Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #11: Thought I'd Left (Opening Scene of Mr. and Mrs. Smith)

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The hitch touch for me was the panning of the room, shooting the food on the floor (shooting the unexpected). The questioning maid of course, begs for explanation.

The props are rich, budget good,would have loved to see the set in color as he used

The pallet so effectively later on.

 

No I believe this is not a typical opening scene for him. He was in a different mood

For this one, maybe, experimenting with the Stars more.

 

Carole Lombard goes well with any leading man. The real issue is I prefer him as Phillip Marlowe in the lady in the lake.

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For me the most evident Hitchcock touch is the close-up given to the characters, it's often used by the director as a kind of greeting card, he seems to like to introduce his characters this way. Here we see this couple and it's evident there's often trouble and quarrels between them, we can see this even through the set, the way the room is a completely mess. Also the fact that a lot of the scene is silent is very "Hitchcockian" to me. 

Even though there are Hitchcock touches I wouldn't really say this is a typically Hitchcock opening, here we have a genre that is different from what we usually connect with him, besides the often used openings in a public place with a lot of people is not applied here, by the contrary, the opening is focused just on the couple. And the casting for me really worked, I like their chemistry and Lombard was a really fine actress.

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The opening scenes here show that Mr. and Mrs. Smith do have a rather classy place with the furniture, the bedspread and all those dishes. Their wealth is confirmed by the appearance of the maid later on in the scene. But the contrast is how messy the place looks with dishes all over the floor and whatever that was on the sofa (a throw maybe or sheets?) 

 

I didn't see much of the Hitchcock touch except the close-ups on the characters themselves and the panning of the room during the opening shots. There seemed to be a much intimate feel to this beginning, while also feeling warm and homey. 

 

When it comes to the pairing of Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery I would have to see the film in its entirety in order to make a sound judgement. First impressions have me sitting on the fence so to speak, as far as their pairing goes. 

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Well, we have a Hitchcock blonde and a very beautiful one in Carole Lombard. We also have the mysterious and luxurious array of meal trays and the glimmering satins of the set. We are getting a lot of information as the camera moves around the room and encountering some questions. We also have the bemused and curious maid. And there are some things that are just a little crazy like the way Robert Montgomery walks over the back of the sofa. This touch was the one that amazed me. I have never seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith before, and I was astounded by the sofa move because it so closely echoes Fred Astaire's trademark way of dancing up the back of sofas and then tipping them over while never losing his aplomb. (And musical buffs might also see a prophetic reference to Singing' in the Rain's Good Morning number.) I think that choreography is a good lens for looking at the structure of opening scenes like this one as well as others like The Thirty Nine Steps. Though this opening scene does not contain any hints of menace, it does have mystery, so I think that we can say that this scene has the Hitchcock touch.

 

Carole Lombard is a lovely actress and a skilled comedienne. I think she connects to Madeleine Carroll with her ability to combine real feeling with a light touch. I also sense some connection with the dining car and sleeping compartment scenes of North by Northwest. Robert Montgomery moves through his scene with a sense of humor and physical grace. Hitchcock has cast this film well!

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One of Hitchcock's touches we see in the opening of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is how it is in a confined space of their bedroom just like in his other films like the lifeboat in lifeboat and the train in The Lady Vanishes. It seems to me that although not the usual type of film by Hitchcock that this man could do anything he put his mind to because I can't wait to see the rest of this comedy.

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Posted (edited)

 

  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? ​ Hitchcock was able to use the camera pan from the objective to the subjective as the camera glides from the deck of cards to Robert Montgomery playing solitaire, to the camera moving up-close for an extreme close-up shot as she opens her eye to show her expression of surprise. The set design of the room is of a nouveau riche style in their residence. The decor is dressed up to look very posh and pristine.

     

  2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? I have to disagree with this statement. Hitchcock usually opens his films with something foreboding that is willing to happen in the story or in his early British films involve a group of spectators that are witnessing or watching a special event. This opening feels quite outside of this realm, but it does give a nice approach as to how the opening sequence is structured out from the bedroom, to the kitchen, to the office, and back to the kitchen, the front door leading to the bedroom and back to the bedroom. Compared to the other daily doses, it is different.

