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Lucinda27

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Everything posted by Lucinda27

  1. I know I replied to this topic once before, but yesterday while I was cooking, I had The Bourne Legacy on TV. I looked up at there was a shot from above of the spiral staircase and one of the main characters going down to answer the door. The people she was about to let in were there to kill her. It reminded me of all the staircases in Hitchcock's movies.
  2. I'm sorry to say I don't know much about costume designers, editors, or art directors. However, I think of the more modern writers, I would love to have seen Hitchcock work with Nora Ephron. She didn't do suspense but she had a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of movies, and she wrote funny yet poignant dialogue and scripts. For musicians, had he lived, Hitchcock might have continued to work with John Williams. He might also have worked well with Alexandre Desplat or maybe Nicholas Hooper, both of them creating amazing scores for some of the Harry Potter movies, as did John Williams. By the way, John Williams has won 5 Oscars, and been nominated an additional 45 times, so I think John Williams would have continued to work well with Hitchcock if he had continued to make movies past Family Plot.
  3. I don't know if anyone has mentioned Mission Impossible II. It borrows a great deal of its plot from Notorious. It must have been on the special features, because it's not in the trivia on IMDb, that Tom Cruise liked Notorious and particularly Ingrid Bergman. The trivia for Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation says that Tom Cruise first crush was on Ingrid Bergman in Notorious, and that Rebecca Ferguson wash chosen for this later movie because she looks like Bergman. The trivia for other Mission Impossible movies references other Hitchcock movies, so perhaps Cruise is a Hitchcock fan.
  4. Mr. Phillppe, 1. Would you every consider making a feature film? If so, what genre would be your favorite choice? 2. If you could remake any Hitchcock movie, which would it be and how would you adapt it for a modern audience? Thanks, Lucinda
  5. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. In The Lodger, we see the sign "To-Night Golden Curls", then the woman screaming and being strangled. In Frenzy, we have the long overhead shot of London and the bridges over the river Thames. Then the camera swoops in of a politician, speaking about cleaning the pollution in the river. I love the way Hitchcock does that. Someone says something in the opening dialogue that is juxtaposed with the inciting incident. A naked body of a woman is, very shortly after this opening dialogue, found floating in the river. There is crowd, like in The Lodger, who very quickly begin to discuss the murder. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. As I mentioned before, the dialogue gives an indication of something that is going to happen later in the film. Also, the shot of London from above. We have that in the opening of Psycho, but we also have a less high shot of Santa Rosa, and a shot of Rio from the plane in Notorious. In Strangers on a Train, we have some shots of the tennis match from above, and again the long shot of the key in Ingrid Bergman's hand in Notorious. We also have the shots of the long distance down from the top of the Statue of Liberty, in Sabatour, and from Mt. Rushmore in North by Northwest. Okay, those aren't all opening shots, but they are examples of the way Hitchcock uses the camera. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career. I think that most directors have the same purpose in mind when creating an opening sequence. They are giving the audience visual exposition information, they're setting the tone of the movie, and also giving the audience a clue as to the type of movie this will be. I mean, who can forget the opening sequence of Star Wars A New Hope with that huge star cruiser coming into the view and then taking up the entire screen. Hitchcock does the same kind of thing in smaller, less spectacular ways maybe, but he's letting us know what's to come in the movie. He also does that in almost all his movies with the opening dialogue. That is certainly true of Frenzy. We have this gorgeous overhead shot of the beautiful city of London. It makes us want to go for a visit, then, we hear the politician telling the crowd that the water ways of London will be cleaned up, and boom, a murder is discovered, with the body in the water. In addition to that, the opening credits and music also give us a clue as to what to expect this movie to be about. The iconic credits of Saul Bass, are a great example. I noticed that the word Frenzy, used stripes like Saul Bass used for Psycho, and North by Northwest, but they were red and white, a little detail that might connect it in our minds to Marnie. She went berserk when she saw the color red on anything white. Blood and innocence. Maybe Hitchcock was part of a group of directors who began to place more emphasis on the opening sequences to draw the audience into the experience of the movie. There are movies, mostly older ones, where we just see this lovely background and the credits. The music might give us a clue as to what kind of movie we're seeing, but we don't really get many other clues until the opening scenes. From the very first frame of a Hitchcock movie, we are drawn in to the life of the characters.
