Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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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 Characters, their relationship to each other, either implied or stated in dialogue is what's given the most attention so it's going to be most important to the coming 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? 


He's an outsider who's second-language is English, but seems to have a previous, seemingly not completely pleasant, relationship with the skier. I'm assuming that the nice demeanor will be merely a facade for a more dubious character.


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 set off with a bang, and then cool into Character introductions, but this particular opening seems less intent on meandering with characters than setting up the upcoming plot rather quickly. Unlike the opening to the others, the ski race doesn't seem to have any tie to the main plot,but as I've not seen the complete film I might be wrong on this account.


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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 believe that the characters are going to be more important part for each will play a role which will further 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? At first he is jovial and not angered by being knocked over by the skier; however, when he sees the skier, his mood immediately changes and you see a different side of him along with a tension which will last throughout 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.  He starts this scene with a recognizable sporting event where it is rather predictable as to what is going to happen; however, the scene is then changed when the dog and the girl cause the crash of the skier….into the crowd, including Abbott, which will carry the plot to the next incident. This scene is like The Pleasure Garden since it happens in a common identifiable location which is ordinary.  This scene is not like The Lodger, which is sinister and focused on a screaming woman.

 

 

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1) I believe the characters are more important in this film.  This being said it is the way that they interact that I think will help to drive the story/plot forward. 

 

2) Peter Lorre's character seems to have a sense of humor while still have a dark side to him.  The way he reacts the skier's face at first and then laughing it off and even waving goodbye gives you a strange sense about the character. 

 

3) Hitchcock definitely likes to open with action in all like in ​The Pleasure Garden and  The Lodger he opens with things that will catch your attention and keep you in the movie from the very beginning.  Unlike the other two however this opening is trying to build the story and character background more. 

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The movie appears to be more character driven than plot as all the main characters appear on the slope. Then the glance between Peter Lorre's character and another character sets up the idea that Lorre is a problem later on. This opening scene is different from the two other openings as this scene is in an outside location with a large group of travelers having conversations unlike the stage of the Pleasure Garden or screams of a woman in The Lodger. The Man Who Knew Too Much starts as we observe many characters with more normal interactions of vacationers with the exception of Peter Lorre. This is the only one using a famous place as the setting.   

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Before I answer the topic questions, I will disclose that I have already viewed the film, The Man Who Knew Too Much.  I loved all of the films in this series.  I especially liked the female protagonists in this group of movies.  In The Man Who Knew Too Much, we see a strong female lead who is not a chorus girl or carny worker.  That continues right through these Hitchcock films.  The women are strong - maybe with some sexual experience - and smart.  Just thought I'd throw that out there.  I could probably write a whole essay about the women in Hitchcock's films.  No doubt, someone has already done that.

 

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

 

Based on the opening scene of The Man Who Knew Too Much,  it's evident that the characters are going to be more important than the plot.  There is no murder at the beginning, for one thing, as in The Lodger, and we don't see a set up for a crime . . . at least not yet . . . as in The Pleasure Garden.  The characters' action and dialogue move us along rather quickly and the setting is not ominous, but rather sort of joyful.  There is gay music playing in the background and everyone is enjoying the sports location.  There are no obvious nefarious types hanging about nor people talking about murder.

 

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, as played by Lorre, appears to be more than just a spectator.  While jovial and friendly when he first emerges from falling down in the snow, he quickly loses this demeanor when he comes face to face with the skier - obviously recognizing him.  He quickly puts his good face back in place, but it was just enough of a change to pique the audience' attention.  We know he will be important, but maybe not exactly how.  (FYI - my husband and I totally agreed with Gehring's view that the daughter is a brat.  We were hoping no one would bother to save her.)

 

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 more or less responded to this topic in question no. 1.  The similarities in the opening sequences would be:  Crowd/audience, and anticipation of action yet to occur.  As of yet, we don't see the class distinctions that were evident in the earlier films' opening sequences.

 

 

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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)

Most certainly the characters are more important - within the first 30 seconds the daughter and Peter Lorre were introduced. Lorre' manner is most interesting because he appears to be an innocent bystander. But the length of time spent in conversational banter leads us to believe that his character is significant.

 

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?

While Lorre brushes the snow off his coat after the mishap with the ski jumper, he tells everyone he's OK, yet when he sees the skier up close his expression changes to dead serious. Then he again starts laughing and joking again and disappears quickly into the crowd.

