Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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1) Frenzy opening compared to The Lodger


 

The contrast between the two opening is stark yet, subtle at the same time. Frenzy's graceful cinematic opening reveals the London skyline most would recognize--the Thames, Parliament and Big Ben, and Tower Bridge. He pushes the camera through black smoke from a tugboat, a skyline streaked from belching smokestacks on to a politician giving a speech about cleaning up the river and its polluted surroundings. Then, the crowd spots a naked body floating in the river (and the mystery is afoot). 

 

In The Lodger, the action is immediate--the "screaming" woman as she is being murdered. A frenetic look at the murder's effect on the rest of the community is immediate (and the mystery is afoot)

 

 

2) Common Hitchcock touches:

 

The long dolly shot is cinematic glory and the triumphant musical motif suggests something regal. Tower Bridge conveniently opens to allow the camera through, with the artful push-in to the political speaker and the requisite crowd shot. I considered, for a moment, that the dialogue might be irrelevant (taking into account Hitch's disdain for dialogue), except the joke was on me: clean up river pollution (i.e., floating corpse, etc.). Fantastic! Meticulous.

 

 

3) Hitchcock's strategic pattern for openings:

 

Hitch drops us into the action in an almost "playful" way to catch us off guard.

 

 

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Instead of addressing the questions, this will just make some comments. What I am getting from these clips is a wicked sense of irony in Hitchcock.  Show one thing, mean another.  Say one thing, show another.  Juxtaposed images.  Beautiful regal music over a polluted river.  Politicians saying we are going to clean up the river, dead body floating naked.  This is not just a technique or motif in this film, but in others. In The Birds opener, Tippi Hedren goes into a shop of caged birds after she has looked at a skyful of wild, menacing, unexplainable, and uncontrolled birds. Janet Leigh in Psycho is making love and being "protected" by her man but is going to end up slaughtered.  It leads me to think that beneath the layer of entertainment, he is somehow implying an existentialism that I don't want to call meaningless but is very dark and random and pessimistic.  It also leads me to think he saw women as victims and very paternalistically.  Sorry, this is negative.  Cinematically all of this is brilliant but leaves me a little depressed.  I feel this way about the later films more than the earlier ones (like Notorious, which is my favorite). 

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Instead of directly commenting on the Further Reflections questions about Frenzy, I want to discuss what this opening scene says to me in regards to Hitchcock and his career. When the scene opens with the long, long shot over the Thames in London, with the seal of The City of London in the corner, and the music swelling triumphantly, it is like it is meant to be a triumphal return to his homeland for Hitchcock. The Thames is the "red carpet" and Hitchcock is portraying his victor processional to the place he left over 30 years before in frustration over his career. Now here he comes...Hitchcock...he has returned as the victor. He left and prospered. He became one of the greatest directors known to the industry. He has returned to show England that he has made it. However, like all of us there is still the desire to be recognized on our own home turf. So Hitchcock comes back to his roots, to the stories, locations, and actors he left behind. It is time for him to prove it to himself and to everyone else that he is a great director, not just in the States, but in England as well.

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The opening of Frenzy is much less avant garde, though in a way no less experimental, than The LodgerThe Lodger took its cues from German Expressionism, and as such had much darker cinematography, strange angles, expressive closeups, and more cutting. The fact that The Lodger actually has more cuts in its first few minutes is highly unusual, as many silent films tend to be more static and less edited, but of course our director is highly unusual. The first shot of Frenzy, however, is an unbroken crane shot over and into the city of London that lasts a good 2 minutes. While it features the foggy skies of London, I wouldn't describe it as dark or noir-ish in the same way that the opening of The Lodger was. The Lodger also hits you with full force right away that this is a murder mystery thriller extravaganza - we see the screams and the body and the gawking crowd and know immediately that a murder has taken place. Frenzy starts more quietly - the crowd is gathered for some speeches, and then the body floats in. I suppose the audience is expecting it since they know they're seeing a Hitchcock film, but it's much more of a build-up than we get in The Lodger.

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The opening of Frenzy is the polar opposite of The Lodger with equal endings.