 

What do you think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage"? Why or why not? I felt that Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery had excellent chemistry in this film and I felt that they were perfectly cast in their roles. Carole Lombard was no doubt the queen of Screwball Comedy and Robert Montgomery was a well-known comic of his time that was able to take on challenging roles, so I thought it was excellent to see Hitchcock casting these two in a "comedy of remarriage".

 

Edited by BLACHEFAN

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1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, and so on? 

The two main characters seem a bit self-absorbed, with all those dirty dishes and their own lazing about. But people obviously care about them and their predicament. The hotel maids were dying to know what was going in the room. And Montgomery’s coworkers wanted him back to work as soon as possible. One Hitchcock touch that I noticed was that very clever extreme close-up of Carole Lombard. The camera comes up so close that her sleeping face is the only thing on the screen. And then she opens her eye and looks right into the camera. The other Hitchcock touch was the humorous attempt to get Montgomery’s signature on an important legal document.

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses. Why or why not? 

I do not think that the opening of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical Hitchcock opening. There is no sense of mystery or unease. I wondered how the two leads were related to one another and what they were doing in the hotel room (I assumed that it was a hotel room), but I really didn’t feel like I was about to watch a Hitchcock film.

 

3. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this “comedy of remarriage”? Why or why not?

As characters, they seemed frivolous and fun. It’s hard to tell if the actors are well cast for the film without watching more than this opening clip, but I certainly felt that they had some chemistry. They looked awfully cozy embracing in that single bed!

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  • What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 

     

  • There are secrets ...the maid and the cook or head of the kitchen are wanting to peek inside and know what is going on.  There is history as they had an 8-day bedroom vacation, then we learn a 6-day, a 5.5-day, etc.  They are stubborn and have not a care for the outside world.  We assume they have fought and are 'making-up' in the bedroom and thus the attire, the lack of dressing, seeing other and the plates and plates of old food and glasses.  I thought it had the Hitchcock touch of his humor, sexuality and psychological aspects.  

 

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

 

I agree in the fact we jump into a mess between two beautiful people and are curious to know how they got there.  I disagree in the fact this is lighter, brighter lightning, nicer decorations, you assume high society with two helpers, the huge bedroom suite, food services, clothing, ability to take off work for 3-days and still have job means he has power, maybe the owner of the business, etc.  The film's character's are not lower middle class or middle class like most of his films.  Look at the bedroom for Uncle Charlie vs. this film.

 

What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

 

Carole Lombard is just adorable and plays well as the pouty, gorgeous wife.  Robert Montgomery ...not so sure as I knew him later in films and so my views are colored by this I believe.  I need to see the whole film to answer more specifically.  He seems to old for the role and not so virgin to the ups and downs of marriage.  Although she is in her early thirties, so appears to be a younger wife in the film ...naive, innocent, etc. 

 

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July 12, 2017 – Hitchcock lecture Part 11

 

1.   We see the strong, “director-motivated” camera once more—when Mr. Smith wakes up and sees his wife in bed—a dolly pushes into her. There’s also an element of suspense in even the minor beats, such as when Mr. Smith pranks Mrs. Smith by acting like he left the room after he notices her sleeping. With the pole near the door, we see the setup before the execution, which ramps up our anticipation for what might result after the door slams.  

             The messy, half eaten plates, the playing cards, and the large room indicate that this is a       wealthy couple that lives a hedonistic and commensurately disordered lifestyle. While their embrace and kissing in the end suggest that they love each other, their initial separation (through physical distance and separate camera shots) hints at some marital strife.

 

2.    I disagree, and I’d have a hard time distinguishing this as a Hitchcock flick had I not known in advance. The tone is very light, and the performances by the supporting cast, such as the law student, and the maid, are very much in the line of the screwball comedies. While there is an initial subjective camera POV, the rest of the scene lacks a strong sense of the director’s unique hand in how the main character psychologically perceives his surrounding and situation.
 

3.     I think they are well cast. They’re both attractive and appear old enough to believably look as if they had been married for several years. 

