Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #7: Mr. Memory (Opening Scene from The 39 Steps)

209 posts in this topic

1) Slowly revealed billboards, off-angle camera work and a sense of suspense about an unknown character are certainly similar to The Lodger, although the Donnat character is quickly revealed. Here, Hitchcock creates suspense out of an ordinary event, attending a show, rather than a scream and a murder, with the murderer seen, but not identifiable. 
I prefer not to comment in general because generalizations are, well, general . . .

2) Less guilty, but only innocent of high crimes. Remember, Hannay takes up with a woman he barely knows. The implication is sexual, and casually so. Also, Hanny is worldly, moderately snide and self-amused, jaded. Again, while innocent of the crimes in the film, he's certainly not saintly.

3) A play within a play, hence "playfulness". A mildly voyeuristic overtone. Public spaces as places of performance, where one puts on one's "game face" to interact with others. Social interaction as both common humanity and an "act".

Public spaces are therefore characters for Hitchcock, seemingly familiar and innocent but with an underbelly of sinister actions.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In this opening scene from The 39 Steps we are asked to see how this scene fits the pattern of previous Hitchcock films yet breaks the mold showing a departure from the pattern. I believe the scenes starts with a very familiar look....the letters sliding across our scene setting the locale, the shadow of a man reaching the box office...the canted angle of the camera on the box office, the angle of the camera as the man enters the theatre and the fact that we cannot see his face. All of this plus the location and the audience watching or observing the act on stage, the fast movement of the camera around the room to different groups of people is reminiscent of The Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew Too Much....and even the Ring...where people in the next room are partying and watching two women dance. However as soon as the show starts and Mr. Memory is introduced, the room becomes full of fun...the lighting is more cheerful and open especially on Hannay...Donat is handsome and appears to be open, gentle and considerate. We are no longer worried about those shadows and the mystery of who he is.

 

I agree that Hitchcock is introducing us to a more innocent character than before....in the Pleasure Garden, the characters immediately seemed shady with lewd leering, theft and catcalling going on, in the Lodger we know immediately that something is very wrong with the main character, even in The Man Who Knew Too Much there is that one moment when we know something is strange between Lorre and the skier. Here we have a handsome man, asking what appears to be an innocent question, participating in a fun time and even allowing a young boy to ask his question before he does. 

 

I believe that the Music Hall and Mr. Memory do indeed reflect the classic Hitchcock touches. There is an overtone of comedy, also a manic pacing of camera shots, the location is an ordinary place where every day people go to be amused, there are some farcical elements...as the audience members yell out silly answers to the questions and Mr. Memory gets a bit flummoxed trying to get back in control of the questions. 

 

All in all, I could definitely see the old techniques but do see a new pattern emerging. Fascinating to see the growth and the depth of growth as we move on. I am also excited to view the silent films for the next few nights...I am familiar with Hitchcocks later more famous movies, I did not know Hitchcock even directed silents so this is new territory. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Opening scene - We're back in a public place as evidenced by the scrolling marquee letters and calliope music. The scrolling letters seem in tempo with the music as it moves us into the scene. Odd angles frame a ticket purchase and no faces are seen as we follow a man into his seat. When the man is finally revealed he is in a large crowd of music hall patrons. Hitch likes his crowds, odd angles and now sound to move us into position. We saw this in the Lodger and the Man Who Knew Too Much to name just two films.

 

2. Rothman's assessment of the innocent character - I agree with this assessment. Handy looks like a clean cut, polite man. He asks his question about the distance between 2 Canadian cities and is glossed over by Mr.Memory and a whole host of patrons who call out absurd questions. He seems patient and willing to play along and enjoy the cat calls and legit questions until he can jump in again. He seems like a regular gent just out for a fun evening.

 

3. Gene Phillips and the Hitchcock touch in the opening scene:

- Haney is an ordinary guy. Nothing he says or does would have us believe otherwise.