 

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 didn't see The Pleasure Garden but as to the Lodger, its opening scene was murder. The Man Who Knew Too Much was pleasure that turned into a near tragedy, yet everyone was very gay about it and unconcerned, especially the young girl. The Lodger told you it was going to be a whodonit; the Man Who Knew didn't let on until much later.

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Most definitely we see that this movie will be a character driven piece. As we are introduced to Lorre's character he first appears quite jovial and even kindly if not a bit foreign and intriguing but when the skater comes in up close you see both of them are familiar to each other and in a way that is not desirable. The key word awkward does well to punctuate this. Again similar to the other films mentioned we have spectators and action, a crowd and perspective that draws back into tight shots of our main characters. We do have a bit less of a concentration on body parts be it the legs or eyes and more of a group shot now.

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1. The opening scene of The Man Who Knew Too Much definitely gives the audience more information on the characters than on the plot and so we realise that the film is going to be more character than plot driven.

 

2. There seems to be something going on behind the jovial scene. We notice that Peter Lorre recognises the skier but immediately tries to hide the fact that he knows him. The audience thinks that there is something strange about Peter Lorre and maybe also about the skier as the latter then informs his friend and the friend's daughter that he has to leave the following day.

 

3. In all the 3 films, the opening scenes show an audience watching something happening. In the Pleasure Garden, the audience are watching a stage show; in The Lodger, the people are watching the lady telling them about the murderer and in The Man Who Knew Too Much, the people are watching the ski jump.  Hitch includes comedy/joviality in all 3: in the Pleasure Garden when the admirer is trying to ask the actress out and her curl comes off her head; in the Lodger, the man who pretends to look like the murderer as a joke and in The Man Who Knew Too Much, the jovial scene after everyone recovers from the skier crashing into them.  

 

The Lodger differs from the 2 others as it introduces a murder right at the beginning whereas the other 2 do not mention any killing or anything dark although we can see a sub-plot brewing in the background with the look that Lorre gives the skier.

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Daily Dose #6:  Knocking 'Em Cold

Opening Scene from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

 

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 believe the characters are going to be more important in this film than the plot based on the opening scene.

 

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? 

 

In this brief film, Abbott seems to be a happy character having fun and not angry with anyone. Even though he was knocked down in the snow, he rose as if the fall did not bother him and the people who were knocked down with him. Something about the way he looked at the skier sparked my curiosity about both characters. They seem to know each other.

 

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. 

 

Last week in (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger) the similarity in 'The Man who Knew Too Much' with one film - The Pleasure Garden was that they both started with characters involved in fun and joyous events in the films' opening scenes . The Lodger's opening scene, however, was more suspenseful, dark and deary.

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1.  I think the characters will be more important in this film.  There is no clear protagonist or antagonist from this brief intro scene.


 


2.  Peter Lorre's character seems to have a sense of humor while still have a dark side to him.  The way he reacts the skier at first (possible recognition),  and then laughing it off and even waving goodbye gives you a strange sense about the character. It's not clear at this point that he is the villain, but learning that he is...we should remember his humor.


 


3. This story does not open with the crime (as do the other films), rather a scenic misadventure that is unclear whether it will be relevant to the plot at this early stage.


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1. It seems as though from the opening scene that the characters are going to be more important than the plot of the film. The random ski contest is just the backdrop to introduce the characters that we will be following throughout the film.

 

2.  When we first meet Peter Lorre's character he is laughing along with the rest of the spectators who have just witnessed the comedic accident. There isn't any impression that he is any different from the other people who have been knocked down in the snow. It isn't until he recognizes the skier and waves goodbye with a chuckle that there is a sense of menace about him.

 

3. The Opening of The Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew to Much are very similar in that they start out with the happy seemly joyous atmosphere that slow begins to change. The Lodger however starts out at a suspenseful point and keeping going from there.

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1. I would lean to characters over plot. Although the plot is moved along in terms of putting certain people together interacting, with a sudden look of awareness between two of the characters, each character seems to have something mysterious going on. The skier, the parent, Peter Lorre. Only the girl seems transparent and without worry.

 

2. Happy, laughing, carefree - until there is that brief reaction to something he thought he heard from the skier, or did hear. He has to struggle a little with English, which could be the explanation for what he thought he heard. Or, did the skier actually say something jarring. In other words, he's not the jolly fellow he pretends to be.