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If one identifies Hitchcock with the well known image (which he promoted) of "Master of suspense", certainly hard to think Mr & Mrs Smith as a Hitchcock film. But if we take it as a great filmmaker who always cared about experience and make maximum use of the Visual and sound resources for their films, always - or almost always - included scenes of humour in his films, and that also he always sought to have stars as protagonists, we can better understand this film as one more in a continuity.  The approach of the Chamber the sleeping face and the eye of Carole Lombard, the route that makes the camera on the floor and the table messy, to give an idea of the setting and the situation before displaying the characters, and the music that accompanies this tour without dialogues can be considered elements common to other Hitchcock films.


Carole Lombard was an excellent actress. Her tragic death prevented that we could continue to enjoy with other interpretations. I've seen a few films with her, but in To be or not to be she was magnificent.  She also specialized in that kind of films, so it contributed their experience and style. Montgomery have seen in other genre films, including Lady in the Lake, - who also directed and where the POV system used - as Marlowe, but here works very well. I don't know if they filmed any other film together.

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What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc?

 

Hitchcock touches: the slow pan which reveals information - liquor, food, a mess, man in pajamas with bedding on couch, woman in opulent bed under covers. Hitch reveals all this with the pan (like the pan in psycho of Vivian Leigh dressing, a suit case, and the money) or Shadow of a Doubt (the pan from Charlie, to the money)

 

Visual Design: We see opulence, which tells us they are a wealthy couple - Doors with designs on them, alcohol not in bottles but decanters, expensive plates, a luxurious bed. This is further reinforced by the fact they have a maid and housekeeper. Mrs. Smith's elegant nightgown (we only see the top) is also expensive. This couple is well off.

 

The furniture also is expensive looking, and there is much of it, for a typical bedroom. A poor or middle class family would have a bed, dressers, w cabinet or closet, maybe even a chair and mirror, but not a divan, end tables, coffee table, double doors, liquor cabinet, and french doors leading to either a balcony or patio.

 

The camera pan from the door (getting the breakfast) to the bed also reveals the SIZE of the bedroom, which also says 'wealth'.

(we know this is a bedroom, and not a studio apartment when we see the maid, housekeeper, in the kitchen, and even THAT is split into multiple 'areas' with the swinging doors... this is a wealthy house, and a wealthy couple.

 

[many if not most screwball comedies dealt with wealthy people: Bringing Up Baby, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, My Man Godfrey, Sullivan's Travels. I Married a Witch, Love Crazy, I Love You Again... True, there are poor, even destitute people in these films (My Man Godfrey, Sullivan's Travels) but the leads are wealthy, and the poor are seen and experienced through their eyes.]

 

The mess, the food, the cards, the bedding on the couch, all suggest they have both been in there a while, and aren't speaking,

 

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not?
 

It is typical in it's use of a camera shot to reveal the information (as said above.)

It is atypical in that it is a domestic setting, as opposed to 39 Steps, Pleasure Garden, The Lodger, MWKTM. (Shadow of a doubt didn't feel like a 'domestic setting'. It felt more like a room a guy was hiding out in.)

 

What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not?

 

I have seen few Carol Lombard films, but My Man Godfrey is one of them! If anyone was BORN to be in a screwball comedy, it's her. They seem to have chemistry. I know little of Robert, but I have seen this once long ago and I had no issues with chemistry.
 

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? The camera, the messy hotel room, the close up on the wife face in bed

     

  2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? Yes its a typical opening now that he is in America, he is almost remaking the Rebecca opening but this time in a hotel room on a much smaller scale. 

 

What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not?   The film is casted wonderful. I saw this film for the first time many years ago and those 2 have great chemistry with each other.  This is one of my fav films of his because its so not Hitchcock but yet it is Hitchcock.

 

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1. I saw nothing that reminded me of Hitchcock in this first scene.  It does have some humor but not necessarily Hitchcock humor. What we learn about the couple is that they are stubborn and rich.  The visual design is bright, airy, and expensive.

 

2. I see no resemblance to the other Hitchcock openings that we've seen.  It is obviously a comedy and I can't think of another Hitchcock like that.  Maybe "The Trouble with Harry" but I don't remember it being an obvious comedy from the beginning.