The music is very British, regal, welcoming you to this grand place as you fly in on the harbor there during 'the longest helicopter POV (Lodger had almost Psycho shrieks with strings of terror), as you glide in, the Bridge there opens up for you highlighting the 'every Hitchcock entrance scene invloves an entrance' touch (in Lodger you feel like that girl was all alone getting got).

Both scene's stories jump off at the girl's body being found outside, publically (another Hitchcock touch).

 

This particular opening sequence can 100% be a look at a full circle in his career. If he was planning this it wouldn't be a surprise. It seemed like an almost homesick Hitchcock going back for 1 last stab into his most relaxed setting.

 

The choice of actors I feel had something to do both with part of the British slang, but also the grim context of the storyline.

 

It's possible more famous actors 'would' do scenes like rape etc but probably for more $$$.

 

I really can't help but answer question 3 about Hitchcock's opening scenes without again emphasizing the 'Hitchcock uses Entrances in his Entrance Scenes' argument.

 

This film being one of his most grand with that bridge opening up just for you.

 

 

 

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1.     The opening scene of Frenzy, is vastly different than that of The Lodger. Where the Lodger opens up with flashing lights, and a silent scream followed by a montage of cuts that introduce the setting, Frenzy does not open with a “frenzy” as it were. Instead there is this long, extremely long air-born dolly shot above the Thames. Accompanying it is music that is a bit dated for the date of the films creation. I could tell right away that the film wouldn’t deal with the reality of the 60’s in England. Especially London. However, there was something uneasy about the sound track. As we move in on the Thames and follow its path, I was reminded of Joseph Conrad’s, Heart of Darkness, and subsequently Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of it in Apocalypse Now. When we finally track down to hear the politician’s speech about cleaning up the river; “It will once again be clear and clean” … words to that affect, the river becomes a symbol for the pollution within humanity. So the contrast of this beautiful city seen from above at a distance is quickly a large part of how we feel in the set-up, then only to be amplified by the crowd member who spots the naked dead person floating in the river. People are not just the cause of the pollution, but are actually the pollution.

 

2.     Hitchcock “touches” might be the river as as sort of character. We also have the public setting for at least the witnessing of the aftermath of a crime. Aerial P.O.V. shot of the city and river would be another.

 

3.     The scenes serve his own principle of not withholding information but delivering information in important parts. As per one of the video’s seen here in the class, Hitchcock attests to the difference between mystery and suspense. Opening scenes are critical in getting the ball rolling from the very first opening frame; from title block with soundtrack, all the way through, Hitchcock doesn’t waste a frame. As stated in numerous ways throughout, Hitchcock thinks about everything except telling the actors what to do. Visual cues, framing, point of view, color, musical motifs- all of it, and all while maintaining the importance of silent film story telling.

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The opening scene in THE LODGER differs from the opening in FRENZY in several ways. In THE LODGER, the setting is night time and there are quick frantic cuts, lights and screams to indicate the panic of murder that just took place. In FRENZY, the setting is daytime, and the POV shot is a smooth, calm flying above the city, over the water, then close to the water, until we land at a high class gathering of a Senator who is ironically speaking about cleaning up the river. Moments before someone shouts “Look!” and we see the floating naked body of a dead woman face down in the river. The shot of the woman is graphic and would not have been allowed in the same manner during the period LODGER was made. 

 

This long shot zooming in on something important is certainly a Hitchcock touch. It reminds me of when we are at the top of the stairs in NOTORIOUS and we ultimately come down the stairs to view the key in Bergman’s hand. We also see this in REAR WINDOW when Lisa reveals that she has the wedding ring on her finger of their murdered neighbor. Being above the city in the beginning of FRENZY for a period of time reminded me of being at not one but ALL of the public places that served as a setting in many Hitchcock films. It is almost as if we could see the train station, the opera house, the apartment buildings, the theater, the hotel lobby all in one shot. He certainly topped him self with an opening public setting and scene here in FRENZY culminating with a speech from a public servant. Finally, the murder at the beginning of a film is something we have seen before; THE LODGER, THE 39 STEPS, ROPE, VERTIGO, SABOTEUR, and even in REAR WINDOW and PSYCHO.