  6. 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. First of all, I have to say that the yellow purse always bothered me. The color doesn't seem to go with the suit she's wearing. I think that's significant. We never learn anything about the persona she is leaving behind, perhaps the incongruous wardrobe choices are part of that identity. From this opening we know that the woman is changing identities. I never thought about it until watching this sequence, but she does not put the social security card of Marion Holland back in the space behind her mirror. This makes me think that she discards each identity when she's finished with it. What she's doing seems rehearsed. She's done this many times before. I also noticed this time watching this clip that she gets rid of every piece of clothing from her previous identity even the underwear. And the clothing she is putting into the new suitcase has neutral colors, clean lines. The boxes seem to be from an upscale store. The suit she wears when she stores the old suitcase is elegant. She is young, beautiful and I get the feeling she uses that to get what she wants. About her hair, we never see Marnie's face when she's got black hair. Perhaps she does look very different than when her hair is light brown or blond, and that's why Strutt doesn't recognize her when he visits Rutland's office. I mean, he does think she looks vaguely familiar, but he can't place her face. One of my favorite segments in this clip is when she is washing the black out of her hair and then she rises up and we finally see her face. It's as if she's washing away the "sin" of stealing. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? I'm with you Dr. Edwards, I love the score for this movie. It does illustrate the different states of mind that Marnie goes through so beautifully. As the clip begins the music is suspenseful. There is a hint of danger. It doesn't change in tone until she begins to wash the black out of her hair. Then the music builds toward a hopeful feeling as we see her face for the first time. She looks almost angelic. Also later in the film as Marnie has the dreams, and freaks out when she sees red, or red on white, the music reflects her disturbed mental state. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? This cameo of Hitchcock is different in that he looks at the retreating back of Marnie. If I recall correctly, we never see him even acknowledge the main character if he is in the same frame with them, as in The Birds. Most of the time he's not even in the same sequence as the main character. I can't be in the mind of Hitchcock, but to me it could mean that Marnie is not only a beautiful woman that most people would notice, but also that her character is different than almost all of the other leading characters in his movies.
  7. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene? When the scene opens we hear the seagulls right away. Of course, there is also the sound of traffic and other city noise, but the sound of the seagulls is more prominent. Then a kid whistles at Melanie, almost a bird sound. When she looks up at the birds, there is an extremely large number of gulls in the air. Inside the pet shop it's a different sound of birds, more friendly, and soothing with the cooing. After watching the clip again, I notice a kind of panting noise when Mitch enters the shop. I couldn't place just what that noise was. It doesn't sound like a bird. When Mitch and Melanie meet, it's obvious they like each other right away. It's a nice "meet cute", him mistaking her for a shop employee. When she sees him, you can tell she likes him and she plays along. I think he realizes fairly quickly, by her inaccurate information about the birds, that she's NOT an employee, but it appears that he wants to see how far they can take this silly role playing. Their dialogue is full of double entrendres (spelling). The first one is when he asks for "love birds". Then he tells her that since his sister is only going to be eleven, he doesn't want the birds to be too demonstrative, but also not too aloof. In fact, Mitch may already know who Melanie is, since she's a socialite and probably in the papers quite often. When Mitch says, "Doesn't this make you feel just awful?" And Melanie eventually responds with, "Well we can't just let them fly around the shop you know." That line is a foreshadowing of all the birds flying around where they are not supposed to be. Another double entendre interchange happens when he asks if there is a reason for keeping them in separate cages. Almost from the moment Mitch and Melanie meet, the atmosphere and their dialogue is light. They are flirting with each other. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere? I think, in general, bird song and chirping is soothing. We have a young couple meeting and flirting. The sound of the birds in the shop is not in any way threatening. But the sound of the gulls at the beginning is rather overpowering. We have a contrast of sound in the opening sequence. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene. Alfred Hitchcock is leading two dogs from the shop as Melanie walks in. Yet when she enters we don't get to see the pets on the lower floor. There are kittens in the front window of the shop, but the focus is on the birds on the second floor. Dogs are loyal to their humans, birds are more unpredictable, and perhaps not as affectionate as dogs, another interesting contrast.
