Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #20: Look! (Opening Scene of Frenzy)

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For me, the effect of this opening scene in Frenzy is one of drilling down. We start with the big picture and the pomp-and-circumstance music suggesting the grandeur of London / Britain, with its magnificence and authority. We come in over the water, with more details in the view -- iconic images to be sure, like the Tower Bridge, but also a certain dinginess to the water and ugly black smoke of the boat. As we narrow in on the crowd, it takes us a moment or two to figure out what the topic is, but the theme is cleaning up the pollution, implying what was already hinted, that the water is dirty and contains hidden contamination. The disruption over the dead body with Look! takes place just as the speaker is suggesting that there is something "foreign" in the water, and we end up with an overhead shot that focuses on a single floating body.

     One returning theme from Hitchcock is the idea that corruption lurks in places that seem not only normal, but admirably pure. Evil things are always just under the surface: dead things submerged in the water, contaminants hidden in the molecules, and, by implication, there are dark thoughts lurking in the mind, in the personality, or in Freudian terms, the id or the drives of libido. This focus is not unlike the view into the eye in Vertigo (gosh, great credit sequence there, as I noticed again last night). 

The Lodger's opening took us in a different direction, outward as the news spread, not inward. But the contagious and viral quality is still evoked. We might imagine the opening sequence of Frenzy reversed as the sensation of the dead body spreads. 

    This sequence leads us from the general to the specific, from the world as we have it mapped in our mind into the unique story of one particular situation. As with other openings, Marnie in particular, this one urges us to be wary of appearances, because much is hidden. We learn that people will be trying to root out the dirt and reform the bad behavior, but that it's never easy, and perhaps impossible. As usual, it is a sensational story that piques our interest, and it is a lurid, eroticized body of the icy blonde heroine (not a traditional femme fatale, but Hitch's take on it.)  

    Btw, I was also glad to see the Hitch cameo right away -- i find myself anxious until it appears -- I'm so worried I'll miss it. But I shouldn't have worried, since his penchant for self-promotion at this point means that he's hard to miss. In this case, he figures himself as one of the respectable British crowd, paying attention to what he's supposed to be paying attention to. No insider knowledge here -- just Himself. 

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As in The Lodger, we are led unsuspecting into the scene and then confronted with a murder.  In Frenzy, though, the victim is not so personalized,  is almost an attraction for the crowd.

 

The Hitchcock touches I see are the POV, moving shots approaching from afar, moving in and through the scene; the use of landmarks, and a crowd engaged in a non-dangerous activity.  Also, the sudden turn of events.

 

One of the purposes of the opening is to set the location.  Another is to contrast the serene backdrop with unfolding events  The music here sets a majestic, almost pompous tone, lulling us into a false sense of security.  Then, WHAM, we have a body floating in the Thames that according to the politician is getting cleaned up.  The title "Frenzy" is also presented in fragmented red in contrast to the quiet blues and greens of the land and water.

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1. Frenzy opens during the day with an aerial shot of London while The Lodger opens at night with a close-up of woman screaming.  Frenzy clearly shows more technical advances than The Lodger.

 

2. well, HE starts with the aerial shot and brings us down to earth. The POV shot showing us what the crowd sees and the close-up of the speaker.

 

3. Well, I think.he is conveying that politics is going to play a role in this movie and it could get ugly. There will be a lot of mud slinging which is why I think the movies opens at a political rally. 

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surprising that he used the banner "London" at the beginning, since the aerial view is so specifically that city and the music is so "british".  it's an unusually mild soundtrack for such a violent film.

the opening shot tells me that we are in a modern age in an active, large city as opposed to the idyllic countryside of other films.

 

maybe its because i saw the film in the theater when it premiered (yes, i'm that old), but I feel like it was meant as almost an expose or indictment of how graphic and violent society had become since the beginning of Hitchcock's career.

 

and it was in the era of "A Clockwork Orange" which is just as disturbing.

