Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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The opening scene is active, but jumps immediately to character studies.  We see the interplay of the annoying girl and her relative, and judging of other people's character.  Peter Lorre's character seems jolly and understanding, but we see a jolting recognition of one of the skiers.  This sets us up to wonder what the relationship is between them.  

 

The opening scene is similar to Pleasure Garden in the crowd of onlookers, some of whom are eager to help and some who just watch.  The similarity to the Lodger is perhaps the way we are immediately inserted into the action, though Lodger is more psychological.

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Hitchcock always seems to care more about the characters in the film than the plot, and carefully leads the audience to the same path. 

Peter Lorre's characters in the beggining of the film looks like a nice guy, almost too nice, actually. Here we have to give credits to the actor and his amazing talent and capacity to play villans, even without being explicit the viewer can sense some off-putting kind of mood.

I think the similarity with his silent works here lies on the fact that the beginning scene it's pratically all action and no dialogue, he builds the tension mostly with the images and focuses on the crowd's reaction. We can see the main difference later, when the dialogues begin to take more importance in the picture.

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From the opening scene the characters  seem to be most interesting. The bratty girl, her father and the appearance of Peter Lorre.

I have not scene this film but from the opening scene, Peter Lorre looks suspicious. The opening scene shows that I wouldn't feel comfortable around Peter Lorre.

 

The opening scene from The Man who knew to much is similar to the Pleasure Garden in that the scene of onlookers focusing on the action in front of them. It's different from the lodger in that it's not shot in a dark and shadowy atmosphere which makes the lodger scarier.

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 The characters in this film, "The Man Who Knew Too Much," are literally thrown together in this chaotic opening loop. This is different from the opening scenes of "The Pleasure Garden" and "The Lodger" which are well-ordered in assemblage. However, once this topsy-turvy scene is sorted out, the predominant connection is linked between the stranger in the fur coat and the shaken skier whose brave actions saved the daughter and dog. (A foreshadowing?) A long stare by both stranger and skier to each other is highlighted at the end of their interaction. They seem familiar to each other yet one is not sure how. The other characters in this scene only serve to move the scene along and seem incidental to the movement of the action. The father seems trifling while the daughter is seen obtrusively. The mother is nowhere to be found. The intense meeting of the two gentlemen is what anchors this whirlwind of a scene. Interesting observation by the daughter that the "furred" stranger, a predatory animal,  who may have been on top of this situation more than the others realize, shadowing them, "has too many teeth." Possibly indicating that beneath the charm and wide smiles lurks a fellow with an over-reaching and powerful bite.

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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)

 

Characters based on the opening scene. There is a bit of action but far more interaction between characters for me to fathom it might be the plot. I worry though this is another moment of Hitchcock gives you something at the start like a good character but shows you in the end it isn't what you thought it might be at all.

 

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? 

 

Abbott knows or there is something between him and the skier. Abbott stops talking and looks directly at the skier even though it is a very brief moment. Other than that, I get a feeling Abbott feels above things around him. The way he dusts off his coat, the laughter at how assumed he seems and how he waves at the end. If  he was more on their level, he might shake their hands to say it was nice to met them, he might pat the skier's shoulder to say no harm done or he might do a wave less showy.  

 

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. 

 

Again a female is in danger at the very start of his film. There is also action like the rule that a good book always starts with action in the opening scene to draw in the reader. Hitchcock uses this action so the audience doesn't tune out. 

A difference would be the amount of interaction between characters. In the The Pleasure Garden, the characters interact but in brief moments like the man loving the blonde curl. In The Lodger, the opening is about the action and not the characters themselves.  A murder had taken place but Hitchcock doesn't take us to the police station where characters can discuss the next move but instead has us on scene with the eye witness and the crowd.  Both are far less intimate compared to The Man Who Knew Too Much

 

​Side note... two films that come to mind which are not Hitchcock that use the Double Chase would be the Fugitive and Bourne series. The two films have main characters who are being chased by the 'law' and are chasing the actual guilty party though Bourne blurs this by making the 'law' guilty. 

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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 have not seen the film yet. My guess is that the characters will be more important than the plot, since the scene gives us information about four of the characters in the crowd, but no clue as to what the plot might be. I see from some of the responses that the plot will reveal Peter Lorre's character to be a villain, but I cannot discern that in the opening scene. What I can see is that he is jovial and does not seem overly concerned about being knocked down (although the dirty look that he gives to the skier portends there may be trouble ahead).   