  8. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? The graphic design and the music work together perfectly, with the rhythm of the strings and the black lines rushing across the screen. I also like the way the words and music indicate the meaning of the word Psycho. They are disjointed and fragment in different directions in time with the music. Both working together makes me feel like someone in this movie is seriously unhinged. As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona, and a very specific day, date, and time: “FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH” and “TWO FORTY-THREE P.M.” What is Hitchcock seeking to establish with such specificity? Also, why do you think Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds from the outside? Does this shot remind of any other Daily Doses we have watched? This is a silly reason that we get the location of Phoenix, and the date in December. I live in Arizona. People who live in Phoenix can walk outside in December without coats, for the most part. I can't think why this is would have been important to Hitchcock. I mean he could have chosen a different city and a different time of year. There may be a connection to the book here. Because Janet Leigh is not wearing a coat we get to see her gorgeous figure, maybe that's what Hitchcock was going for. Also, there is a great deal of desolate country between Phoenix and Los Angeles, so that may be part of the set up too. The time of the afternoon, is a clue that a couple are playing hookie from their jobs. I love the shot with the camera entering the room through the open window. It's a foreshadowing of what is to come. There is going to be another voyeur. In this case the blinds are closed, except for the little slit at the bottom letting in air through the open window. But the camera going into the room through the window also makes us voyeurs as well. We've caught the couple not fully dressed. This implies they've had sex. They are lingering over their goodbye which gives us the exposition information we need to lead us to the inciting incident of Marion, spoiler alert for those who haven't seen the film, taking the money. The only other opening sequence of Hitchcock's that I can think of is Rear Window. There may be something similar in Frenzy as well, though I think it's going out the window instead of in. But it's been awhile since I've seen that movie. In the remainder of this sequence, we are introduced to Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin). The scene pushed the boundaries of censorship, especially considering our last Daily Dose for North by Northwest was edited for a line of risqué dialogue. Since this is the opening scene of Psycho, how does the hotel room scene function as a way to establish Marion Crane as a main character? Defend your answer. I wrote about this in the answer above, but Marion and Sam are obviously involved in a relationship. Seeing him without his shirt was not so controversial, but her in her slip and bra was. And the fact that they have obviously just had an afternoon of making love. The way they kiss is a little bit like the kissing scene in Notorious. Here, however, not only are their faces close together and they continue to kiss throughout the scene, they are also laying on the bed together. This is the era when married couples in movies had twin beds! As Marion and Sam talk we discover they must keep their relationship a secret. We discover the reason why later in the opening scene which was not part of this clip. Wanting to stop sneaking around and marry Sam is the reason Marion steals the money. That's the inciting incident for the entire movie. Her decision sets all the later complications in motion. Even after she's dead, she is moving the plot forward because Sam, and her sister played by Vera Miles, are trying to find out what happened to her. Norman might never have been caught if it weren't for the fact that Marion and Sam were in love with each other.
  9. 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. Speaking purely as a woman who loves Cary Grant movies, who wouldn't want to flirt with him on the 20th Century Limited? Eva Marie Saint is gorgeous, he's gorgeous and neither one of their characters seem to have the usual sexual hangups. They are both free to enjoy each other's company in any way the choose. In a way it's sad that we don't have dialogue like this any more because we don't have censorship any more. Okay, if a film maker wants to get a certain rating, they have to tailor the dialogue and the way the love scenes are shot to get that PG 13 rating, but we're so much more open with saying exactly what we think now days. I think that's good, but I miss the fun, flirty dialogue dripping with innuendo like that Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint use in this movie. 2. There is minimal action in this scene, so any deviation from the overall pattern of focusing on the faces of the two leads will have increased significance. In that sense, discuss how Hitchcock uses the R.O.T. matchbook as an important piece of acting business (or as a prop) in this scene. I have always thought that when Roger says that the O stands for nothing, he's sharing a little secret self-deprecation. Later in the movie he tells Eve that his wives divorced him because he was boring. There is a part of himself he doesn't like. His ordeal trying to save himself, get the microfilm, and save Eve all at the same time changes him ever so slightly. Also, the R.O.T., rot indicates this for me. He's a highly successful businessman, but maybe at the heart of that success he thinks there is a rotten core. I always like to think about what happens after the movie ends. Does he become a spy himself? Or does he change careers in some other way, or maybe he changes his character. Then, of course, perhaps he goes back to the hollow life he had before and this new relationship dies as well because he really is boring. 3. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. We have the sound of the train running along the tracks. There is very subtle music in the background, and the sound of clinking dinnerware. I don't think we can leave out the tone of voice each of the actors uses. They aren't whispering, but they want to keep their conversation confidential, so their voices are rather low in pitch and volume. The emphasis on certain words also indicates the exact meaning of what they are talking about.
  10. Describe what you think this film will be about simply from the sounds and images in these opening credits. Even if you have seen the film, try to focus on these sounds and images themselves and “the story” (or if not "the story," the mood and atmosphere they are establishing) that this sequence is communicating to the audience. The images and music together make me think of thoughts going round and round in my head. When a merry-go-round is going very fast, it's dangerous to jump off. I imagine that when the same set of thoughts are running around in someone's head, it can feel dangerous to try to get off the thought merry-go-round. I've experienced this in a very small way. It makes me feel like all the terrible thoughts are all there are. Of course once I stop the thought cycle, the solution to the problem presents itself. Throughout the opening credits the spirals never stop, the patterns and colors change but the circular motion of them never stop. It's an indication that our main character may never be able to escape those circular thought patterns. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. Okay, I know you are asking for only one image, but I have two. The first and strongest image are the pink and green spirals at the very beginning after the movie title. They look like galaxies to me, but also an eye, even though the center dead space is oval. The cosmos is always in motion, as are we. Sometimes we get stuck in that motion and can't stop to assess what's happening. The second is on the screen where the top credit is for Art Direction: Hal Pereira, that pattern looks like a yin/yang symbol. I find that very interesting since, Scottie thinks he's in love with Kim Novak's character. Kim Novak's character, is in a kind of spiral herself having taken a job and then falling in love with Scottie so much so that she will do anything to please him. Unfortunately that leads to her death. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? Bernard Herrmann's music goes up in a scale and then it goes down, then it repeats that. Which musically is like going around and around, so it's perfect for the images Saul Bass has created. I can't imagine any other music fitting the images as well. So if Bernard Herrmann had come up with different music, or someone else had composed the title music, the audience would probably not have got that kind of dizzy feeling that the two together induce.
