Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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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 reveals quite a lot through dolly shots, tracking shots, and extreme attention to detail. He shows us a pair of rich, pampered, self-indulgent slobs who are confined to a room and trapped in a marriage by their insecurities. Not so funny so far.

 

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 it's typical in the respect that he establishes a mood and fleshes out a backstory largely through his use of motion and music. 

 

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 the casting is probably fine. Lombard and Montgomery are both attractive and visually expressive actors. I have to confess I don't know much about screwball comedies. I twice enjoyed It Happened One Night. Does that count?

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The opening shot of this film tells us a great deal about the couple, and juxtaposed with the final shot, it speaks to their character progression. The camera opens while panning over the breakfast and dinner dishes of the last three days encircling David, hunched on the floor playing solitaire. The dishes are delicate and noisy. He steps carefully around them while answering the door. The dishes represent his wife's affections, rules, and "screwball" nature. She is delicate, and he must step around her cautiously. or pay the consequences. A number of times throughout the film she picks up and shatters glasses or pitchers when he has failed to "step with care." The final scene shows how their dynamic has changed, though.

 

David is no longer stepping around her. He takes charge by strapping her into the skis and pushing her back on the chair. She protests, but likes the change in their dynamic, making sure to keep her foot fastened. Much can be read into the final shot of the skis crossing each other, but in light of the "stepping with care" theme, we can see the skis as large and clumsy. They are the antithesis of stepping lightly, and she crosses them, further complicating their ability to navigate space. The couple isn't reclaiming their old relationship, with it's rules and hoops. They've entered into a new territory in which David fighting for her will sometimes mean "fighting" her directly rather than try to assuage and appease. Whether the new relationship will last is up to each viewer, but Hitchcock has told a solid story of character and relationship progression and used visuals masterfully to indicate the development.

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Hi, I was having trouble with this yesterday so hopefully today I will be able to get it all in w/o being kicked out. Here goes...

 

1. The opening of the movie is a pan of the dirty dishes on the bedroom floor that lead up to Mr. Smith playing a game of solitaire. (Hitchcock's touch)

The use of light, shadows & close ups. (Hitchcock's touch)

The music helps to create the tone and mood of playfulness and upcoming comedic antics to come. (Hitchcock's touch)

 

2. So far in most of the films we have seen, Hitchcock's openings have been shadowed in darkness. The music foreshadowing upcoming tension and suspense; the opposite of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. So, I guess I don't agree with the statement this is a typical Hitchcock.

 

3. I believe Lomabard and Montgomery are a perfect fit. The chemistry is evident to me. Love them both. Good choice, Hitch!

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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 play with light is visible; especially the angles that cross the hallway when Sammy and the housekeeper are trying to get the paper signed.

     

  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? -- It's typical of his skill; the acting is smooth, the scenes are set... the only difference is that unlike his other stories, we are not left wondering "what next?"... we don't have a hook to help us turn the page.

     

  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 work well together and seem to have the chemistry that viewers like to refer to... I think of it more as good acting, editing and direction than 'chemistry.'

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1) Hitchcock always makes great use of lighting with the angles and alternating light and shade in the backgrounds. This is readily apparent when the messenger from the office and the housekeeper approach the bedroom door. We also learn that the couple are more concerned about the state of their relationship than the cleanliness of the room, evidenced by all the dirty plates and trays littering the room, the unmade bed, etc.

 

2) I do not find this opening overly similar to other Hitchcock opening. There is no crowded room of milling people. There is no building of suspense. There is a smooth and breezy atmosphere of wedded strain and then blissful makeup of a happy marriage. At this point, there is no wondering of what comes next, but a wondering of what fun will we have!

 

3) There does appear to be good chemistry between the leads and both are excellent comedic actors and are able to work smoothly together.

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What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?

 

We see Hitchcock's famous POV shot: the view of Devlin as he enters the room, through Alicia's physical (and mental and emotional) disorientation.

 

We see the canted angle, which (as mentioned in the lecture video) is a shot he used in 'Downhill'

 

We see light and shadow to reveal character information, which I will discuss in detail answering the next question.

 

How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock  trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?

 

Contrasts through costume: Grant is neat, and suggests order, and a business-like manner. He's there for the job. Bergman is wearing a Zebra top, which both suggests wildness as a party girl and moral ambiguity: black and white, is she good or bad?

 

Bergman is also disheveled, hair a mess, on her cheek. She is at a low point in contrast to Devlin.

