Dr. Rich Edwards

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

190 posts in this topic

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 see Hitchcock using the camera again to start to communicate without words information about the occupants of the room.  I know they are locked in the room for some reason because of the many dishes.  It is obvious that they have taken quite a few meals in the room.  I believe they are a couple of some means.  They are able to stay locked in the room, and the room, despite its lack of attention to cleanliness, nonetheless seems to have the suggestion of elegance and money.  The lighting is bright, which suggests a light hearted tone.  I also am unsure why they are locked in, and wonder if some underlying sinister work is afoot (Hichcockian touch!).

 

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 believe the opening is Hitchcockian in  the way the camera moves and gives us a sense of character, plot and setting without hearing any initial dialogue.  However, the feel is different to me, which keeps me from feeling the same sense of mystery that I felt in the opening of ​Shadow of A Doubt or Rebecca​.  I guess because the tone is so different, it doesn't feel the same to me.

 

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?  

 

​Although I feel it's a little hasty without seeing more of the movie to comment on the chemistry and casting of the two leads, I will give my initial reaction.  Although Montgomery seems a little old for Lombard, they seem to have a spark that is somewhat interesting.  He seems a little bland to me, but in the same breath, I find him a bit charming in an off way.  She seems sexy, and has a connection that makes you interested in where they are headed.  I buy it.  I would like to see more of the movie to make a final call.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  Hitchcock 'touches' in Mr. & Mrs. Smith opening scene  -

 

It was a little hard for me to find the 'Hitchcock touch' in the opening scene of this movie - being such a departure from most of his other films.  I admit I don't care much for this movie - I hope I don't flunk this class for saying that!  I'm not much on screwball comedies anymore - too cynical in my old age perhaps.  I did feel that the opening scene with the camera panning the disarray of their bedroom was something he would do - giving the audience a lot of information up front but, of course, it just left you wondering why it looked like that - why the two of them were behaving that way.  Also some of the camera angles again reminding me of storyboarding - setting up the images just right.  For example, the elder housekeeper (I'm assuming) walking towards the kitchen with the younger maid and the telephone rings.  The scene shows the two women in the kitchen - a long camera angle - and they are perfectly framed in doorway, flanked by two glass partitions upon entering the kitchen. 

 

2.  Do you agree that the opening scene is a typical 'Hitchcock opening.'

 

No - not at all.  I have to say that it seemed typical for a screwball comedy from that era.  That's not to say that the film wasn't well made.  Hitchcock being a master at his craft experimented with different genres and to me that shows someone who continues to grow and push themselves.

 

3.  I felt that the chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery was very good.  They were believable as a couple and they seemed comfortable and in tune with each other.  I thought they were well cast in the film - I just don't care for screwball comedies as I once did.  The comedic moments were good, however.  I especially liked Robert Montgomery's reaction to the cat not eating the soup at the restaurant funny and a little unexpected.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would've never guessed this is a Hitchcock film. Mostly because it is a comedy. The music score emphasized the comedy. The music created that feel. As far as Hitchcock touch?, Just an interesting atmosphere the design and details would be Hitchcock -y. Heck, there was a mystery to the opening so I guess that's a bit of Hitchcock. I didn't know what was going on.

The little bit we actually saw Montgomery and Lombard together they seemed like a very sweet couple. Nice chemistry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, back again after watching TCM tonight. My wonderful wife is a "Hitch Cameo Freak" and she challenged me to find Hitch in his cameo.  Well, I did!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Obviously his trademark humor, light hearted script. We learn the couple is very well off, having spent several days in a vert nice hotel room. There is some dissonance between the two, and we find out that it is a regular occurrence. They have played this scene a few times before.

 

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's a very private setting as opposed to the normal very public and often crowded settings in most of his films. But as in other films, we do learn a good deal about the protagonists in the first few minutes of the 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?

On the surface, in those first few minutes, there seems to be a rapport between the two. A sort of Nick and Nora type chemistry....it seems to be a very good casting decision.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are certainly "Hitchcock touches" in this scene: In fact, of it weren't for the chirpy music (featuring an ocarina, no less!), it could be seen as very dark.

 

There is a long tracking shot straight into the single right eye of Mrs. Smith in the bed, perhaps foreshadowing the very similar shot of Marion Crane's dead face in Psycho.

