Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #10: Nothing on Me (Opening Scene of Shadow of a Doubt)

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 The first thing we see of Uncle Charly is his coldness, almost like a statue on the bed... The money does not seem to be interested as we see him in a close-up of the Bills on the floor. Knows that seek him and why, accept this as something logical, although it loses a little chill when the woman goes, that determines its future action, shows determination and accepts the challenge, passing next to the two agents.  His character is also marked by the shadow that darkens his face when the woman runs the curtain.  A difference with The Killers is that Burt Lancaster's character also knew they were going by, and accepted him resigned, willing to not resist. 


As for the music, plays a fundamental role as resource, not only the waltz serves as leiv motif, and a basic reference (and will be throughout the film) but that the music becomes more dramatic with the thoughts of the protagonist and his actions more dangerous or disturbing.


 

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Daily Dose #10....

 

"I'll just sit here and be quiet, in case they suspect..."

 

1.  As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

 

Uncle Charlie is a thinker.  The opening scene has him lying in bed. Thinking.  He is wide awake.  After being told of the visitors, he moves to the window and looks out, the watched watching the watchers.  He either talks to himself or there is a voice-over that shows his defiant attitude towards them.  He calmly gathers his pocket items (money, wallet, cigars) and hat and walks out of the apartment building (as an aside, notice the address number?  Where have we seen that #building before in a Hitchcock film?).  Instead of trying to avoid the watchers, he walks right by them.  Cold and steely in demeanor.  Who is he?  Who is watching him and why??  We don't know, but we want to.

 

2.  In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

 The mystery of the opening scene points me towards noir, is this our hero?  Who are the men who want to talk to him?  Why do they want him?  This sets up the uneasy feeling of not knowing what

is going on and wondering if the character does.  

   Then there are the technical aspects of the scene; the sounds, the lighting, The hard darkness, and the hard light.  The stillness of the characters in the direction.  Even the casual use of cigars and cigarettes.

  

3.  As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

    We open with a light-hearted 'daytime in the city in spring/summer" but them the music becomes slower, darker in the interior shots (although we hear the outside music again when he is looking out the window) The music stops as Charlie steps outside then builds again, culminating in an almost very sinister theme as Charlie walks past the two men and down the street.  

 

- Walt3rd

 

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As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

Uncle Charlie is deep in thought with money strewn all over his bedside table and floor which begins to make you feel he's done something not legitimate. When the landlady comes in to tell him about his visitors, he's cool as a cucumber and even toys with her when he explains he doesn't know the men. When he looks out the window he gets mad and you hear an arrogance of a wanted man that says "they don't have anything on my anyhow". Then he is so **** sure of himself, he grabs the dough, goes out the front door and walks straight into the 2 men, brushing one as he strides by. This guy is a smooth character.

 

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations) I've seen the Killers and in that film is an inevitability of fate that weighs on the man lying there - you can see it in his eyes. When you first see Charlie, he seems concerned as he lies there but you quickly see how cooly he collects himself as the scene proceeds.

 

As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? The score contributes to the mood and setting of the film in the open. It is background music to begin with, but when Charlie gets ready to leave his room, the music "screams" like a woman alerting us to danger! Then it continues to keep us on edge by the frantic cadence as he walks up to the men and then passes them. It really puts you on edge! Something wicked that way went!

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Shadow of A Doubt 1943 ...Daily Dose #10

 

Charles Oakely aka Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) is living in #13 ...a rooming house he is renting or leasing. We see the Room sign outside (an establishing shot that all movies have) & it is #13 we see later that Uncle Charlie lives in. Such a nice, common name ...Uncle Charlie. We don't yet know his name though. 

 

All we see is a prone man with a cigar & lots of money everywhere ...money on the bedside table & on the floor. He wears a full suit so maybe he has been out getting this money. He seems calm. 

 

The landlady enters the room Mrs. Martin (Constance Purdy) uncredited in the movie ...I looked  it up on

Google. We get info from her not from uncle Charlie at first. Then Charlie speaks but we are not getting much from him. The men waiting for him outdoors are not his friends he says though Mrs. Martin said they were. She sees the money & says it makes her nervous because, "Everybody in the world ain't honest you know." No they are not & we later learn that, but not in this opening scene/s.

 

Shadows fill the rooming house from the window curtains & maybe blinds...Charlie leaves & is bold for he walks by brushing one of the two men waiting for him outdoors...they are watching him more likely.