 

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? 

 

I learn that he is quick to laugh and smile, and that he speaks with a German accent and is not familiar with the English idiom of being "knocked cold." I also learned that he may have a dark side, as evidenced by the brief yet stark change in his demeanor when he sees the skier. If Abbott were indeed an affable villain, I would evolve a very different view of him later in the film.

 

This is just the second time that I have seen Peter Lorre as he looked in the 1930's. The first time was his appearance in the 1931 German-language film "M," in which he played a serial killer of children. I seem to recall reading that "M" was the first time he had played a villain, and that his success in that role redirected his career path from the comic roles he had previously played as a stage actor. Can any of my classmates verify that? If it is true that he had already established his ability to play both comedic and villainous roles, it is no surprise that Hitch would have sought him for his movies.

 

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. 

 

​All three films have similar openings in that they show crowds of spectators and focus on the reactions of individual characters. The Pleasure Garden (TPG) and The Man Who Knew Too Much (TMWKTM) also share a "downhill" POV (chorus girls racing down a spiral staircase and a skier racing down a slope).

 

TMWKTM differs from TPG and The Ring in that it takes place in a famous setting (the St. Moritz ski resort -  by the way, was this the first time a Hitchcock movie featured an iconic landmark?), the spectators seem to be more affluent and well-traveled, and the female protagonist appears to be younger and more innocent.     

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Based on the opening scene I believe this will be a character driven story seeing how the young girl with the dog, her father and the skier all know each other and obviously the Peter Lorrie character seemed alarmed and concerned upon meeting the skier who had knocked him down. 

 

From this scene we learn that Abbott (Peter Lorrie) has a sense of humor, is traveling with a stern faced nurse and had a troubling reaction upon recognizing the skier he just met.  Because of his initial jovial persona the audience is bound to be somewhat sympathetic to the Abbott character later in the film, or at least keep an open mind as to motivations.  Seems like a nice guy!

 

The opening scenes in The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger both contain images of large groups of spectators.  The audience in The Pleasure Garden and the street people, police and reporters in The Lodger, likewise a large group of spectators watching a sporting event in The Man Who Knew Too Much.  It’s very possible this is one of the key elements of the “Hitchcock Touch”, to make the audience identify with the crowd of spectators which could very well have been the their experience within the film story and thus drawing us in (and maybe excusing us for being voyeurs). The biggest difference in this opening is the lack of use of extreme close-ups, not that they won’t show up later in the film, but from this clip the tightest shot we see is a medium shot (head and shoulders) of the downhill skier.  Could be Hitchcock was enjoying having the wide-open areas to move his cameras around and saving his detailed close-ups for the climax.   

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Further Reflections:  After watching the clip, please go to Twitter (#Hitchcock50) or the TCM Message Board (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.to continue your reflections on this clip. Here are a few discussion starters (though feel free to come up with your own):

 

1. Based on 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)  Based on thios scene I think the plot will be more important. The random circumstance of the dog entering the area of the ski competition and the glance of Peter Lorre to the skier (as if they know each other) tells me circumstances are driving things. 

 

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 to respond to things with humor and an easy-going style. We expect him to not take things too seriously. 

 

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. In "The Pleasure Garden" and in "The Man Who Knew Too Much" the opening scene is of people attending an event or involved in public entertainment - just like a crowd in a theater. The people are watching someone perform. As regards "The Lodger" starts with a group of people in a street and then the scream and the murder occurs and a crowd as well as bobbies show up. So the crime has become a spectacle to be taken in but one of "the contestants" is missing (run away). 

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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'm going to say characters, because isn't that what Hitchcock is known for, creating empathy for the character. We see the characters interacting with each other relatively quickly, so I'm assuming character persona will soon follow.

 

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 appears rather jovial and carefree. He seems rather undisturbed when knocked down, as if it happens regularly. I assume he will be " type B " personality, but I haven't seen this movie, do I could be surprised, and probably will be. But he appears rather easy going.

 

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.

Alike: they both involve large audiences of people looking at a singular event. They are both action packed scenes with witty dialogue. We see a woman in distress in both openings.

Different: PG happened inside an unnamed theatre, this one was outside at the Swiss Alps. This one involved an animal, which was not seen in PG.