 

Then, there is the voyeurism that Hitch was so fond of; the maid tries desperately to see into the room where the couple's been holed up for three days; once again, if not for the music, this could be a very menacing scene!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 did not see any Hickcock "touches." The opening scene is a hotel room (possibly) which looks like no one has left in days with room service dishes everywhere. This is not a loud public place like his earlier opening scenes. The camera roll across the room into Mr. Smith's face is maybe the only "touch" I see.

 

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 camera roll is the only resemblance of a Hitchcock opening I see. I disagree that this is a typical "Hitchcock opening" it seems like he was trying something totally mainstream.

 

 

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 like the chemistry. The disheveled look of the couple, the way they look at each other, her from under the covers and how he smiles over at her. They seem to genuinely like each other. He also has comedic timing, I like how he walks over the couch and not around it.  I think they are good together, but I have not seen the entire movie yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

  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? 

     

    Well, like in his other films, we see everything that is happening to make up the backstory and make predictions as to what has been occuring.  As in Rear Window, where we see each tenant in each apartment, the broken leg; in The Lodger, we see every person in town reacting to the murder; in the Lady Vanishes, we see each group of people affected by the avalanche.  Like in the other films too, we have jaunty, happy music playing.

    As far as his other touches: there is no villain, or hero that needs to be resourceful, but we do see ordinary, albeit wealthy, people in a bedroom that is messy like ours may sometimes be.

     

     

  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 feel that it has similarities but it doesn't follow his typical genre of suspense.

     

  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 really like the film, they are beautiful and well-played actors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love, love, love this film and am so glad that it is in the discussion! I think it's because it's seen as so different that it gets left out of the Hitchcock conversation.

 

The opening definitely has Hitchcock touches- lots of visual information in a short amount of time, character driven, the nosy older lady character (I just watched Rebecca and Shadow of a Doubt so that is fresh in my mind. The couple has been cooped up in their room for 3 days, are living slovenly, obviously fight a lot but seem to make up in the end, are well off considering the husband can take time off to fight with his wife until they make up without fear of losing a job (plus the fact that they have servants and lots of fine things around).

 

I do agree that it is typical (POV shots, lots of visual information about characters and making us sympathetic to them straightaway), though there are many aspects that are atypical (the cheery music, the American feel, the fact that you know you will be seeing a screwball comedy). I think that if the music was different, it could look very similar to the opening scene of Shadow of a Doubt, except with a couple and they have been holed up in a room for nefarious reasons. 

 

I think the chemistry is just adorable for this comedy of remarriage. Lombard is so cute and stubborn and Montgomery is just as much of a mule. It's so much fun to watch!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daily Dose #11

Daily Dose #11: Thought I'd Left? 

Opening Scene from Hitchcock's Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1943)

 

 

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? 

 

As it is visible in other Hithcock's opening scenes, this one presents us the protagonist couple by giving certain clues of their personalities and situation in the story through the different objects found in their room, in that way, he emphasizes in the psychological dimenssion of his characters. Also, it is possible to identify the urban location and the topic of marriages as other elements of Hithcock's touch. 

 

From the very beginning, the visual design develop Mr. and Mrs. Smith story and relationship. Thanks to the type and material of the crockery and the look of the room, we conclude that they come from an upper class and that they have been locked there for many days (that is later confirmed).  At the same time, the mess of plates, glasses, bottles or newspaper is another hint that they don't attend themselves but they have servants who clean. The element of the cards and the blanket over the couch which is constantly stepped on by Mr. Smith serve as a tool to reveal the weirdness of the characters and the whole situation.

 

In the case of the lighting, in combination with the dressing, props and the decoration white or lighter colours, creates a bright atmosphere that mixed with the music coveys a playful mood which opposes to the feeling of the dark and serious ambience of the office of Mr. Smith. Therefore, this sequence introduces us to two weird and funny characters who are living in a very peculiar marriage that seems odd not just to us but to the rest of the characters.  

 

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 think that this is a typical Hitchcock opening scene. Definitely, it has his touch as I said in my previous answer and I would add that it has some similar characteristics with the first sequence of Shadow of a doubt (because it also gives details of the main character through visual design) and The Pleasure Garden (both have an alike tone). Nevertheless, I believe that Mr ans Mrs. Smith deals with a kind of story that stands as different from the rest we have seen in the other Daily Doses due to the blend of the topic of marriage and the comedic tone and that marks a difference of location for the scene (the couple's room or indoors in general) or the visual design.