 

At the beginning we see Devlin through her eyes, and the close ups on Alicia are for us to both identify with and empathize with her character.

 

A key lighting moment is when Devlin plays the recording. Up until then we do not truly know if she is bad or good. As it plays, she is seen in the bedroom doorway in shadow. As the record tells us she is patriotic, she slowly steps forward - half shadow half light, to eventually stand in full light. The lighting  - shadow to light - reflects the audience realizing she is not bad but good. It is only at THIS moment, that we know she is good, that Devlin stands beside her and we see them both in the same frame.

 

It should also be noted Grant's name as 'Devlin', which is similar to 'Devil', as he is there to offer her a truly Faustian bargain: You can redeem yourself and make up for your father's evil, but you must bed a man you don't love.

 

Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas?

 

We come to know Grant as a leading man, and Bergman as a leading lady. In the film they both are. We come by that casting to expect a romance between them, and there is one.

 

Grant and Bergman usually if not always play good people, and they are in the film. I think this casting helps us realize that though this is dirty work they are both good people.

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1. Hitch pans across the whole room. We see a man playing cards and a woman sort-of sleeping. Trays of dishes are scattered everywhere. We get character POVs from a husband playing cards and his wife in bed - both surveying the room. There are high angles, low angles and odd angles...all part of the Hitach touch. Like Rear Window, the pan tells us a lot about the main characters - that these are people of means, obviously and willingly locked in the bedroom until some resolution is reached.

 

2. Although it is a slow, opening pan and not the quick cuts we see in other films, the slow pan gives us lots of info about the characters. We will see this again in Rear Window.

 

3. Lombard and Montgomery work as a couple. She comes to this film with a screwball comedy background and his sometimes goofy smile seem to draw each other in.

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Carole Lombard and the Carole Lombard pans through and Carole Lombard breakfast dishes. Carole Lombard then maids and phone rings Carole Lombard and Carole Lombard. Carole Lombard under covers and Carole Lombard bed while Carole Lombard cards and pen...............forget it. I can't focus. Carole Lombard. **sigh**

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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?

 

I'm not sure I see any Hitchcock touches and if I didn't know it was directed by Hitchcock, I wouldn't recognize that it was from this opening. Regarding the couple, we learn that they are wealthy, they've been holed up in their room for awhile because there are remnants from many meals strewn about the place and the man hasn't shaved for some time. He's playing solitaire and she's still in bed, so we know they are not getting along at this point. However, when he slams the door and she believes he has left the room, she is sad, and then relieved to find out he's still with her, and then he climbs in bed to cuddle with her, so we know they care about each other.

 

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?

 

In the sense that this opening shows a conflict has occurred or is about to occur, it's a typical Hitchcock opening. But visually, it's unlike any other opening we've seen in the daily doses.

 

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 extremely at ease with each other. She even brushes his nose with her finger for no apparent reason. I think they have tremendous chemistry and I look forward to viewing this film.

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Typically, Hitchcock provides his audiences with information about the story that is about to unfold.  From the opening credits we learn that this is the residence of David Smith.  Hitchcock gives us an opening shot that tracks through the elegant detritus of breakfast, lunch, and dinner bone china, cut glass, and .925 sterling silver inhabiting the floor space in the bedroom.   From the hand playing a card on the solitaire game, the camera tracks to Robert Montgomery’s whisker-stubbled chin and tousled hair.  Then, directed as much by Montgomery’s glance, the tracking continues to the bed with its silk-padded headboard, satin sheets, and Carole Lombard’s face smashed into a pillow.  Edward Ward’s score, almost carnivalesque, adds to the light-hearted tone.  Hitchcock introduces the house and office staffs, establishing David Smith’s social status and profession.  Back to the bed where the besotted Smiths melt into each other, Mr. Smith’s feet firmly planted on the floor, where we learn why they are ensconced in the luxury of their bedroom suite.  Rule number seven.  “You’re not allowed to leave the bedroom after a quarrel unless you make up.”   

 

In addition to camera movements, angles, shot composition, sound design, and lighting design that impart a backstory and an emotional attachment, “part of the Hitchcock ‘touch’ was a very clear set of instructions to the various heads and directors of the film’s visual design team.”  [Lecture Notes, Daily Dose #11]  Hitchcock’s vision for the opening scene of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is enabled by the minute details created by an assemblage of incredibly talented collaborators.