 

I have watched  this movie many times through the years but staying with this scene I will say it does lure a watcher in with it's mystery. We must know what Uncle Charlie does with his time to make all that pile of money & why these men are watching & waiting for him. What did Uncle Charlie do? Watch the movie to find out.

 

I did watch the opening scene of :  The Killers ...the difference to me would be 'the Swede' (Burt Lancaster) more or less says he did something  bad & that is why the killers are coming for him & he lets them come.  We do not yet know what Uncle Charlie did to have two man following him around  & watching him in his home & then once again following him as he leaves. 

 

Charles Oakely aka Uncle Charlie has not confessed much this early in the film...he does later & this movie is great. 

 

 

Shadow of A Doubt 1943 ...Daily Dose #10

 

Charles Oakely aka Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotton) is living in #13 ...a rooming house he is renting or leasing. We see the Room sign outside (an establishing shot that all movies have) & it is #13 we see later that Uncle Charlie lives in. Such a nice, common name ...Uncle Charlie. We don't yet know his name though. 

 

All we see is a prone man with a cigar & lots of money everywhere ...money on the bedside table & on the floor. He wears a full suit so maybe he has been out getting this money. He seems calm. 

 

The landlady enters the room Mrs. Martin (Constance Purdy) uncredited in the movie ...I looked  it up on

Google. We get info from her not from uncle Charlie at first. Then Charlie speaks but we are not getting much from him. The men waiting for him outdoors are not his friends he says though Mrs. Martin said they were. She sees the money & says it makes her nervous because, "Everybody in the world ain't honest you know." No they are not & we later learn that, but not in this opening scene/s.

 

Shadows fill the rooming house from the window curtains & maybe blinds...Charlie leaves & is bold for he walks by brushing one of the two men waiting for him outdoors...they are watching him more likely.

 

I have watched  this movie many times through the years but staying with this scene I will say it does lure a watcher in with it's mystery. We must know what Uncle Charlie does with his time to make all that pile of money & why these men are watching & waiting for him. What did Uncle Charlie do? Watch the movie to find out.

 

I did watch the opening scene of :  The Killers ...the difference to me would be 'the Swede' (Burt Lancaster) more or less says he did something  bad & that is why the killers are coming for him & he lets them come.The younger guy in the film with 'the Swede' is  used for a confession so we can hear it & know why he will be killed. He allows himself to be killed ... he waits for it. Also, looks like a small spot light is used to cast a big, dark shadow on the wall behind the Lancaster character.  We do not yet know what Uncle Charlie did to have two man following him around  & watching him in his home & then once again following him as he leaves. 

 

Charles Oakely aka Uncle Charlie has not confessed much this early in the film...he does later & this

movie is great.

 

I can't say much about music ...sometimes...no often I feel movie music is overdone...not saying that about this movie but sometimes less is more. 

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1. Who is this man...Uncle Charlie? - This opening scene lets us meet a man of means though we don't know how he got his money or why he is living in a seedy boarding house. Add to that 2 detectives and we can only assume he is hiding out but from what we don't know. Charlie has a calm, soothing voice. He seems like a contemplative man and well dressed. He rolls the cigar though his fingers as if he is orchestrating something. The Merry Widow waltz lightly fades in and out. He lays in bed almost like he is meditating but once his landlady leaves, he slowly rises, calmly drinks and then smashes the glass. A quick turn to anger lets us in on how this many reacts.

 

2. The obvious opening scene comparison to the noir classic, The Killers can't be avoided. Both men are waiting...one to be killed and one maybe to be caught. We're in a seedy, urban place and yet we hear children playing, almost like we're somewhere else. Where is the urban noise...traffic, chatter, etc. In The Killers, the room is totally dark. Here we're in semi-darkness. The shades are up but the sunlight isn't shining directly in. We' can see everything even if it is in shadows. Noir loves the shadows where things appear one way but as the light of day brings things into clear focus, we will find that things aren't always what they seem.

 

3. The Merry Widow waltz seems to drift in and out of Charlie's consciousness. It seems light, airy, sweet and melodic but too much repetition makes the sweetness sickening and the melody a portent to disturbed thoughts or a reflection of criminal actions. Tiomkin does a great job of making the music rise and fall as Charlie's moods change. He builds the music to add a sense of urgency as Charlie breaks the glass and realizes that he has to flee.

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1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

 

Disregard for obvious wealth: money strewn about on nightstand and floor

Man of taste: a bit elegantly dressed while smoking a cigar

Evasive: answers landlady’s questions in halting manner, providing answers that don’t quite tell the truth or are patently misleading.