 

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? 

 

In my opinion, the chemistry between them is really good, they match really well and the interaction feels in tune with their characters and the tone of the story. I really like this cast choice, because Robert Montgomery has this picaresque gaze and that fits perfectly with Mr. Smith, from the first scene he sets the way of his performance for the rest of the film. In the case of Carole Lombard, I like the fact that she is able to play the adult and childish sides of Mrs. Smith and that she has this appereance of perfect wife which contrasts with the peculiarities of her character.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, I have always enjoyed this film and ADORE Carole Lombard.

1. This opening sequence features Hitchcock's creative methods of exposition to introduce his characters, circumstance and attitudes.  Rather than verbally telling us this information, he allows the setting and actions provide these details, as well as allowing them to interconnect with some sense of logic, to join them into one, instead of itemizing. It flows.  The indication of duration of the couple's 'sequestering' is given to us by the about of dishes laying about the bedroom, as well as Mr. Smith's unshaven appearance.  The location of the bedroom, with the female in bed and the man separated from it - each in separate shots, with Mr. Smith repeatedly shooting glances toward this woman indicates some form of marital issue.  The query of his office conveys the repeat nature of this activity, an amusing quirk of this couple, and recognize it as a point of interest to his co-workers (as it does to the audience).  The visit by the office boy transitions naturally to Mr. Smith's trick to break the silence between the couple.  All of this information provided to the audience through visual and narrative flow is cinematic, and is more involving to the audience than just telling it verbally. 

2. This is a typical Hitchcock opening in regards to cinematic exposition, to ramp up the audience's education of the setting and circumstances of the film - as we have seen in other films.  The music gives it a light-hearted attitude (as opposed to the ominous and stressful music opening Shadow of a Doubt), but the use of music to set emotion is the same.  

3. I think the casting is great, as I think there is chemistry between them in this scene, despite the indication their has been some feud going on that has gotten them to this situation in the bedroom.  It shows all is not roses as a couple, but their willingness to play the same unorthodox game to address these confrontations indicates some common attitudes.  And there willingness to stick it out.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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? 

 

As far as typical Hitchcock "touches" in this opening scene, I do note--if this counts--that the audience must try to piece together what has just happened to cause the couple to behave as they are behaving.  This is typical to Hitchcock's earlier films, especially his silent films that force the viewers to work harder at discerning plot and even dialogue, given the limited number of title cards that appear on screen.  Instead, in those films the actors must tell much of the story through their actions and expressions.  Even though Mr. and Mrs. Smith is not a silent film, arguably Hitchcock uses these silent film techniques in this opening scene.  Mr. Smith is sitting on the couch playing cards, occasionally glancing at whom we should assume is his wife, lying in bed almost completely hidden by the covers.  We sense some tension, playful but tense nonetheless.  She will open her eye and close it if she thinks her husband is watching her.  Also, she turns away from him when he sets down the tray.  Then, instead of offering her breakfast, he takes his own and sits down again.  We also see the tension, and the end of of the quarrel, when he pretends to leave the room.  Mrs. Smith looks upset until she sees him hiding behind the couch.  These actions did not need dialogue and could have told the same story and conveyed the same feelings in a silent film.  We also know that the couple is affluent, judging by the quality and number of plates and glasses scattered around the room.  We also know they are affluent because we learn that Mr. Smith is a lawyer (and perhaps the sole wage earner, which he discovers not to be true later).  Their clothing and furniture also suggest that they have money (the table, the bed and bedding, his robe--and his silk? pajamas and his wife's outfits later in the film).  Finally, we know they have money because they have at least two house staff, a cook and a maid.  Despite the few shadows, overall the room is very bright and airy, unlike some of the other opening scenes in Hitchcock's films that seem a bit more brooding, ominous, and claustrophobic.  The musical score adds to this light feeling, suggesting that the couple will yet again at least try to resolve their latest quarrel.


 

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? 

 

 

As I already noted, the lighting and music set this film apart from some of the other films we have studied, especially films such as The Lodger, Downhill, The Ring, Blackmail, and TMWKTM.  In each of those films, Hitchcock needed to establish a more negative and serious tone.  However, with this film, I was reminded of the film The Farmer's Wife.  Even though it started on a serious note, with the passing of the first Mrs. Sweetland, that film becomes more and more humorous as Sweetland continually fails to find a new wife.  Based on one definition of the word, these are both comedies because "the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion."  Sweetland finally does find a wife once he learns how to appreciate women as he should.  And based on the dialogue between Drs. Edwards and Gehring today, Mr. and Mrs. Smith tentatively resolve their issues as well.  These would not have worked as comedies without a different, more light-hearted set-up by Hitchcock.
 

