Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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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 Lodger starts immediately with a woman screaming after finding a body near the Thames, in Frenzy he takes his time & is even a part of the crowd when the man yells "look!"

 

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

 

Again we see a crowd gathered around invoking the sense of voyeurism.

 

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.

 

Hitchcock's opening scenes where to introduce us to the story not just the characters within the story. His main purpose was to create suspense.

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If I only had the nerve...

I have seen Frenzy once and I am not sure that I am going to be able to watch it again. It's too graphic in its treatment of violence against women--almost violence porn. I have gotten to a point where I am careful about what I put in my head. That said, I think our professors make a brilliant case for rewatching Frenzy in their lecture. The quote from Little Gidding sums up some of my conflict--it does seem right to see Hitchcock come back to London and to some of his early themes. One point that I am in position to make is that it is debatable that this is a young man's film. As Yeats pointed out, old age is not necessarily a time of caution and doddering retreat from strong emotion and risk-taking. Truffaut never got there, but I have. Old age is not for sissies. It is not a time of diminished feeling or intensity!

 

The opening of Frenzy is feast of Hitchcock touches. As the credits roll over an aerial view of London, the camera tracks the Thames and shows us iconic scenes of central London. The credits themselves are in patriotic colors and the music is stately and ceremonial. The camera settles on a politician optimistically speaking about efforts to improve the environment to an attentive and highly respectable-looking crowd. When the crowd spots the naked and dead Hitchcock blonde in the water, the high official gloss dissolves into the violent world of The Lodger.

 

We've seen so much of this before: the iconic city view, the reassuring location and the security of a benevolent crowd in midday light. We've seen dead blondes filmed from above before as far as that goes. I see some strong connections to the United Nations scenes in North by Northwest where the highly civilized surroundings are pierced by sudden violence. The difference is that in North by Northwest, the sophisticated milieu remains a feature of the whole film, whereas in Frenzy, we are quickly going to leave that world for a much more gritty place.

 

One final point about the credits is that this cast contains real luminaries of the British stage. This is anything but a B movie in terms of its cast. Alex McCowan is second to no one, and Billie Whitelaw is an iconic interpreter of Samuel Beckett.Vivien Merchant, so touching in Alfie, is a key performer of Harold Pinter.(I wrote this paragraph before our lecture notes were visible. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Edwards was way ahead of me!)

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Here's a slightly different Hitchcock opening scene.

This time, you see the title "Frenzy" over a magnificent helicopter shot of the Thames, accompanied by a patriotic-sounding march that would make Edward Elgar jealous. All you can think is, "Hitch, what are you up to?" You just know this isn't going to end well.

There is another long shot, into the speech given by a fatuous politician about cleaning up the Thames (which did happen). The crowd applauds politely, except for the sour-faced man in the bowler hat.

Then, as if to pour cold water on the optimism of the affair, a relic of London's past appears - a body floating in the Thames.

That's what Hitch was up to.

 

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Good Afternoon....

1. Frenzy opens with an aero view of London, almost like a picture postcard. As the camera moves in we see a group of people on the embankment of the Thames listening to a politician talk about cleaning up the toxins in the Thames and then someone yells "LOOK!". Our attention is then focused on a bloated dead body of a half naked woman, face down, arms and legs spread out, in the water as discussions begin about what happened. The Lodger opens with a shadow of a man and then to the face of a woman screaming (only we hear nothing as it is a silent film.) next we see the dead body, fully clothed, lying face up arms and legs close to the body,on the embankment. There is a crowd of people watching as a woman describes what she saw. Next it's off to the presses with the news.

2. The camera in high angle looking down on the city, next a shot of the embankment, jump cut closer to crowd assembled, jump cut to the politician speaking. Close ups and the music which sets the tone in the beginning of a grand ceremonial atmosphere. Hitchcock was big on location and London was certainly a place to visit and explore. Also, he liked crowd scenes where things seem normal one moment then in the next breath something startling happens to make you realize you are not as safe as ypu thought (there's safety in numbers doesn't always hold true.) Hitchcock likes to have the audience "emotionally" involved and we are in this scene when the politician is speaking and when we see the body of the woman in the Thames.