 

 

 

 

 

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 


Hitch opens with his penchant for featuring places people travel to or would like to trvel to. Very recognizable places. Since its starts withe aerials and then pans closer and closer to the crowd it differs as The Lodger was a tighter shot of just the crowd. Now that crowd was one made up up of mostly average folks not the media while this is in reverse. The media are there to cover a speech about cleaning up the Thames then what comes bobbing along but a dead body. There is no flash back to a silently screaming victim; we see the result of the violence and she's already dead and waterlogged. We saw a glimpse of the victim in The Lodger which makes us feel a little more connected to the victim - she had a face but this victim is faceless.


2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.


The travelogue opening of a well known or famous location. The use of the crowd and its reaction to the situation which gets the plot moving along. The surprise element of seeing a body floating by a typical political speech. He is providing information to us already - the crime has been committed and dumped in the Thames.The use of an bright, normal setting that seems non-violent and friendly  but obviously there are darker actiivities lurking beneath the surface.


3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.


Hitch engages the audiences immediately with action (discovery of a body (The Lodger), peeping tom/voyeruism of a Rear Window or Psycho, a skiing competition or music hall evening (The Man Who Knew Too Much 1 and The 39 Steps), load cawing birds in the opening of The Birds,. He doesn't waste the beginning with pleasantries but jumps right into story and the factors creating that story - he starts feeding us info from the word go.


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1. There are a few differences between the openings of The Lodger and Frenzy. The Lodger victim is revealed in the night, The Frenzy victim is revealed in the day. One has dialogue, the other does not. The Lodger victim is announced by a close-up shot of a woman screaming. The Frenzy victim is discovered by a crowd. The discovery of the Frenzy victim is preceded by a slow, long, wide shot moving down the river. Very open. The Lodger jumps right into it quickly with a tight closeup of the woman screaming.

 

2. Hitchcock "touches" include the long, slow opening tracking shot like we saw in Rebecca. There is also the gratuitous director cameo. The dark humor in the dialogue about cleaning up the river as a dead body floats by.

 

3. He opens this film with a dark humorous point about efforts to clean up the city as a dead body floats by. Perhaps efforts to change are futile? He comes full circle in a return to British filmmaking here. I haven't seen the film yet, but look forward to discovering what his intentions are.

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1&2  The clear calm view of the River Thames is like a travelogue.  The music amplifies the grandness of the River and swells as we pass under the London Bridge.  Slowly the music trails off, replaced by a politician rambling about cleaning up the River.  Hitchcock pops  up in the beginning, as he has been doing in several pictures.  The politician is still speaking on banishing the pollution in the River, when a woman spies something in the River.   A few more people turn and see it's the body of a woman.  No panic.  In fact, in the cut we are shown, only these few people turn and behave like it isn't uncommon to see a body floating down the Thames.

 

The Lodger is frenetic, anything but calm and contained.  Panic and fear rule the attitude of the people.

 

The openings are completely opposite of each other.  One calm and languid with a hint of stress, while the other is crazy with panic.

 

3.  Common touch:  Hitchcock always lets you know the premise of the story within the first ten minutes.  You know who is going to be 

involved and there is always the hint of what will come next.  I once read that a good screenplay should put forth the premise of the play within the first ten minutes, otherwise you will lose your audience.  Hitchcock hits it every time and maintains that level of nudging our curiosity throughout his films.

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1.       There are certainly similarities between the openings of Frenzy (1972) and The Lodger (1927), though there are significant differences, as well. In both, Londoners react to the murder of a blonde woman. From the beginning, the tone in the Lodger opening is one of panic and urgency, with a woman screaming in close-up and police and crowds anxiously trying to make order. The underscore on this print supports that urgency throughout. It’s nighttime and foggy, making things mysterious and dangerous. Conversely, the opening of Frenzy would make you think it’s a biography of a king, with an elegant bird’s eye tour down the Thames as royal music plays beneath (not to mention a crest of London superimposed at the beginning). Unlike Frenzy, it’s sunny daytime. The Lodger has a benign title, but the opening tells us this will be a story of danger and violence. Frenzy has a dangerous title, but the opening suggests it will be a formal travelogue of London. (Psycho, on the other hand, has a dangerous title and an opening that matches that danger.) As the Frenzy opening continues, we eventually get duped. The closer we get to the river (and the crowd), the muddier we see the river to be. After a politician promises that “all the water beyond this point will soon be clear,” some of his audience turn around and discover a corpse floating in the river.