- Even though not much has happened to Hannah in this clip, he patiently waits until he can jump back in and re-ask his question to Mr. Memory. Others interrupt and call out. He politeness makes us want his question answered.

- This is another ordinary setting - a music hall. Public places loom large in Hitch films. We wonder about their importance...if any! Again we see the crowd and lots of close-ups of different people especially when Mr. Memory declares..."Am I right?" There is nothing going on that would make us suspicious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? 

 

I did have to watch The 39 Steps tonight (because I hadn't seen it for about 39 years) to be able to answer the rest of these questions.

 

Obviously the lights MUSICHALL at the beginning of this film and TO-NIGHT GOLDEN GIRLS in The Lodger are a technique Hitchcock was fond of using at this time. When we see a man’s shadow we are thinking perhaps, he is up to no good…another Lodger. But we would be wrong. Here again is a female adversary who does a 180 for the protagonist. In this theatrical event the audience becomes part of the production.There is more humor in these opening scenes than in the others.

 

 

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

 

I don't know if he introduces Richard Hannay as a more innocent character than films that came before. We are introduced to an “innocent” character in the first scene of Downhill, The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger, The Ring … etc. To the best of my tired recollection, we tend to meet his protagonists first.We are introduced to an “innocent” character in the first scene of Downhill, The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger, The Ring … etc. To the best of my tired recollection, we tend to meet his protagonists first.

 

 

3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? 

 

 

As you say check check check but I'm not sure if I agree with number 5) I don't recall being let in on some information in this film. The ending here, which returns to the opening, reveals the MacGuffin and it took me by surprise. (This film is chock-full of MacGuffins, which eventually lead us to the actual one which ends in a joke. So the joke is on us! Well played.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Hitchcock opens his scenes in crowds,in places we go everyday at a sporting event or on a train or a music Hall

2)I agree he takes an ordinary person and thrusts them into extrodinary situations

 

3)No one is taking Mr memory seriously like the main character in the man who knew to much he tries telling the truth but no one believes him their money apt to believe his lies then his truth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes?

 

It fits the Hitchcock pattern of having a large crowd of gathered, common people in a busy, loud setting.

It is different in that it does not introduce a female character in the opening scene, other than the audience members, who are not considered major characters. I did not recall seeing a prevalent point of view shot or a shot between objects, as he so often does, unless you count the opening letters that scroll by. . . .

 

 

 

Now that you mention this (the bold type above), I wonder if the pan is a point of view shot meant to show Donat's character walking to the ticket booth. The camera moves in the same direction as Donat when viewers finally see him from the shoulders down making his way along the pavement -- not for very long, but it's worth checking out again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? 

 

Hitchcock follows the familiar pattern of setting the opening scene in a public forum.  In this case, he opens by following a patron into the theatre shortly to be revealed as the main protagonist and leading man.  As in previous films, the theatre audience, mostly common, working people, is rather unsympathetic to the performer, “Mr. Memory.”  That callas tone is struck in the opening scenes in The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger and even in The Man Who Knew Too Much.  No doubt, audiences knew that Robert Donat was the good guy and the lead in the film since he was the star of the picture.   Only by his soft-spoken voice do we find out that his character is interested in traveling by his question to the performer that might stand as a prediction for the upcoming double chase in the film.  The one item that deviates from previous films is that no villain or antagonist is immediately apparent in this opening scene unlike Hitchcock’s previous films although there is a general sense of menace from the audience members.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films?

 

I agree with Rothman’s assessment.  Hitchcock seems to go out of his way to show the innocence of this humble, soft-spoken and attractive character that Robert Donat plays.  His shy character seems very comfortable to be around.   His character contrasts the loud, obnoxious and rude audience members that one could count as Hitchcock’s view of a cold, cruel but truly ordinary world. 

 

3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips?