 

3. Each of the scenes is a genesis for further developments of interest - The Pleasure Garden's rich guy trying to establish a relationship with the dancer; The Lodger's murder; and, finally, the intrigue set up between various characters, all with something going on in their lives. Each scene takes place in crowds. The audience and dancers, the bystanders on the street around the crime scene, and the ski jump enthusiasts at the ski area. Each introduces sinister elements - the pickpocket in the alley, the serial killer in the streets of London, and Peter Lorre and the skier in this scene.

 

As to differences, the first two are set at night, this one during the daylight. The Pleasure Garden is primarily a comedic set-up, the Lodger a crime scenario, and this film mixes comedy and suspense.

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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 think the characters will be more important. Even in that opening scene, Hitchcock is giving us little tidbits that inform the characters. He gives us insights into their personalities with gesture and the things they say. 


 


 


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Daily Dose #6

Before responding to the questions I wanted to note that I saw a movie the other night that used subjective sound. We talked in the last daily dose about why the subjective use of sound of the sort in Blackmail is not common today. In Time Out of Mind, directed by Oren Moverman, starring Richard Gere, the camera follows a homeless man and unwinds his story, while a cacophony of sound in the background plays out. At first my wife thought there was another channel playing at the same time, but as we focused on the movie we saw that the soundtrack is a roar of noise inside the head of this homeless man, some conversations in his periphery leaping to the foreground, because they give some sense to the disarray of his mental illness. I thought it was quite a display of genius on the filmmaker’s part to orchestrate this sound river, and it made me think of the Hitchcock film I had recently seen.

 

Based on the opening scene of The Man Who Knew Too Much, I would think that the plot is going to be more important to the film. It is set in a high action ski tournament, where there is dangerous action immediately, precipitated by the escape of the little dog into the path of the competing skier. Then there is a jumble in the crowd, out of which Peter Lorre emerges, then a walk among the trees, where the skier makes reference to his own death, and his friend wants to know if he is leaving tonight, suggesting travel and various setting to come.

 

We learn about the Peter Lorre character when he gets caught in the tumble of the crowd around the skier. He gets up smiling, in good humor. His English is poor and he doesn’t get idioms like “knocking them cold.” He wears a fur coat, which suggests either gaudiness or wealth. He engages with the skier in an “awkward moment,” an exchange of expressions that tell us there is something between them, which we don’t know, as of yet. Lorre signs off, with a wave of his hand, a cheery ‘we’ll meet again,’ while the skier stares sourly after him. Why?

 

The openings of The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger share the same kind of animated energy and heightened sense of action that create a strong feeling of anticipation and apprehension in all three films. The first two have more obvious experimental techniques in the use of montage and German Expressionist technique, while the Man Who Knew Too Much opens with a stronger plot, in the conventional Hollywood sense we know today, and a more subtle move into the storyline, that still retains many visual and aural cues setting up a complex web of expectations that the viewer may not fully realize except with repeated viewings.

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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)

 

My guess would be plot. I don't have a good reason for that guess.

 

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 a foreigner who doesn't understand local sayings. He appears to be wealthy because of his attire. The look between him and skier suggests something sinister between the two men. This introduction makes me suspicious of the Abbott character.

 

 

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 opening scenes have an energy about them. The Pleasure Garden has a lighter tone, whereas The Lodger has a darker tone. 

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I think the characters! I don't know why but Peter Lorre looks peculiar and very much suspicious to me on this clip! Yes, it is somehow similar as there is some movement of some sort, some kind of action that escalates and dresses the scene!

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1.) The characters as well as the plot are important. When the plot takes certain twists and turns then we get to know the real faces of those characters. At first, a particular character could be harmless and jolly but the real appearance will come when that character tries to attains his/her motives.

 

2.) Here, I thought that the role of Abbott (who is played Peter Lorre) was a comic who is just out to have fun. I admired Mr. Lorre a lot as he could essay not only the "creep man" but also the role of a comedian as he did years later in a musical film called "Silk Stockings" along with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Coming on to this scene, we could not make out if he is the good guy or the bad guy. But, his unusual face expressions and appearance make one doubt about his existence or purpose.

 

3.) The main similarity is that all the films (including The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger and The Man Who Knew Too Much) are shot in black and white. The difference is that the first two movies are silent films whereas the third movie which I have mentioned here is a sound picture.

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https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1679/pages/british-sound-years-pt-2-hitchcocks-spy-thrillers?module_item_id=194603

 

1. Based on this 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)

Definitely the characters are more important than the plot. In fact, it can be argued that the plot of this film is a MacGuffin, itself. From what I have seen the films mostly seems to focus either entertaining the audience with various touches of humour throughout or pulling them into the anguished states of the parents, particularly the mother, to get their kidnapped daughter back.