  11. 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? It seems to me that Hitchcock is setting up the environment of the film. The point of view is from Jeff's window because he is being pointed out as the protagonist, even though his back is to the window. We see two shots of him during the opening reinforcing this idea. The second time we get a full body shot of him with his cast, so we know that since the camera has focused on him twice, everything we see from then on is from his point of view since he can't leave his wheel chair. 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? First of all, we see that it's hot, from the sweat on his face to the shot of the thermometer. In the shot of his apartment, we see his photographic kit, with the compass, the photographs he's taken on the walls and on the magazine. All but the last picture of the girl on the magazine, are action pictures. The car wreck, the bomb exploding, and others. Perhaps the last photo of the woman is a foreshadowing that his girlfriend, Lisa, is involved in the fashion industry. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? I live in the country, so what it makes me think of is that privacy is nonexistent in the city. Someone is always, potentially, watching your every move. When I lived in the city, I blocked that fact out and just went about my business as if no one cared what I was doing. For the most part that is probably true, unless you are confined to a wheel chair with a broken leg for seven weeks. Then you might take an interest in your neighbors even if you aren't an action photographer. I think it's interesting that throughout the movie, Jeff watches his neighbors, but doesn't think to protect his own privacy when Lisa goes to Thorwald's apartment to get the ring. He doesn't turn out the lights to protect himself and his nurse. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? When I think of the word cinematic, I think of wide open spaces and gorgeous vistas. But in this case, the entire world of the movie is available to be viewed from Jeff's windows. So in that respect, I guess I would agree with Hitchcock.
  12. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific. At the very beginning before the credits cover up the background, there are two people who criss cross, each heading in different directions. Then, of course, there are the criss crossing tracks, Bruno entering the frame from one direction, while Guy enters from the other. Each shot alternates with one man walking from right to left, the other from left to right. They merge at the entrance to the train platform. Then on the train, we have the same criss cross. Bruno enters the frame from the right headed left, while Guy enters left headed right until they sit and Guy brushes Bruno with his foot. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example. As to the camera work, the two men enter the frame from opposite directions. Their clothing is very different. Bruno is wearing flashy dark and white shoes, his suit is pin striped, and his tie is rather wild. On the other hand Guy's shoes are solid color, his pants are lighter than his black jacket, but both are rather conservative looking as is his tie with, a criss cross pattern. Bruno is talkative, even though he says he's not. And Guy's dialogue is monosyllabic. He has brought a book to read, which Bruno does not allow him to read, even though he tells him to go ahead and read. Oh, and then there is the hand shake. Bruno takes Guy's hand to shake it. He doesn't wait for Guy to extend it toward him. When he sits down next to Guy, he sits rather close which is odd since he and Guy are strangers. While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence? The opening music during the credits is rather dramatic and a little bit dark. That changes when the taxis arrive with the two main characters. It's lighter and even a little playful. It's in contrast to the evolution of the relationship between these two men. When they meet it's a light breezy kind of meeting, Bruno talking to Guy about his tennis exploits. But later as anyone who has seen the movie knows, their relationship turns extremely dark indeed.