 

As a viewer, without input into the casting process, it is whether or not the chemistry between the leads works.  There has to be electricity between them on the big screen that connects to me in a darkened theatre.  Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable have it.  Carole Lombard and William Powell have it.  Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant have it.  And, Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery, in their dishabille in the opening scene of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, have it.   The juxtaposition of their goofy grins and messy hair with the opulence of the setting further endears them to me and sparks that chemistry.  They draw me in.  Hook, line, and sinker.  And, isn’t that exactly what Hitchcock wants?

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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? 

a.      It appears they live in the lap of opulent decadence beyond the wildest dreams of avarice. (Not exactly the “ordinary man” of the thrillers, huh?) The focus of the cameras on the facial expressions as they react to off-screen cues is very Hitcockian. Hitchcockesque. Ish?

 

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? 

a.      The happy, light mood is similar to The Lady Vanishes inn scene, but there are many elements atypical to the style generally expected from 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? 

a.      I think this is a great pairing – they could have easily been a staple in comedy for years following.

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Carole Lombard and the Carole Lombard pans through and Carole Lombard breakfast dishes. Carole Lombard then maids and phone rings Carole Lombard and Carole Lombard. Carole Lombard under covers and Carole Lombard bed while Carole Lombard cards and pen...............forget it. I can't focus. Carole Lombard. **sigh**

Exactly.

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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 begins with the establishment of characters, a married couple played by Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard, by allowing the audience to discover their personalities with certain visual cues before any dialogue begins.  The first dissolve opens to a pan-dolly shot of plates of half-eaten food.  The shot lands on a disheveled, unshaven Robert Montgomery smoking a cigarette playing solitaire.  He eyes a space in another part of the room.  The shot switches to a wide shoot of a figure occasionally tossing on a bed.  Hitchcock dollies from a wide shot to a close-up that shows the upper half of a beautiful woman’s face as she awakens from a knock at the door.  Hitchcock’s opening shots are completely devoted to discovery of the character’s personalities and situation.

 

The production design is built around a sense of the prestigious, upper-class lives of the husband and wife characters.  The brightly lit set of the couple’s home shows an elegant décor to suit the upper-class tastes of its inhabitants.  Even the bedclothes of the couple are elegant.  These are people whose problems certainly have nothing to do with the lack of money.

 

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 opening for Mr. and Mrs. Smith is certainly not typical for Hitchcock.  He still engages his tools of discovery with selection of camera shots including dolly shots as he has in previous films.  His use of bright, full lighting is a scheme used by many directors of the era that direct comedy.  Obviously, dark, moody cinematography would not be appropriate to the lightness of comedy.  His selection of a light, silly music score further carries out the intention of the story linked to the production 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?

 

It is a solid bit of casting in my view.  Both Lombard and Montgomery were well-known, well-liked stars of the period.  However, there is also a chemistry between them that is hard to define.  For example, Montgomery starred with Bette Davis in June Bride in which the chemistry seems strong as well.  No doubt, the casting of the principal characters is first based on potential box office draw but the chemistry is very important in the decision-making of the director and producers as well.  

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[NOTE: I don't believe my responses to the questions were received by the message board. Pardon the resubmission]

1) I have seen this film once or twice and until today I was unaware that Mr. Hitchcock directed the picture. That said, I see the use of extreme close ups (Mrs. Smith's eyeball) and the use of minor characters to supply information that the audience needs to hear in order to advance the plot.

From the bedroom that looks like it has been hit by a hurricane, we see one of the most overtly sexy and sexual openings to any comedy seen before. The tumult of wanton lust between these two must have gone one not only for hours but days in fact. Mr. Hitchcock is letting everyone know that these two have been in the throes of passion and there is nothing's by the censors can do about it!

2) Other than the aforementioned touches I mentioned in my preview answer to Question 1 I found very little to suggest that Mr. Hitchcock had anything to do with this film. The music used to underscore the scene belongs in a cartoon and not in a Hitchcock film.

3) The casting of Mr. Montgomery and Miss Lombard is splendid; her death aside, I think that another team up between the two would have been just ideal

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After reading the LECTURE NOTES, I feel rather foolish. One of my closet friends was (and still is) an independent titles designer. Through her I was introduced to many of the job categories discussed here. My eyes were opened, at that time, to the existence of elements other than the story. And how a film would look like a stick figure drawing without them Of course, this was decades ago. I spoke to her last night and we had a good laugh about how I just lightly brushed across these elements.

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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? 