 

Hitchcock casts the audience members, mostly common folk, as antagonistic.  Hitchcock seems to reflect on a certain villainy that can make up a crowd or mob against someone with unknown or unproven personality and skills such as “Mr. Memory”.  In some ways, “Mr. Memory” is an innocent in this disapproving-at-first crowd.  The treatment that “Mr. Memory” receives is reflective of what will happen to Robert Donat’s character.   “Mr. Memory” ultimately wins over his audience with his almost too amazing answers to a variety of difficult questions.  “Mr. Memory”’s performance seems predictive of Robert Donat’s situation as he will have to rise to the occasion through his own skills and resources which is certainly part of the Hitchcock Touch. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the beginning of this film seems to be stock Hitchcock, there are a couple of things I noticed. The Hannay character seems distinctly out of place in the music hall. The audience seems to be composed mostly of working class people. There are plenty of working class accents revealed in their questions. They are wearing working class clothing like mob caps vests without jackets. Hannay, on the other hand, is very well dressed and neat. His expensive looking overcoat, sharply creased trousers and well shined shoes don't seem to fit in. He is also identified as a Canadian. Here we have a Canadian in the midst of a bunch of working class Brits. He clearly seems to contrast with the rest of the audience. Is Hitchcock preparing us for the idea of the man out of place and the automatic subject of suspicion even though he appears quite nice? Even his question to Mr. Memory sets him aside. It's not frivolous and it doesn't focus on the sports that most appeal to the British urban working class: horse racing, football and boxing.

 

Secondly, why is the Music Hall act a memory man? While this kind of act was not uncommon in either the music hall or American vaudeville, is its use here to prefigure the importance of remembering things? It's been a while since I last saw The 39 Steps so I'll have to watch it again with this in mind.

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with everything said by Gene Phillips, Dr. Rich Edwards and Dr. Wes Gehring. The 39 Steps is one of my favorite movies, which summarizes all the hitchconians elements, and has high doses of humor. The beginning of the film may seem to The Lodger by luminous poster, and to The pleasure garden by its setting in a music hall.  But in The 39 Steps immediately see a normal scene of a music hall. The public participating with questions or interrupting with taunts at Mr Memory.  They are ordinary people. This is also a difference with viewers of The pleasure Garden. And the character of Donnat is one of the public. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening of The 39 Steps (1935) incorporates familiar Hitchcockian tropes: a public place, an audience or crowd, movement, scrolling text.  The influence of German expressionism is evident in the contrast between light and dark, shadows, and acute angles.  What differs is the tone, accomplished by sound -- laughter, light-hearted ribaldry, a crying baby, a heckling crowd, and Mr. Memory’s musical theme. 


The anxiety that the opening sequence of The 39 Steps instills is lifted when we see Richard Hannay’s ingenuous face.  He is a normal guy, enjoying the crowd and the show.  And, it is a very handsome face.  Sigh with relief.  Catch your breath. 


Rothman is correct that we identify and empathize with Robert Donat’s character, more innocent than the characters we have seen in previous Hitchcock opening scenes.  And, we can begin to check off some of the items in Phillips' list of the elements that comprise the Hitchcock touch. Hannay is in a very public place, surrounded by a rather raucous fish-and-chips crowd.  He is a regular guy who shouts out his trivia just like the other blokes who welcome the Canadian into their midst.  Sigh with relief.  Catch your breath.  Then get ready, because from here on out it’s Mr. Toad’s wild ride.


  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed I agree with all of the quotes mentioned.

 

The Hitchcock touch we see here is an opening scene in a large public area; this time in a British music hall. The mysterious patron is not seen until before the curtain opens. He is among ordinary working-class Brits (and seemingly out of place in a suit and from Canada as we later learn). Eventually his innocent night of fun will take a dangerous turn very soon....

 

Hannay is indeed innocent; he is simply out for a good time and enjoying himself even among the bawdy and heckling locals.