 

3.  I thought the casting of Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery was perfect for this movie.  Lombard is a fantastic comedienne and plays screwball very well, for example "My Man Godfrey".  Montgomery always seems to have a "happy" face and I find him much more credible in comedies than when he played film noir tough guys like in "Lady in the Lake" or "Ride the Pink Horse".

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Hitch's touches in SMITH In the area of set design serve to convey a perfunctory intro to the Smiths. We pan on a finished meal, that reveals to be on the floor. We feel absurd. Mr. walks over the couch and we discover that a silk quilt drapes it, he's sleeping solo. The camera angles jar us to a jovial world upside down and sets us up for a Screwball Comedy. The lighting is bright, lifts us for a quick skit. Simultaneous shots of the hotel room & office give us exposition, haven't worked in three days. Contract is signed in pencil, laughable!

Don't agree this is a typical Opening Scene, but it is certainly most effective. Usually we have seen public scenes that reverse to individual POVs.

The chemistry between Lombard & Montgomery is cuddly & loveable yet organically ironic as a real couple might be. Hitch succeds again to lull our sensibilities to relate with the Stars.

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While there some Hitchcock "touches" in this opening sequence, the tone is noticeably different from other opening sequences we have seen. There is something going on here that's unusual, and it is slowly revealed (that something being this couple's rule that they can't leave the bedroom until they've patched up their differences).  The set design, along with the supporting characters, tell the audience that this is a well-to-do and sophisticated couple, and that the couple engages in some playfulness without concern about others may think.

 

This is great casting: Robert Montgomery was comfortable in film noir (e.g., Ride the Pink Horse), but also was great in comedic roles as well (e.g., Here Comes Mr. Jordan).  Of course, no actress of that era was better at screwball comedy than Carol Lombard.  

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 

      The Hitchcock touches I see in this opening scene are the close-up of the "ordinary" (good-looking,

      prosperous) man and the close-up of the beautiful blonde.  The panning of the camera over the

      room--the dishes with old food, the comforter thrown over the couch quickly convey that there is a

      situation.

      There is also an "audience," first the maid and the housekeeper, then the office staff.  

      The brightness of the house, albeit with shadows of the Venetian blind slats (trouble ahead?), the

      size and lavishness of the home, and its furnishings, the fact that they have a staff (well-dressed),

      and the husband seems to be an attorney, all indicate they are a well-to-do couple.

 

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 2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not?

 

      I disagree that this is a typical Hitchcock opening, with the exception of the close-ups of the male

      star, the beautiful blonde, and having an "audience."  

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  1. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

    I love these two stars, so I think they are very well cast.  They are both attractive and 

    likable, which are important qualities if the audience is going to care about their plight.

   I think their chemistry is amazing.  They are also both very good actors.  When

   Montgomery gives her that little boy smile, who wouldn't melt and forgive him?

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DAILY DOSE #11 “Thought I’d Left”, Mr. and Mrs. Smith

 

1.     AND 2. 

In my opinion, Hitchcock is keeping his “touch” but it’s not in the same way as with the silent pictures in Britain or in the sound films from Britain. Hitchcock is choosing to create his mystery and tension in less obvious ways and allows us a bit of a slower introduction to the cast. However, Hitch is still able to introduce the plot dynamics through character (which has always been his choice), within a rather short beginning to the film. I think this change or departure into more sophisticated method of his “touch” began with Rebecca and can also be seen here in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Genre doesn’t matter. We still have a wonderful conflict and a mystery at hand and most importantly a commentary on human psychology. The dynamism of a marriage, the great mystery of what actually brings two people together and how they manage to keep it going. There is a codependency here, but more of that later. Hitch symbolizes the chaos we are about to witness with an array of used dishes, disheveled sheets, furniture in disarray, Montgomery’s character still in his robe, and Lombard, clearly awake but tossing and turning. We know there is an issue, and they’ve been holed up here for days. If it’s due to a honeymoon, well.. things don’t seem to be going too well, and if it’s other, the same is true. Hitch gives us a POV shot as we push in to a close up on Lombard’s eye peeking out from the sheets. This suggest, as in all Hitch films that we are voyeurs. So Hitchcock’s visual motif’s are not montages or quick series cuts to get us into the story in a hurried way. He relies less on actual movement of objects or symbolic items and more on objects that show results of something we missed and have to fill in the blanks. So back to what it tells us: There is a codependency, we learn that they have been through this crazy process several times before and this time it has been 8 days. Their marriage rule is, ‘no one leaves until the argument is ironed out’. And there it is, the crux of the film and the conflict to hopefully be resolved; will they last or won’t they. We get the sense that they need each other. Montgomery tricks her into believing he has left to see what her reaction is. As for him, well he would have left a long time ago if it weren’t for some deep seated need for what she gives him as a person. Hitchcock has presented us with what sells the audience and that’s the sheer fascination at looking at ourselves. To make a movie out of it, you have to be more extreme. I recently read a Larry David quote that went something like, ‘when you bare your soul or tell all your truths, it’s all of a sudden very funny. Perhaps this is the borderline darkness. These two are just as fickle and vulnerable as any other.