 

I believe the purpose of the opening scene is to create a feeling that this murderer is among us and can be anywhere in the city. Even Hitchcock is in the crowd and the murder being discovered just behind them adds to the fact that this evil is super close to us. As in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, the fact that it is daytime adds to the normalcy which then adds to the horror. If this can happen in broad daylight, amongst this huge crowd WHILE we are honoring the move to clean up this river (and having just been so close in the long zooming opening shot to have been able to feel like we could actually touch the river), then it certainly can happen to any one of us at any given time. Leaving us vulnerable and intrigued at the same time was Hitchcock’s true gift.

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The opening of FRENZY as opposed to LODGER is different in that the long helio shot in FRENZY ends up with a woman screaming, while LODGER begins with a smash close-up shot of a woman screaming. We are able to collect our senses, adjust our movie seats and crunch our first mouthful of popcorn before we are scared out of our wits.

 

Hitch's touches include a cameo shot, public forum & misdirection.

 

FRENZY uses birds as a focus fulcrum. We are free as birds on the helio shot dashing in & out of bridges and roof tops, then a public forum discusses kingfishers as the reason to clean a river, but it's not that clean (ironic twist, a specialty for Hitch) because a lady screams look, Hitch focuses our attention expertly (Hitch touch) by the scream.

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Daily Dose #20

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. 

 

In the first place, this opening scene begins with a wide shot of the space, not a person or people. The solemn music is neither transmiting mistery nor cause some kind of anxious sensation and it is important to say that seems to be related with a different genre to the one proposed by Frenzy. Also, there is camera movement in the first minutes and the action occurs in daylight in opposition to The Lodger's opening sequence night scene. Once Hitchcock focuses on the politician speech, we can see that the people is unaware of the crime that has happened while in the third Hitchcock's silent film the crowd is shown when they have already found out the dead body of the woman. 

 

It is interesting how the body is displayed, because it is not seen from a close spot and for a brief moment as in The Lodger, but from a far point and it stays more time on screen. We can not even have a sight of her face, but the whole body is more explicit and is naked, so the impact is distinct. It feels like Hitchcock is traying to disturb in a different but equally efective way.       

 

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

 

As it is recognizable in other Hitchcock's opening sequences, the public spaces are shown as possible contexts of such terrible crimes and in the Frenzy's opening scene this is more emphasized with the long dolly shot. The crowds are present again, common people and we can see their reactions to what is happening as crimes like in The Lodger or shows as in The 39 steps. The iconic Hitchcock cameo is there as well. 

 

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.

 

As I expressed in my previous response, the danger in public places and the idea that no one is safe are recurring themes in his opening scenes. However, I think that as an overall purpose is always trying to take the audience to the mood of the film through giving information about places, characters or stuations in a clear or subtle ways sometimes (which is in tune with the bomb under the table theory he mentiones in one interview), but even so, he is always creating some mistery that he is expecting the public watch develop throughout the movie. Every sequence is powerful in their own way and is also an introduction to Hitch creativity to convey that much since the very begining.

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1. The opening of Frenzy differs from the opening of The Lodger in that Frenzy builds up to evidence of a crime, whereas the latter opens with the crime (the screaming women) and the discovery of the victim.  Frenzy's opening uses Hitchcock motifs of injecting menace into a commonplace setting - a municipal presentation becoming a crime scene - and humor - a declaration to clean the river of pollution, only to have a dead body float by.  The Lodger goes from the crime, to the victim, to the witness, to the mass media reporting the murder.  Frenzy opens with a casual flight along the river to a political speech, then discover of the body.  Both convey the public's morbid curious of the crime as both films' opening have citizens crowding about to observe.

2. As referenced above, there are three Hitchcock touches presented in this opening scene.  First, the familiar setting and event interrupted by the unusual and macabre.  In this case a speech by government representatives along a river bank in London is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body floating in the river.  Second, the layer of humor is played by having the politician declare the river will be cleaned up just prior to the corpse being noticed floating in the same river.  Third, is the Hitchcock cameo, as one of the throng listening to the speech.

3. With this opening, Hitchcock has not only set the location but introduced the main (and most familiar) star of the film - the city of London - with it's beauty and it's warts.  He has also brought the audience up to speed on recent past of this story - establishing that a murder spree has been going on, and providing evidence of it's latest victim (very much like the opening of The Lodger).  The exposition of these components provide the framework of the environment which the characters will eventually be inserted.  This is Hitchcock's way of layering in the foundation first.