2.       Hitchcock’s own cameo is one of the Hitchcock touches we see. He’s in the crowd, positioned for the audience to clearly see him early so the viewer can re-connect to the story. The use of close-ups for discovering a body shows up in some of his early films – The Lodger, Blackmail, The 39 Steps. Traveling shots are frequent in Hitchcock, though the travel down the Thames eventually to the group listening to the politician seems unique. The beginning part recalls the establishing shots of West Side Story (1961) or The Sound of Music (1965) more than a typical Hitchcock film.

3.       Hitchcock uses his openings to establish style first and introduce plot second. In the Frenzy opening, we learn that London is beautiful from a distance, but that the closer you get, the uglier the truth. This is similar to what we learn about Santa Rosa in Shadow of a Doubt (1943). The opening of Psycho (1961) tells us this will be a shocking story (title sequence) about frustrated ordinary people (hotel scene). The opening of Vertigo (1958) promises spirals, surreality, and beauty. The opening of Strangers on a Train (1951) lets us know that we will meet danger (the music and editing) to do with the two strangers on the train.

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The Lodger (1927) opens with a disturbingly intense soundtrack accompanying a graphic of a dark shadowed character and transitions to an extreme close-up of a woman’s face screaming in agony followed with a late-evening riverside view of her lifeless body whereas Frenzy starts us out in broad daylight with a birds-eye view of London, much like a travel log along with a grand musical accompaniment of pomp and circumstance.  The obvious differences being day and night and the major similarities, a woman’s body in or near the river Thames of metropolitan London.

 

As mentioned in today’s lecture, we are back to basics for “Hitchcock touches” starting with a large crowd of people (the common people including the “everyman”), dark humor as the politician speaks of cleaning out this river of human refuse when he’s interrupted by a body being discovered floating nearby, and of course the auteur’s cameo.  The cameo itself may be homage to the crowd shot used in Strangers on a Train (1951) where Hitchcock, like Robert Walker, is the only person in the crowd not moving.

 

True to Hitchcock’s pattern of using iconic landmarks as backdrops to his stories, for Frenzy his camera follows the Thames river up to and under the historic Tower Bridge as it seems to open over his directing credit, and welcomes home Great Britain’s favorite son, Alfred Hitchcock!

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I’d like to comment on the music the accompanies the opening of Frenzy.  The sweeping camera work, expansively taking in the Thames and London is matched by the grand orchestral score.  And the melody of the opening is quite majestic.  It has a sense of the regal and the uplifting (with a very British flair).  But its beauty and dignity are incongruous with the rest of the film.  But for the name “Hitchcock” as the director, this opening would not portend a film of such violence and brutality.

 

This grand, dignified music also reflects the raising of the Tower Bridge.  The awesome machinery of that bridge – as it opens up the scene to the rest of the river – is mirrored in the music.  And yet, once we begin to pass through this opening, we get the filthy smoke of that tugboat crossing our downriver motion.  The blackness that spews from its smokestack casts a pall on the regality of the scene.  And in the politician’s speech we then focus on pollution.  He is saying this river will be cleaned up, and yet the river also now yields up a corpse.

 

Had the music been more ominous, I think this juxtaposition of an idyllic London (and the Tower Bridge’s grandeur) with the pollution of smoke and dead bodies would not have been as jarring.

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 

In The Lodger, the victim leads us to the crowd and then to the press. In Frenzy, it is reversed. We see the speaker, then the press, then the crowd, then the victim.

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

We are going, again, from wide to tight. The broad expanse of London, like the broad expanse of St. Moritz, are squeezed down to as small an image as possible. While we are doing this, we are also going from high to low. The dialog is not necessarily related to the plot, although I enjoyed the irony of the politician's speech of removing pollution from the Thames is met with the ultimate act of dumping. This is similar to the dialog in the beginning of The Man Who Knew Too Much or 
Notorious. it is mundane, only to be contrasted with the revelation of the plot.