 

3.     Lombard and Montgomery are cast well here. They play off of each other well. As players on the screen they are attractive people and they are convincing in alluding to the dark aspect of their codependence as well as the beautiful love they fight for. However, I think this question is better answered after I see the film later today.

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1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 
 
Hitch likes to introduce his viewers to his stories right in the middle of a situation in progress, as opposed to before that situation develops. This particular scene isn't as action-oriented as some of the ones his earlier British films opened on, but it's definitely... a situation. I don't yet fully understand the pattern of "fight-and-make-up" the Smiths have going on, but it's definitely odd and it's most certainly established. They've clearly done this many times before, which we see from how casually everyone (including the servants and Mr. Smith's business associates) simply goes through the motions and follows the routine.
 
Clearly when the Smiths go through this cycle, they have a tendency to shut out everything going on in the outside world and stop caring about everyday responsibilities. The room is in total disarray with many, many meals' worth of dirty plates strewn around. Some of the dirty dishes are even on the floor, which to me shows a complete lack of craps given about staying on top of anything. The dishes look expensive though, as does everything else in the room. The Smiths seem well-off, so they may be the type of people that can afford to be as self-indulgent as they appear in this scene. They strike me as likable, but also spoiled and a little irresponsible, which could explain the pattern their relationship has fallen into. This is how I'd expect children to behave or run their lives if something throws a wrench in the machine, not two mature adults.
 
2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 
 
I don't know if I'd use the word "typical", but I definitely see the Hitchcock touch. The camera pans around the room and gives the viewer a good, long look at the situation. Lots of attention was shown to props, set dressing, and other little touches that really help sell a scene to a given viewer. He's showing me who the Smiths are and how they live their lives, not telling me -- something I for sure associate with a Hitchcock opening. He's giving me clues to how these people live and letting me fill in the rest of the blanks for myself. There's also an extreme close-up of Ms. Lombard that is 100% Hitch, as well as the fact that we have another sassy blonde heroine to fall in love with.
 
The most obvious way this is atypical for Hitch is honestly the setting. At this point in his career, I'm not used to him showing me anything that feels truly "everyday" or domestic right in the beginning of a picture. Most of the examples we've studied up to now open on a public setting that's filled with people and energy. If they haven't (as with Shadow of a Doubt), the situation was still extraordinary somehow with someone being on the run or something. This is a married couple occupying a personal space (residence? hotel room?) and going about their lives as usual -- about as everyday as it gets. Granted, their routine isn't one you'd typically think of as "normal", but it's definitely normal for them and the people that know them.

 

3. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not?
 
From what I saw here, I personally think they have great chemistry. They definitely sold me the idea of the two of them as a married couple that probably has issues, but feel deeply about one another as well. Even though they seemed to be getting along famously in this scene, I can totally also picture them fighting. He seems mild-mannered and happy-go-lucky. She seems like the type that would be sassier and more fiery. Opposites that attract, but also clash badly under the wrong circumstances. 
 