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There is a big difference between where this Man Who Knew Too Much will be going and the 1956 version with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day.  The 1934 version has actors that are not at their height as Navarro was in The Lodger or Stewart and Day were in 1956 because of Day and Stewart Hitchcock had to change things for the audience, it will be interesting to compare this one to that.  Peter Lorre, the bad guy is the main character on posters.  Will make a big difference between them.

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I have seen both versions of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and the first one is my favorite of the two. Much more action in the first; the later was mainly to show off Doris Day's singing abilities, I think.

 

The characters and how they interact with each other in the first scene are essential to the plot, which is action packed. How Peter Lorre's character glances at the skier and his brief interaction shows us something is up.  The father seems to be amused by his daughter's antics and her "I REGRET NOTHING!" attitude regarding the skier's fall.

 

Peter Lorre just laughs off the accident, showing an easygoing personality at first, although his facial expression changes when he sees the skier's face. He has two sides, one pleasant but it changes to pure evil later in the film.

 

In all three films, we saw crowds. Pleasure Garden had primarily gentlemen enjoying scantily-clad chorus girls. The Lodger had crowds curious about the macabre scene of a recent murder and reacting to a hysterical witness. Nothing to be happily excited about.  In Man Who Knew Too Much, the crowd is eagerly anticipating the danger and excitement of ski jumping. They are in awe at first, then gasp in horror as the skier crashes trying to avoid the dog and the girl.

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I've seen both the versions of this film.  I like this version best.  

 

The characters are definitely more important than the plot in the film.  The plot is really just a way of further defining the characters....you can say that the plot is the MacGuffin.  Peter Lorre at first appears to be a happy, laid back guy....until he sees the face of the high-jumper.  That startles him, & we briefly see a more sinister side to his personality.  He quickly jumps back into the persona he wants to show this group, with only the ski-jumper noticing the change.  

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Similarities to Pleasure Garden, et al - crowd scenes as openers, or at least in the first few minutes. Hitchcock is lulling us into normalcy, the mundane. What could possibly go wrong when there's a crowd of people around. North by Northwest is my favorite in that respect. Peter Lorre, when he's knocked over by the poor doomed skier, is laughing when gets up, dusts off, until he sees the skier. As another student in this thread said, he facial expression turned on a dime, and we see the quick and easy switch from laughing and joviality to just plain sinister. I've seen both versions of this film and I think the character development is more important in the first version, more so than in the later version. I just can never warm up to Jimmy Steward and Doris Day, no matter how many times I watch it. It's easier to follow the story in the later version than their whining melodramatic handwringing (do I sound like an awful uncaring person where a missing child in involved! Ugh!) In any event, the characters in the Lorre version are much more interesting and engaging.

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In this opening scene from The Man Who Knew Too Much, we meet several key characters and learn about them very quickly. Hitchcock establishes many important plot points and character relationships outright. For example, in Peter Lorre's character Abbott's brief scene, he laughs and brushes himself off, appearing relaxed and good-humored about becoming caught up in the dog incident. He also makes two comments about his limited knowledge of English, emphasizing this to the audience. Just when we think of him as a good-natured character, Hitchcock makes us doubt this when Lorre stops mid-sentence and glares at Luis Bernard as if he recognizes him. This immediately has the effect of raising suspicion in the audience's mind. As Abbott walks off, we have the feeling that he is a complex character whom we do not know everything about.

The scene begins with some impressive shots of the ski slope and dramatic footage of the skiers, cutting to shots of the enthusiastic spectators. This series of cuts from the watcher to the watched reminded me of The Pleasure Garden. Both films start off with spectators of some kind watching a performance, though in The Pleasure Garden it is a theatrical show whereas here it is a sporting event. Like The Lodger, this film opens with a dramatic incident. However, in The Man Who Knew Too Much, the incident is seemingly more comedic and harmless - a dog interrupting a ski-jumping contest - rather than a murder, which is obviously much more sinister. Both The Lodger and The Man Who Knew Too Much are fast-paced from the very start, but in The Man Who Knew Too Much we learn much more about the characters in a much shorter time through their conversations, unlike the Lodger, which relies on visual storytelling.

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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 may be wrong about this, but in a way, Hitchcock uses plot like he does his MacGuffins. The plot is there to help us explore the characters when something unexpected happens to them. Through the course of the movies we discover what the protagonists are made of.

 

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?

 

For the most part Abbott is jovial, except for one brief moment when he sees the face of the ski jumper. We know there is something going on between them, but it is too soon to know just what that might be. When I saw the look on Abbott's face, I immediately wanted to know more. And this being a Hitchcock film, I know we will find out what kind of connection they have.

