessing a spectacle of some sort. In The Pleasure Garden, it is a musical dance performance, almost a girly show. In The Lodger, there are crowds of people witnessing the spectacle of a murder, though not sport or entertainment, the crowd views it in much the same way. Also, when you look, at the media in The Lodger, they are obviously milking what should be a tragedy for all it is worth. Then in The Man Who Knew Too Much, the crowd is watching a ski-jumping competition.

I think the biggest difference is the locale. In The Pleasure Garden, the setting is a theater. It could be any theater anywhere. In The Lodger, the setting is the streets of London. Though I am not familiar with London, but it seems to be a working-class neighborhood, it could be a working-class neighborhood, in any large city, New York, Boston, Paris, etc. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, the setting is very specific, St. Moritz, a famous Winter resort destination, and a international ski-jumping competition. Hitchcock often used famous locations. I think Hitchcock realized that most movie goers were lower and middle class. Though they might like to travel, they may not have the resources to do so. Using exotic locations gives audiences one more reason to go to see his movies, whether that's St. Moritz in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rio in Notorious, or the French Riviera in To Catch a Thief. Later, he uses locale as a counterpoint to the action, a Nazi agent hanging off the Statue of Liberty in Saboteur or spies running across the heads of the presidents at Mount Rushmore in North by Northwest.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening scene of TMWKTM (The Man Who Knew Too Much) is a character driven, front loaded classic divergent Hitchcock approach. Lorre reeks of over emphasized gentility. Later this layer of protracted frivolousness will counterpoint a lurking menace, all the more dangerous for the entertainment seeking crowd, both on film and we as audiences.

When we compare and contrast the previously viewed opening scenes, it becomes evident that Hitch directed a head-on cascading stairway scene in PG, then perfected this impact scene with a ski jump locale. The silent smash close-up framing of LODGER is echoed by the frightfull expressions quickly disseminated by cross cutting the crowd's expressions in TMWKTM after the ski jump fall. The differences all rotate 'round sound. The auditory clues Hitch incorporates rise and fall with the 'direction' (I'm a recovering punster) he deems necessary to convey our attention. Location, interesting enough is a similar trait, it becomes a character of and by itself. The later sound film, TMWKTM, has a fun location that contains lurking sinister forces.

These characteristics that develop from silence to sound mostly give us a touch of Hitch's irony that words fool, expressions tell.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Man Who Knew Too Much ..Abbott (Peter Lorre) ...always liked Peter Lorre & he makes me want to watch the movie just to watch him...I feel this way about all the movies he is in...in this movie we can see he has a sense of humor...smiling & laughing & he didn't get angry about being knocked to the ground getting snow all over his clothes ...a trouble making dog & girl created this scene to bring in a comment made by the girl...is it Lucy?  I'll have to get back w/ my answer to my own Q... what she says is a maybe a clue ...'he has too many teeth' which implies he has an insincere smile ...I think it is a clue b/c when someone is insincere they have no character

 

The Pleasure Garden ...i can form no comment or contrast compared to this movie ...The Lodger opens w/ a wide open mouth silent scream b/c it has no sound but her jaw moves so it implies sound... we know something bad has happened right away with that scream...maybe to the woman screaming or to someone else ...we find out in the next scene  that it was not to the woman screamer but to another woman "MURDER"

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) I took a Hitchcock course at KU last semester and our class watched The Man Who Knew Too Much original version but parts of it are slipping my mind. However, the film has a great emphasis on the characters from the very beginning and the plot envelops those characters immediately and we the audience have no choice but to go along for the ride with the dastardly comical in tone character of Abbott (played by Peter Lorre). This film character wise stands out amongst most of Hitchcock's wonderful cast of characters in regards to dialogue, mannerisms, and actions that they engage themselves in.

 

2) Abbott doesn't seem upset at all about the slight tumble. He's grinning, and chuckling afterwards. Although for a split second once the skier is back on his feet the look on Abbott's face appears almost crestfallen and a moment of silent anger or judgment, and before he walks away with his wife the look changes back to the grin, and the chuckle commences. This scene alone paints him in a great light and without watching any further you don't get the impression that he's going to become a villain.

 

3) The openings of The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger both have an immense focus on crowds and the spectacles going on and off of stages (The Pleasure Garden--the girls dancing on stage, The Lodger--the crowd around the golden curled hair girl) and in the case of The Man Who Knew Too Much we are back to a spectacle filled scene. The crowd is gathering to watch the skier on the slopes, and his impending wipe out. Hitchcock likes bringing a lot of perspective to his films, and then breaking down that perspective in which we only focused on Abbott, his wife, the skier, the girl and her father. Spectacle down to reasonable measures that are quite gripping to the viewer. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched this film yesterday for the first time and it was certainly in the style we will become accustomed to with Hitchcock. I really enjoyed how this film was fast paced because it heightened the suspense of what will happen next but the little bit of slapstick was also a great combination to lighten some of that tension which I think nowadays is called comic relief. Note: For those of you who have a Roku device or a Roku tv you can watch three out of the four films covered this week. They are under the My Retro Flix channel in the category of movies: subcategory of mysteries. I will let all of you know if there are any other Hitchcock films when I found out if there are any.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

July 4, 2017 – Hitchcock lecture Part 6
1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? 

 

I haven’t seen the film, and since we open on a wide shot of the ski slope, and wide shots of the crowd, the dog leaving, and a very brief shot of the ski’er in close-up, I initially thought the action sequences were going to be more important, and ultimately, the plot. But then very quickly, we are introduced to Lorre’s character, and the girl with the two other men (father and uncle). In such a short period of time, we know who the heroes, villains, and the supporting characters are, but we still don't know what the movie will be about. 