Sinister: laying on bed in darkened room in contemplation

Deliberate: voice is always in even monotone, as if deliberately controlling any indication of his real mood or situation.

 

2a. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? 

 

Tension created by use of odd angles when the camera moves away from children playing in a street towards a window where the shade and curtains prevent any view inside. Although if you’re from the a city like New York playing stick ball in the street would seem normal, general audiences might find that situation slightly odd adding to the tension. Inside, the lighting of the room, black and white in shadows, featuring a man fully clothed while lying on a bed smoking a cigar with money strewn about on a nightstand and the floor. The character does not seem to be relaxing but is obviously mulling over some options. During the conversations with his landlady he seems deliberately to be hiding his true thoughts by deliberately being slightly evasive in his replies to her questions, obviously hiding something. 

 

2b. If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

I see both films in the genre of a noir film so maybe I shouldn’t be answering this part of the question. However both films use similar elements and characters in completely different ways. 

 

The Killers begins featuring two men, who are possibly gangsters, on the trail of the Swede. They take over a diner after interrogating and threatening the staff, and announce their intentions to kill the Swede. When the Swede is introduced he is lying on a bed, totally passive, in a semi-dark room, in his undershirt. He refuses to take the opportunity to run away or defend himself from an obvious fate. He states he’s guilty of doing something wrong; and dies accepting his punishment.

 

Shadow of a Doubt begins with one person, Uncle Charlie, lying on a bed in a semi-dark room, dressed in a suit. His landlady comes in to tell him two men are asking about him. She explains they are across the street watching. Uncle Charlie does not admit to anything that would make him guilty deserving punishment. Instead he proceeds to consider his options. After his landlady leaves his room, he proceeds to put on his hat and walks across the street, deliberately walking past the two men who follow him at a distance.

 

3. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

I’m not very knowledgeable of music so bear with my description of the music. Tiomkin’s opening score resembles the boisterous music of a carnival emphasizing the actions of the children playing a game of stick ball. It continues in this vein while the camera zooms towards the window of a room hidden from view. Once the camera enters the room the carnival theme immediately is replaced by simple orchestration that is very quiet and of the type used to emphasize suspense. The music immediately stops allowing emphasis of the spoken dialog when the landlady begins to speak. The music then begins again immediately after she leaves, quietly at first, then increasing in loudness to emphasize the emotional turmoil of Uncle Charlie. When he leaves the house, it decreases and then increases stridently emphasizing the risk Uncle Charlie is taking and heightening the suspense of what will happen as he approaches the two men who are watching him.

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1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

 

We learn that Uncle Charlie appears to be an odd mix of cool/collected and anxious/explosive. He seems like the kind of guy that you wouldn't always be able to read, probably to your own detriment. Like... you wouldn't be totally able to tell you really ticked him off and made him angry until he literally explodes in your general direction. (We see this in the way he goes from lying on the bed thinking and staring at the ceiling, to pacing around the room, to suddenly throwing a glass against the wall.) He seems quite smart and calculating, but not the sort that thinks out loud very much of the time. Basically, I wouldn't want to play a high stakes game of poker with Uncle Charlie. I feel like I'd be screwed whether I won or lost, if that makes any sense at all.

 

We also definitely see that Uncle Charlie's probably into something a little unsavory. He's got police and/or detectives following him and clearly putting a lot of effort into trying to trap him. They know who they're dealing with and they understand that they'll need to keep a close watch on Charlie if they're serious about bringing him in because this guy covers his tracks very well. Also, all that cash lying around -- probably stolen or otherwise gained through criminal means. Whatever it is Uncle Charlie does to earn his bread, he's clearly very good at it. Good enough that he doesn't have to worry about leaving cash lying around or care if it's falling all over the floor.

 

2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

I'm afraid I'm not very well-versed when it comes to film noir in general and I definitely haven't seen The Killers in particular, so I'll have to give this my best guess. What sticks out the most to me in a "that screams film noir" kind of way is the mood. The room is semi-dark and shadowy, especially after the landlady draws the shade. The scene is also quiet -- focused on one guy alone with his thoughts in a room instead of on a crowd or a public place where there's more of an outward flow of energy.