 

We only see the first three items on the list in this scene; the next one happens after this scene and sets the plot in motion.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. While some of the other openings set up a sense of danger and peril and introduce the protagonists, this scene shows just the main character in an ordinary setting with little hint or foreshadowing of what is to come.

2. I agree. The ordinariness of the situation with an average Joe/Everyman will some be run through the ringer and put to the test. While it is a rowdy music hall, it is idyllic and pastoral in an urban setting, innocence admist roughness.

3. Elements 1, 2 & 3 of Phillips' checklist of the Hitchcock Touch are really at play in this scene. Perhaps #4 too, although there isn't any foreboding in this locale. Maybe that's the MacGuffin (and #6)!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? 

​ ---Obviously the opening in a crowded, public place echoes the openings of The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger (somewhat), and The Man Who Knew Too Much.  There are also elements of comedy in each scene.  It deviates from the others by not really giving us much in the way of expository information, either visually or aurally.  We don't really know who any of the characters (besides Mr. Memory) are just yet, and there isn't a lot that clues us in about the exciting double chase to come.

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

​ ---I agree with Rothman's assessment.  Donat's character appears more innocent than some other characters we have met just by looking at his face.  He looks like a movie star, and as we've read in previous modules, Hitchcock liked using established stars so the audience could identify with the characters.  Donat's movie star looks make it easy for a first-time viewer like me to understand that he is "our man."

3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips?

 ---Ordinary people -- we're at a music hall full of normal, everyday folks and ordinary settings -- this is completely normal, everyday setting.  We aren't expecting anything shocking or dramatic to happen (even though it's guaranteed to happen) because of the ordinary setting and people onscreen.  The audience at first dismisses Mr. Memory as a lark, but when he can correctly name the 1921 Derby winner, he begins to win the crowd over.  Will Mr. Memory and his wealth of facts play an important role later, or is his show simply the jumping off point for the exciting chase that waits for us?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The opening of The 39 Steps introduces the main character, providing details about them in a manner within the context of the narrative, similar to some of the other films we have seen, but he builds towards it a bit more slowly.  Like The Man Who Knew Too Much, the character who is the 'tool' of the villains is also introduced without revealing their importance or corruption.  My impression is the details of Hannay are given more slowly in The 39 Steps than the prior films; as he attempts to be the first to submit a question to Mr. Memory, he is pre-empted by others in the enthusiastic crowd, delaying our introduction to Hannay.  Thus he focuses more on the MacGuffian of Mr. Memory first, a figure which is an oddity, and difficult to relate to for normal viewers - but entertaining as an anomaly, along with the layers of typical humor.  Hitchcock then returns to Hannay, who has good-naturedly and patiently (likable traits) awaited his opportunity to ask his question which reveals that he is a Canadian.

2. I agree with Rothman's assessment, as described in the discussion, Hannay is shown mysteriously from behind, at canted angles, alone going into the theater, never revealing his face or expression to unveil a clue to his attitude or purpose.  But once the audience is shown after Mr Memory is introduced, he is part of the jovial group, not singled out or shown in a sinister fashion.  He smiles and goes along with the fun of the group, thus he is presented as an ordinary character - one which is very easy for the audience to relate to.  There is no indication of secrets or evil motives.  And his ordinary question reveals him to be Canadian, and is applauded by the audience.  The audience is hooked.

3. Regarding Phillips' framework of the Hitchcock touch, as previously mentioned above, Hannay is presented as an ordinary guy, part of the spectators of the music hall - enjoying himself, laughing and participating.  The film audience can easily frame him as a common man, one they can relate to and grow to sympathize with (#1 on Phillips' list).  And as this initial action takes place in a music hall, it also fits Phillips' #3 'touch' of an ordinary setting which will reveal some sinister activities, via some 'mayhem (Phillips' #4).  And as previously mentioned, the introduction of Mr Memory in this opening scene provides the mechanism of the MacGuffin (Phillips' #6), although not known at this point in the film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The film opens in a public , raucous place. It is a place for fun, and as mentioned before, a lower class of people. It is different than The Man Who Knew Too Much because the opening scene is indoors, not outside at a posh ski resort. Robert Donat is immediately known by the viewer to be different, set apart, by his gentlemanly manner. The opening scene reminded me of a film noir.

