Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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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 music is very light hearted and gives an easy going atmosphere to the scene. Even though there is an avalanche, people don't seem upset or worried. The girls are not worried at all, after they are leaving tomorrow without any problems in their eyes. The gentlemen seem a little concerned , as they remark on whose fault it was that they are not stranded, but the other people waiting around seem unbothered. The music is light and carefree, so the characters appear that way too.

 

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 the only ones who seem concerned a little with the situation, but then they make light of the situation by discussing a national anthem and whether or not they should have stood. The music sets the tone to one of carefreeness and their discussion goes right along with it.

 

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.

 

Dialogue- She is clearly blowing off the seriousness of the situation with her witty banter with the clerk. She teases him and he teases back, while everyone else stares at them. All the other patrons are told to register with him for a room, but they already have a room and are whisked away to it, as if to show their superiority over others.

Camera movement- The camera stays on them the whole scene. There is no close up of anyone else, just them.

Placement- they come in the center of the room, as if the center of attention.

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1.     The opening of, The Lady Vanishes offers an immediate contrast in tone and atmosphere. The soundtrack offering a peaceful happy tone with a no-stress attitude as the elderly lady checks in with the hotel manager. After the intro push shot we have two quick cuts to a depth of field shot in which we see our male duo of Caldecott and Charters trying to close the door to keep the cold out, while the old lady disrupts this by needing to exit. In this shot we have a wonderful foreground placement of the manager and the action in the background. All seemingly peaceful, but the struggle of Caldecott and Charters represents the stresses to come.  Before they can sit, the tone is changed by the porters barging through the door with luggage, the cuckoo clock chimes, and … there’s been an avalanche. We are now within the typical Hitchcock cacophony and chaos.


2.     Charters and Caldecott serve quite a meaningful purpose here. In this opening scene we get the low down on the political and social climate at the time and how wonderful the comments come during an avalanche. These two are busy bodies who immediately assume the young female trio to be Americans based on all the pomp and fuss given to them by the hotel manager. Within an instant the hotel manager has gone from informing the waiting passengers, urging them to register in his hotel, to then completely ignoring them. Caldecott and Charters are important in that they offer the character breakdown, not just the comic relief, but they become the vehicle by which Hitchcock is displaying a bit of the spirit of the times- people of various nationalities that are speculative of each others motives and dispositions.


3.     I first have to mention how I love the slow push shot that again, in true Hitchcock form, places the audience as a voyeur. As mentioned, we again have a public space in which the randomness and probability of any given circumstance. The shot in question wouldn’t be as strong if it weren’t for the two previous shots in which we see the viewer is behind the crowd at the reception desk, darkly framing the hotel manager as he signals to the incoming trio. Next, is a cut to the manager blowing by Caldecott and Charters. To showcase Iris, Boris shakes her hand first and she enters screen right, Boris directly opposite. Iris overlaps her friends behind her. Next a tracking shot in which Iris leads the pack and then a medium-two-shot track as Iris and Boris talk. Her importance is finally capped off by a pause on the steps with Iris higher than her friends, and a subsequent two-shot of just Boris and Iris as she says she must leave tomorrow. Iris also calls the shots when ordering dinner in their rooms. To create tension and animosity, we see the shot of the lined up crowed watching the whole event just like the audience, in total disbelief. 


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1. Even though there has been an avalanche and the people are glumly waiting for word of the next train the music is happy and light-hearted. It's an odd contrast.

 

2. Caldicott and Charters seem to be comic relief.  Hitchcock seems to be poking fun at how "vedy British" they are. Snobbish and looking down their noses at the "foreigners" even though they are in fact the ones who are foreign.