 

Uncle Charlie also very much strikes me as the kind of guy I'd expect to see in a film noir. To begin with, he definitely looks that part. He even has a cigar, a pinstriped suit, and a fedora. He's also super pensive -- the kind of guy that probably has a lot going on upstairs at any given time. He seems like a semi-cynical, almost depressive type that definitely broods from time to time -- someone who kind of exists on the outskirts of society to one extent or another as I picture film noir-esque characters doing.

 

As far as The Killers goes, I got the impression from the lesson today that the guy in the opening of that film basically decides to wait in a room for the men that are after him to kill him, arrest him, or otherwise seal his fate for him. Uncle Charlie isn't that type. He isn't going to just relax and let it happen. He comes up with a solution and decides to keep moving. He doesn't even care that the guys after him saw him leave, because he walks right past them. You can totally picture the mental middle fingers he just flipped in their general direction.

 

3. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

Uncle Charlie doesn't say very much out loud that's actually straightforward in this scene. You can gather a bit of what's going on in Uncle Charlie's life at the moment from his banter with the landlady, but you have to read between the lines (which is easy to do). This woman's not that quick on the uptake and Charlie probably doesn't think very much of her for that reason, so he strongly hints at what's really going on because he knows she's not really going to put two and two together. You can detect a hint of apprehension or menace in his tone, so you know he's probably not an innocent man by any means, but that's about it.

 

The score helps confirm what you might suspect about Charlie, as well as give you even more information about who he is as a person. The music goes from dark and brooding, to light and airy for a second, to brooding again, to explosive. You can completely follow the back and forth, rather anxious movement of the character's thought process and mood. It's all over the place, or very quick, or perhaps both at once. You get the impression the character may have come up with a solution to his dilemma. Then he makes a ballsy decision to leave and walk right by the guys that are looking for him. You can tell he doesn't really think they're a match for him and the score really backs that up.

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Today's Daily Dose is the opening scene from 1943's film noir classic, Shadow of a Doubt. 

 

Watch the clip over in Canvas, and then come back here to reflect on the opening scene and share your observations and insights.

 

Here are three questions to get the reflections rolling:

 

1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

 

From the opening scene, we see Charlie laying on his back, hands folded across his chest as if he was on his deathbed.  Money on the floor as if he was disoriented.  As soon as he is told about the two unknown men looking for him, he immediately goes to the window and sees them outside waiting. 

Charlie has an inner conflict trying to convince himself that that they had nothing on him.  He immediately makes his escape past the two men in a dominate fashion unaffected by their presence.  We know that Charlie stays in a boarding room, and there is a view of the tall harsh buildings outside suggesting something is out of place.

 

 

2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

 

The elements are lighting, camera focus on character morality for visual storytelling, light and dark shadows, silhouettes. 

 

3. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores take on more importance than the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 

When Charlie left the boarding room and walked towards the two men, the music was dark and energetic in sync with the footsteps.  As soon as Charlie walks away, the music stops -- leaving the audience totally engaged.

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Daily dose #10.

1. Uncle Charlie portrays a clearly opinionated, somewhat mysterious (careless) sort. I can't tell if he has any regret but he obviously has done something illegal and immoral. He drinks and just throws it back as if to mask his feelings The young boy outside appears oblivious to world around him but reminds me of the shadow of uncle Charlie when he was innocent. The men outside seem to be waiting for him. I have seen this movie several times but I am viewing it as if I'm seeing it for the first time. Noticing that he is in a boarding house leads me to believe that the Ill gotten gain certainly couldn't have been profitable enough to provide better housing. I think he is carelessly courageous in a foolish manner. Runs out almost to taunt (if you're gonna do it get it over with).

2. So I could admit to a hint of a feeling of film noir in this introduction but I find Mr cotton a bit comedic in a tragic way. He isn't yet giving me that curious bleak feeling I get during other film noir. (The landlady feels so "Hitch " to me.

3. The music. The music. The dynamics of the introduction are almost beyond words. They translate into many things current. It is classy it is a real orchestral feast ! The music builds in the boarding house. Then tinkles down. Suddenly it builds and mounts in intensity when he goes out into the street and sees the two guys. This only enticed me to strongly desire more time to dissect this opening.

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In this opening scene, we learn  that Uncle Charlie is deceitful and calculating.  Uncle Charlie has evidently enlisted his landlady's help in lying to the two men who come looking for him.  Subsequently, Charlie concludes that 'you have nothing on me', and decides to boldly walk up to, and past the two men, and the men do not confront Charlie.

