Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #8: Cooling Our Heels (Opening Scene from The Lady Vanishes)

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1. I really love that set in the opening of The Lady Vanishes. Really wonderful architecture! As for the opening tone or mood, despite the upbeat, light music, everyone was just sitting there, rather sullenly, waiting for the train. The mood of what we see is the opposite of what we hear. Then there's the announcement the train is delayed, which adds to the tension and frustration. I didn't really find it upbeat or humorous at all.

 

2. Caldicott and Charters bring the exposition to the scene, they help us understand what is going on.

 

3. Iris is established as the leading lady, as she has the most aggressive dialogue. She is standing on the first step so she is head and shoulders above the other women. She literally leads the other women up the stairs. Also, I think it is a deliberate choice she is a brunette and the other two women are blonde.

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I love these Hitchcock opening scenes where there's always a crowd in some kind of situation, which appears all very normal, except for one slight snafu, such as an avalanche! I'm still not understanding the psychology of this type of device for the audience, but I'm just beginning this deep dive on Hitchcock, and I'm certain, this course really only scratches the surface. I digress -- except for the avalanche diverting the travelers, the tone is lighthearted, and very British. Enter Caldicott and Charters and for me, they steal the show. Right away, we have the comical counterpoint to balance out the anxiety of being stranded in an in after an avalanche. Hitchcock loves snow and the mayhem it can cause, doesn't he.

 

In the last bit of the opening scene, Margaret Lockwood clearly is the leader of her posse -- just the way she is placed (on the stairs, a few steps up from the other women, as if deified), giving orders to the innkeeper, again the goddess entitlement. There's no question that she's the focal point.

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1. The lady vanishes's opening is reminiscent of the 39 steps in that there's a passive crowd of people who are focussed upon a single person. In 39 steps, they're focussed on the memory man and In the lady vanishes it's an innkeeper. The delicate, childlike music acts as a counterpoint, I think, to the wind raging outside. It sets us up geographically & tonally in a small provincial haven. We see lots of contrasts in this one scene- the relative calm turns to mayhem when the innkeeper makes an announcement. Some guests are fawned over and others are ignored. This is inn is recognizable as a microcosm of our world- different factions jockeying for resources and shelter.

 

2. Caldicott and Charters seem to be the narrators of the scene and seem to be the characters the audience should initially identify with. They don't understand quite what's going on. They're out of place. They're bickering. They have funny petty concerns in the face of a dangerous world. They look upon the "star" of the movie as someone favored & blessed. Those are all analogous concerns to the audience as the audience tries to figure out what kind of movie they're in for.

 

3. Iris is the brunette with two blondes. She faces the camera directly while the blondes are viewed from the back or side. The blondes are more fidgety and distracted while Iris seems composed and masterful. She stands on a higher step than the others and is the one that the innkeeper addresses himself too. She gently chides the others, makes the decisions, corrects the innkeepers pronunciation and generally assumes primacy. She's framed alone with the innkeeper in a two shot. She also shows the strongest "want" of the group - wanting to continue her journey despite the avalanche. 

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 


There's a discrepancy between the tone of the music and the nature of the scene. The music is very upbeat and idyllic, making you think of a warm spring day, but the rest of the scene is anything but. The room is packed with travelers waiting, bored and uncertain. The old woman comes in to collect her mail. The innkeeper is too busy on the phone to acknowledge her with more than a smile and a nod. When she leaves the weather outside is so blustery that Caldicott and Charters have to help close the door to keep the wind from blowing things around the room. Two men come in speaking German, loaded down with an ungodly amount of luggage, not sure if they are travelers or porters. The cuckoo clock goes off, an elaborate tune. I can imagine the travelers waiting for hours becoming progressively more annoyed with it each time it goes off. The innkeeper then explains in several languages the importance of anyone staying in there to register immediately. Then the three women come in, and the innkeeper blows off all of the other patrons.