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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, Hitchcock focuses not on the sexually oriented murder itself, but the frenzy surrounding the murder.  It's funny that I picked the word, frenzy, to describe The Lodger. Maybe having it in my subconscious pushed it out, but when I tried to come up with a better word, nothing came to mind that worked quite as well. In The Lodger, he is trying to cram as much information in as possible in a short period of time.  In Frenzy, Hitchcock is no longer concerned with the societal uproar around the murder. By 1972, people are used to murders, so he wants to focus on the murder itself. People think they are jaded and unaffected by this, but Hitchcock is going to push this act of sexual violence right in our face. It no longer matters what the newspapers say, Hitchcock's going to take us to a place we've never been before.  

 

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

 

The biggest one is the helicopter shot. He is experimenting with new technolgy. As mentioned in the lecture, the technology to do a steady helicoptor shot did not exist in 1960 for Psycho, but by 1972, it does. Even though there is one cut, the effect is of one continuous zoom that lasts 2 1/2 minutes. It's similar to shooting all of Rope as one long camera take. He knows that the opening credits now routinely last 2 minutes, and he doesn't need to advance the story during that time, so he is going to use that time to do a technical challenge he has never done before, the longest zoom of his career. The scene of the murder is broad daylight, not the dark alleys of The Lodger. It's a crowd scene, as we have so often seen. It's a political rally, like the one in The 39 Steps, but has aspects of a theater spectacle, similar to other acts of violence at amusement parks, concerts, and theaters. I remember in one of the early interviews, Hitchcock saying that if a young woman looks happy and says she's happy, that is redundant. It's much more interesting to have her say she is happy while she is crying. There's a great line of dialog from the politician, speaking about pollution, where what he is saying is literally contradicted by the situation, "... and that soon there will be no foreign bodies--" 

 

"Look!"

 

"What is it?"

 

"It's a woman." [More accurately, a woman's body, a naked woman's body, who has been raped and strangled.]

 

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.

 

In a way, the opening of Frenzy is atypical in that it doesn't introduce us to characters like most of the others do, so you need to take a step back and look at the function of Hitchcock openings in more general terms. Hitchcock openings prepare the audience for what is to come, even when he knows that the audience is totally unprepared for what it to come.

 

The Lodger - A series of murders and the media/societal hoopla surrounding them

 

The Man Who Knew Too Much - A family that gets pulled into intrigue by the chance meeting of a spy

 

The 39 Steps (and North by Northwest) - A handsome sophisticated, but otherwise normal man, who gets pulled into a deadly situation by a random occurrence. 

 

Strangers on a Train - Two strangers are thrown into a murder together by a random act of bumping each other's feet.

 

Rear Window - A wheelchair-bound photographer entertains himself  by spying on his neighbors, finding more than he expected.

 

Psycho - A woman in a desperate situation takes desperate measures.

 

Frenzy - This is a story about murder but it's not like any of the other murders we've seen. Previous murders have been committed because of hatred (Strangers on a Train, Bruno and his father), intellectual thrill (Rope), mental instability and greed (Shadow of a Doubt). or jealousy (Psycho). This is a murder motivated by mental instability and sexual deviancy, things that could only be hinted at before. In 1972 in an R rated movie, Hitchcock can show this and that is what he is going to do, and that's what he is preparing the audience for.

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The Lodger's opening seemed much more frenetic and chaotic than the opening here for Frenzy. It was much more played up there where as here in Frenzy it was look, there's a dead body. The reaction didn't seem at all the same to me. The Lodger was much more high-energy while in Frenzy it was much more calm and orderly like. 

 

The biggest Hitchcock touch that I saw was the opening aerial shot with the helicopter. Bringing us slowly into the picture with a wonderful view of the river. 

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1. ​The Lodger​ opens with a screaming girl who is immediately found dead in the streets by an old woman. ​Frenzy, ​however, takes more time before there is  body, and opens in a touristy way with triumphant music and long pans of England. A politician then speaks for a couple minutes about cleaning the rivers when ironically a man sees the body of a woman floating in the water. This opening gives more context to the story than The Lodger​ did.

 

​2. Some Hitchcock touches would be how the opening is set in a public place, his cameo, and a dramatic opening where some bad event or discovery occurs. It is strange that the music does not set the pace for the entire movie as he often does, as it is happy and not ominous.

 

​3. Hitchcock probably wanted to start in a public place so that the audience could feel that bad things could happen anywhere, not just in private, and to be on the look out. He opens in public spaces/entertainment venues in ​The Pleasure Garden, The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much (both), North by Northwest, etc. ​Using title credits with scores is used in almost all of his 50's and 60's films- we even get the disjointed title of Frenzy like we did in Psycho- and this can be used to set the mood for the film and communicate it's themes. The cameos are probably just for fun.