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 really do like the on-screen chemistry between Lombard and Montgomery.  It seems very playful but not too playful or out of character for the situations.  We sense there's is not a flawless marriage, but is it terrible.  I don't think so because of how both actors bring some playfulness to their interchanges, their banter and repartee.  Even if they are mad at each other currently, you can see that there is some chemistry beneath the surface, chemistry that both of the actors bring to their respective roles.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't seen the entire film, just the opening here.  

Yes, the Hitchcock touch -- the immediate opening close on the food, someone's been eating and eating again and again without the dishes being picked up and without the room being cleaned.

What we learn or know about the couple through the scene's visual design -- the props, is the room is a mess, I guess a hotel room, maybe they've chosen to just hole up in the room for a while and have room service morning noon and night with no one bothering them and we'll find out why.

I do agree the opening sequence is typical Hitchcock because of the immediate close up opening of the messy table of food piled up that's been there a while, and so starting the story in the middle somewhere -- Hitchcock.

Only seeing this opening I don't know if the entire film is well cast for this comedy of remarriage.  But I didn't see the comedy in this opening; I do not see these two as being comedic, they didn't make me laugh.  I suppose we will see the comedy soon or perhaps that's why it s called "screwball comedy", I don't know.  But based on that opening I do not think it was funny or comedy.  It was telling us something.  In fact, based on that opening it could have also been the opening to a Hitchcock suspense film or murder film or film noir film, especially since Hitchcock added elements of humor in his films, so seeing these two and the visuals surrounding them I think it could have gone in any direction..    

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  The set design and costumes give off a light and airy feel to "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" unlike most of Mr. Hitchcock's previous openings we have seen. There is a lot of light in this opening and very little shadow except when the housekeeper and office worker show up at the bedroom door of the couple. The music is also light and whimsical and the only hints of trouble with a dark motive surfaces when the two characters are first filmed in close ups. There is shadow to their faces. There is a darkness and heaviness there lurking between the couple that seems troubling to them amidst all the wistfulness. For these brief moments of close-ups, the film is not light and airy but gets heavy and dark. One gets the feeling there are major problems between these two, demonstrated by the stacks of dirty dishes and well worn dismay of the household staff and lawyers at the law firm. This attractive couple have been down this road before with not much progress shown, as the piles of dishware seen "multiplying" in the neglected room will witness. The gentleman feigning to leave when he closes the door gets the woman to sit up in the bed and finally pay attention. They appear to have a push-pull to their relationship or a "can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em" type of repeating interaction. Even when they reconcile at the end of this scene, there is a sadness between them shown in another close-up.

  They appear to be a wealthy couple since the set design reflects a tasteful and expensive eye for decorating and maybe even hired someone to do the task.  They also appear to be an irresponsible and self-involved couple that likes to make messes that others will clean up as the stacked dishes, strewn clothing, rumpled sleepwear and unmade bed will surely not be straightened out by them but by the loyal help. The gentleman shown unshaven has even neglected his job in favor of yet another apparent marathon session of intense and obsessional  bickering. The "fights" and subsequent stalemates are the focus of this couple and most probably of the film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 slow panning of the room and then the eventual up close focus on Carol Lombard's face are Hitch "touches". The visuals and set design show us the couple has been in the room for at least a few days, shutting themselves away. Dirty dishes and alcohol bottles on the floor. 
 
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 think it opens differently than most of his films. It's not hectic, it's slow. The pacing of this opening is slower but it can be compared a bit to Rebecca's opening, except for the complete difference in mood. They both open with slower pacing.
 
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? 
 
Initially I didn't feel the chemistry between the two. He seemed bafoonish and she was hiding under the covers. He was awake playing cards by himself and she was "resting". Then when he played his closed door prank she lit up and they seemed to click. When they laid in bed together talking they seemed to have chemistry and click. I like the dynamic.