2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 


I have seen The Lady Vanishes, but it has been a while and I don't know it like other Hitchcock films. For one thing, they give the English perspective on what is happening, i.e., them not knowing what is happening. Also, later they are the ones who say what everyone else is thinking. Hitchcock often has characters like that, who speak their mind and speak their mind, even if not proper. Thelma Ritter in Rear Window, Patricia Hitchcock in Strangers on a Train, and the kid sister in Shadow of a Doubt are all that kind character. They are also played for humor. They do a double take when the innkeeper ignores all the other patrons. Also, they are only there because they missed a train in Budapest. And why did they miss the train, because one of them insisted on standing for the Hungarian national anthem (out of respect). The other one points out that he didn't think the Hungarian Rhapsody was their national anthem, and they were the only ones standing. Though I don't remember the film well, I have a feeling they are going to provide comic relief whenever they appear.


3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 


Though innkeeper immediately greets all three, it is soon clear that Margaret Lockwood is the most important of the trio. Clearly she is the Mary, the other two are Rhodas. The innkeeper shakes Margaret Lockwood's hand but not the others. In fact, one of the others sort of flirts with the innkeeper, about how he hasn't shaved and touches his face. He barely acknowledges her and almost immediately turns back to Margaret Lockwood. When they walk, the innkeeper walks with her, while the other two follow, dropping out of the back of the shot as the camera moves. When they pause on the stairs, we see Margaret Lockwood's full face, while the innkeeper and one of the other women almost  have the backs of their heads toward the camera. The third woman watches in profile. When Hitchcock cuts, he cuts to a shot of just Margaret Lockwood and the innkeeper. Then when they move up the stairs again, Margaret Lockwood and the innkeeper walk together while the other two follow.


 


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Opening scene features lilting Germanesque folk music,  a cuckoo clock, lively chatter amongst the travelers. It conveys to me a carefree atmosphere with no indication of danger or trouble, really. 

 

Caldicott and Charters have something to say about everyone and everything. They are self-anointed experts.  They hint of impending war in Europe in their discussion. They are definitely amusing, even if they are discussing doom and gloom. 

 

Iris stands at the desk speaking with the hotel desk man while the others are seated or standing at a distance.  But all eyes seem to be on Iris. We don't hear the conversation between Iris and the hotelier, even if we see them speaking. Silence dominates here. Then chaos ensues, and we don't see Iris at all.  Attention-grabbing scene.

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music.

 

This is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies. The opening music is a light folk tune that someone could dance to. The setting is a hotel lobby with several people sitting around. An old woman comes to the desk to purchase something. The wind opens the front door. A man begins to shut it, but the old woman wants to go out. Then we have the cuckoo clock, the stranded passengers, and particularly the men bringing in the baggage all talking so loudly that the desk clerk can barely hear what's being said on the phone. The mood is light. This is enhanced when the desk clerk begins to speak to the large group gathered there in several different languages ending with English, and the two English men begin a funny routine about missing the train because of standing for the Hungarian national anthem. One says, "I'm not convinced The Hungarian Rhapsody is their national anthem. We were the only ones standing." They continue to riff about how they will get to their destination on time, and what we assume is a political discussion. Later we learn they are talking about cricket, their favorite obsession.

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

 

Since it seems that the other stranded passengers do not speak English, they help with the exposition. They are the ones who comment on the three young women who come into the hotel, and get all the attention from the desk clerk. They assume the women are American, because of the amount of money they are willing to spend on the food and drink. They also show us one side of the English character. They are wrapped up in their own affairs and don't give a hang for what's going on politically. They are the comic relief of the movie with the silly situations they get into.

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

 

Iris is the only woman the desk clerk shakes hands with upon their entering. She's the one who does most of the talking and giving orders for the meal they are ordering. The camera stays on the women and desk clerk throughout most of their approach to the stairway, except for a short reaction shot on the stranded passengers. Iris is also at the apex of the triangle of women, which makes her the obvious leader of the group. Her face is the one we see the entire time from entrance to the stairs. 

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Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. The opening seems cozy with folk music playing in the background. It's only when the door is opened that the viewer senses chaos. When the innkeeper is focused on initially, one senses his anxiety and stress - especially when he starts announcing in the different languages and people storm the front desk.

 

Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Caldicott & Charters act as kind of narrators to explain what is going on. They view this international scene with British viewpoint as they express irritation when English isn't spoken first. Comedy aspect established here.