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Daily Dose #20 ..."Frenzy" 1972

 

Different time, different style with lesser known actors...cheaper with unknown actors rather than A listers. The lecture provided by Dr. Edwards said these actors although known in Britain were not known or well know in the USA.

 

I probably did see this movie years ago...very few I have missed through the years ...I am a TV watcher.

 

Q1:  Lodger zooms in on a street scene as well as Frenzy but Frenzy only after the Travelogue style aerial shot...the long shot Hitchcock wanted & did get in one of he movies because technology was now available. The Lodger opening was more of a 'frenzy' in its opening than Frenzy.

 

Q2: Hitchcock touches & style...public crowds for one off the top of my head that I noticed right away.

 

Q3:  Hitchcock has his 'hook' shots & is a master at making the audience want to stay & see what will happen to his characters.  A dead body is always a good ' hook'. Who is it?  Why were they killed? Who did it? Will the killer be caught?

 

For example, Norman bates (Anthony 'Tony' Perkins) in Psycho  was caught but with what result. He is the over friendly psychopath..the name of the movie says it all...Psycho. He is a psycho killer & what is the punishment?  None, because he is mentally defective ...the movie says this in its final sequence. 

 

Hitchcock likes psycho personalities...The Lodger has a psycho killer...Frenzy has a psycho type killer who left his victim...a woman... floating in the Thames river. The Lodger opens with a female victim with golden curls. The crowd peeks over the bridge at her dead & naked, exposed. Frenzy is rated "R" for the more contemporary times HItchcock was working in. 

 

The opening of Frenzy has the politician flapping his lips as they like to do with a big smile on his face & talking about pollution in the water. This has to be Hitchcockian humor at it's usual dark undercurrent best.  There is a current here...the water has a current & the killer has polluted the waters currents with his dead female victim. The killer is a societal pollution. He kills for pleasure...his own pleasure.  

 

NOTE:  I want to mention the TCM dialogue between Ben Mankiewiez & Alexandre O. Philippe that said Norman Bates character was tethered to his mother by the image in the final scene where the chain on the car appeared to be coming from Norman's chest or his heart. This symbolized the umbilical cord of his mother. Possibly that is true & Hitchcock uses these ideas as his 'personal touch & style' at the beginning & endings of his movies. He was a master with those ideas.  

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I've only seen Frenzy once and I hated it.  I thought at the time that Hitchcock was dumping "class" to pander to the "modern" audience.  Come to think of it... I still think that.

 

1. There were a lot of differences in the openings of The Lodger and Frenzy.  

 

The Lodger starts with dramatic music and a screaming woman while Frenzy starts with a very "Rah rah British" sounding theme that pans to a guy giving a speech.  You would never know it was the start of a horror movie. 

 

The Lodger continues with word of the murder spreading across London.  In the Frenzy scene, the body isn't even discovered until the end of the scene. 

 

The Hitchcock cameo in the first movie is nearly unrecognizable with his back to the camera.  (I didn't see it until someone pointed it out in the comments).  In the cameo in Frenzy, Hitchcock (standing in the crowd) was quite obvious.

 

One note about the Lodger - I never understood what that flashing "to-night "golden curls" was supposed to be.  I also didn't get the blinking "Murder, wet from the press"  Later there was a sign flashing a message that people were reading, but I couldn't figure out what kind of signs would say the first two.

 

 

2.  Hitchcock starting with a crowd, acting as an audience, is a familiar touch.  The long panning shot is a familiar touch.

 

3.  Most openings would set a time, a place and a mood.  But I would think that is common in most movies, not Hitchcock in particular.

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The opening of frenzy had a subtle feel. A patriotic proud display of London. And then the people surrounding the politician. Casual every day people listening to their politicians promises to make their environment cleaner and… Oh look a lady's floating in the Thames. Even that was Low key. The lodger … That was FRENZY! A woman screaming and frantic people everywhere.

Hitchcock either opens with a very subtle every day people about their business or people enjoying their entertainment like in "the 39 steps". Or the hustle and bustle in "the lady vanishes". And then he has other openings like in "the lodger" where it is an instant jarring of the horror.