 

3. Margaret Lockwood is established as the star over the other girls because:

    a. She speaks first as they come in

    b. She's in the two-shot with the desk clerk and has the most lines when they move to the stairs

    c. She's a step above the other girls in the shot by the stairs.

    d. She is the only one with a close-up

 

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Hitchcock opens THE LADY VANISHES with a myriad of images and sound. I love how the very first glimpse of this film is a first person pov. We enter room as we enter the movie. The introduction of characters begins with the older lady who is sweet and calm and appears happy to be traveling somewhere. The score that accompanies this part is also happy, flute-like- child-like. It reminds me of Disney’s score in Pinnochio. As soon as she exits, we see two characters, Caldicott and Charters, who are about to tell us a great deal of background and tone with their body language and side-gossip conversations. Just as they close the door following the lady’s exit (as to not let in the cold) chaos suddenly erupts. Two minor characters, possibly pursers, burst in carrying loads and loads of luggage. The sound is loud and chaotic. They are arguing about something and just then the cuckoo clock goes off with a repeated annoying sound (like the horn of a car alarm). We are about to learn that the train will be postponed due to an avalanche and the innkeeper almost insights the crowd, announcing they better get on with their hotel reservations or else. Then the three ladies walk in leisurely looking calm and confident in the situation as they have “ins” with the innkeeper and appear to be ongoing VIP-ers. I find it interesting that we first have a single character (the older lady) introduced, then two (Caldicott and Charters), then the three ladies. I noticed the ladies are the only ones in the room not wearing hats just as Caldicott and Charters presume that these three women are “American”.

 

Caldicott and Charters are both out of place and also essentially placed in the scene. They are not only totally dissed as the hotel owner brisks past them to greet the three lovely young women, it is hinted that they are homosexual, which was not commonly socially accepted at that time. They function, however, as a bridge to all three separate introductions of characters.

 

As mentioned before, we are initially placed as 1st person in the first shot so it feels as if we are not only in the train station with these people, but we also might be about to board this train as well. As we witness Iris’s (the star’s) entrance, she mentions to the innkeeper about their previous encounter about a week ago. We know they know each other. She corrects him in his annunciation of “avalanche” so she appears to be the more intelligent of the two and has the upper-hand. She not only gets the most sought-after-room, she also expects casually that supper will be brought up to them. Most important, however, is that the fact that she is leading the way up the stairs. She not only knows the way to the room without help, but her dominance is expressed with her placement at the “top”, even above the owner.

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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 is the case with a lot of Hitchcock's opening scenes, this one crackles with energy. There's a lot going on and lots of different people present, each with their own concerns and reasons for being in that exact place at that exact time. The tone feels anticipatory because everyone's waiting to check in and get on with their vacation/journey/evening. This also feels like the sort of setting a person could get lost in easily, so I'm not surprised someone winds up vanishing to who knows where at some point.


 


You also pick up on a joyful, cheerful tone thanks to a number of things, especially the folk music and the energetic exchanges between the people that are from this country and the other people in the room. They seem to talk and gesture with a lot of gusto as compared to Americans or English. Little touches present in the design of the inn's interior also add a touch of foreign charm/whimsy to the setting (i.e. the cuckoo clock).


 


I'm not at home or anywhere else familiar, but thanks to the charming mood, I like it -- like being on vacation somewhere cute and quaint. This is yet another place you could picture yourself going in search of some fun or relaxation. You wouldn't expect anything upsetting or bothersome to happen to you here beyond... well... some bad weather or natural phenomena that might put a crimp in your plans (like 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. 


 


They help me get my bearings as to where I am and when I am. Through their banter, you learn a bit about the social climate of the time, as well as what's going on elsewhere in the world. You find out what people doing here. You also get a little insight as to how the people in this scene probably feel about everything that's going on from the inconvenience caused by the avalanche to the way the hotel manager drops everything to prioritize a particular group of girls the minute they walk in (Iris and friends).


 


They also provide a little bit of dialogue-driven comic relief. This helps to establish a mood of general light-heartedness and energy, at least as far as this particular scene goes. You definitely know you're probably watching a film that's less dark and brooding, more wit-driven than some of Hitchcock's others.


 


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 minute Iris and her friends arrive at the inn, all eyes are on them, including ours. The camera goes straight to them right along with the hotel manager and they have our full attention even though we're still in a crowded setting filled with lots of other folks. Their group fills the entire frame and the camera continues to follow them throughout the few minutes they spend in this room. It then focuses on their going up the stairs and making preparations for their evening. Only after that do we get back to other people present and even then, they're talking about the girls and speculating on where they must be from or what kind of people they are.