 

From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.  When the 3 ladies come in the door, the innkeeper runs over to them, bypassing other clients waiting. The camera follows the ladies and definitely keys in on the lead one - the star. As they proceed up the stairs, the star is the one to speak and the camera stays with her mainly. The star is perceived as wealthy, American, and spoiled.

 

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

​It opens by the camera coming in wide, giving us a feel for the room. The music is light, almost out of a Disney fairytale.  I was waiting for cartoon birds to fly in and get everyone tea.  ​Then it descends into almost slapstick chaos.  The travelers coming in w/ their loud voices..

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. It's implied that they are a couple.  He has a scar on his face and they both discuss the situation in Europe and the need to transfer trains.

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.

 

Iris is the main character, she is positioned in front of the others and she has the most dialogue.  My eye is drawn to the checkered pattern jacket she is haphazardly wearing and the walking stick she is using.   That focuses our attention on to her.

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

      Hitchcock sets the stage to portray a sense of Gemütlichkeit,  a feeling of "warmth, friendliness and goodness", in this charming hotel in Bandrica. The music is light and happy with some folk type music native to  Bandrica as its theme. The hotel is decorated with Bandrican folkish art to included the military themed cuckoo clock, a live bird in a cage and native sayings painted on the walls. Hitchcock is trying to present a carefree happy environment although we soon learn that everyone is upset that the train has been delayed by the avalanche. The travelers are not happy campers. 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

        ​I think that Caldicott and Charters (C&C) in this scene serve the purpose of the "everyman" sort of characters in the Chaucer Canterbury Tales or the poor characters in the Shakespeare plays like the grave digger in Hamlet​. By their dress C&C appear to be well to do. Who has money to travel to far off Bandrica in the Great depression?  Charters scar on his face may give us a hint that he has fought for the Empire in some far off place or may have been wounded in World War I. C&C appear to not understand a word of any other language but English. Boris's recitation of the registration information in a series of different languages doesn't phase C&C. They don't appear to understand the Bandrican language either. C&C act as anchors for the British audience to keep them focused on the British outlook and British way. They interpret things and put them into the British point of view for the British audience watching the film. They also give some comic relief by their banter. "Third Rate Country what do you expect?"

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

          ​Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement and character placement in the frames to establish Iris as the star. It is Iris who directs the dialogue in the scene. She asks the important questions, she explains why the trio is still there, she decides that supper will be served in their room and she orders what the group will have for supper. No discussion or debate from the other two ladies. Boris shakes her hand as a symbol of her being in charge. The camera focuses on Iris, the shots of her are clear unlike the other two ladies, the camera moves along and films Iris as she walks toward the staircase. In terms of character placement in the frames, again we see Iris in a dominate position in the frame with Boris and the two ladies or we see her and Boris alone in the frame with the others excluded. We see the others lag behind Iris or their postures are such that  they present their backs to the camera in the frame or side profiles. There is no doubt that Iris is being established as the star.

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The music, the cuckoo clock, the quick dialogue and the exasperated manager bring a level of ridiculousness the the scene.....it's light and humorous. I love they way the camera brings us into the lobby...through a small window, giving us that closed in feeling we've seen in so many other shots. It helps us understand that we are all in this together. The way the people are seated in the lobby is also such a treat...it's a little like a painting and perhaps a metaphor for humanity in general. We like to think we are formal and stately, but underneath we are all a little cuckoo.

I also love the crazy wind that blows in as Ms. Froy leaves and the bellmen enter.....another clue that we are all going to hunker down together to weather this storm.

 

I can't help but compare Hitchcock's way of framing his opening shots from tight to wide, to the work Frank Lloyd Wright was doing as an architect. He too would funnel people through a small opening or doorway, leading to wider spaces as a way of setting a tone and making an entrance...a little like a treat for the eyes.

 

I think Caldicott and Charters are the foils for the drama, reminding us again not to take anything at face value or too seriously. There banter is smart, funny and quick. That moment where they get snubbed by the manger is priceless. 

 

It's clear Lockwood is to be the star, she has the lines, the forward position, she steps up a onto the stair putting her in a little niche above...the correction of the pronunciation of avalanche and the ordering of food, all establish her as someone to watch. What flirts!