This opening scene, through music and shadow, has a tone of foreboding, which seems to be a consistent element in film noir. Although we don't have comprehensive information about Charlie, we do know that he has money but is staying in a run down tenement, that he is seeking to avoid certain men, and that he calculates and concludes that the men 'have nothing on him'.  

 

The Tiomkin score begins lightly as boys play in the street in front the tenement building, but then gets darker later in the scene as clues about Charlie’s character are revealed.  When Charlie decides to walk toward the men, the music builds to a crescendo, and then as Charlie passes the men and they begin to tail Charlie, the score (primarily piano) transitions to a march-like accompaniment to their determined pursuit.  

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Oddly enough, in this opening scene, we don't learn too much about this character except that he is hiding something when he gets mad and breaks a glass then gets up to the window and says "what do you know, you are bluffing, you have nothing on me" as he discreetly watches  the  two men on the corner of the street who called on him. He smokes a cigar and has lots of money it seems. It is clear though that he doesn't wish to be disturbed and could be ignoring the callers. Not much else is revealed about him however the music crescendos when he makes a bold move and walks out the door of his flat and right by the two men who had called on him. 

 

The scene reminds me of a film noir as there is always a story we are waiting to be told and here too we encounter a man under odd circumstances, not knowing his story as its yet to be revealed. There appear to be two men after him and it could be about money.  There is mystery and a hint of danger. He breaks a glass out of frustration or fear, not sure yet. 

 

The musical score is very important to this film as we don't know much about this main character yet the music tells us through its volume and beats per minute, that someone is on the loose. It reveals emotion and warns us of character action. Its what we listen to as we see the action and it is very revealing. It tends to get louder with the actions of the character. Very well done. It escalates every time he first exits the door of his apartment and doesn't close the door, wind breezes in from the window, and  moreso when he leaves the building which has the #13 on the door. The music gets louder and more vibrant as he approaches the men to pass them on the corner. It seems that as the two men then follow Uncle Charlie, their footsteps are in time with the piano playing. I love it.

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In the opening scene, the viewer learns that two men have called upon Charlie at the boarding house.  He appears to be pondering over something that has already happened, and is planning his next move.  The money strewn all over, as if it had no value, makes the viewer wonder where Charlie got that windfall.

 

The overall dark mood of the film gives it that film noir vibe.  One gets the impression that Charlie is dealing with a sinister situation, although we don't have a clue as to what it is yet.

 

The beginning of the clip goes very quickly from an innocent street scene (with "happy" music) to the dark view of the boarding room with ominous music setting the mood.  The music ignites the viewer's anticipation as Charlie is walking towards the two men.  We are waiting to see...will they stop him?

 

 

 

 

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1. As mentioned in the curator’s note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

Uncle Charlie appears to be careless with money. He’s evasive when talking with his landlady: He gives contradictory answers that amount to not answering her questions and concerns. He’s daring: He leaves his boardinghouse and walks straight toward the two men waiting for him on the street outside his window. He’s clever: He gets away from both of them when they pursue him on the streets.

 

2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir?

The children playing on the street set up an expectation that everything is safe and fun. But almost right away, the camera cuts to a staircase, then a window, both at canted angles so that viewers know they are leaving the children’s games behind. The film cuts to Uncle Charlie lying on a bed, with shadows playing on his face. The camera angles and the lighting are the first of many clues that Shadow of a Doubt is a film noir.

 

3. As we move into Hitchcock’s Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film’s score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene?

The music seemed a bit loud to me at the start, but when the camera moves in close to Uncle Charlie lying on his bed, it gets very soft. It’s almost warning viewers, anyone, to proceed with caution. The score doesn’t continue while Uncle Charlie chats with his landlady, but it begins to pick up again after she leaves, and it builds until the moment that Uncle Charlie throws his glass at the sink. After that it accentuates Uncle Charlie’s every move, emphasizing his breaking of the glass and his daring to walk past the two men on the street corner.

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1.As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific.

He has money, I'm guessing he came about it in an underhanded way as it seems he doesn't care about it or material things. He is cold, calculating, knows trouble will find him so he doesn't run from it but seems to invite it. Obviously not concerned with his own welfare.

 

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations)

When I think of noir film, it's always my general impression or sense of overwhelming gloom, a somber mood. I certainly sense that in this film. Especially in the character.

 

As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene?

It augments the mood and atmosphere. Cotton sets it with his acting, the score undergirds and reinforces it. As Cotton's mood change from somber to defiant, the score changes pace with him...agiain reinforcing what is being portrayed visually.