I haven't seen the entire film but part of me would have loved to have seen Clark Gable play the lead role with Carol Lombard as his wife. Years later Gable showed off his comedic acting chops in Teacher's Pet. I have not seen the film they did together 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 slow panning of the room and then the eventual up close focus on Carol Lombard's face are Hitch "touches". The visuals and set design show us the couple has been in the room for at least a few days, shutting themselves away. Dirty dishes and alcohol bottles on the floor. 
 
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 think it opens differently than most of his films. It's not hectic, it's slow. The pacing of this opening is slower but it can be compared a bit to Rebecca's opening, except for the complete difference in mood. They both open with slower pacing.
 
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? 
 
Initially I didn't feel the chemistry between the two. He seemed bafoonish and she was hiding under the covers. He was awake playing cards by himself and she was "resting". Then when he played his closed door prank she lit up and they seemed to click. When they laid in bed together talking they seemed to have chemistry and click. I like the dynamic.
 
I haven't seen the entire film but part of me would have loved to have seen Clark Gable play the lead role with Carol Lombard as his wife. Years later Gable showed off his comedic acting chops in Teacher's Pet. I have not seen the film they did together No Man of Her Own.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 props of the food and dishes everywhere showed me that they were of a couple who are holed up in a room for awhile for reasons that we have yet to find out. The dressing of the characters shows that they're somewhat sophisticated and well-to-do people although their room looks like a pigsty. 

 

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 think I agree with this statement.. the opening starts with a shot of a man playing cards, whose face we cannot see as well as dishes and food throughout the room. I think showing the body of the person before the face gives us the mystery of who they are and why they are how they are. It gives us a small glimpse into a backstory of the person who is about to be seen. 

 

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 bring out the best and worst of each other as the film's movie couple. It gives a realistic feel to how marriages really are. I really believe that they were a very good choice for their roles in the film, I'm not sure if the roles could have been portrayed by anyone else and turn out so well. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) The room had seen better days to be honest. Robert Montgomery has overtaken the floor of the hotel room, dishes, food, and discarded trash is littered all around. He's sitting cross legged on the floor while Carole Lombard is writhing around in the bed trying to remain asleep. She's more animal like in her second skin consisting of a bed spread. They have been in the room for three days straight and it definitely looks like it. What they are doing exactly is only hinted upon.

 

2) Yes, I agree with that. We still have sort of a mystery to uncover. Why are these two closed off from the rest of society for three days? Why is the room so messy? And what exactly are they up to and how did it lead to them being so separate? I mean Montgomery's Mr. Smith is camped out on the floor surrounded by garbage, and Mrs. Smith is cowering in the bed not wanting to face the day, etc. The bond between these characters will surely be tested and strengthened or weakened I imagine.

 

3) I find them to be perfect fits for their respective roles. The chemistry in the opening was quite dynamic, and makes me look forward to viewing this film and seeing if the chemistry lasts and the laughs roll in. I find this to be a very unique step for Hitchcock but one I will undoubtedly enjoy.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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? 

 

Judging by the way the hotel room is trashed and quite messy, the couple seem to be upper class but careless. As by the details, you probably realize that this couple quarrels a lot, but genuinely love each other. The tracking shot takes us through the dirty dishes, clothes, scattered food, which can be a little unsettling, especially for someone who may be uptight. Also, telling by the room and decor, they could be an upper-middle class couple who seem to enjoy each other's company more than anyone's else. This the case of them being in the room for the past three days. The music also helps to add to the devil-may-care attitude of both parties.

 

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. Considering that this is Hitch's only screwball comedy, the pace is rather unusual. There is no real action taking place, or conflict. You don't why the couple have been in their room for three days, or what led to their room being very messy and unkempt. Also, you never find out about the document that Mr. Smith has to sign and why. There are very little answers, but knowing how Hitchcock made films, you get that the eventually the film is not going to unfold in the way you think. 

 

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? 

 

Although I actually have not seen the film, the chemistry between Lombard and Montgomery does seem genuine, judging by the opening scene. Considering that Lombard was an iconic screen comedienne and Montgomery a dashing, dramatic leading man, their characteristics seem to mesh well. You actually buy them as a bickering but loving couple, who have their fair share of trials and tribulations like any other married couple. It obviously would have been a much different story had there been different actors playing Mr. & Mrs. Smith. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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? 