 


We know Margaret Lockwood/Iris is the star because she's clearly the leader of the group of girls. This is established in a number of ways. She has dark hair while the others are blonde, so she stands out from the first second you lay eyes on the group. She stands slightly in front of her friends and walks in front of them as they ascend the stairs. She's the one that leads the discourse with the hotel manager and places the dinner order for the whole group (really delectable-sounding food, including champagne). She's obviously very familiar with this inn and knows her way around it almost as well as if she lived here. She even feels comfortable correcting the manager's pronunciation of the word "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. 

As the scene opens the music is jovial but there's a depressing mood, everyone is sitting quietly watching the Front Desk Clerk on the phone. A happy woman enters to do some business with the clerk and everyone seems jealous of her and her happy demeanor.

 

All of a sudden the music stops when the two men come in from outside, they are loud and animated. The cuckoo clock's music is also loud and obnoxious as it fights for attention. The room becomes a cacophony of sound.

 

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

They add a jovial banter, it really adds nothing to the scene as far as I can tell. The conversation sounds like a married couple going back and forth. Right now they are my favorite characters.

 

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 Desk Clerk runs right over to them ignoring everyone else, this movement tell us the women are very important. Iris is framed in the center /right of the shot and has the most dialogue out of the three women. She leads the way walking with the other two women behind her and then  finishes the dinner ordering an extravagant magnum of champagne. The Clerk treats her like royalty forgetting about the room of unlucky travelers as they watch this "show" in awe.

 

 

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Hitchcock's opening from The Lady Vanishes begins with an atmospheric of boredom, then it follows an zeal of sound, noise, and different language exchange that energizes the film. The sound isn't the only characteristic to  bring momentum to the opening scene, it's also the wit of the dialogue and the way Hitchcock directed the people in the lobby. Again, the energy is released by the presentation of the protagonists.

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In the opening scene, the passengers are stuck by an avalanche, but there is nothing static about the atmosphere. The characters move quickly and we get rapid glimpses of them, includingMiss From. I wondered if there was a wind machine on the set because so many of their coats swirled out as they moved. The multiplicity of languages and the resulting confusion foreshadow the nationalist conflicts that will bring the coming war which is in the air in spite of the holiday atmosphere. Although I love this movie, I am not a fan of Caldicott and Chambers. They do serve some expository purposes and they clearly satirize British chauvinism, but I just don't think they are that funny. The entrance of Iris establishes her as a star in numerous ways: the immediate attention of the hotel clerk and the way she gets an immediate closeup. Her position between her blonde retinue and the clerk place her at the center of attention and the stair become a stage where the rest of the passengers can view her star turn. She is clearly confident that she will get whatever she wants. This point is important because it is going to be a sharp contrast when she has trouble getting serious consideration after the lady vanishes. I don't think this is one of Hitchcock's great opening scenes, but, in retrospect, it connects to great scenes to come including the train scenes in Strangers on a Train and North by Northwest. Iris's sense of privilege also reminded me of Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. But Iris is not a Hitchcock blonde!

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Hi!

1. The music is light and upbeat against the background of a group of impatiently waiting people, some look upset, some are reading the paper. The only bubbly character in the beginning is the old lady who comes to the front desk to chat with the owner. There is a bit of comedy when Caldicott or Charters closes the door as she goes to exit and then after she exits the doors bursts open and, the sound of the coco clock as two men enter arguing.

 

2.Caldicott and Charters definitely add humor and a upbeat tone to the scene and if I remember the movie, everytime we see them this tone/mood is present.

 

3. As soon as Iris and her friends enter, the owner of the hotel moves to greet them;  ignoring the other patrons.  The camera stays on them the whole time w/ two cut aways: a group of ppl staring in disbelief at them and the treatment they are receiving and then as they exit the room up the stairs, Iris leading the way, Hitch cuts back to Caldicott and Charters. Clearly, Iris is the center of attention, the star of the movie.

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(1) There is a jolly quality to the opening of The Lady Vanishes.  The music is bouncy, cheerful, and even whimsical.  The travelers are all in close quarters and sharing the inconvenience of the avalanche.  This situation gives them something in common.  They’re all commiserating over the same thing; however, they don’t seem to be miserable.  The atmosphere is light-hearted and good-humored.