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Hitchcock's opening scenes often take place in open air gatherings of people unrelated to the plot of the picture.  As with Frenzy, The Lodger opens among people gathered along the Thames, The Man Who Knew too Much opens on a crowd at a ski resort, The Lady Vanishes opens in a crowded inn. The persons or events important in the film may innocuously move through or may intrude startlingly on the crowd.  In Frenzy and the Lodger, the event intrudes, in the other two films and in several others, for example The 39 Steps and Strangers on a Train, the important characters enter unobtrusively.  

 

The characters in Frenzy have a much calmer response, "Look!", to the dead body than the screaming woman in The Lodger. The tepid response may be due to he citizens of London having had considerably more experience with death by 1974 than they had in 1928, or maybe Hitchcock himself had dealt with murder so frequently by 1974 that he was rather blasé about it.

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The opening of Frenzy is reminiscent of that in The Lodger, though it unfolds quite differently.  In the Lodger, the scene begins with a scream by an apparent witness to murder, which, in turn, mobilizes the police and the press.  In Frenzy, the opening begins with a bird's-eye view of London and slowly reveals a street scene of a speaker with an audience that includes the press (and Alfred Hitchcock, as well).  The scene is interrupted by the floating corpse.

 

This scene includes the Hitchcock touches of a public setting, pov shots and the overarching sense that evil has invaded another ordinary place.  As others have pointed out, there is also some droll humor in a speech that focuses on cleaning up the pollution in the river, when the bigger problem will be confronting the evil.

 

As usual, the ordinary is disrupted by the extraordinary, and in the case of Frenzy, in a very graphic (for Hitchcock) and shocking way.  

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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. 
Lodger starts with a scream and then body, and ends with the closeness to a crowd and  alarms sent out to the City in general; Frenzy begins with an overview of the city , a public city announcement and ends with the revelation of the body with a scream. They are inversions, one of the other.

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific.Experimental shots: dutch angle and long helicopter shot, droll humor, a depiction of crowds as a herd.

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 Frenzy, the title says it all, so he contrasts the implied violence and disorganization with a long, composed helicopter shot. Clearly, contrast and tension are foremost on Hitchcock's mind, and how to achieve them.
In other words, he carefully chose the opening scene to provide enough information to propel forward, but not so much as to bore the viewer.

 

After a lingering pan around the neighborhood in Rear Window, he shows the cast on a man in a wheelchair, a broken camera, and photos of a car race wreck. We fill in the exposition, allowing the director to take time and care with the development of the situation that will unfold.
In Frenzy, the crowd represents the city and the terror felt. The naked body floating contrasts with the clothed and upright (pun perhaps intended) crowd.As in Rear Window, we know the entire setup almost immediately.


In General:
Frequently, he likes to start with a bang--immediate (or soon to be danger) or shock value. He rarely waits for the 10 minute point to get
curiosity
 and blood pumping. This has a way of accelerating the momentum of the drama by eliminating too much exposition and creating immediate attention. 
 

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1. In the Lodger, the crime is underway while in Frenzy, the crime has already been committed.

2. Among the touches are a sweeping panoramic shot, a crowd scene, a Hitch cameo, a victim of a crime, and violence and disorder infringing upon the ordinary.

3. A common theme I see is how Hitch shows how violence disrupts what is seemingly ordinary way of life and how you try to reorient back to normalcy.

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1) Frenzy opens with a panoramic view of London. A travelogue made by an Londoner who had missed his city and wanted to share in its stunning view. Though the view of the Thames River is in both Frenzy and The Lodger. the difference is that Lodger starts with a scream, pan to crowd in frantic manner. With Frenzy, it opens so calmly and majestically that underlies what will happen later. The crowd is there more subdued than Lodger. Then we hear a scream and a body is discovered. 

 

2) The usual touches are the use of public space. The crowd as a starting point of the story. He use of black humor is not amused here. We see a constant politician presenting himself to the a crowd and a precise someone screams and mayhem insured. A body is discovered. Due to the relaxation of the codes, Hitchcock was more able to indulge his darker self. Hence, the nudity, the graphic depiction of the crime. His earlier efforts were bogged down by the production codes thus most of his themes are suppressed or coded. Now free of that Hitchcock was able to be free to tell his narrative in a way more mature way.