 

Something else which just occurred to me...the concept of time is to be an important player in this film. We notice the clock right away, as we also notice the passengers waiting...captive really. Forced to spend time together. Soon we will be rushed to hurry and find Ms. Froy, but the speed by which we will be forced to travel together is foretold by the oompa tempo of the music. 

Edited by aoohara
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The tone, mood, and atmosphere are made to be fund and friendly by use of the polka type music and jovial dialogue.  The cuckoo clock seems to make a commentary on the crazy activities in the inn.  My favorite use of music is in The Third Man, with the insane calliope music and changing tempo used for emphasis.  I haven't seen this version of Vanishes, but maybe it will be the same?

 

Caldicott and Chartes seem to me like the three black crows in Dumbo;  they comment on the action, make wisecracks, and emphasize what is going on.

 

Margaret Lockwood is given the star treatment by the framing in her introductory scene, the attraction of the checkered cloak, and the lovely 3/4 portrait view of her as she talks to the innkeeper.

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1.       The opening of The Lady Vanishes sets the viewer up for a multinational group of travelers with comedy resulting from the chaos of responding to an obstacle, in this case an avalanche (or “avalahhhnch” as Iris corrects Boris) that forces the train passengers to stay over in Bandrika. As the scene begins, the camera travels in through a window (as it will later in Rear Window and Psycho) so we can meet many of the main characters as a European folk tune (the kind Gilbert studies) toots happily on the soundtrack. The lightness of the music reflects the mood of the film’s first third (in the inn), though not the second two parts. The humor comes primarily from two sources: the team of Charters & Caldicott and Boris, the hotel manager.

2.       Charters & Caldicott humorously represent Britain at its vainest and most clueless. With straight faces and understated vocal delivery, Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne exemplify this British-centric perspective after Boris announces the train news in many languages, ending with English. Charters (Radford) complains, “Why the deuce didn’t he say so in the first place?” We learn later that they were the only two standing at a cricket game because Charters mistook “The Hungarian Rhapsody” to be the Hungarian National Anthem. The anxiousness of the other travelers contrasting with the duo’s of entitlement sets them up to be comic relief throughout the film.

3.       Compared to the entrance of title character Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty), which is done during a pan of the crowd, the entrance of protagonist Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) is done to focus our attention on her. Up to that point, we have witnessed Boris, the hotel manager, scrambling to cope with all the unexpected guests. After an interlude with Charters and Caldicott, we see them turn to Boris, who they believe is coming to aid them. Comically, though, he bypasses them to attend to the new visitors, Iris and her two friends. The camera stays on the four, with Iris on the right, the object of Boris’ full attention. “I didn’t change anything!” he assures the rich, pretty travelers who must tip well. “Not even the sheets, we know,” jokes Iris. The camera travels with the quartet as Boris ignores the other travelers to make sure the trio get what they want, which includes “chicken, and a magnum of champagne,” which will be significant later when we find out that the dining room has run out of food. Once at the stairs, we cut to a two-shot of Iris and Boris as she confides that she needs to get home for her wedding. We cut back to the four of them for the room service order, panning to watch their ascent, Iris always at the focus. In the middle we cut to a reaction shot of Charters, Caldicott & the crowd downstairs watching Boris give Iris preferential treatment.

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July 6, 2017 – Hitchcock lecture Part 8
 

1. The opening is rather festive, and establishes the folksy nature of the group. They are also internationally diverse. Unlike The Lodger, this film opens on a lighter note.

 

2. Their performances allow the audience to understand the setting better—they are the “every men,” the ones that the English speaking audience will identify with most. So through their eyes, we get to survey the environment and its characters further.

 

 

3. Iris is the brunette between two blondes—making her stand out immediately. Also, Boris shakes her hand, and she is the one to speak first on behalf of the group. She is then the one that walks beside Boris until they stop on the staircase, where she occupies the center frame and is the only one whose face is angled to the camera—everyone else has their backs to the frame. Iris even gets a tighter shot. Throughout the tracked dolly leading to the stairs, we see Boris’ profile or the back of his head pointed toward Iris, whose eyeline is tightly positioned to the camera. After the stop on the stairs, Iris leads the group to walk again. 

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music.