In the opening of frenzy we go on a scenic ride. Even the people that are huddled around the politician we don't get a sense of who is the main character. We are not introduced to the main characters. For that reason it feels like a different opening. But still has the Hitchcock feel thanks to flooding dead lady.

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The opening scenes are similar in that there is the horrific discovery of a dead body, followed by a large crowd gathering to look. In each film, the victim is a fair haired woman found on the edge of the embankment. The differences are interesting. In "The Lodger" there is a huge reflection of media frenzy, terror and shock. The music definitely is more intense here as well. With "Frenzy",comparatively speaking,  it doesn't seem like much of a shock with this crowd of people. The music is not audible during the discovery of the body. Rather there is politician speaking. Its almost like a farce which in itself makes it disturbing. I mean it can't be every day dead and nude bodies wash up on the river like this.There is more colour in "Frenzy" and it is a discovery made at daylight. With "The Lodger" its darker shots, suggesting its discovered at night. There is more frenzy, (ironically) than with the movie "Frenzy" at least in its opening shots comparatively speaking. Also with "The Lodger" we have the spectacle of the horror, fear and depiction being magnified immensely via the press. 

 

With Hitchcock style, we have the discovery of a body belonging to someone of fair hair fairly early in the film, similar to Psycho where a death of a fair hair woman dies 1/3 way thru the film. There is a spectacle about the body as its seen floating by the crowd. I don't find there is an excess of emotion rather there is a severe lack of emotion. The reaction is almost non-existent. As stated earlier, I find this strange.

 

The famous scream scenes whether heard or not in a Hitchcock film, work well. Hitchcock frames the scene with a close up and uses music as well to successfully frame the shot of extreme terror. Of course, for me, the most famous scream is in Psycho when Marion is being murdered in the shower.

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I've only seen Frenzy once and I hated it.  I thought at the time that Hitchcock was dumping "class" to pander to the "modern" audience.  Come to think of it... I still think that.

 

1. There were a lot of differences in the openings of The Lodger and Frenzy.  

 

The Lodger starts with dramatic music and a screaming woman while Frenzy starts with a very "Rah rah British" sounding theme that pans to a guy giving a speech.  You would never know it was the start of a horror movie. 

 

The Lodger continues with word of the murder spreading across London.  In the Frenzy scene, the body isn't even discovered until the end of the scene. 

 

The Hitchcock cameo in the first movie is nearly unrecognizable with his back to the camera.  (I didn't see it until someone pointed it out in the comments).  In the cameo in Frenzy, Hitchcock (standing in the crowd) was quite obvious.

 

One note about the Lodger - I never understood what that flashing "to-night "golden curls" was supposed to be.  I also didn't get the blinking "Murder, wet from the press"  Later there was a sign flashing a message that people were reading, but I couldn't figure out what kind of signs would say the first two.

 

 

2.  Hitchcock starting with a crowd, acting as an audience, is a familiar touch.  The long panning shot is a familiar touch.

 

3.  Most openings would set a time, a place and a mood.  But I would think that is common in most movies, not Hitchcock in particular.

To answer your questions “wet from the press” was explained in the lecture video as “hot off the press.” To-Night Golden Curls suggests the women he was attracted to. That’s why the girls in the show began wearing wigs or hats to cover their hair. Actually that is not where the opening scene ends; that is where our dose ended. I hope this helped a bit.

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1. There are several differences between the Lodger and Frenzy. The Lodger opens on a street scene and a woman screaming. The music is dramatic to fit the scene. In Frenzy it's a panoramic view of London and a trip down the Thames. The music is majestic. It doesn't seem foreboding at this point. There is a crowd in both movies. In the Lodger it looks like they're at a food vendor. In Frenzy they're listening to a politician giving a speech about cleaning up the river. Three people notice the naked body in the river, but, no one screams. The Lodger is at night and Frenzy occurs during the day.

 

2. The Hitchcock touch can be seen in several ways. The most noticeable is the shot above London. This technique was used in Psycho, The Birds to name a couple of movies. He does his famous cameo as a participant in the crowd. He also likes to use famous landmarks or cities in his films. Here he uses London and the Thames.

 

3. Music plays a major role in all of the opening scenes throughout his films. Even though the titles fall back to an earlier style of lettering, the size and placement still play a role. He uses crowds in many of his opening scenes. They vary from a party, field of play, city scenes, ski lodge or winter ski competition. As Dr. Edwards noted that in this film it goes back to the root of his goes back to more of a working class society instead of the rich sophisticated ones in his the films of the 50s.