 

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.

 

In The Pleasure Garden, a young woman gets her envelope stolen, which we find out later in the film had money in it. However, she is not in much danger from those men. Also, the scene opens with a dance sequence and people watching the performance. This is similar to The Man Who Knew Too Much, where people are watching a ski jumping competition. The Lodger opens with a murder. This is different than the other two, but there is also a crowd gathered to hear the witness give account of what she saw, so that is similar. I haven't seen the entire movie of The Lodger yet, but I assume we meet most if not all the main characters in the opening sequence, as we do in both The Pleasure Garden, and The Man Who Knew Too Much.

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I have seen both films as well. And I agree with others this is the better version.

 

1. The interaction between the father and Lorre seems accidental yet not. Once the skier walks up for the interaction you can tell almost immediately from Lorne's face there's something up. The skier makes a slight acknowledgement that neither the father or daughter notice.

 

2. Abbott is cordial, friendly with in good humor. He conceals his purpose for being there when the skier recognizes him. He's whisked away by the woman once the silent acknowledgement occurs.

 

3. The scene takes place in a foreign country, outdoors during a ski jumping competition. There is a feeling of openness and not a sense of impending trouble. Whereas the other two films. They take place in closer quarters. The POV in this film is from the skier's view as he realizes he needs to abort his run from crashing into the girl.

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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)

 

Based on this opening scene I think that the characters are what drives the plot.

 

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?

 

What I learned about Abbott in the first scene is that English is a relatively new language to him based on the fact that he did not know the idiom "knocking him cold." I also learned that Abbott was rather unperturbed by the accident until he saw the skiers face, then he had a brief moment of recognition and anger directed toward Louis.

 

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.

 

The similarity between the films is the use of the crowd to convey that we the audience are voyeurs and to draw the audience into the story. Also similar is the immediate use of an intimate conversation between characters. The main difference that I see is it this takes place outside in the bright light of day before the story becomes dark, whereas the earlier films started out in the dark with only small instances of light were present.

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1. The opening seems to imply that the plot will be character driven. There are quick exchanges...between Lorre and the skier, between father and daughter, father and skier, between all of them and even references to the mother and an opinion of her opponent, offered by the daughter. Lots of entanglements based on relationships and then there is Lorre's startling look and pause when he first looks the skier in the face.

 

2. Lorre comes off as jovial and easy-going especially since he had just been plowed into and knocked over. He says he speaks little English and doesn't get a reference but his final exchange with the skier and father is flawless and without hesitation. His startled look at seeing the skier's face shows his manner can change in a split second.

 

3. Hitch like crowds and on-lookers whether it is in a theater (Pleasure Garden) or on the street (Lodger) or at a sporting event as in this film. We have a close up of the skier's face just before he crashes and those close-up are evident in the Pleasure Garden theater and the scream in The Lodger.

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1. This film is definitely character driven, with a side of plot interaction to come later.

 

2. Abbott reminds me of an iron fist in a velvet glove. Comes off good natured, a little fumbling with the language, but you know there is something dark about him when he recognizes the skier and has that Lorre look/pause/chuckle.

 

3. The whole opening up with spectators watching someone or an event, POV shots (the skier almost crashing into the girl), action and danger,  and the pacing are recognizable. I think that this film has a much more polished touch for an exciting opening than the previous two openings.

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1. Based on these opening scenes, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film—the characters or the plot?

I have not seen The Man Who Knew Too Much, and based on this opening sequence, I suspect that the characters will more important than plot. Most of the sequence features a girl, her father, and the father’s friend, they discuss other characters and reveal their relationships in a simple efficient conversation.

 

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?

I haven’t yet seen this film, so I can only make a guess. Based on the brief exchange among the characters, and the brief eye contact between Abbott and the skier, both he and the skier seem to recognize each other and may perhaps share a secret. Right way I want to know why they started a bit at seeing each other, as if they recognized each other. How do they know each other? Which one has the secret, and what is that secret? Because the skier is known to the other characters, I suspect that Abbott is the one holding some cards and the one to watch.

 

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?

On the suspense scale, the opening sequence from The Man Who Knew Too Much seems to be about midway between the opening sequences from The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger. The danger to come is insinuated during the glance between Abbott and the skier. In The Pleasure Garden, viewers first see chorus girls and what seems like lots of fun. In The Lodger, viewers see a close-up of a screaming young woman and, not much later, her dead body on a city street. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, viewers are presented with insinuation and nothing overt. Viewers wonder, but that’s just the kernel of suspense, which I suspect grows during the rest of the film.