 

(2) Caldicott and Charters add humor to the scene.  They discuss prescribed behaviors such as standing for a country’s national anthem.  They recently stood for a Hungarian song and were the only ones standing.  Caldicott and Charters also call out the preferential treatment the three young women receive from the hotel manager.  Also, one man points out the obvious upon asking a stranger about a train’s departure time—the stranger doesn’t speak English.    

 

(3) There are various ways that the dialogue shows Margaret Lockwood is a star.  Margaret Lockwood’s character is on a first-name basis with the hotel manager.  She corrects the hotel manager’s pronunciation of “avalanche.” She uses a French pronunciation.  She doesn’t say, “Will I be able to go home tomorrow?” but rather “I’m going home tomorrow.  How long before they did it out?”  This shows entitlement.  She also orders a magnum of champagne.  Among her trio, Lockwood does most of the talking.

 

The positioning and framing of Lockwood also indicate that she is the star.  She is “framed” by two female sidekicks whose light hair color contrasts with her brunette hair.  Her sidekicks remain more or less behind her throughout the scene.  Lockwood also has the most eye-catching wardrobe of her clique.  When the trio and the hotel manager pause on the staircase, Lockwood is in the center of the frame, and she is on a higher step than her companions.  At this point she is facing the camera more so than the other characters in the frame, who are in profile.  

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1. The peppy music sets a light tone that subsides into the chatter and chaos of many languages. I detected a slight change and darkening of mood, more anxiousness as everyone tries to get on the train.

2. Caldecott and Chartes throw some humorous asides out, displaying chatty superficiality admist the clamor of the crowd scene. They really didn't do much for me in this snippet.

3. Iris is a combination diva and fast talker, like many feminine roles in the 30s. She takes over and livens up the scene. Hitchcock frames her entrance and how she comes to dominate the action.

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1. The scene opens with the folk music playing setting the tone for a quaint inn in a European country. The music is lighthearted and cozy feeling as the travelers wait for their train. The elderly lady pays her bill as the innkeeper is smiling. Then as the elderly lady leaves, the wind picks up and the men carrying luggage enter they are talking gruffly as if they are annoyed. Then the clock goes off, but not with a whimsical cuckoo bird but a bugle sounding a warning of danger to come perhaps? The innkeeper has trouble hearing on the phone with all the noise swirling around him. Then the action picks up as the avalanche is announced and the travelers are thrown into a less than cozy situation. 

 

2. Caldicott and Charters provide a comic touch to this scene. Their facial expression when they believe the innkeeper is directing his attention to them only to be snubbed for the American girls is delightful. Their lively banter about why they missed the train shows the comedy of traveling and not always knowing the customs or the National Anthem of a country. They are more concerned about the cricket match than the politics of their day. They are very British but charming at the same time.

 

3. Iris is established as the star in the scene in several ways. The innkeeper shakes her hand only, Iris speaks first, her dark hair makes her stand out, as the innkeeper and the girls walk toward the stairs Iris is in the lead, the camera stays focused on her the whole time while the other two girls are slowly left out of view. As they near the stairs, Iris goes ahead of the other girls when going up the stairs denoting a loftier position. She takes charge in ordering their meal and giving the innkeeper  more instructions.

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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's a rather odd opening; a mixture of upbeat and annoyance. Although the music is cheerful and playful, most of the people seen in the train station don't seem too happy. They look very bored, and especially jealous of the elderly woman (the great Dame May Whitty) because she looks nonchalant and joyful. It's ironic because when she eventually 'vanishes' during the film, most of the people claim they have never seen her, especially when Iris is looking for her.

 

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

 
Charles and Caldicott bring some much needed comic relief to a rather grim premise. They are also provide a parody of stiff, upper class society, where they have obvious mannerisms and behavior. They don't really care about what's really going on with the other passengers; they are more concerned with getting to the cricket game. There is a very subtle gay subtext underneath considering that they do bicker and try to one up each other. They obviously steal the film.
 
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. 
 
In terms of dialogue, Iris is the first to speak among her friends. Of the camera movement, it does follow her, sometimes from her point of view, especially when she gets on the train and collapses after she gets hit with a statue that was meant for the old woman. Before that, the character of Boris immediately comes to greet her and her friends, while he ignores everyone else. He makes sure that she and her friends are taken care of first before the other guests. 