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As I recall, a friend of mine and I went to see Frenzy knowing very little about the plot; we were inspired to see it because it was a new film by Hitchcock, and we are both fans. I see it as a good, solid film, despite the graphic rape/murder scene which was extremely disturbing to both of us (this is what I think of when this film is mentioned), and unexpected - especially the shot in which the woman's body is found. This was a departure from earlier Hitchcock films that always seemed to have the element of sex/sexual repression in them, but weren't graphic. The sexual aspect typically unfolded via dialog or the plot and character development. This was 1972, however; a lot had changed in the movie business in this regard, and I must give Hitch credit for keeping up with the times.

 

In any case, Frenzy is endowed with all of the Hitchcock touches we've come to expect: interesting and deliberately misleading picture postcard aerial shot of London, that zeros in on a calm, rather mundane press conference of sorts, with an attentive crowd that includes Hitchcock's signature cameo, beautifully mixed with a rather stately-sounding music score that is broken up by the title treatment. All of this sets the stage, though, for the introduction of the dead woman's body in the river -- right on the heels of a comment about how the city wants to rid the waterways of pollution, no less! Leave it to Hitch to grab our attention in a creative way, which is part of his style and his appeal.

 

To wit, this film is reminiscent of Hitch's earlier films, including and especially The Lodger, in which the opening scene pulls the audience right into the action with the CU shot of a blonde woman screaming and reactions by people on shore. In Frenzy, though, while we don't see the murder victim - the blonde woman's nude body floating in the Thames River - until the opening speech is over, the impact is equally palpable and tells the audience what they need to know about what is and will be happening as the film continues. The primary difference here? More time elapses between the shock of knowing that a murder has been committed. Nonetheless, Frenzy is an example of Hitchcock returning to his roots, utilizing lesser known, classically trained British actors and returning to a more modest locale in London (versus the upscale, affluent atmosphere in such comparatively recent star vehicles as Rear Window, North By Northwest, Marnie, The Birds, etc.)

 

As mentioned previously, he used common touches in all of his films, many in the opening sequences; I think Hitch's purposes in creating his opening scenes in this way were to "grab" the audience and hold their attention -- he made us want to continue watching right until the end credits. It always worked and we always watched.

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In The Lodger we immediately see a screaming woman followed by a flashing marquee. Then we see the crowd around the dead body.

 

It starts much more subtly in Frenzy with a dramatic dolly shot across the Thames to a politician giving a spirited speech to clean up the Thames when someone yells "LOOK!" and we see the corpse. No one screams in this clip (did they afterwards or are 1970's crowds more used to gore and dead bodies, or are they just plain British?).

 

The landmark scenes are one of his touches with the panorama view of London. Another is his cameo in the crowd listening to the speech. The opening of the London Bridge sort of acts as a curtain in the theatre, starting up the film (with dramatic music to match) and getting us ready for the wild and violent ride to come.

 

The opening scenes I have witnessed since the start of the course all have crowds of some sort. It starts off with everyday occurrences and a sense of normalcy...and then Hitch throws us a curve ball and the plot kicks into high gear involving an Everyman getting mixed up into something beyond what is normal.

This one is more subtle, but also more explicit as the dead body is nude.

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Daily Dose #20: Look!

Opening Scene from Frenzy (1972)

 

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 Lodger - No sound. There was fog- night time- the victim was shown screaming - she was alive - the audience has a clue as to who the killer is (he left his signature- The Avenger)- news reporters incites the people emotionally- technology was displayed for that time period within the newsroom.

 

Frenzy - There is sound. It is daytime during a political rally- camera technology was much more advanced - used at the very beginning with the aerial shot and panning of the city. During the rally, people see a dead body in the River and don't seem at all in awe. We (the audience) don't have a clue as to who did this crime.

 

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

 

Common Hitchcock touches that are seen in this opening scene are: first, reading his name in the opening credits. Then, the camera slowly panning his location - London. The sound of the light hearted yet, patriotic music is heard throughout the panning shot of the river. Lighting is used from the onset. You see as he slowly pans London, the light shadows or clouds in the background, and as he brings the camera closer the lighting changes to a more beautiful picture. You even see the murky waters of the Thames with birds flying over. You see an overhead shot - of the political rally and panning closer you see the crowd. You even want to listen to the government official talking about the sites as his voice rises to excite the crowd. You see a close-up shot of a man taking pictures. In a quick pan of the crowd you also see Hitchcock, himself as part of the spectators, wearing a black hat. There is a POV shot of the man who says 'Look'. As the people look down into the water, the camera angle changes too.