 

2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? 

 

He is happy-go-lucky, a foreigner, and somewhat lower class. He comes off as a guy who is not to be taken seriously, but somehow, the way Hitchcock features him early on makes us believe he will play an important role later.

 

3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. 

 

Similar—there is use of dramatic irony. We see the dog and the girl in harm’s way before the skier does. Then the skier’s look of fear protracts this sense of danger, raising suspense, leading up to the actual near collision. 

 

There’s also the strong POV, the Skier’s collision and fall has corresponding pans, tilts, and push-ins that emulate his movements. 

What’s different though, is that the POV is actually objective. The Skier’s look is not matched with a corresponding subjective view, so the aggressive camera movement is actually the audience experiencing the essence of the chaos. In contrast, Pleasure Garden, we are literally in people’s heads, looking through their monocles.
 

Also, unlike The Lodger, there is unity of time and place. We don’t intercut to another scene or situation. The Lodger’s opening really sets the  tone for the town and circumstances overshadowing the area, whereas in The Man Who Knew Too Much, we are introduced more to the characters after a very brief introduction to the place. We don’t know what the movie will be about, but we know who the key players will be. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I respond to the characters right away and so I think it will be more character driven. The plot seems like an interruption.

 

2. I learn that Abbott is able to appear affable and friendly but keeps company with a rather sour looking companion who's less affable and seems like a subordinate or caretaker. I learn that his English isn't good enough to know idiom. I learn that he knows the skier but wants to conceal it and is good at concealing it. He seems to have a little money due to his fur collared coat. 

 

3. This opening takes place during a vacation whereas both the Pleasure Palace and The Lodger seemed concerned with workplaces. This opening also has a fresher, less sinister outward aspect. The presence of a child and small dog add to this sensation. No one seems like they're out to cheat or steal from anyone- yet. The innocent young girl is the opposite of the sexy blondes in the other two clips. The relationship of the men to the girl is paternal, not sexually predatory. The dialogue is lighthearted and snappy. The setting is pastoral as opposed to being in the city.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet) I think the characters will be more important than the plot. You're already introduced to a handful of them right of the bat instead of a long intro scene with scenery.


2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? He has a light humor about him, but he does have another side to him since he stopped mid sentence when the skier came up. I'm guessing that from Abbott being seen as likable here, any crimes he does later might not seem as bad. He's a likable criminal. 


3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. This opening I think is similar to The Pleasure Garden because of it's since of lightheartedness in the beginning, and it's similar to The Lodger because it directs you to pay attention to the characters. The film is different from them in sense of pacing it feels like. Everything moves quicker.


  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the opening scene of The Man Who Knew Too Much, I think hitchcock enjoys launching his films with actions and then proceeding to focus on the characters. I'll also mention the juxtaposition of genres and moods throughout the film, and daily noticeable in the opening scene: the films starts as if it were a tragedy, the skier falling on the snow, and then it proceeds to a comedic exchange of dialogue between the skier and our protagonist. I think this technique is Hitchcock telling us that the film will not be what it seems, and that there might be changes fraught with spontaneity. To answer one question, there are similarities between Hitchcock early silent films like The lodger and The Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hitchcock loves to start with high, active points of the plot. At the beginning there is always action and tension, then he makes emphasis on characters and how they will be affected by the action we first saw in the film.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The clip of MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH appears at first glance to be character driven. The director quickly and efficiently introduces the main characters through occurrence of the ski jump accident.

 

Abbott appears initially as an amiable person who literally "rolls with punches." However, the seeds that this conclusion may be premature comes from girl when she says "he has too many teeth," suggesting he is insincere.

 

I believe this opening scene demonstrates a more experienced director who uses the opening scene not only to only for visual effect and interest, but also at the same time to seamlessly introduce the characters. The open is similar to PLEASURE GARDEN and THE LODGER in that Hitchcock begins the film immediately with action. All three of the films seem to start in the middle of a scene with virtually no set-up.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. From the few Hitchcock movies I've watched, I've noticed that his characters and his plots work in tandem to deliver a story that is suspenseful, meaningful, and poignant. While the characters are an important part of the story, Hitchcock creates a movie that the audience cares about through complicated plot twists and action scenes. For example, North by Northwest has characters that the audience cares about, but the motion of the story is not created by Grant's inner changes or desires. Rather, it is created when evil spies mistake him for George Kaplan. The same could be said for a number of Hitchcock's other action packed films. Yet, this particular scene does present dazzling characters and thus, could very well be an attempt of Hitchcock's to create a story based on the characters and their changes, inner desires, and emotions.

 

2. From the brief scene, I observed that Abbott was a kind gentleman, constantly smiling and happy, despite being knocked down by the skier. His English is not the best, as he does not understand figurative language, but this adds to the suspense of his character and forces the audience to ask where he is from. He knows the uncle/skier, seen when a look flashes across Abbott's face after seeing him, but does a good job in hiding it. These interesting observations make him a character to watch for the rest of the film.

 

3. The Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew Too Much share the light, jovial mood, conveyed in The Pleasure Garden with the dancing girls and in The Man Who Know Too Much with Abbott's happy character. All three films also have large crowds within them, as others have mentioned. Also, all three have an emphasis on words, but in different ways. The Man Who Knew Too Much is a sound film, so dialogue between the characters sets up the story. The Pleasure Garden uses dialogue cards and "no smoking" signs to get this effect, and The Lodger uses words written on a typewriter or in other parts throughout the scene. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us