2. Yes, I agree. The opening character in The Lodger was the murderer and the frightened townsfolk. The opening characters in TMWKTM were various innocent folks but we still didn't know which one to focus on. Also the villain showed up early (Lorre). 

3. The Everyman thrust into an unpleasant situation, part of the Hitchcock touch. Also the public places where sinister things are going on. Now I'm going to watch 39 Steps :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've loved this movie for years! There are so many great things about it, I'm not sure where to begin.

As I mentioned yesterday with The Man Who Knew Too Much, the opening puts the viewer a bit on edge, as a faceless person goes into the music hall. For some seconds, you're not sure what he's up to; then he's revealed to be a perfectly harmless-looking citizen.

I've often told friends that Hitchcock "made the same movie three times," and this is the first of them; a wrongly-accused man goes all the way across the damn country in the "double-chase" to clear his name. It's repeated again in Saboteur and North By Northwest.

I've also always liked the "Mr. Memory" character, perhaps the first "nerd" or "geek" in any movie! He is really a rather sad character, being mercilessly heckled during his first appearance, then, in the last scene (spoiler alert), shot just as he's giving the whole secret up. He pants out his tag line, "Am I right, sir?" and expires, as the chorus girls in the background (in one of Hitch's patented juxtapositions) kick up their heels, and life goes on.

I've often wondered if Charlie Chaplin may have been influenced by this scene for the heart-rending final shot of Limelight, where his character, Calvero, dies backstage as Claire Bloom's Terry whirls past the camera, unaware, in the foreground...

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening scene once again draws the audience into a public place with people at all angles.  The Music Hall is filled with what looks like working-class people.  We see images of a man entering the show, but we do not see his face.  He is easily identifiable in the crowd, however, as we see him waiting for Mr. Memory to answer his random question.

 

Yes,  I agree that Rothman's character has more innocent qualities about him.  His movie-star looks are in sharp contrast to some of the audience members shown.  He appears to fit right in among the crowd at the Music Hall, however, making the viewer at ease with the scene. 

 

Even though some in the crowd are heckling a bit, we can see them begin to truly appreciate Mr. Memory's skills when he is answering their questions with accuracy and humor.  The viewers can easily put themselves in one of those music hall seats, allowing us to identify with the main character. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It fits Hitchcock's pattern of the close-up -- MUSIC HALL, the man buying ticket, then the crowd; and deviates from other opening scenes in that this one is serene, kind of, not in the chaotic or fast moving.

So far, yes, I wondered what (expecting) was going to happen with the 'normality' of the scene and as we watched the ticket buyer enter the hall, follow him take his seat and then -- partake in the questioning.

I think these screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch by the "roar" amidst the calm -- meaning, we know something will explode in a sense but what will that be?  And in this case, the ticket buyer and all the others in this short piece are just having a good time in the MUSIC HALL with Mr.Memory.  Or did I miss something? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) The opening of "The 39 Steps" differs from other openings as it lacks a strong close up of our protagonist; no tight shot but rather the director goes out of his way to keep us from seeing just who is purchasing the ticket, the back of his head while taking his seat in the music hall and only when Mr. Memory asks questions do we see his face. In doing so interest in that person is heightened and we are hanging onto everything that character does or says.

2) Having never seen the film and judging only from the opening scene I believe the character to be less than innocent. Why the hiding of the face? What is it about this man that I want to find out?

3) The scene almost ticks off every box of the Hitchcock touch checklist:

[ ] Ordinary people? Check

[ ] Ordinary setting? Check

[ ] Mayhem committed in places where viewers might find themselves? (I have not seen the film, so no Check)

[ ] Use of a MacGuffin? Mr. Mystery, perhaps?