  13. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? I noticed two things, the hair in Alicia's mouth when she's in the bed. When I watched the clip from Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Carole Lombard had hair in her mouth as the camera focuses on her when the maid brings the breakfast. However, the next shot of Carole Lombard the hair is pushed back from her face. As a former actor and director in the theater, I love those kind of moments. Ingrid Bergman leaves the hair in her mouth for quite a long time, then when she takes it out, there is one hair left that she has to take out of her mouth. It's that kind of business that makes a character feel real. The second thing was when Alicia is in the bed and Devlin walks toward her and the camera turns upside down so we see him from her point of view. When I saw that same kind of shot in Downhill, I knew Hitchcock was repeating this interesting shot. To me, Alicia seeing Devlin upside down is a foreshadowing of what is to come with their relationship. They are going to be turned upside down, then snapped right side up with Devlin having the upper hand, then finally come to an equal footing as they do when they are standing in the doorway listening to the recording. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene?What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography? First off, we see them in close up, or medium shots from the thighs, or waist up. Never long shots. Devlin, Cary Grant, is in shadow at the beginning of the scene, plus we see him upside down as Alicia, Ingrid Bergman does. His suit is dark, and he seems emotionless. Alicia on the other hand is in full light the entire scene. The fact that she's still wearing her clothes from the night before tells us something about Devlin. Also his name seems to characterize him as "the devil". We find out later, of course, that's not true, but it does, perhaps, explain why he seems detached from his emotions. He has a tough job, and he does it well, until he meets Alicia. Then I think he begins to question whether or not he wants to continue doing this dirty job. In contrast, Alicia's clothes sparkle. That's in sharp contrast to her anger, or maybe reflects her feelings about her home has been invaded by a "cop". To me the sparkle reflects who she is both as a person and as a character. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? I think the casting plays into their personas. Cary Grant was known for his sophistication, and in almost all his roles he exhibits a suave coolness, especially when he's being funny. He doesn't get to use humor in this film. Yet, his coolness seems to cover up deep emotions. As the film goes along we see his cool outer shell beginning to crack. First he falls in love with Alicia. Then he forgets the wine bottle in the office upon discovering what their assignment is. He pulls back from Alicia when he tells her what they are expected to do. He does this for two reasons, he knows what they are asking her to do is important, but he wants her to say no she won't do it. Then as the movie progresses and she has married Sebastian, he can't control his emotions and asks to be transferred. In the end he redeems himself by following his hunch that she wasn't drunk, but ill and thankfully saves her. Ingrid Bergman was a tall, healthy natural beauty. In most of her films it seems that she wears very little makeup. There is something that illuminates her from within. She seems to be an extremely complex person with many layers of emotion. She uses most, if not all of them in this film. At the beginning she's heartsick about her father's treason, yet she loves him. And that sets up all the dueling emotions that are to come. She wants to help her country, but she's in love with Devlin. She was a party girl because she was trying to drown her pain, but she becomes an upper class wife and hostess to discover the secret. She's brave, and frightened, soft and hard. She uses the appropriate emotions when she needs them. I loved what Louella Parsons said about her performance that were quoted in the lecture notes. We are completely invested in her character and want her to succeed.
  14. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? The scene is set by the camera panning the room. There is a fancy bed cover on the couch, the dirty dishes, and Mr. Smith sitting on the floor playing cards in his pajamas and robe. He looks over at Mrs. Smith in the bed and shivers. There is no dialogue until the maid comes. That's something Hitchcock has used before, establishing shots with no dialogue at the beginning of movies, like in The 39 Steps, and The Lady Vanishes. Then we see the pattern of the light through the blinds on the door. This is something Hitchcock has used in other movies, the light through windows with the pattern of blinds, or window panes on walls, stairs and doors. We know this is a well to do couple, because of the furnishings, the size of the room, and the fact that they have servants, and the fact that he can stay in his bedroom for three days without losing his job. Maybe he's the boss, or founding partner in the law firm. We learn a great deal about Mr. Smith in this clip, that's something else Hitchcock does well, gives us a lot of information about the main characters in a short amount of time. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? As I stated in the answer above, he uses panning shots, no dialogue until the scene is established. He uses light and shadow patterns through windows, and the music sets the mood, and gives us quite a bit of information about the main characters in the first few minutes of the scene. One example, we know that Mr. and Mrs. Smith have a rule, never to leave the bedroom until they've settled their differences. The longest stand off was eight days. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? From the clip, I think they have great chemistry. But then I've seen lots of Carole Lombard movies and I think she had great chemistry with all her leading men, even in the serious movies like, In Name Only, and Vigil in the Night. I love the way emotions float across her face. I also like Robert Montgomery. He could do comedy and serious movies with believable characterizations. I'm looking forward to seeing this movie.
  15. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. We know that "Mr. Spencer" has a lot of money scattered on the table and floor, which is incongruous with the dingy room and bed he's laying on. When a knock comes he says "Come in," with not much energy. He seems to be suffering from lack of motivation. When the landlady tells him about the two men who have come asking for him, he tells her they "aren't exactly friends". We know then for sure that they are after him and he's been trying to figure out how to evade them. An interesting shot happens as the landlady pulls down the blind casting a deep shadow over Mr. Spencer's face. After the landlady leaves Mr. Spencer gets angry and throws the glass. It seemed to me that he feels the trap closing around him, but takes up the challenge, and says as he raises the blind and looks out at the men on the street corner, "What do you know. You're bluffing. You've nothing on me." Then he gathers his things and goes out to the street passing extremely close to the men. He's challenging them to follow. From this opening, we know that Mr. Spencer must have committed some terrible crime, but we don't know what just yet. 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? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations) First of all the music has a dark tone. Then there are the light shining through the windows in contrast with the shadows in the room. When the landlady pulls down the blind, there is a deep shadow that progresses down Mr. Spencer's face. I've seen The Killers only once, but in that film Burt Lancaster seems resigned to his fate. I don't remember the music, or light and shadow patterns of that movie. In Shadow of a Doubt, Joseph Cotton is playing with the cigar as if using it as a fetish to help him plan his next move. His tone of voice isn't particularly nice toward the landlady in contrast to her caring, considerate tone toward him. And he uses violence by throwing the glass. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? The first bit of music we hear is the waltz. It's rather light, but as the camera goes from outside the window to the inside it turns darker. Then when the landlady pulls down the blind the music is still the waltz, but it is decidedly dark. We know something is terribly wrong with Mr. Spencer. His body language tells us he's not happy with his situation and the music backs that up. This is not going to be a happy movie.