For those reasons, I do think they're well cast. I can definitely picture them misunderstanding each other, and flying apart, and then coming back together -- probably more than once, as is usually the case in this type of film. They are both attractive, likable actors, so I feel like I'll be rooting for their characters instead of griping about how annoying they are the entire time. The way I can picture both of them being less grounded in their own unique ways does a good job of setting up the important question of "can they actually grow enough to make it work" as well.
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The opening to MR. AND MRS. SMITH does contain a few elements of the Hitchcock touch, which includes a first person POV shot as well as a tracking shot as we comb over the monumental remnants of former meals, dish after dish in their room that were never cleaned up- or even brought to the kitchen. Like in REBECCA where the narration speaks about never wanting to return to Manderley hinting that something of great importance has happened, here we are back to Hitchcock's visual portrayal of sorts. The music, cuckoo or playful in tone however, sets us up to know that we are not talking about a murder (typical Hitchcock) but of something much less threatening. 

 

We learn that the characters are struggling to function and communicate with each other. They both are lazy; she still in bed though obviously awake and he not even taking the time to walk around the couch (twice). He whines when he is asked to sign a work document in pen rather than pencil even after  his coworker screams that he could lose his upcoming license over this. They are served meals up in their room indicating they are wealthy, and they resort to little tricks in order to effectively communicate. She peeks through an open eye when the doorbell rings, and when he closes the door hiding, she pops out of bed revealing she has been awake the entire time.

 

I believe the chemistry between Lombard and Montgomery is solid. Their comedic timing is seamless and when they embrace, it is quite believable on screen. 

 
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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 

The couple are in the middle of something. Hitchcock, most notably in his American films, starts at an important moment for the characters. This can be seen in the disarray of the room. 

 

 

2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

The Tracking shot along the clothing resembles that of Rebecca. We are given a peak inside this couples life. 

 

3.What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

I think they are both well cast. Comedy is Carole's strength and Montgomery has a very doe eyed look about him. Their appearance and personal way about them can carry over into the serious aspects of a situation while still remaining comedic. 

 

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The close-up of Mrs. Smith's eye under the covers is one of Hitchcock's noted touches.  The use of props and panning is also present.  Without any dialogue needed, the room service trays laying around set the scene.  We can see that the couple has been holed up in a luxury hotel for days, and people are making a fuss about them, which intrigues the viewer to continue watching.     

 

I believe it's a typical Hitchcock opening in that it's using the set and camera angles to let the viewer discover (in steps) what is going on.  In line with a screwball comedy, the music is lighthearted and whimsical, so we don't sense any danger coming (which is atypical).

 

I thought the casting worked well, as the  two seemed to have both a comedic and romantic chemistry.  They appeared sincere in their embrace at the end of the clip.  Ironically, while they embrace, the viewer is hearing about some of the major fights they've had in the past.  This dialogue tells us as to why Mr. and Mrs. Smith are in the hotel room.    

 

            

 

 

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1.    What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 

 

Hitchcock’s touches in the opening scene include the mood music, the lighting and shadows, the panning over elements within the mise-en-scene to tell a story. The fabrics and china and upscale furnishings indicate we’re not in a tenement house but rather a swanky apartment or home.

 

2.    Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

 

No, I don’t think the opening is “typical,” only that it includes some of Hitchcock’s signature touches—those elements noted above to orient the viewers and provide very quick context. 

 

3.    What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

 

They seem to be . . . haven’t seen the film yet, though.

 

 

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1. Touch of Hitch could be the music. So happy joyful and part of the story line. They seem wealthy but the couple are performing normal daily tasks in an extraordinary way. The definition of the shots and the characters appear surreal but they seem familiar. 2. Points could be made on both sides whether this is typical Hitchcock intro. I choose the negative because of the happy nature of the scenes. One could argue that the amount of knowledge released about this living couple is extensive. In true Hitchcock style. The viewer can see that this loving couple were separated then they reconcile before your eyes. Noticing also the females appearing in the bit parts seem strong like those in other films.

3. Prior to reading the question (3) I truly noted the "chemistry " between Lombard and Montgomery. I feel that they are perfect for the comedy of remarriage. Loving notable chemistry (palpable). And they are obviously both fun loving.

