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Everything posted by LRH

  1. Another thought -- how about directors? I'm just starting to read Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris. [i have no business interest in the book, just linking for convenience]. About 5 directors who served in the war and how that influenced their work, etc. Anyway, it got me thinking that you could do a 6-9 week course on some of the classic directors of the Golden Age: John Ford, William Wyler, Frank Capra, Ida Lupino, Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, Vincente Minnelli, etc. I'd really like to see Ida Lupino in there -- she directed some really swell
  2. If anyone is interested in following up on Westerns, I found this course by poking around on Canvas. It's completed, but all the materials are still there to read and watch: https://learn.canvas.net/courses/1689. It looks very thorough and easy to navigate (not sure how long it will be available). The interface for the course will be very familiar for those of us in the TCM Hitchcock#50 class. Westerns are pretty far down on my preferred genres, but this course looks so well-done, I may work through it to get up to speed on this important genre.
  3. OH, I just remembered! Duh - it was on TCM last night! Manhattan Murder Mystery. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton. It's a riff on Rear Window. Really terrific mystery with an all-star cast (Anjelica Huston and Alan Alda) and a lot of neurotic Woody Allen humor. Highly recommend! And I just heard an ad on TCM for an upcoming showing of The Night of the Hunter. The stolen money that is hidden (I won't say where) seems a bit of a MacGuffin. Instead, the film is really about good and evil - with Robert Mitchum in just about his most evil role. Children on the run from danger. Fantas
  4. The 1948 British film, The Fallen Idol, has a kind of Hitchcock flavor. A butler who looks after a rich diplomat's son is accused of murder (SPOILER: he's innocent). The little boy thinks he saw the murder happen, but lies to protect him. The lies get the butler further in trouble. There's real suspense here, and it's a psychological drama. There's also a good bit of dark humor, particularly the very last line. Check it out. TCM shows it off and on.
  5. Like many other folks, I too would like to know why Hitchcock pulled the rights to Rope, Rear Window, The Trouble With Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), and Vertigo. Thanks for a great class! --Lydia
  6. 1. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigo and North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? The graphic design is about fragmentation. And there are many fragments or cuts in the film: Good Marion vs Bad Marion (see comment in #3 below) Norman’s split personality The cuts of the shower scene The two-part movie – before and after Marion is killed The score follows this idea of fragmentation. The opening music is made up
  7. When I clicked on the link in the quoted material above, it didn't work. But this one did -- I found it by searching youtube with Vertigo alternate ending.
  8. 1. Even at the level of the dialogue, this film is playing with the idea that two Hollywood stars are flirting with each other (e.g. the line, "I look vaguely familiar.") How does our pre-existing knowledge of these stars function to create meaning in this scene. Cary Grant is always the suave, debonair type. I think it’s funny that he says he looks familiar. Billy Wilder and Tony Curtis used this ironically in Some Like It Hot. When Curtis was pretending to be a millionaire, he modeled his speech and voice patterns on Grant. And when Jack Lemmon calls him out on it, he quips, “no on
  9. 1. How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window? 2. What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design? Just before the clip we watched starts, we have the opening credits as the three window shades are slowly drawn up. This is a raising
  10. 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
  11. 1. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects. The thing that struck me the most was that the name we think is hers is on the first social security card. And it’s Marion: the previous blonde woman who stole money in Psycho. Then, of course, we see that she has many identities, and she just thumbs through, choosing the one that suits her at this time. 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? Herrmann alwa
  12. Herrmann matches the graphics in that his music spirals as well. There are two musical lines at the beginning. The upper line starts high and moves low and back again. The lower line uses the same chord notes (with one exception), and it starts low and moves high and back again. These lines happen simultaneously and together create a spiral that repeats many times. This musical motive also is a great way to depict obsession as well as vertigo. These repeating melodic patterns (ostinato) mirror the kind of circular, repetitive, relentless thoughts that you can't get out of your head when you a
  13. I'm trying to upload a picture for my profile, and I can't get it to work. Can you help? I have a png file that is 24 KB. I choose it, it shows up as uploaded, and I'm asked to crop it, but it never appears in the crop box or my photo. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.