The plot serves as a blueprint and catalyst that sets events in motion. But, after that, is the emotional journey of the main characters and the ethical implications they are forced to contend along the way. Example: The mother struggling to stay quiet for the sake of her daughter’s safety, during the Albert Hall climax, all the while wrestling with the knowledge that an assassination is about to take place.

It's interesting because about the plots of these types of films focusing more on the emotions of the scenes and characters; as opposed to its American counterparts that tend to focus more on plot progression.

 

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 is a very easygoing character. He doesn’t mind being overwhelmed or knocked down by a crowd. He even uses self-deprecation as a source of humour when referring to his limited English.

Humour usually makes it very difficult to dislike a character, especially a villain, no matter how despicable they may show themselves to be ethically. Almost anyone that entertains in the fictional world (or even in real life) earns a very hearty appreciation from the audience and is even exempt from ethical consequences, that main characters are required to be bound to, as long as they continue to entertain.

 

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. 

Just like in The Lodger, there is a moment of frenzy in The Man that Knew Too Much. Betty’s dog escapes from her clutches and runs to the path of a Luis Bernard, the skier. Frightened, Luis topples over and barely misses Betty as he falls to the bottom. The crowd is in a panic. They rush over to the fallen Luis, and topple all over themselves as a result. The event goes by so quickly, it hardly even lasts 20 seconds onscreen.

Unlike The Lodger though, after the moment has passed, everyone is strangely calm and humourous about it. Bob, Betty’s father jokes is constantly “knocking ‘em cold” while Luis flippantly comments about the possibility of meeting his demise amidst of Betty’s outrageously unapologetic smiling demeanor. In fact, the girl is more sorry that that day is Luis’ last day of vacationing St. Moritz than the fact that she was the cause of Luis’ accident. While the Brits are good about keeping a stiff upper lip, this American still has to question the priorities of these characters in this particular scene.  

In The Pleasure Garden, there is a series of character interactions and events that take place, from a dance number featuring chorus girls to a pickpocketing outside the theatre.

The Man Who Knew Too Much also focuses quite a bit on character interactions. The difference is this opening stays on consistently on the same set of characters while The Pleasure Garden goes from one set of characters to another. 

 

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1. Seems to me to be more character driven and a wonderful way of introducing all the key characters.

2. Abbot seems to show two faces: jovial and self-deprecating over the knockdown and we see another side to him when he recognizes Luis Bernard - Abbot expresses dislike and then covers it quickly! Also the girl expresses the feeling there's something not right about him.

3. Spectacular opening with crowd scene and uproar as the crowd reacts to Luis accident and then close in on some key characters affected..and by way of introduction unlike The Lodger have a murder and reaction to it but no personalization. The Pleasure Garden is just opening excitement of the entertainers and audience.but it takes time for intrigue to be ntroduced by the pickpockets.

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

 

I think the characters are going to be more important, and the film will be carried by their stories and motivations more heavily than just 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?

 

I haven't seen the film besides this clip, but from Abbott's brief scene it appears that he is a jovial and good-natured person, but at the end there is some sort of evil undercurrent - so perhaps he is someone well-versed in how to manipulate and make whatever impression he desires to others.

 

3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week. How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes?

 

The other opening scenes didn't really focus on the characters yet - they were flashy, and visually appealing and interesting, but it wasn't clear yet how they would relate to the rest of the film. In this opening scene, it is obvious that this is a faster-paced film where every bit of dialogue is necessary to understand the story and motivations of the characters. It seems like it will be a film where the audience will have to be an active viewer.

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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 suspect the characters will have a bit of an edge to this film, seeing as Hitchcock, even in his silent days, put emphasis on characterization.

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? 

While many individuals would have been angered and inconvenienced at the situation, Peter Lorre's character does not break a smile throughout the entire incident.  Even his hearty wave as he is walking away seems unnatural.  And, because fate always has a way of appearing in Hitchcock's films, we will surely be seeing Abbott again.

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. 

Expressions and gestures are given much emphasis in this scene, while close-ups on faces make a meaningful appearance as well.  However, with the synchronized sound, we are not given many visual stunts as with Pleasure Garden and The Lodger.  With these two silent films, we see a plethora of intentional overlaps, blurring, superimposition, surreal visions and more.  With The Man Who Knew Too Much, there is a strong lacking that further exemplifies its talkie qualities.

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