 

3) Hitchcock was able to use the new technology for his narrative. The use of helicopter shot is still spectacular. The swooping shot of London proper is more reminiscent of the opening to To Catch a Thief. That breezy look of beauty that underlies the ugliness beneath its veneer.

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1. The opening of Frenzy differs from the opening of The Lodger in several ways. The Lodger opens with the seventh victim screaming. Then we see the dead body, then we see the witness and then the  crowd that has gathered to gawk at the corpse. The police arrive and then the media report another death of The Avenger. In Frenzy we are first introduced to the city of London. A crowd has gathered but for a different reason. Here the media is also present but to report on pollution being cleaned up. Here there is no scream, but more of a shout as the dead body is discovered. In The Lodger the body is clothed but in frenzy the body is  naked.  We do not know at the point how many victims there have been or the name of the killer. 

 

2.The Hitchcock touches I saw in this scene are:

Opening dolly shot as we see a pan of the city of London.

POV as we pan in on the crowd gathered to here the speaker.

A crowd gathered.

Humour as the speaker talks of cleaning up the polluted waters, but a dead body floats by.

Hitchcock cameo.

Blonde victim.

The feeling that things are not at all what they seem. 

 

3.I think the strategies that Hitchcock used in his opening scenes was to invite the audience into the various worlds he created. By allowing us to become voyeurs watching the situations he has created for his characters. To whet our appetites for the suspense or shocks to come. To introduce us to the main characters so we immediately feel something for them and are drawn into the story.

Our curiosity is piqued and we want to see more.

The patterns I have seen in the opening scenes are the gathering of crowds, POV shots, the introduction of the main characters, giving the audience information that the main characters might not know yet, the build up of suspense, the foreshadowing of events to come, the feeling that something is not quite right, a few Hitchcock cameos and the mention of a MacGuffin that will propel the story. 

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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 wide shot of London from the air moving to a crowd, from the Thames River side, listening to a politicians's speech and the notice of a nude body floating in the Thames. The Lodger opens with the scream, silently, of the murder victim and then shots of the crowd around the body.

 

2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. Large crowd shot, his cameo, the bit about pollution and then a dead body floats by. All 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. As Hitchcock has said during this course is that he wants to give the audience as much information as possible early on in the film. I think that is his main point.

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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, we are shown the dead girl quite quickly - in this we have a very lofty scene of London.  We seem to be seeing the "upper crust" of London and hearing the political talk regarding cleaning up the river - ironically as we find the dead girl floating in the water.  In the Lodger we see all the different groups talking about the many murders of the golden haired girls.  To our knowledge, this is the first murder in Frenzy.

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

We have a very long aerial shot, and he really enjoyed those.  He enjoyed daytime and the idea that this type of horror could occur to the common man and in very public and commonly visited places.

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 seems to enjoy taking us on a tour of locations - using maps and travel guides in some of his movie trailers and talking to the audience, telling them all the wonders that we will see in his films.  It is his fun tongue-in-cheek humor that he twists his suspense movies into the every man's trip.

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1. 

  • Frenzy - No immediate horror occurs, no woman screaming right at the start, not at night, no flashing sleazy dance club sign, full and busy location with a wide variety of types of people in place verses an empty street, nicer part of London and better dressed people. What ...specific.

2.

  • His humor - the opening is very British, upbeat and like a travel documentary;
  • Polished modern filming - the high soaring in to a scene is so much more polished than the artificial scene in The Birds, when we have a 'birds-eye view' of the hectic town below with the fire.  He has soared in before indoors (Ms. Ingrid holding the key in Notorious), yet this shows us a smooth entry into London and a lovely view of the Thames;
  • The blah, blah, blah politician with the red rose going on and on like the soap box speakers in Piccadilly on Sundays with empty words and empty promises and a jolly smile;
  • The hilarious guest couple--the nearly sleeping, red-faced, portly Austrian-Hungarian-German looking man with his silly big necklace (many of these are still utilized in the U.K. today with thick velvet and a medal tho ...) and his assumed wife, who is heavy, red-headed, has a silly fake grin and a ridiculous hat;
  • ​His cleverness - the four people that notice the dead body and turn much like the chorus girls did one at a time in exact sequence;
  • His abnormal warped view of women as he always has them being murdered resulting in a lack of overall respect as seen in many of his films, not so true with the men, and; 
  • ​His pushing the boundaries of ratings, now to be an "R" he can show a naked body and even show her bikini lines verses the dead woman in The Lodger.