 

 

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.

 

Hitchcock uses his opening scenes to start his story line. His opening scenes are used as manipulation. He deliberately uses ways in which he shows us props that are central to particular scenes or plots in his films. He tells his stories using a camera so therefore he uses location, various degrees of intrigue, suspense, murder, and romance to completely throw us off guard and we love it!

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This is going to ramble. Just got some bad news today. I hope it makes sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

My goodness, they could not be more different. To begin, the only similarity between the two is murder. Period. The Lodger opens with the face of a woman screaming. Frenzy’s opening shot is of a clear, bright, sunny panoramic shot of the City of London. The sweeping English flavored score and the time of day do not suggest criminal activities. The Lodger opens on a foggy night with that closeup behind a blue filter. We know something is amiss immediately before we know it’s a murder. Then in a series of cuts we establish the crowd gathers, police are at the scene along with reporters and a clue. This is big news.

 

However, we only learn about the murder in Frenzy as the punch line to the promises of the politician’s speech. No one screams. A woman isn’t quite sure what she sees floating in the river. The scene continues quite humorously but our dose cuts before another joke or perhaps the first clue.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Hitchcock immediately establishes where we are. He does that with a miniature in The Lady Vanishes the opening shot here shows us an aerial view as he did in Psycho. In The Birds it is spelled out by a poster. There are comic and ironic elements as the dialogue begins with the description of the filth and contamination of the river. Not to mention a floating corpse. Hitch loves using a long shot to zoom in to specifics. My favorite and perhaps most dramatic is the shot in Notorious which begins on the mezzanine and ends with the key in Bergman’s hand. The only thing that’s missing here is a train!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

What I first thought about was we never got the same opening twice. He liked to mix things up. Hitchcock could try to disguise the crime or mystery in his films with various openings but by the 1940s on, people knew they were not getting a musical comedy (except once) when going to see a Hitchcock film. He would often trick us into a false sense of security but we knew we were getting the “treat” we paid for.

 

 

 

I will have to disagree with some of the student body. We do not always see our antagonist right up front and sometimes not until the end. Hitch could use openings as prologues when he did not want to launch right into the suspense or mystery or terror or murder in the movie. Of course Frenzy and The Lodger jumped right in with their first corpse.

 

But the most obvious introduction to a crime is in Psycho; it was like two movies. Who would have thought it was going to contain the infamous shower scene from the beginning. It seemed to be about a heist despite its name. And though Norm was just a peeping tom , the psycho was really his mother, wasn’t she?

 

Did we see Raymond O. Burr commit his crime in the first scene? Did we even see him? We have been focused on a dollhouse of characters and a man with a broken leg. So wasn’t the crime going to have to come to him…he certainly couldn’t go out to look for one.

 

 

Even The Trouble with Harry opens innocently for a few minutes before the real story begins to confuse us. And then almost everyone is a killer!

 

 

Even the Lady doesn’t vanish for a while….

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​The opening scene of Frenzy is different from The Lodger​ in that it starts out calmly and light-hearted. In ​The Lodger​, the terror on the girl's face immediately sets off the tension, which continues to escalate as the opening scene goes on and the public starts to learn about the murder. However, in today's daily dose, there's no terror anywhere to be seen. Instead, we see a really long dolly shot of magnificent London. What could happen? If you didn't know this was Hitchcock, you would be surprised when the woman's body is seen floating in the water.

 

As I already mentioned, we see him using a dolly shot (I suppose you could call it that) of London, which is similar to the opening of Psycho​, even though it is done differently. We see that he is returning to his same techniques but in a different way, since now he is capable of doing so with better technology. I also noticed the discovery of the body to be a Hitchcock touch. The one man shouts "Look!" and one by one, the people next to him turn around to look. I'm not sure if this is similar to anything in Hitchcock's other movies (it probably is), but the precision and choreography stood out to me as something that Hitchcock would do. And finally, we have another public scene, where regular people discover a dead body, which is also similar to ​The Lodger​.