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

More often than not, Hitchcock is trying to create a sense of the ordinary. The opening of Frenzy is very similar to Psycho and somewhat similar to Shadow of a Doubt. We see ordinary scenes before we get to the grimy underside. Normalcy is juxtaposed with crime

 

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 


 


Similarities:  London setting, Thames River, police, press and spectator presence, a blonde female body found.  Also, the cast includes established theater actors (Alec McCowen, Vivien Merchant, Anna Massey, Clive Swift, Billie Whitelaw, and Jean Marsh) as opposed to movie stars. The Lodger's star, Ivor Novello, was a well-known theater performer. 


 


Differences:  The Lodger is in black and white and the opening scene takes place on a foggy night, while Frenzy is in color and the opening is in the day (bright and sunny). Frenzy has no close-up of the woman's face before she is killed, no graphics, no drawing of the shadowy male figure, no shots of machinery (teletype, printing press) or cars racing down the streets of London.


The music for The Lodger is menacing and suspenseful, while Frenzy's opening music has a majesterial sound as we see the grandeur of the London harbor.  Also, the aerial shot of the river is very different from the tighter shots in The Lodger's opening.


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2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.


I mentioned this in the similarities between The Lodger and Frenzy.  Also, Hitchcock appears in his cameo in Frenzy's opening.


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3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.


I think Hitchcock conveys a lot of information about the characters in his opening scenes and sets the tone of the film.  He contrasts normal, everyday life with the exceptional--in Frenzy, on a bright,sunny day, a group of people listening to a politician speak are suddenly confronted with a dead body in the busy harbor.  The main message I get is that in life, things are not always what they seem, so Beware!

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How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison.

 

In The Lodger, we see the sign "To-Night Golden Curls", then the woman screaming and being strangled.

 

In Frenzy, we have the long overhead shot of London and the bridges over the river Thames. Then the camera swoops in of a politician, speaking about cleaning the pollution in the river. I love the way Hitchcock does that. Someone says something in the opening dialogue that is juxtaposed with the inciting incident. A naked body of a woman is, very shortly after this opening dialogue, found floating in the river. There is crowd, like in The Lodger, who very quickly begin to discuss the murder.

 

What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

 

As I mentioned before, the dialogue gives an indication of something that is going to happen later in the film.

 

Also, the shot of London from above. We have that in the opening of Psycho, but we also have a less high shot of Santa Rosa, and a shot of Rio from the plane in Notorious. In Strangers on a Train, we have some shots of the tennis match from above, and again the long shot of the key in Ingrid Bergman's hand in Notorious. We also have the shots of the long distance down from the top of the Statue of Liberty, in Sabatour, and from Mt. Rushmore in North by Northwest. Okay, those aren't all opening shots, but they are examples of the way Hitchcock uses the camera.

 

Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

 

I think that most directors have the same purpose in mind when creating an opening sequence. They are giving the audience visual exposition information, they're setting the tone of the movie, and also giving the audience a clue as to the type of movie this will be. I mean, who can forget the opening sequence of Star Wars A New Hope with that huge star cruiser coming into the view and then taking up the entire screen. Hitchcock does the same kind of thing in smaller, less spectacular ways maybe, but he's letting us know what's to come in the movie. He also does that in almost all his movies with the opening dialogue. That is certainly true of Frenzy. We have this gorgeous overhead shot of the beautiful city of London. It makes us want to go for a visit, then, we hear the politician telling the crowd that the water ways of London will be cleaned up, and boom, a murder is discovered, with the body in the water.

 

In addition to that, the opening credits and music also give us a clue as to what to expect this movie to be about. The iconic credits of Saul Bass, are a great example. I noticed that the word Frenzy, used stripes like Saul Bass used for Psycho, and North by Northwest, but they were red and white, a little detail that might connect it in our minds to Marnie. She went berserk when she saw the color red on anything white. Blood and innocence. 

 

Maybe Hitchcock was part of a group of directors who began to place more emphasis on the opening sequences to draw the audience into the experience of the movie. There are movies, mostly older ones, where we just see this lovely background and the credits. The music might give us a clue as to what kind of movie we're seeing, but we don't really get many other clues until the opening scenes. From the very first frame of a Hitchcock movie, we are drawn in to the life of the characters.