 

Immediately there’s a panning shot through a  bedroom cluttered with dirty dishes, glasses, leftover food and drinks.  Someone has eaten many meals in the room.  The camera pauses on a man’s hands playing cards and then moves up to his unshaven, preoccupied face looking at a nearby bed.  A wriggling body is under the covers as the camera zooms in on a blonde woman’s eye peeking out.  It's morning as sunlight is shining through the windows.  The room is large, elegantly decorated, and well furnished.  The tableware is nice, the glasses are crystal.  They are well off financially.  Knock at the door from a maid delivering grapefruit with cherries, and coffee for breakfast.  She does her best neck crane to get a glance into the room.  She later reports back to a woman (cook?) in the kitchen about the couple who have apparently been holed up in the room for three days after quarreling.  The couple seems devoted to each other while trying to work through their differences, and they have staff and co-workers concerned about them.

 

 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? 

 

This opening is slightly different from others we've reviewed in the course.  There's a lighthearted, cheerful tone that comes through right away.  The room is bright, the music is whimsical and joyful.  The characters are loving towards each other and appear invested in their relationship.  Other openings we’ve studied have a darker tone with an anxious quality.

 

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? 

 

Carole Lombard is an extremely talented comedic actress, in addition to being gorgeous, and well-liked by both women and men.  She can play goofy, the girl-next-door, or an elegant lady.  Very versatile and she is a great choice for any comedy.  Robert Montgomery I’m not as familiar with, but he seems likable and a worthy straight man for Lombard’s antics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A signature Hitchcock touch in this opening scene is clearly attention to detail. The bedroom of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is an intricately crafted mess. Articles of clothing are strewn about, dishes crowd the floor leaving an impossible amount of room for a pathway, and the married couple appear to have remained in their pajamas for days on end. Hitchcock pedantically conveys his message in lacking of marital bliss very overtly through a simplistic mechanism of an unkept room.

 

I can maintain a firm stance in agreeance with stating this opening sequence feels like Hitchcock. It's evident there is a stark contrast in subject matter (in comparison to his other films), therefore the tone of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is vastly different. However, Hitchcock retains his effectual artistry via camera movement and his attentiveness to great detail. He allows the camera to explore the current state of Mr. and Mrs. Smith's world before we are ever introduced to either character. (In exhibiting their bedroom, Hitchcock actually gives direct insight into the married couple themselves.)

 

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with Carole Lombard or Robert Montgomery, as their work has escaped me for too many years. But, Hitchcock does give a good introduction to these two actors, and although, not spending a large amount of time interacting with one another within this sequence, they seem to possess the type of chemistry needed to successfully execute a screwball comedy. Nonetheless, I'm fully convinced Hitchcock and company created another healthy entry into the world of cinematic storytelling.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.    One notable Hitchcock “touch” that is showcased in the opening scene of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (1941) include dolly/crane shots of the room of Ann (Carole Lombard) and David Smith (Robert Montgomery).  This is reminiscent of the opening “Manderley” manor model scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rebecca” (1940), the difference is that there is no narration and the opening scene in “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” is not eerie- it is playful and comedic (since the Carole Lombard-Robert Montgomery vehicle is a romantic “screwball comedy”).   David Smith (Robert Montgomery) has kind of a “grouchy” persona (the way he is treating the delivery man for his signature) and it seems like that his wife Ann (Carole Lombard) does not want to wake up when he brings her breakfast (the Smiths’ marriage is not going well).

 

 

2.    The opening scene  of Hitchcock’s  “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” has a cheerful tone, which is a departure from the typical “grim”/”eerie” openings of his other films that were showcased in the “Daily Dose” exercises.  I think Edward Ward’s orchestral “source music” score adds a cheery and playful enhancement to Hitchcock’s only romantic/screwball comedy, instead of the typical “suspenseful”/”dramatic” orchestral source music styles that are present in his mystery and suspense films. 

 

 

3.    As I am watching part of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” (I am recording TCM’s broadcast of Hitchcock’s 1941 comedy as I am writing this), I think both Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery were perfect for their roles in Hitchcock’s film.  The comedic pacing/timing of the two players (along with ensemble cast members Jack Carson and Gene Raymond) is truly reminiscent of other notable screwball comedies (Howard Hawks’ “Bringing Up Baby,” Leo McCarey’s “The Awful Truth,” Preston Sturges’ “The Palm Beach Story,” etc.).  Maybe Lombard’s earlier appearance in another iconic screwball comedy, “My Man Godfrey” (1936, w/ William Powell) might have helped her win the role for Hitchcock's film.  