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As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. We learned that he already knows that someone would come to the house to try and see him, thus the reason he told the landlady to not to disturb him. We also know that he is a very cool character who doesn't scare easily. And we know that he is in real trouble with the cops.

 

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations) Dont know The Killers. There are aspects of film noir in the opening scene. The landlady speaking to him in the dark and him not moving to acknowledge her. The shadows that fall during that scene gives the look of film noir. His speaking to himself, although just on line, let's us get to know what he is thinking, a bit film noir.

I'll answer the last question after I see it Friday.

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  In this opening scene from "Shadow of a Doubt," Mr. Hitchcock lets us in on the dual personality of Uncle Charlie, a possible Jekyll and Hyde type. At first photographed serene and calm laying on the bed smoking, he soon reveals himself to be a twisted character full of rage as he unexpectedly hurls a drinking glass at the wall. He is introduced to us in a low rent boarding house yet dressed to the nines, smoking expensive cigars, money strewn on the floor. Even though he likes the finer things in life, money may not be all that makes this character tick, witness the strewn about cash load. Not many normal folks would get so dressed up to lay on a heap of a bed and so this is curious, much like a corpse laid out in a funeral or the Lancaster character in "The Killers" awaiting his fate to die. Cornered animals.  

  For yes, Uncle Charlie appears to be waiting or maybe contemplating his next move. He is a careful planner and strategist and this may make him dangerous, that and the hidden rage that may shadow a burgeoning psychopathic personality.  For Uncle Charlie doesn't just sneak out of the #13 boarding house, he struts right in front of the two tailing detectives. Defiant and arrogant and hair trigger dangerous. Likewise, he failed to acknowledge the kind landlady's concern for him and doesn't even bother to look her in the eye. It is like she does not exist.

  Yes, Uncle Charlie appears to be a guy who likes to hide things as the shadows on the rented room's walls attest. Human caring is foreign to him. Tiomkin's soundtrack echoes this dual personality well, as the music can  appear merry and upbeat ("The Merry Widow Waltz") at times only to be eclipsed and paired by the ominous downturn of an alternating foreboding melody. For Uncle Charlie maybe presents one way as a quiet, meticulous (cigars neatly lining his lapel pocket) and charming bloke yet he may in fact shelter a dark, twisted and violent persona.

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DAILY DOSE #10 (Shadow of a Doubt)


 


 


THE LODGER: THE STORY OF HOLLYWOOD NOIR


 


1. Charlie is non-materialistic yet loaded, shrewd yet impulsive, tired yet restless, and fatalistic yet willful.


2. The film starts noir-ish with many tilted angles, non-eye-line shots, with a shadowed interior. This is undercut by a sunny suburban exterior with a couple of sketchy lawmen (gris-ish?).


3. The Tiomkin score faithfully reflects Charlie's changing mood and increased agitation.

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​We learn that although Uncle Charlie has expensive taste in clothes and cigars and money just laying around he is not a choirboy. He is nice to old ladies and probably dogs but is waiting for something sinister to happen. He says to himself that the men on the corner don't have anything on him and walks right by them in broad daylight. 

 

There is the dimly led bedroom, the low camera angle with a quick zoom of the steps outside the boarding house and then we see Uncle Charlie laying on the bed. All quickly and with the music, out interest are peaked.
 

​The music score serves to built the mood of Uncle Charlie as he awaits a showdown with the two men on the corner. We expect them to crash though the door any minute but Uncle Charlie decides to walk past them and down the street and shows no fear.

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1.  Uncle Charlie's character:  Upon first glance, you see a very well dressed man, very neat in appearance although it seems a bit strange that he's lying, fully dressed on the bed staring straight up at the ceiling - money carelessly tossed on a nightstand spilling onto the floor as though it was unimportant.  Upon the entrance of his landlady, he doesn't turn towards her, doesn't move a muscle and speaks in a quiet monotone voice throughout their conversation and only once speaks directly to her when discussing the two men looking for him.  He shows no emotion until she leaves, and in a darkened room, throws a glass across the room in a sudden rage.  His quiet monotone voice alone I found sinister and scary.  To me the scene showed that there was something evil lurking beneath the surface of 'Uncle Charlie.'