 

The music at the beginning sounds like something you would hear in a Walt Disney cartoon from that era. But the music ends when the two men enter the room complaining. Then the music takes up again as the bugler in the cuckoo clock plays what sounds like a call to an army to charge, which is sort of what the passengers do when the hotel manager explains to them that the train is delayed due to the avalanche and they will need to register to spend the night at the hotel. The music starts off the film in a lighthearted way and then portrays frustration.

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene.

 

Their performances add comedy relief to the unfortunate situation that the train passengers find themselves in. They explain why everyone has to stand around and wait before they can register for a room. First they comment about the country they are in and then make a remark about Americans and money. Then they describe what caused them to be in the position they are in right now. Their banter is humorous.

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.

 

The hotel manager is about to register guests for the hotel when Iris and her friends walk in. The hotel manager turns his attention to the ladies and walks past everyone else as if the girls are the only ones in the room. He then escorts the ladies upstairs and leaves everyone else standing at the hotel desk. The camera follows Iris, the girls and the manager from the door until they disappear upstairs. The girls acknowledge that there are other people in the room, but when they are informed it's because of an avalanche and that the train might be delayed, they are only concerned about eating and making sure they can leave the next day. They continue to walk upstairs and the camera briefly shows the other people standing there, looking at each other wonderingly, as the hotel manager abandons them for the girls. All of this shows that Iris is the star of the scene.

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I love how the German Polka folk music introduces the elderly lady into the opening scene. A light and breezy tone, making the scene open up into a truly delightful atmosphere. The Cuckoo clock sounding adds to the merriment.

The audience is also a part of the lively chatter of the other hotel guests.

 

Caldicott and Charters totally steal the opening scene with their amusing character dialogue about the impending doom of war, and their obsession with the Cricket matches.

 

The camera follows the three ladies from the door into the room focusing on them as the center of attention. The hotel manager ignores the other guests to converse with Iris and her two friends. Iris is being singled out further with a one on one conversation with the hotel manager, identifying her as the center of attention.

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1) The tone is light, festive, public. Folk music, so it is international, even fictionally regional. The travelers are somewhat somber and disorganized looking compared to the musician.

2) Caldicott and Chartes are more common, less glamorous, proper, and preoccupied with cricket, they provide a droll contrast to the entrance of  Iris. In fact, they are ignored, something most regular folks have experienced, so the audience is likely to identify with their plight, even if they do not for them personally, which most will.

They are distinctly British, and no hint of homosexuality, except for the rather humorous finding of them in bed together (later), a bit of playfulness on the part of the writers and Hitchcock because their being in bed together is shown as mundane and not improper, while the appealing maid attempting to change clothes brings both men to (ironic) attention, suggesting both a 'stiff upper lip' and an erection. This is the director pranking British manners and mores.

3)  Iris stands out by the contrast of the hair colors and closeups, and the attention of Boris to exclusion of all others. The same is true of the camera, it follows her and she has close-ups that linger. Then there is the playful banter, etc. Also note that Boris had been expecting her specifically, not the three women, but her. Notice that she is "pre-registered".
She  dominates screen time and lens exclusion as an individual character. And how about those outfits! All others, and especially Caldicott and Chartes, outnumbered three to two, are dressed in ordinary and duller clothing. A bit later, we see her room as palatial in comparison to the other rooms.

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The tone of the opening scene and its music is lighthearted, pleasant, and jovial. The people in the waiting area do not seem anxious or overly frustrated. They are reading or sitting contentedly, waiting patiently. The movement of the camera in the very beginning matches the music, as it bobs slightly around the room focusing on different characters.

Caldicott and Charters seem quintessentially British in their humor and style. They cannot understand why everything is not said in English, and expect everything to be orderly and the way they are used to. They appear to be a team, walking together and talking only with each other as they try to get information from those around them. As we hear the two of them talking, we can tell that they have traveled together and been side by side for a time. They almost finish one another's sentences and understand one another well. They also add a comedic element to the scene, although they are straight faced themselves.

Of the three girls who enter from the doorway and make their way up the stairs, Iris is established as the star of the scene as she steps in front of the other two. The camera is always facing her and catches her every glance, whereas the other two girls fade into the background and look around, sometimes away from the camera. Iris becomes the center of the frame as she walks up the stairs, and we can tell from the fact that she is the one speaking that Hitchcock wants us to pay attention to her.