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 

The set up is reversed to what we saw in The Lodger. The girl is killed, she is found and the crowd looks down on her. The opening scene in Frenzy ends with the crowd finding he girl in the water. 

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

​Starting early on with a crowd of people and one person as the focal point (the person giving the speech). The scene doesn't give me a sense of voyeurism which is very different from Hitchcock. 

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

The tone of the film begins with the opening credits. The tone is very different from many of his earlier touches and I don't feel any suspense. Tracking shot of where we are and where we are going. 

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The opening of Frenzy is more subtle than the opening of The Lodger for one, in that the grand opening scene of the river and the shot of the political rally leave the audience completely unprepared for the discovery of a dead body in the water. The music and the camera angle of the river do not naturally lead one to think that the movie will begin in that way. The Lodger on the other hand is more straight forward. The murder is the first thing the audience is confronted with and then it moves to the the scene of the crowd after the body is discovered. 


The Hitchcock touches that stand out to me are the way he allows the audience to have information that characters do not have. I have not seen Frenzy but from the movies that I have seen of his, I would bet that the Thames River or the politician who is being celebrated in the opening scene will play some role in the rest of movie.


I believe that for Hitchcock, openings are foundations for his film, like a ground 0. Rather than beginning at the start of the plot, he uses opening to set up even the beginning. In this way, he makes the audience more a part of the viewing experience because audience members can recall information from the beginning. They can participate in a way when they know things that other characters in the story don't know. 


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1) The opening of Frenzy is different than that of the Lodger because, with Frenzy, it lacks the visual of the murderer, the victim alive, and the police treating the area as a crime scene, all of which are in the Lodger. 

 

Another difference is that Frenzy’s opening is in the daytime, where the Lodger’s opening is either at night or in the early hours of morning.

 

One final difference between the two is that with Frenzy, a normal day is occurring along the banks, when the body of the lady floats by, compared to in the Lodger, where the body was already the central focus and already present.

 

2) The two touches that I see of Hitchcock’s is the bird-eye/tracking shots that open the scene and the fact that the scene is set on the river banks, a common place in England.

 

3) With Hitchcock’s opening scenes, it seemed that there were some consistent purposes for their origins. One of these purposes is to establish that bad things can occur in normal places and areas. Another purpose is to set up the story from the start, like introducing the McGuffin or giving information to the audience that the characters do not know. Both of these I feel are the most repeated with in his films, which for me, increases the suspense and dread because he is playing with fears, and the fact that anything can happen anywhere.

 

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Frenzy differs in that the opening scene focuses on the Thames river and not of a screaming girl. In the lodger the crowd is aware of the dead girl but in Frenzy the crowd at first is focused on the politician.

The Hitchcock touches I see is the soaring musical score, the camera movements over London and into the bridge on the Thames river. The overhead shot of the crowd of people listening to the politician.

Hitchcock opens Frenzy as if it's a travel film about London, then next thing you know there is a body in the river. Typical Hitchcock showing that evil lurks in safe areas.

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 

 

​The opening has majestic music and is in full color.  You feel the full glory of the UK, London Bridge, the Thames.  Not a silent open mouth screaming.

 

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

 

​The shot of coming in from above, Gods' perspective is familiar in Hitchcock's work; Psycho.  The photographers cameras like Rear Window, being voyeurs.  The cameo of Hitch in the crowd.

 

 

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career. 

 

​I see a series of contrasts,  the glorious music in a scene that doesn't have a lot of color in it, more shades of grey.  The old-guard pompous politician; another, wearing his mayoral chain with his dignified wife standing next to him; all in a working-class part of town.  It's not in a beautiful park, it's on the polluted waterfront.  (I love how the politician is referencing birds...kingfishers.)  Then, "Clear of the waste products..." "look, it's a women".  Tongue in cheek perhaps?

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How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. We get the long shot coming in, vs seeing a screaming woman.

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. Hitch cameo, shots from above.

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.He is always getting us ready to be involved in the story. Giving us some background, or appealing to us to look or listen.