 

2.  In what ways did the opening remind me of a film noir?  At first, watching children play in the neighborhood, although not an upscale side of town by any means, the neighborhood didn't seem run-down or seedy, not affluent but better than a lot of boarding houses you typically would see in a film noir.  Uncle Charlie's appearance doesn't typically evoke a feeling of noir - at first, but his stone-face, quiet monotone voice and sinister overtones surely does.  Upon rising from the bed in a darkened room and going to the window having a narrative in his mind about the two men outside having 'nothing on him' - the feeling of noir comes alive and continues as he opens the door to leave his room and you watch his shadow going down the hall - and as he nonchalantly passes by the two detectives down the street. 

 

3.  What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the scene.  Upon the opening of the scene, the children playing in the street, the camera panning on the building - the music is somewhat lighthearted and continues that tone until the scene showing Uncle Charlie lying on the bed and then the music changes to a quiet somewhat suspenseful tone.  The music becomes a bit more suspenseful as he rises from the bed and goes to the window and then a bit of The Merry Widow tune drifts by and is gone - and you're wondering what that means.  As he leaves the room the music turns ominous as you see his shadow moving down the hall assuming he is going to address the two men waiting and watching the boarding house from across the street.  Viewing this, you're waiting and watching what will happen - with the tension building from the music, you're expecting a confrontation of some kind which doesn't occur.  Then the music becomes sort of like a heartbeat as the two men start following Uncle Charlie down the street.  The music builds up the tension beautifully and by then I'm totally hooked into the movie!

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It’s so interesting to learn that Hitchcock and Wilder modeled this opening scene on The Killers. But there’s more than a subtle difference between the two openings.  Burt Lancaster, in The Killers, is a rather normal guy who put himself in an impossible situation and now has to pay.

 Uncle Charlie is not a normal guy and we see that right from the start. He’s lying on the bed in a buttoned-up suit and tie, vaguely conducting a tune with his cigar.  He seems lost in his own world even while listening to the landlady. And then there’s the pile of money thrown haphazardly on the table. We get the impression he’s done something odd to get that money but we’re almost afraid to ask.

Then, he throws the glass, pulls himself together. He’s ready for the game to begin again. 

This opening is less ominous than The Killers, but it’s a lot creepier.

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Wow, Joseph Cotton.  Hitchcock really stepped up his game, just like he wanted to, like he envisioned, in coming to Hollywood -- great move.  What a difference.  I am not a fan of his first works so much -- his British works.  But in coming to Hollywood he had fallen right into his element like a duck takes to water, and these films after 1939 show it,  He got his top acting talent he always wanted, coupled with more freedom for his continued artistic directorial expression.

So what I learned about this opening and the character of Uncle Charlie is first, why is his name Uncle Charlie, whose Uncle is he and why is Uncle Charlie lying there on the bed fully clothed holding a cigar?  The money?  Was he waiting for these men?  Whatever it is, he isn't concerned about the money but wants to see just what these 2 men will do when he says here I am.  And he sees they do nothing, and his walk says he succeeded in doing what he wanted to do.  

I don't know much about the film noir, and Professors lenghthy notes on the subject still didn't really solidify for me what a film noir actually is, but I guess if one of the elements of a film noir is dark and suspenseful then this opening qualifies,

I believe what makes the opening scene here different (I have not seen "The Killers") is the regular ordinary neighborhood of kids at play (Well, children.  I don't think they were called "kids" then.).  The signature Hitchcock putting "ordinary people in extraordinary situations".  

The effect the Tiomkin score has on the mood, atmosphere, and pace of the opening is of extremely heightened suspense letting us know something indeed has been going on and it will unravel, just keep watching what Hitchcock does next.

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1. Uncle Charlie seems careless about money, as mentioned before. Brooding, intelligent. He is well-dressed, has a cigar, and seems to enjoy the finer things in life. he is handsome and stylish. it seems unusual for a man who looks so well-bred to be in such a "seedy" place. he seems nonchalant about the fact he is being followed. But, has some inner anger which shows when he throws the glass. We get the idea he must have done something wrong, but maybe not too serious. Maybe stole the money. That landlady must have gotten on his nerves! He seems sinister because of his quietness and calm, when we know he must be some sort of sociopath~~glib, yet hiding a hatred for the world.

 

2. It made me think of film noir because of the shadows, especially when the landlady pulls the blinds. The ominous music and the camera angles also point to film noir. Also the feeling of desperation below Charlie's calm exterior is a trait of film noir.

In The Killers, Burt Lancaster is also in a shabby room, but he is dressed rather shabbily (t-shirt ) and he does not look too well groomed. He looks anxious waiting for the men who will kill him. Definitely shadows in his room when the boy comes to warn him. Somehow I felt sympathy for Burt in this role. He is resigned to his fate (noir-esque) vs. Charlie trying to run away.