 

I've noticed throughout this course that Hitchcock gets right into the plot of his movies. Whether they be light-hearted and comedic, or dark and suspenseful, all his openings seemed to get right to the point. In regards to ​Frenzy​, I think Hitchcock wanted to open with a brighter scene to showcase London with the hype that it usually gets--creating a contrast in atmosphere in comparison to when the body is found and the darkness begins. When we reach this point in the clip, we realize that London has a darker side than is shown or typically thought of. This technique is also used in The Birds​. As I discussed in my post for the daily dose of that movie, Hitchcock introduces what life should be like before the darkness, whether it be dead bodies or attacking birds, comes in. He made sure to introduce his characters just enough to the audience before getting into the thick of the plot.

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1. The Lodger opens up with a woman screaming, its nighttime, the body is not in the water and we have the blinking sight that reads tonight golden curls. Now frenzy opens up on a bright sunny day with a man giving a speech about cleaning the river, someone says look and there is out corpse.

 

2. Hitch establishes our location. A public place on the banks of the river. It is always a famous location in his films. His cameo in the crowd listening to the speech. The music is lively and misleading.

 

3. To start his story and introduce the corpse.

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

Frenzy is color, the Lodger is black and white. Frenzy has Saul Bass- like graphic design for the title, and Lodger does not. We see more famous London landmarks in Frenzy than Lodger. Also, Hitchcock's cameo appears early in the opening of Frenzy and not in The Lodger.

 

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

The point of view shot, the rich musical score, the bridge angle shot ( as the camera pans through the bridge, it is framed by it), the famous landmark travelogues of London are certainly Hitchcock touches.

 

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.

Hitchcock is noted for introducing us to his main character in the opening scene. He also introduces us to an object or place that also bears significance in the end. His openings parallel his endings. I'm sure Frenzy is no different.

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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.

 

Aside from the obvious technical differences, Frenzy opens with a friendly, almost soothing travelogue aerial shot of London that glides through London Bridge under the beginning titles.  Ron Goodwin’s score is all strings and happy horns as though referencing the traditions of the British Empire musically.  The titles are clean and elegant against the London backdrop.  Only the movie title, Frenzy, is designed using white and blood red vertical bars that signifies that the content is a psychological thriller.  (No shrieking musical score here!)  All of the beginning images and sounds is a set-up, a “calm before the storm” moment, for the surprise floating in the Thames that spectators at Parliament discover one by one.   In contrast to Frenzy, The Lodger injects the viewer immediately into chaos when a woman screams after finding a body.   We see reaction shots of the bystanders, policemen and the woman who finds the body that propels the narrative forward with scenes of the media becoming involved.  While Hitchcock liked to use the buildup of suspense to enthrall his audience, he was not against the occasional surprise moment as we see with the floating nude body of the woman in Frenzy.

 

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

 

Hitchcock presents London as a character with his love of famous locales. (He even uses the coat of arms insignia with “The City of London” before the beginning film titles.)

 

The aerial shot looking down at the proceedings with a bird’s eye view (or eye of God) is a way for Hitchcock to begin to focus on more specific subjects.  He first shows us the general environment. This is reminiscent of the opening shots of Psycho using the Phoenix, Arizona cityscapes or the opening courtyard shots in Rear Window.

 

Except for the member of Parliament giving a speech, the crowd members are typical, middleclass Londoners, a common-man characterization that Hitchcock liked to use in his films.   Plus, Hitchcock liked to show crowd scenes before highlighting his main characters.

 

Cinematically, the camera work is clean but unremarkable until a man shouts “Look!”.  At this point, Hitchcock presents quick cuts of the shocked expressions of four people viewing the floating nude woman’s body framed with one person, then two people, then three people and finally four people.  Except for perhaps an imitator, this is a special series of shots that would only have been done by 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.

 

Hitchcock realizes early in his career starting with The Pleasure Garden that he must immediately engage his audience in his films.  In The Lodger, the film begins with a woman’s scream presented as a close-up shot that moves to the chaos of bystanders, police and reporters that follow.   In The Man Who Knew Too Much, Hitchcock presents a ski location where an accident nearly occurs between a skier and a little girl who crosses his path.  In Strangers on A Train, Hitchcock intrigues the audience with the literal crisscross paths of the two lead actors in a cinematic buildup that opens the film.  In Psycho, the opening titles set the bizarre tone of the film through the kinetic graphic lines that seem to slice the screen into pieces.   Hitchcock knew the importance of immediate engagement lest he lose his audience who may simply walk out of the film.  Today when we lose patience with a program on our HDTVs, we simply change to one of the assortment of channels in our media system.   Hitchcock knew, perhaps based on his early advertising background, that attention span is very limited in human beings.  