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July 27, 2017 – Hitchcock lecture Part 20

 

1.  The Lodger immediately tells us we’re watching a horror and or a thriller film. There’s a close-up of a woman shrieking. Then as we anticipate what the horrors are about, we pass through a very darkened, foggy location as we track what the crime is. Frenzy opens on a very upbeat note, with a grand, sunny view of London. None of the production design indicates that we’ll see a dead woman at the end of the scene. Even as we see the politician speak, we don’t expect a horror/thriller film at all, not even from the music. But the discovery of the body in the river surprises us, and catches us completely off guard. Also, the Lodger is a silent film, whereas Frenzy has a lot of dialogue, and it also relies on dialogue to direct our attention to the body—“Look!”

 

2.   We see a large crowd, and get a sense of who the people are in this film. We also get an establishing shot that tells us what the geographic location is, right away. We then see Hitchcock’s cameo.

 

 

3.    Hitchcock lets the viewer establish expectations about the film. We have a fast-paced entertaining score set on a building for North By North West. We have a hypnotic look into a woman’s eye in Vertigo, and we have a tense string score and a cerebral title design intro with Psycho. With Frenzy, we are made to expect a happy, grand drama, but this is immediately desecrated by the discovery of a naked corpse in the river.

 

Hitchcock also wants to grab the viewers interest with an innovative or bold camera choice. With the Lodger, we open on a close-up of a silent scream, of a woman we never had the chance to be introduced to because she is the first one on the screen. With 39 Steps, it’s the introduction of the main character’s back. We never see his face until later. And with Strangers On A Train, we have to diametric shoes walking towards each other, culminating in an inevitable encounter. With Frenzy, we have a soaring one take, we fly through London and feel the calm breeze of the land until we see the people and then quickly, the crime scene.

 

Music plays a key role in supporting both aforementioned points—setting expectations and grabbing viewers’ interests. Psycho, North By Northwest, The Wrong Man, and many more of his films open with the musical theme. Frenzy no doubt does the same, but like my previous points, it almost misleads the audience into believing the film is about something else other than murder. 

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Daily Dose #20 (Collect them all!)  

 

I'm in a bit of a frenzy today, so I'll be quick....

 

I saw this years ago when it was released on VHS - back when I owned a video store.  I enjoyed it and agree, it's really Hitchcock's last great film.  

 

So the questions today are:

 

1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 

 

Hitchcock takes his time, if only a minute or so, before the first scream in Frenzy.  We also have the Hitchcock cameo (in a bowler standing watching while others around him are applauding...Hitch is above it all, it seems.)  Hitch is letting the audience settle into their seats, as it were, before introducing the first body.

 

2.  What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

 

The long "dolly" shot.

The familiar landmarks (London Bridge)  and setting (London)

The "raising of the curtain" at the start of the film (the raising of the bridge substituting for the curtains!)

The misdirection.  With the 'regal' music in the background our first scene is next to Parlament.  We are set up looking in one direction when we should be looking behind us...

 

3.  Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.

 

The moving camera opening shots to set place and time.  They are either "dolly" (Pyscho, Frenzy), "pan" (Rear Window) or following a character without immediately revealing them (Strangers on a Train, Marnie, 39 Steps).

The film as stage - with a "raising of the curtain"  (Stage Fright, Rear Window, Frenzy)

The introduction of a victim (Rope, The Lodger, Frenzy)

 

These form a pattern over time.  In the last few films, you could also count on Hitchcock's cameo early on so as not have the audience wondering when he was going to appear

(The Birds, Marnie, Frenzy all have Hitch appearing in the first five minutes or less).  This is a master who knows his audience, knows how to take shortcuts to give his audience information quickly via titles, landmarks, and familar settings.  Much of this harks back to his silent film work.  He is a thinking director, and we the ones who ask "What's Next?"

 

- Walt3rd

 

 

 

p.s.  Great name - Dulcie Midwinter  (wardrobe supervisor)

                                                                      "Oh look, there's the Duke and Dulcie Midwinter!"

 

p.p.s. Anyone seen my tie?

 

 

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger?