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1.  The tone is not only very lighthearted, it is also comic.  This is probably the most broadly comedic opening of any Hitchcock movie.  The music has a quaint, prosaic folksy quality, which also matches the lighthearted tone of the opening scene.

 

2.  Charters and Caldicott represent the quintessential Englishmen abroad.  They react to the chaos in the early scene, and the perceived slight by the hotel manager, with a typical British stiff upper lip.  This attitude provides a counterpoint to the comedic scene they are reacting to.  Having seen this movie a dozen times, I love the Charters and Caldicott characters;  although they can behave almost like children when their cricket conversation is interrupted, they will rise to occasion when the necessity arises.

 

3.  So Margaret Lockwood's entrance begins with a comic touch, as Charters and Caldicott believe the hotel owner is coming to greet them, and he passes them by to greet the girls.  This tells the audience that these girls are important.  They walk to the base of the stairs.  At this point, Margaret Lockwood's face is seen in a three-quarter profile shot as she speaks with the hotel manager.  The other two young women (one of whom is Googie Withers, an actress who had a very long film career) are seen in quarter-profile, their faces almost not visible.  Then Hitchcock cuts to a two-shot of Lockwood and the hotel manager.   Hitchcock then cuts to a reaction shot of the other hotel guests, standing grouped together at the bottom of the stairs, watching as Iris gives out her dinner order while walking up the stairs.  These camera set-ups subtly tell the viewer that Margaret Lockwood is the star. 

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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 opening scene puts us right in the middle of a group of people sitting on chairs. Then we see a giddy lady coming down the stairs, the music happy and uplifting. Things seem hectic, and people of course are having to wait because there's been an avalanche (or "auv-a-launch"). I like that the scene was constructed to have a sense of buzzing activity without it seeming that everyone was on their last nerve because they were being snowed in. It allows for the humor to be seen through the annoyance of being stranded for the night, even when the "stars" walked in and stole all the attention.

 

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

 

I loved being introduced to Caldicott and Charters. They offered witty banter which added a lot of comedy relief as well as a great way to tell the audience what was going on in their minds and most likely the minds of other onlookers.

 

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 Iris entered the camera was on the clerk/owner, he immediately dropped what he was doing. I like how Caldicott and Charters thought he was coming over to greet them as VIP guests and he just walked right by them to greet Iris. We were also told by Caldicott and Charters that she was an American and we know now she was a "star" of utter importance.

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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 seems festive. Like it's just another day, nothing out of the ordinary. Once the door is opened it brings the wind and with it bad news about the train. The men push the older lady out the door but hold the door for the younger ladies.

 

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 they are used to show the outrage of the customers left behind in the lobby while the ladies after ushered upstairs personally.

 

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 camera follows them. When he shows the other customers in the lobby they are all watching in awe of the young ladies. No one is upset visibly. Just watching what happens the same as we are.

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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 opening is in public space beloved by Hitch. A hotel of nondescript with the exception of the cuckoo clock that marks time. The crowd of travelers are rested on their luggages waiting for the hotel manager as goes about his flight. The music is also a mood indicator which Hitchcock used to the maximum. The music is light and airy enough to present a mood of light-hearted traveling scene. Music is to play a future in Htich's cinematic achievements. His use of music as mood to full effect. 

The beginning as we see the manager and a customer sans dialogue is reminiscent of his silent films. The action does not need words to express the action.

 

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

The characters are hilarious. They were used as a comic tour-de-force in a whimsy opening scenario.  As Professor Edwards added in his lecture video, listen to their dialogue which I did. I know the tight English accents are not what we used to here; not the posh tones of Masterpiece theater, but rather a more natural and perhaps regional accent. The tidbit of their conversation is very much political in nature. Thanks to our fearless Professor to whom i owed a debt gratitude of having learned something new about this film which I have seen many times. Now, I have to pay more attention aurally when it plays on Friday evening. 

 

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. 

Margaret Lockwood while was a brunette beauty. She was not standing in the middle of the frame sandwiched by her blonde companions. She was staged on the right side of the frame and yet it is her bit of dialogue that enable the audience to distinguish her from the blondes. They knew who was the leader of the pack and took command.