 

The opening to Frenzy seems to be a slight deviation in the way he normally grabs his audience with a much more leisurely, almost travelogue approach to setting the mood by making the discovery of the nude body a surprise 3 minutes 26 seconds into the film.  Hitchcock knew that his reputation as Master of Suspense would probably guarantee that his audience would patiently wait a few minutes for him to set the mood before getting into the theme of the film.   However, he returns to form in his last film, Family Plot, that launches into an opening shot of a mysterious crystal ball with the titles “Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot” that dissolves into a close-up of Madame Blanche, a phony psychic giving a deep gravelly-voiced reading with a mysterious score by John Williams.  Hitchcock was a master of many things including the opening set-up.     

 

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Posted (edited)

  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 of Frenzy starts off with a politician who addresses to the crowd about the removal of pollution in the Thames river for a cleaner atmosphere and a cleaner water area for the tourists, while The Lodger starts off with a murder and a woman that shouts and is later murdered. The standby is the first person to spot the dead woman in the water in Frenzy, In The Lodger, the crowd witnesses the dead woman after the murderer has killed the blond-haired woman with curls. 

  2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. The touches include: POV (point-of-view) shots, the use of a beautiful landscape in a panoramic view, the involvement of the large crowd, and his cameo in the crowd. 

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. ​What I have noticed in this pattern is the involvement of large crowds that are engaged in an activity or witnessing a murder that might be a clue to the case, and the involvement of having the characters going to a famous landscape or a famous attraction in the U.S. or in Europe.

Edited by BLACHEFAN
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In The Lodger we see the mysterious form of a man, a woman screaming, a body lying in the street,  a witness screaming, a crowd gathering.   All under cover of darkness. As it progresses, we see the law getting involved and a reporter phoning in the story to his editor and the news of this frightening event ending up in print and being distributed in the city of London.  In Frenzy, some hot air politician is praising the clean-up efforts on the river Thames ( A pretty modern issue, water pollution. Maybe a little social commentary there.)  in London before a crowd. Perfectly timed, a nude female body washes up into view in the river, and an apparent murder is revealed. A modern setting for a murder, somehow less chaotic.  And in broad daylight. Both very chilling in their unique ways.

 

In Frenzy, we see Hitchcock in his cameo in the crowd scene on the river.  One thought comes to mind: Hitchcock's way of shaking up a commonplace scene, in this case, a politician speaking to a crowd, the major interruption, a body, forever changes everyone who is there. And the tone is set for the film, or at least hinted at.  We've seen this a lot in Hitchcock's movies. 

 

Hitchcock seems to want to shake us up in his opening scenes. Setting up a crime or mystery or character profile to pique our interest. I feel as if he always wants to take us somewhere we may not have anticipated. He was an entertainer who constantly tried to improve on his last efforts. One of my favorite qualities in Hitchcock. 

 

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1)  In short we have The Lodger, a dead blonde woman by a river in London at night vs. Frenzy, a dead blonde woman in a river in London during the day.  The Lodger differs most in that we start off the movie with immediate chaos and hysteria whereas, Frenzy starts off with an almost pleasant feel provided by the arial shot and the score.  Both movies not only feature a dead blonde but also that odd Hitchcock humor.  We all want a clear river in which we can better see dead bodies....

 

2)  The POV shot, the large crowd, a musical score and of course, a mystery.

 

3)  Hitchcock's openings set the stage for us.  Regardless of whether we start off with a body, a protagonist or a group of people (or all three), we are given a setting, some information, a bit of humor and suspense.  

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i just replied for over two hours of writing on this topic and it all got erased, said to go back and do it again.  But I am washed out, and it is late and so not doing it all over again.  What a shame.

But in a capsule,I think the opening of Frenzy doesn't differ much from the Lodger; both have crowds in the street, both reacting to murder, except Frenzy has body wash up.

Some of the common Hitchcock touches are the opening crowds, a murder at the opening, screams.

The thoughts I have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created the openings were to shock, intrigue and excite the audience.

The patterns and strategies I've noticed over the course of these opening scenes is Hitchcock believed in arousing the audience from the start, he held true to, "You must let the audience have the information," and was brilliant at it.

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