Again, my disadvantage at having never seen this film keeps me from adaquately answering the question fully.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? 

 

It matches from a pacing standpoint. All his films take off almost immediately with a fast pace. It deviates mostly because it's a intro to a spy film and not a thriller or comedy.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

 

I think the main character seems normal and I suppose innocent, although we don't know much about him yet other than that he's kind of basic and from Canada. 

 

3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? 

 

The music hall performance and audience showed Hitchcock's need for there to be some humor and buffoonery in his films. One thing that personally got to me was how drunk and silly most of the crowd was. Mr. Memory did a great job balancing his act vs the heckling and drunken questions. I would like to see more of Mr. Memory's character developed. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that you mention this (the bold type above), I wonder if the pan is a point of view shot meant to show Donat's character walking to the ticket booth. The camera moves in the same direction as Donat when viewers finally see him from the shoulders down making his way along the pavement -- not for very long, but it's worth checking out again!

[I did not recall seeing a prevalent point of view shot or a shot between objects, as he so often does, unless you count the opening letters that scroll by. . . .] from Auburnrebecca, 05 JUL 2017

 

Marianne, I went back to the beginning of the clip and must say, I see your point.

It is certainly within the realm of possibility that the scroll is in actuality, a pan depicting Hannay's point of view as "he is walking to the ticket booth.". Good catch.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Hitchcock is toying with us a bit and reminding us that we can't always trust our instincts...there are sinister elements to what we see, the neon lights, the faceless man buying a ticket, the shadow of a man and off kilter angles...and yet....

 

I was intrigued to hear Dr. Edwards discuss elements of screwball comedy present in this film, because I've always thought that The Man Who Knew Too Much has those same elements....especially with the witty and quick banter between the parents and their wealthy, flirtatious, life of the party lifestyle. They remind me of Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man films.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? 


This opening fits the Hitchcockian style in the sense that something compelling is happening visually to draw the audience into the story (the scroll of bright lights spelling out Music Hall, similar to the opening for The Pleasure Garden) and the location is public place that is not necessarily associated with anything sinister or life threatening. This deviates from the equally compelling opening of The Lodger, for example, which features a "silent scream" that grabs the audience's attention by eliciting fear and do om. In both instances, the opening scenes are magnets for the filmgoer's attention, but using different approaches -- and all are distinctly Hitchcock.


2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 


I agree; Richard Hannay/Robert Donat's movie star good looks and his amiable, mild manner demeanor set him apart from the raucous crowd of music hall attendees - and from other characters featured in previous opening sequences.


3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? 


These are, of course, all key elements of the Hitchcockian touch -- the stage is set, so to speak, for a suspenseful story involving an ordinary man (Richard Hannay/Robert Donat), in a ordinary locale populated by ordinary, everyday people (who, unlike Hannay, are heckling the performer) that is interesting, but with an unpredictable outcome. He's the ordinary person who ultimately is thrust into extraordinary circumstances. The audience is compelled to watch to find out what will happen!


  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? 

Th opening is fast paced with lots of lights and music. There is a conflict between the audience and Mr Memory. 

 

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? 

I'm not sure how innocent the character is, he walks into a theater and we do not see his face, we find out he's Canadian from his question.

 

 

3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips?

 

I agree that a lot of Gene Philips elements are present in the opening scene.

1) “Ordinary people who are drawn by circumstances into extraordinary situations.” Check.

3) “…The settings of Hitchcock films are quite ordinary on the surface, thereby suggesting that evil can lurk in places that at first glance seem normal and unthreatening.” Check.

4) “[Hitchcock’s] villains commit their mayhem in amusement parks and respectable restaurants, places where the viewer might often find themselves—not in locations that we tend to avoid in order to escape potential harm, such as dark alleys and dives…” Check.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

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