 

It would have been interesting if Hitchcock did several more comedies (in addition to his suspense/mystery films) later in his career.  Just a thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The opening reveals a couple who have not been out of their room for several days, judging by the number of dishes scattered about the furniture and floor. The wife is restless in the bed, and the husband seems anxious about her.  We soon learn that they have arguments frequently and are afraid to separate without reconciliation because such a separation could become permanent.  Everything else in their lives are put aside until the current argument is settled. Their love is shallow and easily disturbed. This couple are good looking despite their unkempt appearances, but they are not very attractive personalities as first presented, they  are irritable, touchy, neglectful of themselves and everything around them. 

 

 T.he central problem is introduced in the first scene. However,  the sprightly pace. liveliness, and bright dialogue of a screwball are sadly lacking.  Grouchiness dominates the bedroom.  Robert Montgomery is smooth mannered, sophisticated, intelligent, but the sharp-edged spark of a screwball comedian is missing; his presence may dampen the performance of Carole Lombard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DAILY DOSE #11 (Mr. and Mrs. Smith)


 


SHAM PAIN


1. Film starts with Hitcock's long dolly shots and pans of a disheveled set which mirrors the emotional state of the characters.


2. The lighting and mood is so atypical of Hitchock that it almost seems sarcastic.


3. They have a charming chemistry of love and stubbornness. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the film.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 touches:

 

POV: of one of the main characters opening the scene. We see Mr. Smith impatiently looking at someone or thing. The camera then switches to show us what he is looking at. Then Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s reactions to a knock at the door.

 

Camera zoom: to an extreme closeup of a face mostly buried under covers with only the eye showing to fill the frame.

 

Music: featured is light hearted, setting the mood and establishing we can relax, nothing is going to jump out and scare us.

 

Set design :in the room, as through out the apartment, is almost totally white, open, airy. No dark shadows or dark vignetting.

 

Suspense: created by the main characters being as disheveled as their surrounding with plates of half eaten food, dishes and cups strewn about giving us the notion that something out of the normal has been going on. A large enough mess to indicate perhaps a fight and obviously days have gone by without the room being tended to. Robert Montgomery’s hesitant reactions to Carole Lombard waking up indicate he’s not sure what to expect, with the result for a moment neither are we. 

 

Interestingly we don’t know at first if this is the characters home or a hotel room. Another indication that things are a little off.

 

Sexuality: emphasized with Carole Lombard sitting up in bed wearing a sheer, loose fitting designer nightgown.

 

Quintessential Hitchcock “blonde”: Carole Lombard

 

Viewpoint: At the 1:54 mark the maids are made the focus of the scene by the frame being sectioned on the right and left creating a narrow band in the middle.

 

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 can’t agree with Mr. and Mrs. Smith having a typical Hitchcock opening. The Hitchcock films we’ve viewed so far have generally opened with frantic activity or attention getting closeups. Mr. and Mrs. Smith opens with a slow pan, in the opposite direction of the one in Rebecca, the only other film we’ve seen so far with a similarly paced beginning.

 

In addition most of the films we’ve seen so far have opened in a public place and/or included public reactions to the action.  Mr. and Mrs. Smith opens in a private space, a bedroom, with only two people, one of whom is bored by inactivity playing solitaire, the other asleep hidden under bed covers.

 

Two things I’ve read, (or seen/heard in special features) that Hitchcock stated he did this film as gift to Carole Lombard, an actress he and the rest of Hollywood, greatly admired. Also, if the Hitchcock name hadn’t been shown this would have appeared to have been made by an American director well versed in the screwball comedy genre. I suspect that part of Hitchcock’s plan for this movie was to deliberately forego his usual trademarks and create an “American” comedy, in addition to demonstrating his ability to work in genre other than suspense.

 

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 well cast together and gave enjoyable performances, however I did not detect any chemistry between them. What I did sense was that all the cast was having a good experience making and being in this film, which helped give the tone of the film an upbeat, comic tone.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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 touche is that he want you to get into his POV with this couple. From just watching the begining scene it seems to me that they have been enjoying each other company for days. This couple is like any other typical coulpe. One day love each other and the next they want to strangle each other.
 
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 it is and its because he want you to be very attentive to the opening scene. 
 
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 believe they are alot of chemistry both Lomard and Montgomery. Plus they make a cute couple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us