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 


Very lighthearted....chaotic....the music lends to the mood intermingled with the chaos in the lobby ...the cuckoo...is not the traditional cuckoo but a little soldier....reminds me of Attention Attention....then the clerk announces how train has been cancelled due to the avalanche


2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 


Almost a cluelessness, "why weren't they told immediately"...a self absorption....they are in a different country...with a different language ...It is not England....there are many people it appears from different countries who are all in the same predicament


3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 


Firstly, Iris has the most rapport with the innkeeper a familiarity with him....a demanding quality obviously she is the leader the camera follows the ladies and innkeeper...but angle of camera is more on Iris...especially when she is on the steps with the innkeeper...no doubt star of this scene


 


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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 


As mentioned in the Curator's Notes, in the opening scene, the mood is lighthearted--the folk tune playing in the higher register of the flute, the humor of the cuckoo clock and its emerging figure, and the group of travelers awaiting their train in a seemingly "safe," happy hotel lobby where business is going on as usual.  The use of the folksy music also portends the Michael Redgrave character who is interested in folk music.


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2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 


They are both the comic and chorus duo discussing minutia of cricket game attendance, etc. (Could not really hear all their dialogue.), unflappable and secure in their proscribed little world. Their main worry about the delayed train is that they won't make their cricket match.


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3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 


When  we first see the three women, the minor two are facing the camera, while Margaret Lockwood is in profile (another of those side views).  Hitchcock increases the anticipation--We must wait to see her full-face. She dominates the conversation with the hotel manager, teasing him and not-at-all shy about ordering what she wants.  By the end of the scene, we see Lockwood facing the camera, while the other two women are in profile.  And she is leading the group upstairs.


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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

The tone of the opening sequence is lighthearted. The music at the start (sounds like a flute playing) is upbeat and whimsical. When the cuckoo clock strikes the hour, it’s not with the typical “cuckoo.” Instead the little figure holding a horn sounds like it is playing a real horn. Viewers can expect to have fun watching the story to come.

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene?

Caldicott and Charters add more humor to the already lighthearted opening with their commentary about the inn and their travels. They are like a bickering couple on vacation, pointing out one another’s flaws and mistakes. They accidentally close the door on the woman who is trying to leave the inn. And they are the ones who, by being ignored in another humorous touch, herald the entrance of the star and her friends.

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.

I have to confess that I had no idea which one was Margaret Lockwood (and I have seen this film, but it has been a while) until I looked up her photo online! So I watched the doorway-to-stairway shot again.

     Boris the innkeeper and Lockwood are on opposite sides of the frame when they all start talking at the doorway, giving a lot of attention to the two actresses in the middle, but Lockwood has the funny line (about the changing of the sheets). And, as soon as the group moves away from the door, the innkeeper and Lockwood move together, forcing the other two actresses into the background. It’s obvious that the innkeeper has met Lockwood before from the details that they discuss. When the group stops at the bottom of the stairs, Lockwood and the innkeeper are on a step or two higher; when they discuss the pronunciation of the word avalanche (another comedic touch), the shot is of the two of them only.

     Even before Lockwood and her friends enter, though, viewers know they should pay attention. This is the point when the innkeeper first sees them (and viewers see him acknowledge someone off camera), he moves toward the doorway, Caldicott and Charters think the innkeeper is coming to talk to them, and the innkeeper moves right past them to greet Lockwood and company. After that, the camera follows all four characters (the innkeeper and the three women) and their conversation until they disappear up the stairs. When the camera does break away, viewers get a brief look at all the other visitors watching the group, and then the very funny conversation between Caldicott and Charters.

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I saw this whole film yesterday as many of the films that will be covered in this course are available on any roku streaming device. This film has many of Hitchcock's touchs. First of all, it starts off like a silent film but suddenly we are thrust into chaos with much noise. As the movie progresses, we see some shades of a future Hitchcock with Psycho in the scene with the man singing outside the hotel. I don't want to say to much as it will ruin the scene for those who have not seen it yet. I believe Hitchcock was right when he said that with the invention of talkies people forgot how to make a great film because all silent films had to rely on the emotions on the faces of actors to get the point of what was going on. As with nowadays people have forgotten how to make great films because the have lost the ability to convey what is happening in a film without showing every single little detail.