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Daily Dose #11

 

 

Mr. and Mrs. Smith - 

 

or, where's Brad and Angie?

 

1.  What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? 

 

I think the visual design is the Hitchcock touch in the opening.  The props and set design set up the film for us, a couple's bedroom, they have been dining in (are they on a honeymoon?)  but then we come to the man playing solitaire and evidence that he slept on the sofa.  The lightness tells us it must be morning, and the window tells us we are in the city (background skyscraper flat) Where is the wife?  She is under the covers of the bed (This is a Hitchcock film, is she alive?)  Then there is a knock on the door.  Breakfast has arrived....  

The silence as the film opens and yet tells us more of less what to expect from the picture is certainly a Hitchcock touch.  He was the master of 'a picture is worth a thousand words' type of film.

 

2.  Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? 

 

Arrgghhh!  That is a tough question to answer.  We are used to having a Hitchcock film open somewhere public and then proceed inside.  So in that respect, No, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is NOT a typical "Hitchcock opening".  The sequence presented here is INT. Bedroom to INT KITCHEN to INT OFFICE to INT HALL and ends with INT BEDROOM again.  

You also don't get much information about the couple FROM the couple.  You have to wait over a minute to get some information from the staff, and even then you're not really sure of what is happening between the couple.  It is not until the "rules" discussion that you begin to piece together what is happening in this opening sequence.

So to reiterate, I don't believe "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" has a typical Hitchcock opening.

 

3.  What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? 

 

A>   This is a very subjective question and is asking the student (in this case, ME) to judge a performance on five minutes of viewing.

 

B>   This is also a surprising question to which I will ask this in return - 

As opposed to whom, exactly?  If this was remade today, how about Julia Roberts and George Clooney?  Oh, you want younger....  ok, going British here, but Jenna Coleman and Tom Hiddleston.  (now that I think about it, I wouldn't mind seeing them together)

 

Oh, my opinion on the two who are actually in the film?

 

 

As pointed out in the lecture video, screwball comedy was Carole Lombard's Forte, a genre she was returning to and from the brief appearance here is certainly capable of performing comedy.  The fact that is she also a "Hitchcock Blonde" is a plus.

 

As for Robert Montgomery, well, not sure I have have seen many of his films (although I did have a crush on his daughter Elizabeth growing up)  and thought he was great in "Here Comes Mr. Jordan".  So from what I have seen he was a good actor (at least two Oscar nods to his name, if I remember). 

 

So we have two versitile actors.  Of course they are well suited for this type of film.  I think they pull off the chemisty.  Watch the bit when they are cuddling in bed, and ask yourself are they acting or are they listening to each other.  Then you decide.

 

- Walt3rd

 

p.s. Anyone else thinks the young fellow who came to get the document signed reminds you of the actor who played Alfred in the '47 version of Miracle on 34th Street?

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(1) One Hitchcock touch I noticed was a POV shot (from Mr. Smith’s POV when he is looking at his wife).  Also, there was attempted voyeurism on the part of the maid.  She couldn’t see anything through the keyhole of the bedroom door, so she resorted to just listening in on the couple.  We don’t see the attempted voyeurism, but it is discussed.

 

The opening scene is brightly lit, which makes sense as the film is a comedy.  There are not any jarring camera angles, which often generate shock or discomfort.  Thus, this is going to be a comfortable, pleasant film.  I think that Mr. and Mrs. Smith are rather wealthy based on the fanciness of the set (and also the fact that he can afford to be away from the office for three days and that they have servants).

 

(2) In general, I wouldn’t say that the opening of Mr. and Mrs. Smith evokes the openings of the other Hitchcock films we’ve studied up to this point because of the difference in genre.  However, like in many of Hitchcock’s other opening sequences, a point of intrigue is set up almost immediately in Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  In previous films, the intrigue often related to a crime.  In Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the question established is Why have Mr. and Mrs. Smith been in their room for 3 days straight?  Also, What document must Mr. Smith sign?

 

(3) Based on the opening sequence, I am sold on Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard as a married couple.  In my opinion, both actors are charismatic and share chemistry on screen.  There is a playfulness to each of their characters which complements the genre of screwball comedy.

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