 

3. Tiomkin's score uses the Merry Widow Waltz with variations. It may give a clue to what Charlie has done. I like how dramatic the music gets when something is about to happen. The music is sometimes cheerful, sometimes foreboding. There is no music when we learn what the landlady has to tell Uncle Charlie.

 

This is one of my favorite films. I've always liked Joseph Cotten. He usually plays a stand-up, good guy. :)  I was hoping that he would be "good" in this movie, and that all the clues against him would turn out to be wrong. I loved the interplay between Teresa Wright (Charlie) and Uncle Charlie (Cotten). She was good (light), and he seems the opposite (dark). So much suspense during the whole film!

As does Dr. Edwards, I love the part where he calls the rich women "animals" and looks almost right into the camera. I didn't know Cotten could play so malevolent! :angry:  I also like the part where he tells little Charlie that the world is a "foul sty". Brilliant! I wonder if Hitch really felt that way.

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  1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. He seems to be calm and cool because he just keeps listening to the lady as she rattles on and repeats sentences.  Then all of a sudden he breaks a glass.  So he does not handle pressure well.

     

  2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations). The killers took place in small town America without a care in the world.  In this movie the kids are playing like they are so carefree.

     

  3. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene?   The film score to me has always played a big part in setting a scene.  Someone is walking towards a door and there is this  mysterious music and then the door opens and it is a person that the other person likes.  You can tell because the music is now light and whimsical.  Hitchcock has made the use of  the invention of talking movies.
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As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

 

In typical Film Noir style Hitchcock set ups from the beginning prelude the duality of the character.  As discussed in the lecture.  Duality and duos are a theme of this movie.  We several odd contrasts.  Charlie Spencer (I laugh as that's my dad's name)--is dressed wealthy but living in a shady run down room.  He smokes fine cigars and seems cool and collected at first when the land lady comes in.  Yet we see him careless and non chalant about his money.  It is on the floor etc.  It makes the audience question why does he have this money?  Then we see his inner rage come out when he hurls the glass at the wall.  We see him state 
"They have nothing on me"  and walk cool by the men that he knows are following him.  We know as an audience this man is not what he seems.  He seems cool and collected but he is a dangerous time bomb.  It pulls the audience immediately into the story.  Tiomkin's score has variants of tone and dynamics that seem to brilliantly reflect Uncle Charlie's changeability. 

 

The theme of giving up or fighting is apparent similar to the opening scene with Burt Lancaster in the Killers.  This movie is pure film noir and Hitchcock handles this new genre for him masterfully. 

 

In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectation

 

Shadow of A Doubt has all the film noir touches. One is definitely the use of light and shadow.  The landlady closing the blinds and us seeing Uncle Charlie in dark shadow..... it foreshadows that darkness and evil might be lying underneath the surface of the character.  When Uncle Charle opens the blind .. even though we see sun light, there are eerie lines from the blinds and a surreal reflection on the back wall that gives the feel of a character trapped in a cage.. someone traapped in their own dark web. 

 

The score by Tiomkin has strong peaks and valleys in dynamics and chordal structure adding to the underling tension.  Tiomkin was one of the most noted composers of the day for film noir scores.  His style is recognizable to savy audiences. 

 

The duo them through out ..  good and evil, light and dark, rage and passive,  the duo men following him.  Use of numerology.... Did anyone notice the number on the building was NUMBER 13 (like Friday the 13th.. unlucky bad things to come)..... I think Hitch intentionally through these small touches in.  

 

The passiveness and naive nature of the landlady.  The isolated introspective opening of the lead character... All very noir. 

 

  1. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? 

 As a musicologist myself.. This is an important score by Tiomkin.  Tiomkin score bounces back between the moods of the characters... It enhances the underlining motives of the characters. In the opening scene the Dimitri used dissonance and punctuated dynamic changes to enhance the intensity of the feeilings and changing moods of Uncle Charlie.. one minute peaceful/aloof the next enraged. We'll later get the Merry Widow waltz motif that ads to the representation of the "swirling" danger and drama and the duality of the two Charlies.  The music is forte at the opening and then gets very quiet when Charlie is in bed...... creates the feeling of danger and proceed with caution.  

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1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 

    

  --  Uncle Charlie comes across almost lifeless, emotionless until he throws the glass.   

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