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

Very lighthearted....chaotic....the music lends to the mood intermingled with the chaos in the lobby ...the cuckoo...is not the traditional cuckoo but a little soldier....reminds me of Attention Attention....then the clerk announces how train has been cancelled due to the avalanche

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

Almost a cluelessness, "why weren't they told immediately"...a self absorption....they are in a different country...with a different language ...It is not England....there are many people it appears from different countries who are all in the same predicament . . . .

 

 

 

Near the end of the Daily Dose, Caldicott and Charters stop another traveler to ask questions, and when they don't understand him, they seem taken aback that he doesn't speak English! I don't think Hitchcock left his home country of Great Britain off too easily in this international setting. He was poking fun at just about everyone in this film brief sequence.

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. 

The music is light hearted and whimsical with the cuckoo clock.  When the elderly lady enters she seems happy and it is comical when she leaves getting out of the Inn's door with the wind blowing.  We follow across with new guests but then I noticed that the people in the background are looking bored and some seem  concerned.  This is not what the music is telling us!  When the cuckoo clock goes off it ushers in a new group of tourists and there is more and more chaos.  Then the avalanche is announced and the tension builds because people are going to have to hurry to get rooms and while people are rushing up the three women come in and take away the person who should be helping them!!!  Doesn't this happen a lot in the real world!?  Someone is next in line and the phone rings or someone pushes in front of the line!   

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. 

These characters are entering the scene just as the light-heartedness is starting to turn to concern.  However, they continue being oblivious to the issues around them because of their concern with what turns out to be a cricket match.  What sounds like concern with the political issues of the world turns out to be concern with a sporting event.  Their performance adds to the humor and denial going on.  I did not think about how close their relationship might be until it was mentioned in the lecture video.  As a previous post mentioned they even end each other's sentences.  

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. 

I got the impression of being hypnotized.  In the movies when someone holds up a watch on a chain and it goes back and forth.  We have the elderly lady coming in and going out.  Then people come in the door and over to the desk.  Back and forth.  It is busy in the front of the scene and initially just a crowd in the back.  The tension builds and everyone from the background comes to the front.  Then the three young ladies enter and become the important characters as they get the full attention of the innkeeper and everyone has to wait.  Iris becomes the focus once the group is introduced.

Wow!  What fun.  I have learned so much and have so much to learn.  Everyone has been so great and kind.  I wish every class was like this.  The encouragement has really helped build me up so I think I can really start to learn more about film making.  I have seen most of Alfred Hitchcock's movies after 1935.  I have watched them over and over again.  I have listened to the commentaries but I really think this class has helped me to dig deeper.  I never really thought about how his early work influences and builds on his later work.  I just enjoyed them.  It really makes me think deeper.  Thanks!!

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1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music.

 

Hitchcock Oakman's the film with a light-hearted mood, the music is very light and folksy. I particularly enjoyed the cuckoo clock, the trumpet reminded me of the opening at a racehorse "and they're off!" There is a lot going on in the lobby, the lady checking out at the desk, the people waiting for news of the train, the desk clerk on the phone, the two gentlemen entering, baggage coming from the train; all of this to help the audience connect with the hustle and bustle of travel.

 

2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene.

 

Caldicott & Charters introduce the audience of the film to the fact that they are not in England. They are traveling in a foreign country where everything is unfamiliar. The performance shows the characters complete self-absorption and lack of concern for the world at large.

 

3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene.

 

Iris is established as the star of the scene because all attention is placed on her and what she wants.

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1.Hitchcock at the beginning of the scene uses the calmness of Mrs. Froy walking through the lobby followed by the chaos of the men carrying the skis and such to give the impression that something is going on by all in things are normal,

 

2. Caldicott and Charters are Cliff Clavens of the hotel lobby. They are totally self absorbed without any real perception that others who are not British have any clue as to what is important. They think they are the most worldly of the group of travelers and deserve special treatment. 

 

3. When Iris enters the room the hotel clerk drops everything to see what he can do to help her. She is the most attractive woman in the place and all eyes follow her across the lobby to the bottom of the stairs. The camera never leaves her after she enters the room. She is ahead of the three girls in the triangle and most of the speaking lines.    

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