  14. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple? The thing that struck me immediately was the first shot of Carole Lombard. Only her eye peeked out from the covers, and the camera focused and moved right in on that and held as she looked out. Precursor to the end of the shower scene in Psycho? The two shots are so similar, and yet for such different types of stories. They seem to live the lifestyle of Nick and Nora Charles. Swanky house, servants, meals delivered. As he says, he can afford to take days off at
  15. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. We learn he has a secret that is dangerous and probably related to where he got his money. But we also learn that he has the ability to completely mask his emotions – to remain impassive even as he feels danger. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? Like the Swede in The Killers, Uncle Charlie seems resigned to his circumstances. Ther
  16. In this opening of Rebecca we get another Hitchcock POV shot. What makes that even more interesting to me is the way he layers lighting and sound to create movement and emotional shifts. As the narrator moves down the path, the shadows crawl across the ground in front of her, and in the same direction she travels. So it’s like they accompany her. They don’t necessarily seem ominous, though that’s a possibility. But to me they provide mystery and motion. And this makes an extended narration not seem static, which is always the danger. To also break up the scene Hitchcock gives us, at one
  17. Hi everyone. Just finished watching The Lady Vanishes. What a MacGuffin! I can't imagine how a whole clause of a document could be encoded in that very simple melody that has the same melodic material appear three times. But I guess that's the nature of a MacGuffin. Odd that the musicologist didn't write the tune down after they escaped. And he was playing his clarinet backwards, with the reed against his upper lip in the bedroom/folk dancing scene.... I'm surprised that Hitchcock didn't have someone catch that glitch. But no complaints here -- it's a terrific film! QUESTION 1:
  18. Caldicott and Charters are so funny, but in that droll English way. And Hitchcock has the joke unfold rather slowly. We start out believing they really did stand up for the Hungarian national anthem. But then we get to the punchline: "I've always maintained that the Hungarian Rhapsody is not the Hungarian national anthem." It's funny because in the context of the film it show how clueless some of the folks are -- and how understated the humor is. The guy wanted to show his respect to another country, but he didn't even know their national anthem. But even funnier, he didn't recognize th
  19. I'm coming late to the party, so I won't repeat what others have so wonderfully said about the questions. Yes, Lorre is definitely an imp who is up to something with that look he gives the skiier. I thought the crowd noise was rather subdued given the situation of a skiier falling all that way into the crowd. I expected more high pitched response, even a little shriek or screaming.... So it seems very understated to me. One other comment: I don't experience the girl as "bratty," as Dr. Gehring did. Maybe I haven't seen enough of her yet yet (I've only seen the remake the of the film).
  20. Hi everyone! I've been thinking more about "subjective sound" as the day has gone on and I've read more and more comments. I think that it's a technique that may be used more than we think. It doesn't have to be like what Hitchcock did here (with distortion and one word coming through). There are lots of other possibilities, at least if I understand correctly what it really means. I’m assuming "subjective sound" means sound that is comparable to a POV shot: sound that the viewer hears “as if” they were the person in the film, from that person’s POV. Someone mentioned the last moments
  21. It's hard to add anything to these comments which I think are excellent responses to the questions. But a couple of other thoughts I had: 1) the use of subjective sound not only makes it clear that these are Alice's experiences (the 1st person perspective), but in a sense, the sound design puts the viewer in the 1st person position. Much of the sound (the muted voices before the door opens, the silence in the phone booth) is like real life - the way the world sounds to us as we experience it. So, the effect is that we are there WITH Alice, we're not just watching her react. We join her in
  22. I was struck by how I experienced both POV shots from the boy's perspectives. For the first shot, as we travel along the track with the boys toward the headmaster, we feel their dread as they approach this stern figure. We are in their shoes. In the second POV sequence, as Mabel approaches the boys and we travel with her, I still "felt myself" in the boys' shoes, not in Mabel's. I felt like she was bearing down on me, even as I was experiencing the scene from her POV. I'm not sure I'm making sense in describing it. But it seems like if the two POV sequences were equivalent, I would have
  23. I’d like to focus on the second question: “As is the case of with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character.” The clip from The Ring is a great example of the unnerving, other-worldliness of music. I’m not talking about the music that we hear from the score (something added later – nothing to do with Hitchcock), but the music that we see within the film and that the fighter “hears.” Kristine and others mentioned the great montage moment when the phonograph is spinning, super
  24. 1) Rear Window (Grace Kelly is radiant and smart. Clever story.) 2) Vertigo (The score is incredible.) 3) Shadow of a Doubt (Wonderful depiction of everyday life in the 40s - evil lurks in cute little towns.) 4) Psycho (The score, again.) 5) Strangers on a Train (Tennis, trains, the lighter, merry-go-rounds!)
  25. Right. Usually the music was provided by an accompanist (piano or organ) or a small chamber ensemble if things were fancy. So the score you hear for most films was done well after the original. In fact, many contemporary composers are mining the depths of silent films these days. It gives them a perfect "canvas" for original compositions that might actually have a shot at being heard. (You can often tell that the orchestral sound is actually synthesized in a lot of contemporary silent film scores.) I found two other scores for The Lodger with just a quick YouTube search. To be fair: som
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