 

Additional note: My how things have changed: Not too many champion skiers are smoking cigarettes these days!

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Daily Dose #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? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet.)

 

The characters are more important and will drive the plot.  We are introduced to the protagonists, the father, his daughter and his wife (unseen at this point) and the antagonists, the Peter Lorre character and henchmen.  The skier is an interesting character because we don’t know whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy.  There is a brief nasty exchange of looks between Lorre and the skier that cause immediate curiosity.  However, it is a fleeting detail that might be immediately forgotten as the film advances to other scenes.

 

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?

 

Abbott seems to be a decent, patient person totally un-phased after falling into the snow during the skiing debacle.  In fact, the incident makes for a very interesting entrance for the villain of the film.

 

 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.

 

All three films depend on a certain amount of chaotic energy that sweeps the audience and the characters into the story.  (The viewer becomes one of the characters which is part of Hitchcock’s strategy to involve the audience in the same emotions as the screen characters.)  The most striking difference with the two previous films is the appearance of normalcy with a family on holiday at a skiing resort.  The other films focus on the seedy surroundings of a night club and a crime scene.  But in The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hitchcock experiments with the theme that there may be a monster living quietly among us.  Like other Hitchcock villains, Abbott is a refined, friendly chap with whom one might have a drink but also keep a certain distance.  

 

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I have not seen the film but suspect it will be character driven. I'm intrigued by Abbott. Peter Lorre is surprisingly charismatic here. He was introduced to me quite differently in film noir and in the budget horror films of the sixties. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, he clearly has a secret. He recognized the ski jumper and quickly obscured that fact. There must be a reason.

 

Comparing this opening scene with the opening scenes of The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger, I would say it is similar to them in that there is an immediate action sequence and many cuts to crowd response to that action. This film's most obvious difference to the other two, of course, is the existence of dialogue.

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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)

If I had to make an educated guess I'd say characters over plot. The opening scene hones in very quickly on the people and you learn very quickly of the relationships some of them have.

 

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 appears very light hearted, very happy go lucky, a live and let live person, not easily upset. If he ends up being the bad guy, I might still have a warm feeling for him due to his pleasant demeanor.

 

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 is nothing in the opening scene of this movie that would give you any clue as to where the story or plot might be heading. The two silent films pretty much set the foundation for where the story was going. I find very few similarities, other than groups of people watching events unfolding before them, the ski jump, the dance, the murdered body.

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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 but cannot wait to! From the beginning, one may think the characters are more important but I can see where a plot may overtake them maybe!

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? Peter Lorre "brushes off" being mowed down by the crowd and skier, which makes him seem very easy going. He doesn't get a comment the other man makes which shows his English may not be as sharp as it could be. He becomes instantly more intense when he meets the eyes of the skier (I think it was the skier!) but immediately recovers and cordially waves goodbye to him as he exits.

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. Both opens of the silent films draw you in immediately. The Lodger with the scream and the girls coming down the staircase out to the stage makes the viewer want more information. The dog getting away from the girl with the skier coming makes you anxious immediately the same as the scream in the Lodger. Pleasure Garden makes you anxious when the thieves are after the purse but not until then. The Lodger picks right up with murders so the viewer is in quickly. The Man Who Knew Too Much makes you anxious for the girl and dog but there's foreshadowing of more to come when you see Lorre's reaction for a brief moment.

 

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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)

 

The opening scene is certainly a plot base as the action set-up the introduction to the characters. From the intro of the characters, the plot takes over the picture in rapid pace with the characters in-tact to help it along.

 

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? 

 

I have seen the film in nitrate at this year's TCMFF which was my first complete viewing of the picture from start to finish. Abbot is first introduced just as another innocent bystander or is he? I saw at first Abbot was a holiday goer, but when he and the slope jumper looked at each other, the plot begins to pull out of the station. From here the plot and twists come fast and furious. As the picture progresses, the audience comes to see the true light of Abbot as a kidnapper and killer.

 

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

They all shared a frenzy openings of course. I felt the most similarities between the Lodger and The Man Who Knew Too Much is in the opening,  The interweaving of the main plot to the scene of people, the close up (though not a blonde woman as in the Lodger. What I would term as male beauty in distress.) of skier in peril and the crowd of spectators along the slope.

:) 

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