The opening of The Lodger seemed to usher viewers into a world of terror much more quickly. I didn’t notice any humor at all, and right away we have a witness describing what she has seen to a police officer. In Frenzy, the camera moves in leisurely. We could be looking at a travelogue; we could be tourists gliding along the Thames with a map in hand: The crest of London in the upper right corner made me think of maps and travelogues. (Later in Frenzy, a supporting character explains that murders are good for business because tourists expect Londoners to slash prostitutes, and this is actually an echo from The Lodger: when the newspaper boy in The Lodger says that murders are good for his newspaper sales.) When the camera stops, we hear a politician or activist giving a speech about the environmental conditions of the river: He’s promising clean water. But what floats in on the current? A dead body. Frenzy has a more lighthearted opening (although the film itself is much more gruesome as the story goes along).

 

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

The Hitchcock sense of humor (see number 1); the camera moving into the story like it did in The Lady Vanishes, Rebecca, and other films; giving viewers his cameo early (he’s in the crowd of spectators listening to the speech).

 

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes?

Covered, I think, in the first two questions.

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  1. In the opening scene of “The Lodger” a silent scream indicates a dead body, the scene is dark and panic/chaos is apparent in the crowd with their facial features. The scene was set to appear somewhat chaotic.  In "Frenzy", the scene is controlled and purposeful e.g. a public gathering. Even when the crowd spots the dead body, more curiosity than panic is conveyed.

     

  2. Common touches I observed: the Hitchcock cameo, a public location with London introduced as part of the scene, crowds and an early introduction to the focus of the film.

 

In "Frenzy" it appears Hitchcock starts with the body as the McGuffin and draws the audience into the scene as he draws in the crowds watching the politician.   The scope is a large crowd rather than a limited scope as in “The Trouble With Harry." This leads the audience to suspect this could turn into something more than just one dead body.  The audience is aware there is going to be a focus on the corpse but they are not sure yet whether this is an accident, suicide or something more sinister. 

 

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to re-watch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison.                                                                                                                               The Lodger opened with a woman screaming and then the crowd gathers round the dead woman.   The police are seen immediately and then the movie starts going back and forth from the police and reporters.  Frenzy starts with a very pleasant trip above the Thames with dramatic music.  Travelogue was a good description.  We see boats and everything about a river-side area in the city and then a crowd of people.  The political speech about cleaning up the river and then - irony- a dead body.  We are taken out of our lovely and pleasant experience into the horror of what can happen.  Danger!!!

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.

There is introduction to an area with the opening music.  We are introduced to the setting.  The music is dramatic but unusually pleasant.  The Hitchcock cameo where he does not act like the rest of the crowd.  He doesn't clap and seems separate.  The irony in that the speech is about cleaning up the river and then the dead woman is seen.  

3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.                         The crowd scenes include Frenzy, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) where the crowd was at the ski jump, The Pleasure Garden (an entertainment venue) - we are plunked down into a crowd and in the case of Frenzy immediately thrown into what will be a crime.  The Lodger opened with a crowd and the crime right away.    I guess I am tired but I can only think that we are quickly introduced to an area and then the crime.  I am having problems remembering his other movies.  Sorry!

I liked this movie but I always think how much more interesting movies are with codes.  Like noir.  When you can't show much of the murder or naked bodies.  When you can't have too many naughty words.  The writing and movies of these periods seem much more creative.  I really don't wanted to see extended scenes of rape and murder.  

I liked Frenzy for the location, the cool accents and time period.  The wrong man theme is repeated too.  That always makes me squirm.  I guess it hits too close for home.   

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1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. 


Frenzy opens with a majestic sweep (both images, and the music) of Britain - and more middle class people gathered to hear how the Thames will be cleaned up. The Lodger opens with more "lower class" of people. In The Lodger, we do not see the body - but we do in Frenzy. 


2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.


Hitchcock appearing in the crowd. A cinematic sweep of the city. The black humor of people hearing about the water being cleaned of pollutants, and suddenly, we have a dead naked woman floating in said river.


3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.


Sometimes it seems he wants to present a dichotomy. In Frenzy, we have this revered city of London as a backdrop. When Americans think of Britain, we think of the refined - Yet here we have a serial killer - So while they seem to be at odds - it is also the place of Jack the Ripper. In The Birds - again - here we have a quaint lovely place like Bodega Bay, yet there is terror and carnage lurking.  The same setup in Shadow of a Doubt. A sleepy little town, visited by a killer.


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