As the scene progresses, the camera as though by nature follows her lead as they ascend the stairs to their room. I knew she was in-control of the situation as she is the boldest of the three to correct the manager of his pronunciation of Avalanche, how cheeky and in French. She continues to assert her character dominance with ordering a magnum of champagne, a girl after my own heart. She has got chuzputah. Not a bad thing to have if you are about to be a woman who is going to need it the most in the next 98 minutes.

 

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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's light, but also multiple moods of anxiety and frustration. He seems to be setting a mood where there will be continuous tension among all the characters.

 

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

Comedic relief! They offer a break from the tension displayed from the rest of the group. They focus on trivial things and are not focused on the major issue of the train being delayed. I look forward to seeing when and where they appear as the movie progresses.

 

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.

She takes the lead in the banter, has the best "quips". Is out front as the trio moves t the stairs, conversing with the owner. Seems to always being in front center of the frame..even as she is moving.

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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 mood starts out to be what seems like a somber one. Everyone is waiting in the lobby to register for a room since they train was delayed due to an avalanche. Things seemed to turn around for the good when the manager started taking names at the desk. But once Iris and her friends appear at the hotel, the mood changes back to a sad, depressing one because the other guests now know that they will be waiting even longer for a room.  The music seemed to be rather upbeat, which was a contrast to how the characters seemed to feel about having to wait for another train. 

 

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 Caldicott and Charters offer a bit of comedic relief to an otherwise tense situation. 

 

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 camera just follows Iris and her friends from beginning to end. They speak to the manager of the hotel as though they are old friends. The manager just drops everything else that he is doing at the counter to welcome Iris and the girls back to the hotel. Nobody else is important for those few moments. The rest of the characters are seated on the opposite of the room from the desk, but near the door. It's as if they are an audience awaiting a star to come through the door. 

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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 folk music used helps to establish this place as rural or unsophisticated. The seated folks are morose, as they are waiting for some help.

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 used as comedic relief to the distress of the waiting passengers.

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 camera follows Iris and her friends all the way through the lobby, with seldom a glance at the waiting mass. Obviously she is the queen of this show, and has the full attention of the hotel manager.

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1. After watching the scene with the jovial Bandrica folk source music score at the beginning, I feel that Alfred Hitchcock wanted to open "The Lady Vanishes" (1938) in an upbeat, cheerful and humorous manner (instead of opening the film with a grim/serious tone).  The opening scene with the commotion between the hotel clerk and the hotel guests reminds me of a scene from an episode of John Cleese's cult BBC comedy series, "Fawlty Towers" (which was produced in 1975 and 1979).  The wide shot of the interior of the hotel lobby looks like it might have been inspired by a scene from one of Hitchcock's silents that I watched recently on Turner Classic Movies, "Downhill" (1927).

 

2. Both Caldicott (Naunton Wayne) and Charters (Basil Radford) add an extra dimension of comic relief to the opening scene of 'The Lady Vanishes."  With their skit about cricket matches, the two men in the film reminds me of a music hall or vaudeville-based comedy duo who transitioned easily into early sound talkies (Laurel and Hardy, Wheeler and Woolsey, etc.).

 

3. Hitchcock strategically did this (the panning of the camera from the left with the hotel patrons in the lobby, to the right with the clerk at the desk; the close-up shots of the clerk (Emile Boreo) and his discussion with the customers, medium shots of the hotel patrons, the craftsmen coming into the hotel, the Bandrica source music and the close-up of the source music score) as a way to introduce the audience to the cast of characters in "The Lady Vanishes," all the way to the clerk conversing with Iris (Margaret Lockwood).  

 

 

 

 

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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 tone set my this movie opening is a happy go lucky. 
 
2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene.
Both these two Characters add the comedy to this movie.

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 camera is just focused on Iris and her friend's, they are the VIP hotel guest and nothing matter but them. And even after the lobby is full of people wanted some attention from the front desk clerk.   

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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 and ambience of the opening scene in the hotel lobby tells me most of these folks are on a mountain holiday and are waiting for a train. Soon we learn the holiday is on hold, however, due to an avalanche on the tracks. Everyone seems to be taking it stride.