The opening is definitely Hitchcokian to me. The camera dollies to an ultra closeup of Carole's eye, for instance. The reveal of the room also is reminiscent of other films of Hitchcock. The music supports a rather light mood and the room is brightly lit to show the room in disarray. It looks like this couple lives a life of leisure and neither mind a mess at all! Particularly telling is the addition of breakfast to the collection of dirty dishes and barely eaten food. 

 

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 film is so much lighter in content that it is hard to compare to other opens. Most of the other opens had a sense of foreboding that was creeping into the story. This movie is not set in a public place and lighting is bright and cheery, not dark and ominous. 

 

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 noted, Carole Lombard was an actress with excellent comedic timing. Robert Montgomery acted in film noir and dramas and comedy. But in this pairing, you see such a sexiness when he slams the door to wake his love and she is downcast because he left. Then he pops up and the smile and their eyes is just adoration personified. He rushes over to hold her and they talk about their "rules" of marriage. A great pairing!

 

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1 & 2)  The touches that I noticed are the various camera angles, the close up of Mrs. Smith, the obvious humor, and the introduction of multiple characters other than that, this opening is very different from what we've seen so far.  The feel is light an airy, there is no sense of mystery - I am curious to know what the deal is with these two but I wouldn't call it a mystery.  Being a "screwball comedy" it stands to reason that the opening tone would be very different and it is. 

 

3)  I like the pairing of Lombard and Montgomery.  They seem very comfortable with each other and there is a believable chemistry between them.

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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? 

 

One of the "touches" I noticed in the sequence was the way Hitchcock cued in the audience on what was going on in the room, to the exclusion of the domestics and other characters. In a way, the audience knows more about what is going on than the other people in the house.

 

We learn that the couple isn't sleeping together. Robert Montgomery is sitting next to a make-shift bed on the sofa, while Carole Lombard is curled up in the bed. It appears they are keeping up the pretenses of a happily married couple, as Montgomery does his best to keep the maid from looking inside, but are obviously having problems. However, they aren't doing a very good job, as the scene cuts to two women (domestics?) who gossip about the couple.

 

However, we can see that they really do love each other, not only from the dialogue, but form the camera angles and the lighting. As they talk to each other, the camera is focused solely on them, as if they are the only two people in the world. Also, the lighting seems to highlight that "glow" of someone in love.
 

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 tend to disagree with that statement. In the other openings we've watched, there's always been some tension, so indication of the action to follow. However, in this opening, I feel the focus is more on the (actually) happy couple, so I don't get an idea of what is going to go on later.
 

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 that Carole Lombard is a great cast for a "comedy of remarriage," and I think Robert Montgomery could work. There seemed to be some chemistry between them (nothing explosive, mind you). Lombard is a comedienne who could easily master the roll, and there was something in Montgomery's portrayal that indicated he could pull it off. While serious, there was something playful in his demeanor that made me feel like he could make light of a bad situation.

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I loved this movie and while it may not be "typical" Hitch it nevertheless has some of his signature elements - POV shots, sly ending, interesting background details, which brings me to a question.

 

Did anyone else notice the man in the background in one of the steam room scenes?

 

We see a vague outline of a person behind and between Robert Montgomery and Jack Carson. As he fans himself, the steam parts ever so slightly to reveal a quite large figure who, for all the world, resembles Hitchcock himself, though i do confess he is usually more dressed than in this scene. Is this an uncredited and unrecognized cameo? i know there is a cameo elsewhere in the movie but who says there cannot be two?  One of Hitchcock's other signature elements is his attention to details and the inclusion of details to tell part of the story. There seems to be no other good reason for a man in the back of the steam room to be revealing himself unless it is a subtle joke.

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The opening scene of Mr. & Mrs. Smith shows the couple in a bedroom suite that has not been tidied up for quite some time....dirty dishes all over the place, blankets on the sofa showing someone was sleeping there...makes you think that this is a couple in the midst of a quarrel.  Yet the music is soft, kind of pastoral....you can almost hear the birds chirping....What's going on here??

 

We soon see the maid bringing the breakfast tray, not being let into the room, & trying to assess if she'll be able to remove some of the previous meals' dishes this time, or will she have to wait, again.  

 

Eventually, they make up after Mr. S. tricks Mrs. S. into thinking he's left the room, & we get a clearer picture of what's going on.