  16. 1. Describe how this opening is different from the multiple opening scenes you have seen in the Daily Doses from the British silent and/or sound period? The opening of Rebecca is different with the use of the voiceover narration and dream sequence. This establishes the house, Manderley, as a kind of character. Since it's burned out, we also get the clue that something dramatic happened there. Then the music becomes dramatic with a shot of the sea, and a man standing dangerously close to to the edge of a cliff. This implies that the man is somehow tied to Manderley, even though a woman is the narrator. When Joan Fontaine yells at Laurence Olivier we know it's her voice we just heard. I don't think any of Hitchcock's previous movies used a narration opening, nor do the eventual lovers meet in the opening scene that I can recall. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? His use of dark and light, a character in danger, or mental distress, an innocent character who it is implied plays a large role in the story. We also have the remains of a large country house contrasted with scenes in nature. An abrupt and not very romantic first meeting between the eventual lovers. 3. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What affect does the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene? The narration about Manderley and how the person speaking says they can never go back there again, yet she still dreams about it, indicates something extremely significant happened to her there. The overgrown drive, and the shell of the house reinforce this feeling. The narrator calls the house "secretive and silent". As the moon comes out from behind clouds, it's almost as if the house comes back to life. The next instant the clouds cover the house "like a dark hand in front of a face." The narrator is anthropomorphizing the house. I think the effect of this opening flashback structure gives us lots of clues about the dark nature of the story we're about to see. The house has been burned and is an empty shell. The scene switches to a man, who looks like he might jump off the cliff into the sea. He's saved by the voice of the narration. And now we know how the narrator was introduced to the implied owner of Manderley.
  17. 1. Using specific examples, describe how Hitchcock opens The Lady Vanishes. What tone, mood, or atmosphere is Hitchcock establishing for the audience very early on in this picture? Pay particular attention to the music. This is one of my favorite Hitchcock movies. The opening music is a light folk tune that someone could dance to. The setting is a hotel lobby with several people sitting around. An old woman comes to the desk to purchase something. The wind opens the front door. A man begins to shut it, but the old woman wants to go out. Then we have the cuckoo clock, the stranded passengers, and particularly the men bringing in the baggage all talking so loudly that the desk clerk can barely hear what's being said on the phone. The mood is light. This is enhanced when the desk clerk begins to speak to the large group gathered there in several different languages ending with English, and the two English men begin a funny routine about missing the train because of standing for the Hungarian national anthem. One says, "I'm not convinced The Hungarian Rhapsody is their national anthem. We were the only ones standing." They continue to riff about how they will get to their destination on time, and what we assume is a political discussion. Later we learn they are talking about cricket, their favorite obsession. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Since it seems that the other stranded passengers do not speak English, they help with the exposition. They are the ones who comment on the three young women who come into the hotel, and get all the attention from the desk clerk. They assume the women are American, because of the amount of money they are willing to spend on the food and drink. They also show us one side of the English character. They are wrapped up in their own affairs and don't give a hang for what's going on politically. They are the comic relief of the movie with the silly situations they get into. 3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. Iris is the only woman the desk clerk shakes hands with upon their entering. She's the one who does most of the talking and giving orders for the meal they are ordering. The camera stays on the women and desk clerk throughout most of their approach to the stairway, except for a short reaction shot on the stranded passengers. Iris is also at the apex of the triangle of women, which makes her the obvious leader of the group. Her face is the one we see the entire time from entrance to the stairs.