 

 

3. 

  • He was older, but was still trying out new ways to trick us, he didn't have to have famous actors, he didn't have to get permission for anything, he had an "R" rating, which gave him great scope to get more horrific and graphic (not too happy about this turn in his style) and he could ramp up the humor with music, characters, etc. to a higher level.  This film was different; higher class location, more upbeat music, during the day, full color, all well dressed characters, all seems like a pretty spring day and we are breathing easy and trusting that this is a film that seems safe and controlled until the, "look!"

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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 my opinion, the similarities are the Thames River as a locale.  Also, Frenzy begins with a crowd scene which is similar to The Lodger.  In The Lodger, we are shown the killer’s ‘signature’ – the note that says The Avenger.  In Frenzy, if you look closely, we can see the necktie floating around the victim’s neck.   The necktie being the killer’s signature in Frenzy.  We are not immediately introduced to a main character as part of the crowd (think 39 Steps opening, original Man Who Knew Too Much).

 

The difference is that in The Lodger, it took place on a foggy evening (you’d expect a Ripper-like murder in that setting).  In Frenzy, it is broad daylight – the tourist’s London - – a very ordinary event such as this politician’s speech.  In the opening scene of The Lodger, the concept of ‘mass-produced news’ is very much in the forefront (teletypes, newsrooms, newspapers, rapid communication).   In Frenzy, you get the idea that politics and the societal state of London will play a much greater role.

 

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

 

The crowd scene – we’ve seen him use crowds so often in his films.  I’d argue that his earlier use of crowd scenes were more effective because it served not only as a reference for the time and place and setting, but also to eventually focus on one particular individual in the crowd who will play a major part in the story.

 

The high shots – This particular high-shot is done outside.  We get the Travelogue aerial tour of the city.  We’ve seen this kind of shot in The Birds and Psycho, more recently.  Hitchcock used very effectively both indoor and outdoor high-angle shots in so many films.  But we can surely see that Hitch is definitely taking full advantage of the technology now available.

 

An ordinary setting – There’s nothing scary about the setting.  It’s perhaps an overcast and cool spring day in London.  People are listening to a speech by a politician.  What could possibly go wrong?  A body floating down the river.  Disturbing scenes of violence disrupting a perfectly lovely day and setting.

 

What I also noticed is perhaps the ‘duality’ of the two Towers of London Bridge.  The concept of duality has been mentioned several times and it’s interesting that Hitch takes the camera between the Towers, rather than over them which would probably have been much easier.

 

Cameo – Hitch is back to his more humorous cameos here.   How?   By doing absolutely nothing!  By being the only person not applauding the speech, he sticks out like a very disapproving thumb.

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 the simplest answer works best here as I try to remember as many Daily Doses as I can.  Hitchcock uses his opening shots to establish the time period and place of the film.  Additionally, I feel he also uses the opening shot to establish who our main characters are and how they fit into the context of the film.   We might get an idea of what they do for a living, or perhaps we’ll get information about the socio-economic status of the characters.

 

Vertigo, North by Northwest – we know Jimmy Stewart is a cop/detective.  Cary Grant is an urban professional.  Middle/Professional class.

 

Strangers on a Train, original Man Who Knew Too Much – we get a feeling that the people are upper-middle, or upper-class.  They have money. They can travel.

 

The Lodger – Seedy, uneducated, lower-class London.

 

Frenzy – There isn’t any information provided in this film other than a general sense of time and place.

 

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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. 

 

Even though we get the same feelings, what differs Frenzy from The Lodger is sound. Set up is basically the same with minor detail differences.

 

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

 

The air shot, public location, close up and profile shot all gives into the Hitchcock touch. And of course the attention to detail without giving away too much information.

 

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.

 

Again, the idea of terrible things that happen in safe places or where people generally is not expecting. Hitchcock sets the mood for just that without taking us by surprise. Public places, regular situations that take ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances. All giving us the audience that feeling... Look! I thought I've seen this before, but no, not exactly.