 

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 are another example of Hitchcock poking fun at British stereotypes. They remind me of the comedic characters portrayed by Terry-Thomas, my favorite "English gentleman" from the sixties.

 

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. 

 

As soon as Iris and her cohorts blow in the door, all attention is on them. The camera immediately closes in and follows them. Iris has the longest and wittiest lines, takes the lead when the group moves, and even stops on the first step of the staircase so she stands taller in the frame than her friends while she finishes her conversation with the innkeeper. Hitch leaves no doubt as to who's the star.

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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 in his earlier pictures, Hitchcock opens the scene in a public setting in The Lady Vanishes.  This time, it’s a hotel lobby in some unnamed foreign locale where German is spoken.  Everything seems peaceful as people wait patiently seated enhanced by a deliriously happy music score.  An older woman makes pleasantries with hotel manager as she pays her bill.  As she exits through the front door, she gives a tiny wave to the manager as she walks into the windy outdoors.  Two very dapper gentlemen open and close the door for her.  This is the end of the most peaceful, seemly uneventful moments in the film.  And then, all hell breaks loose as two men with traveling gear virtually explode into the room.   The miniature wooden man with a trumpet that pops out of the clock seems to formally announce the chaos. We find out through the manager’s translations into various languages that an avalanche has occurred which will force the people in the room to miss their train.  The manager announces that if they want a room in his hotel, they must line up to register.  Hitchcock took the atmosphere from peaceful to chaotic to set the plot in motion.   He begins to introduce the various characters such as the two gentlemen, Caldicott and Charters, and the dancers, one who is one of the stars of this picture.

 

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 represent an upper-middle class view in which manners and rules must apply in a British sort of way.  They are astounded when they are pushed out of way by the three American dancers who immediately gain the attention of the fawning hotel manager.   The free-wheeling Americans stand in stark contrast to the mannerly British gentlemen.  Hitchcock holds this behavior as part of a clash of civilizations.    

 

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 slyly sets up the entrance of Margret Lockwood’s movie star entrance when the manager spies a person of importance.  Caldicott and Charters think that the manager has come to help them.  Instead, the manager sweeps by them to greet the three young women.  We view the stunned looks on the gentlemen’s faces as the manager walks out of the shot.  Two of the young women are framed standing together with the manager standing in profile to the left of the frame and Margret Lockwood standing in profile to the right.  Although everyone has a bit of dialogue initially, Hitchcock continues with a dolly shot of Iris and the manager in an involved exchange walking in front of the other two girls towards the stairs.  By this framing of the shot and the extensive dialogue between Iris and the manager, Hitchcock indicates the importance of Iris to the storyline as well as the star power of his star.

 

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Accompanying the humor of Caldicott and Charters reaction to their situation, and to Iris Henderson's preferential treatment, is, I think, a slight commentary on Western elitism in Britain and America. I don't believe Hitchcock was trying to make a political or social statement, but rather to call out an obliviousness and a "surely, not me!" attitude these characters have regarding inconvenience, trouble, and danger. His British audience was likely to identify with Caldicott and Charters and perhaps even with Iris. And we know Hitchcock liked to set his stories of murder and suspense on people's vacation and in public, well known sites to provide a false sense of security before tearing it down. I think the characters in The Lady Vanishes serve as an encouragement and a snickering wink at the audience's own sense of, "that would never happen to me." And Hitchcock uses it to his advantage for building suspense.

 

Visually, Caldicott and Charters sit on the outside of the crowd of passengers. They do not understand the language, so they do now follow the crowd up to the desk for a room. And when they do understand the situation, they still do not join the crowd but circle around to the side of the desk to look for the cricket scores. They do not identify with "these people." Surely they will still get a room, "they're British!"

 

Iris and her friends enter the hotel and are privileged above the crowd. They walk around in front of and then ascend above the crowd on the stairs. They receive the treatment Caldicott and Charters act as though is due to them, adding to the comedy but also to the delicate, illusory nature of their "we're special" outlook. Ultimately the audience will also find their sense of security an illusion when the entirety of the main cast is held up in a train car and fired upon.

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