  18. 1. Now that you have seen multiple openings to Hitchcock's British films, how does this opening both fit a pattern you have seen previously as well as deviate from other opening scenes? The opening sequence of The Pleasure Garden begins in a theater, as does The 39 Steps. In The Lodger, we see the graphic depiction of the back of a man in a similar kind of coat as Robert Donat when he walks into the theater. Also in both The 39 Steps and The Lodger, we have the flashing marquee. I didn't see the opening sequence of The Ring, but the opening sequences of, Downhill, The Farmer's Wife, are not similar to The 39 Steps at all. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? While it is true that Donat's character is innocent, Novello's character in Downhill, is also innocent. I haven't seen The Lodger yet, but according to the lecture notes, Novello's character in that movie is also innocent. It is true, though that Jill, in The Pleasure Garden appears to be innocent, however, it's all an act. Maybe what Rothman meant was that this is the first of Hitchcock's films that begins the trend of the regular everyman getting caught up in some intrigue, which is life threatening. He must use his intelligence and strength to get himself out of his dire situation. That's a situation Hitchcock uses over and over again in his movies. 3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? In The 39 Steps, we have many scenes in public places, the theater, the train, the lecture hall, where Hannay gives the political speech, the pastoral scenes on the Scottish moors. Then we have more private spaces where guests are entertained, his apartment, the country house, and the hotel. Many of Hitchcock's other films use theaters, The Albert Hall in both versions of The Man Who Knew too Much, and the dance hall in The Pleasure Garden. Many more use pastoral scenes, or wide open spaces, which in most non-Hitchcock stories would represent tranquility. That's not always the case in Hitchcock's movies. Big country houses are used in Notorious, North by Northwest, and Marnie to name a few. Apartments are used in Rope, Rear Window, Vertigo, Frenzy, and others. He also uses trains in many of his movies. This movie sets up those types of locations that Hitchcock uses over and over again. In the music hall scene in The 39 Steps, the crowd is raucous. They don't follow conventional theater etiquette and sit quietly. I think this sets up the fast pace of this movie. The questions to Mr. Memory come fast and furiously and he has a hard time keeping up with all of them, so he picks the most persistent speakers. Of course one of the questions is from the protagonist, and the question and answer give us a little bit of information about him, that he's from Canada, for example.
  19. 1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? ​I may be wrong about this, but in a way, Hitchcock uses plot like he does his MacGuffins. The plot is there to help us explore the characters when something unexpected happens to them. Through the course of the movies we discover what the protagonists are made of. 2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? For the most part Abbott is jovial, except for one brief moment when he sees the face of the ski jumper. We know there is something going on between them, but it is too soon to know just what that might be. When I saw the look on Abbott's face, I immediately wanted to know more. And this being a Hitchcock film, I know we will find out what kind of connection they have. 3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. In The Pleasure Garden, a young woman gets her envelope stolen, which we find out later in the film had money in it. However, she is not in much danger from those men. Also, the scene opens with a dance sequence and people watching the performance. This is similar to The Man Who Knew Too Much, where people are watching a ski jumping competition. The Lodger opens with a murder. This is different than the other two, but there is also a crowd gathered to hear the witness give account of what she saw, so that is similar. I haven't seen the entire movie of The Lodger yet, but I assume we meet most if not all the main characters in the opening sequence, as we do in both The Pleasure Garden, and The Man Who Knew Too Much.
  20. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? First of all, we hear the woman talking about the murder as Alice comes out of the living quarters. When she goes into the phone booth it is completely silent, but she sees the listing for the police court. The moment she opens the door we hear the woman, mid-sentence, talking again, and she never shuts up. The camera follows Alice, however. When the family sits down to eat, the only person talking is the woman customer, and she's talking about the murder. She must say the word knife about fifteen times. This unnerves Alice when her father asks her to cut some bread. By then the woman's voice is muffled, except for the word "knife". I'll have to see the entire film, but the second bell indicating another customer has arrived seems to affect Alice too, though I don't know the significance of that. 2. Describe the different ways that the sound design of this scene operates in counterpoint to the visual track. For example, how does Hitchcock set up the shot where the knife flies out of Alice's hand so that it registers a shock in his audience? Pay attention to both what is happening visually and aurally. By the time Alice and her family sit down to breakfast, the woman customer is repeating knife almost every other word. Soon the only word we hear clearly is "knife". When Alice's father asks her to cut the bread, she hesitates to pick up the knife, and when she holds it, she is shaking. So when the word "knife" is spoken again, only this time very loudly, Alice jerks and the one she's holding flies over her father's head. During this entire sequence, we see only Alice, never the woman customer until after the bread knife ends up on the floor. 3. Why do you think this particular use of subjective sound is not used frequently in cinema? I saw a movie just this weekend that used a similar technique, though I must be getting old, because I can't remember which movie it was at the moment. In that movie, the main character is contemplating something and certain phrases come back to help her or him make a decision. It is a good way for the audience to get inside the character's thoughts and feelings. Maybe most modern movies don't use this technique because the use of music under most scenes does a similar thing. Music is emotive, so even though we might not really hear the music under the scene, we know how the character or characters are feeling.
  21. Okay, I said that I'm not a fan of silent films because I like the whole package, but in this completely silent scene, I was paying more attention to facial expressions and body language of the four characters. I've never seen this movie, but it seemed to me that the young woman was lying, that Ivor Novello's companion was extremely nervous about what she was going to say, and Ivor Novello's character was completely confused about why he was there. The tracking shots gave me an ominous feeling. Especially when we saw the expression of the president (?) the young men were going to see. We, as the audience, get the feeling that there is something very bad going to happen. Then to be able to see the girl in the chair behind the young men, knowing they have not seen her, the expression on her face shows us the trap is set. I once taught The Story of Movies, created by The Film Foundation, IBM, and TCM. It was designed for junior high and high school students. I think it was stated in one of the training videos that the camera is showing the audience where to look, so the tracking shots are leading the audience to pay attention to very specific things. The slow tracking shot of the president mimics the boys approach to his desk. If it was a happy occasion, they would probably walk faster. But we see by his face, this is an extremely serious situation. The slow movement helps us feel that. In The Pleasure Garden, we have that tracking shot of the front row of mostly male audience members watching the dance. In The Lodger, we see the woman screaming as she is being strangled, from the POV of the murderer, and in The Ring, we see what both the husband and wife see when they are looking at each other's reflection in the same mirror. Also, both Downhill and The Ring have montage sequences.