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The notes on the Daily Dose begin with a quote from T.S. Eliot which suddenly made me position Hitchcock in the Modernist era.  In a way, he is an Imagist in that he shows instead of tells and has nothing that is without meaning in his shots.  In another way, he is a Surrealist, not in his visual style but in the shared surrealist concept of busyness of the unconscious and how it can impact our surface world. I also feel that his narrative is moved along by use of existing texts- the monogrammed matchbook cover, the neon hotel sign, a newspaper headline, a name in hotel guest book, etc. (Was it Foreign Correspondent that allowed us to view teletype ribbon as it was being printed?) This reminds me of the way some Modernist artists- Picasso comes to mind- worked printed materials of urban life into collages- another bit for us to assemble meaning. 

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From the start, I wonder if an element of British class structure is going to be in this film.  Using the medieval heraldry for London to identify the place seems pedantic.  Why is any identification needed?  As soon as the bridge comes into view, the 1972 audience will know the location. There's something upper-crusty about that heraldic icon- not to mention the regal music.  

 

We come to a well-dressed upper class politician, probably a member of parliament, who is quoting romantic nature poetry from Wordsworth and promising the river will be cleaned up so the brown trout and this bird and the other will be back. In other words, a return to idealized times.  He says the water will be "cleared of the waste products of our society" (you know - those long hairs who practice free love)  a few seconds before a woman's corpse makes its appearance.   It's also noteworthy that he specifies all the water "above this point" will be clear. This specificity makes me wonder about the rest of the river.  Is this a class thing?  Clean here, dump there?

 

The majority of people in the crowd are members of the press. Only the back edge of the crowd seems to be the general public.  This is a press moment more than a true interaction of representative class and the people being represented. Just something that highlights a little class separation again.  

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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 almost like a travelogue. We have the initial postcard like image of the Thames flowing through London. We than see the crowd gathered on the side of the river listening to the politician. We then have the line "Look!" and the crowd diverts their attention to the dead body floating along. We see the cameo of Hitchcock very early in this film. He is even wearing a bowler hat to fit right in to the London scene. The Lodger​ is different in that we see the victim first in a close up of her face than a crowd forms and gathers around to look at her body. In Frenzy​ there are reporters present but they are covering the pollution speech while in The Lodger the reporters are covering the murder of the "golden haired" girl. In The Lodger we don't see Hitchcock until a little later in the opening when he is on the telephone with his back to us. The body floating by in Frenzy does not rate a close-up like the face of the victim in The Lodger. In The Lodger the crowds are made up of poor London folk but in Frenzy ​they appear to be of a higher class in London society. Obvious differences are the use of sound, color and the use of the titanic aerial shot.

 

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

 

      ​A few of the common Hitchcock touches that I see are the crossing symbolism that is exhibited by the tugboat steaming across the Thames from right to left; the red and white striped graphics used in the title ​Frenzy; using an exotic setting (London); the strong use of music to set a rather British theme; close-ups used to draw attention i.e. the man who hollers "Look!" and the ladies near him and of course the Macguffin which is the whole deal about pollution in the Thames and fighting it!

 

 

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 believe that some purposes that Hitchcock had in mind when creating his openings were to draw the audience in and get them hooked as to what is this all about; get the audience's curiosity up; use an exotic place to get attention; plant the seeds of the Macguffin; introduce us to certain characters (unfortunately in The Lodger and Frenzy they are dead); interject some hints about the film through the use of the opening graphics; his use of music to help set the tone and finally make us realize that this is a Hitchcock film!

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

 

The panoramic view of a famous place (London) with all of the prominent buildings shown to their best display. Its almost like we are on an airplane and coming in for a landing on the spot where the government official is talking about eradicating water waste and pollution. Even the music if very "official" (pomp and circumstances).

 

However, Hitchcock throws in a surprise when an ordinary man yells, "LOOK!" and everyone sees the dead body floating. This is an abrupt switch in storyline, similar to Psycho, where the lead character gets murdered. Although this switch happens much more quickly and we don't know who the man officiating is, one may think that Frenzy is its about the government, pollution, perhaps corruption and later a murder, etc. However the discovery of the dead body quickly changes the storyline to that of a serial killer in London who rapes and chokes women with a necktie. 

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