 

This opening is not like most of the "Hitchcock openings" that we've seen so far, but it does have the humor & muted slapstick that Hitchcock likes to use.  Most of Hitchcock's openings are in more public places.  The Smiths are alone together in their bedroom, although, many people are trying to get in, or trying to figure out when they're going to exit the room.

 

I think Carole Lombard & Robert Montgomery are well cast for this type of movie.  There is much good chemistry between them;  their faces light up when they're in that scene when they make up.

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The Hitchcock  touches in the opening of Mr and Mrs Smith are detected through the sound of music, the character introduction through mannerisms, and the unfolding of the situation these characters are in. There's also the signature of Hitchcock detailed designs of the room and the costumes that reinforce the situation these characters are in. So far, i think the casting of Lombard and Montgomery is precise and works fantastic. 

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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 following the trail of dirty dishes up to Mr. Smith then over to Mrs. Smith under the covers.  The music being comical  and then as they make up more romantic.  They look like a wealthy couple with the nice furniture and all that china.  They have a maid and cook/housekeeper.  Then we find out he is a lawyer.  The use of humor when Mr. Smith signs with a pencil on a legal document and says, "No one will know."  Mrs. Smith stays under the covers.  When Mr. Smith pretends to leave the room using a walking stick and she pops out of 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?   I think the opening is not typical in the sense that it is a calm scene without dancing girls, women screaming, or crowds.  It is more like Rebecca even though Rebecca is not a comedy.  

     

  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 this is wonderful casting.  There is a chemistry and it holds up throughout the movie.  They both are able to make the humor and frustration of the marriage work.  
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1. Some Hitchcock touches that I see in this scene are the use of music to control the mood, secondary characters that provide side comedy and advance the plot, and the way that visuals are more important than dialogue. Even several years later we can see that Hitchcock is still a silent film director at heart because half of the opening scene has no dialogue, and uses the music, set, and camera to tell a majority of the story. We can already tell before the maid and cook talk that they have had a fight but want to cover it up to the outside, and that they have been there for at least a couple of days. This is apparent in how he is sleeping on the floor, there are dishes strewn about, and he is scruffy and unshaven.

 

2. I agree and disagree. It is true that there are several touches, like I listed before, but there are definately things that are consistent in a lot of other Hitchcock openings but not in this one. For instance, it does not open in a public place, it does not have a melancholy or dark feel, and the main character(s) are not thrust into some crazy circumstance or plot. They are an ordinary couple having a fight.

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I forgot to reply to the third question, oops! Sorry!

 

3. I think that the pairing of Lombard and Montgomery is very good. They have good chemistry, and act like an actual in love couple would. For instance, when she thinks he left, she looks sad, but then when he pops up from behind the couch, she looks so relieved and happy, and forgets that they had a fight to begin with. He takes her in his arms, and his sheer resolve to follow her 'rules' shows ho much his character loves her. They were able to pull it off very well.

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I’m just not that eager to watch a Hitchcock screwball comedy.   I have not seen this film but I’m certainly willing to try.  My thought about Hitchcock using comedic touches in his suspense films is: you just cannot have a film that has nothing but suspense and fear all the way through!   You can only inflate a balloon so much before it pops, and you don’t want it popping too soon.  Use comedic moments to give the audience some relief before putting them through the ringer again.  That said, I wonder if the opposite is true for a Hitchcock comedy?  Does he need to insert some suspense or tension at some point to relieve the comedy?  I guess I’ll find out when I watch the film.

 

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?

Personally?  I do not see any of Hitch’s ‘touches’.   This feels like a film directed by the same men who directed The Awful Truth or My Man Godfrey.  If I felt Rebecca was ‘un-Hitchcock’ I take the comment back.  At least Rebecca had a Gothic flair to it.  From a production standpoint it’s made crystal clear to us these people are swimming in money.  They have a team of people to cater to their whims and in true screwball fashion, are driven mad by their loony employers.  The couple eats well, dresses well, sleeps well.  Their problems are certainly not the same as the typical moviegoer at the time.   But that's what the world needed - escapism and romance.

 

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 see this as being a typical Hitchcock opening at all.  As we’ve seen in each film his style changes and progresses, but where is the crowd scene?   Where’s the theater, or the restaurant?  This is light comedy that starts in a rich couple’s bedroom.

 

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?

Both of them are talented actors.  They seem to have great chemistry.  However, they are no Hepburn/Tracy, or Grant/Dunne.  However,in the film's defense, 5 minutes is not quite enough to judge their entire performance.

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