  22. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? I liked what Hitchcock said in the interview segment in today's lecture notes. I had never really thought about a montage being a way to give lots of information in a short amount of time. In writing we'd call that an information dump. That's not such a good thing in writing, but in movies it can be a nice little break from the action, while still giving vital information the audience needs. In the case of this scene from The Ring, Hitchcock uses the devise of the husband being in one room seeing the dancing and his wife sitting on the arm of a chair next to another man. Then in the montage sequence the husband imagines his wife kissing the other man, and the distorted dancers, piano, and other musical instruments reflect his inner thoughts and mood. I think what I just wrote applies to the second question as well. The husband's assumptions about his wife and the other man are distorted. And perhaps the music adds to his irritation. 3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen? I loved the use of the mirror. The husband and wife see each other's reflection in the same mirror. That's interesting. We see her reaction to something the man beside her said, while she's looking at her husband's reflection. As the scene goes on and the dancing becomes more raucous, the husband's emotions get more heightened and dark as he imagines things that are not happening between his wife and the other man and finally yells something. He apologizes to the people in the other room. Then he goes back to the other two men and shuts the door almost as if he wants to shut out what he suspects about his wife and the other man. What his manager says to him seem to make him determined to do well on his next fight.
  23. One of the differences between The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger is in feel. The Pleasure Garden is light and fun. The girls dancing seem to be having a good time as are the male audience members. In The Lodger, the opening sequence shows us the shadow of a man, then a woman screaming, I assume being attacked. The feeling is ominous. The one similarity I can think of is that both women Hitchcock focuses on in the opening of both movies are fair haired. Some of the elements I noticed that seem to reoccur in later movies is the witness giving testimony to the police, the crowds pressing forward to see the body. That happens in Frenzy as well. Then the crowd listening to the woman who witnessed the murder. Some listeners are horrified, others make fun of the situation. The shots with people using the telephone. Telephones are used in lots of Hitchcock movies, also his use of newspapers. The woman screaming reminds me of the opening sequence in Rope, though the David isn't really screaming. He's being strangled, so perhaps he can't really scream. He does, however, have his mouth open like a scream. Then if I remember correctly, the secretary screams in Frenzy, when she finds her employer murdered, and in Psycho Janet Leigh screams in the shower. I think Hitchcock uses screams often in his movies. Was that Hitchcock with his back to us, on the phone at the newspaper office?
  24. My answer to question number one is seeing the women coming down the stairs, the reactions of the men to the dance, and the cool blond who shuts down her admirer. I loved the shot of the sleeping woman, and of Hamilton smoking the cigar under the sign that prohibited smoking. I felt he thought he was above following the rules. Hitchcock has characters like that, for example, in Stage Fright, Jane Wyman's character helps Richard Todd's character escape the police, Jimmy Stewart breaks societal convention by spying on his neighbors, and so on. Then we see the young woman coming to apply for a job. She is in strong contrast to the other girl. Judging by her purse and clothes, she may be from a more upper class background. She didn't seem to have much street smarts, nor the ability to think on her feet about how to handle the situation of the lost letter. This is just me, but I wanted to know why the men took her letter. Did they think there was money in the envelope, or had someone sent them to steal the letter? Of course the movie may go in a completely different direction than what I am thinking now. Maybe they are just mean. One of Hitchcock's themes is an ordinary person thrown into extraordinary circumstances. I'd have to see the rest of the movie to know, but perhaps the woman who lost her letter is the main character who will have to find strength she didn't know she possesses. It seemed to me that she desperately needed the job she was hoping to get. And what about the men at the door who stop her from leaving, and the woman who sees her? Will they end up helping or hurting her? I'm not a huge fan of silent film, because for me, watching a film is the entire package, the visuals, the sound, the spoken dialogue, the setting in addition to the body language of the characters. I want to hear ALL the lines of what the characters are saying not just the ones the director thinks are important. Sometimes you can get clues from characters that don't seem very important.
  25. My husband and I love TCM, but we don't love paying so much for our satelite service so we can get TCM. Will TCM ever have online access independent of satelite or cable companies? I'd like to be able to access the programing through Apple TV, Hulu, Netflix, or some service like that and leave all those other channels that I don't watch behind.
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