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About TonyZao

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  1. My ideal combination would be something like Hitchcock as director, Tarantino as screenwriter, DiCaprio and Liam Neeson starring and Morricone composing the score. That would be a fitting dream team!
  2. One thing I've always liked about classic Hollywood films is the way the protagonists are flirting with each other. It's subtle, classy, elegant, flirting is turned into an art, something you don't see much in modern films, because there is no censorship and everything can be said or shown. In this scene, the actors are talking about something primate and vulgar such as sex, yet they're doing this in a way you could believe they're talking about a work of art. Grant was an expert in such scenes for decades, Saint was not so experienced, but here she is at least his equal. Hitchcock always
  3. Although I've always found Vertigo a bit too creepy and complicated for my taste, I have to admit that it's Hitchcock's most trademark film, along with Psycho. Even the opening credits are disturbing and add to the mood of the film. I'm a computer engineering student myself and I've studied Lissajous figures quite a bit, and I never imagined they could be used in such a subjective way to create distorting, formalistic images, and even dizziness. By watching this brilliant opening sequence, you know that what's gonna follow is not ordinary, and is probably going to play with your mind, even mak
  4. The opening scene isn't a Jeff's POV shot, yet the camera moves in an entirely voyeuristic way. It quickly shows us the entire field of action of the film, the apartments Jeff is able to look at through his camera and, finally, his own. Hitchcock gives us a taste of the claustrophobic, voyeuristic style of the entire film and wants to make us feel a guilty pleasure that we're watching all these people in their private lives. Jeff is shown sweating, visibly dissatisfied with the fact he's unable to move because of his broken leg. The words written on his bandage is another display of Hitchc
  5. I really love Strangers on a Train, and the main reason is this whole criss-cross idea with the switching murders that captures your attention from the beginning (even Danny DeVito tried to imitate it!). Hitchcock uses the railroad tracks to show us two different paths that cross that each other, and then the two characters; their shoes, their equipment, their clothing, but not their faces until later. He uses time and coincidence, two seemingly ordinary people, strangers to each other, who just happened to catch the same train and sit opposite each other. Once more, Hitch tries to say that wh
  6. I absolutely love Notorious from every angle. Hitchcock is masterful from the first scene to the last one. In this scene, the subjective, expressionist, shadowy POV shot of Cary Grant entering the scene is one of his very best, and a proof that he was more handy with B&W filming than color. This time, the scene is dark-toned and the atmosphere is heavy, introducing us to two characters who are gonna be the heroes in the picture, but are not saints by a long way (typical noir). I personally believe that Notorious is as close as Hitchcock ever got with film noir theme and scenery. The ca
  7. Hitchcock opens the film showing us a perfectly married couple, in an idyllic, almost unreal situation. They're in love, they're rich, they don't care about anything. In typical Hitchcock fashion, it appears that nothing can go wrong for the characters displayed in this scene, except everything does in the rest of the picture. One could say that the "ordinary guys in extraordinary situations" doctrine appears in this film, too, with the difference that this time the ordinary guys (Mr. and Mrs. Smith) are largely to blame for being driven into their troubles. Hitch shows us a panoramic view
  8. Hitchcock's contribution to film noir was immense but largely ignored. I think that the main reason Hitch is not considered an important noir director is because his films were so unique that trying to fit them into a particular style or film movement is irrelevant. Uncle Charlie could be compared with many noir characters in this opening scene. He seems calm, not disturbed by the fact two unknown men are looking for him, nor by the large amount of money in his room, he's nonchalant, calculative, and lacking any sentiment. If he feels fear or anything else, it's well hidden. That's his att
  9. Hollywood's influence is obvious in this opening scene. Hitchcock very rarely used flashbacks in Britain, yet he begins his career in the US with one. In the UK, Hitchcock's films typically opened in packed public places with light-hearted dialogue. In this one, there is no humor or levity, the first character, bar the voiceover, appears two and a half minutes into the film and the locations are remote and somewhat scary. Rebecca is not only the first American film for Hitchcock, but also one that is not the most characteristic of his style. However, the "Hitchcock touch" is there, with th
  10. Hitchcock's favorite opening scenes were arguably these international public places. In The Lady Vanishes, the setting, the folklore Central European music, the smiling hotel manager who speaks in all languages, the characters coming from every corner of the world, are contributing to a playful, light-hearted tone. Once again, nothing is there that can make us believe this film is a crime thriller. Charters and Caldicott are somewhat the typical Englishmen of the 30's, obsessed with cricket, with a characteristic accent and way of talking, and friendly towards other nations. They add even
  11. Hitchcock had developed a habit of starting his films in public places, with pleasurable atmosphere and much of levity by his very early days. Once more, we see a bunch of ordinary people, including the one who's gonna be the reluctant hero of our story, entertaining themselves. This time, however, nothing seems to be disturbing or precursing a crime or a manhunt, and by this scene alone you couldn't guess this film's gonna be a spy thriller with crime, suspense and manhunt. Another deviation was the fact that this time Hitch wants us to identify with one character by the very opening scen
  12. What I like about Hitchcock's late British films compared to the famous American ones (although I generally prefer the latter) is their simplicity and the levity of the scripts. The two versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much pose the perfect example. In this version, I think that this opening scene makes us anticipate that characters will be more important than the plot, as it shows us nothing really interesting in terms of events, but introduces us to colorful characters. Peter Lorre's character looks really cool in this opening scene. A humorous, seemingly well-natured foreigner who has n
  13. Hitchcock is known for his audacious experimentation in his films, but, in my opinion, nothing tops Blackmail. The most important invention in film history, sound, appears for the very first time in the whole Europe in his hands, in a film that was made to be silent, yet still he manages to innovate and use it to achieve his targets. Hitchcock knew that, when people have something in their minds, everything they see and hear appears to be somehow connected with this, and reason starts to fail. With this in mind, we can understand Anny Ondra's reaction when she repeatedly hears the word "kn
  14. Once more, Hitch uses a technique, this time POV shots, to subvert the normal objectivity of watching the film and make us identify with the character whose POV we are watching. Everything is about looks here, the angry look of the girl, the even more angry one of the headmaster, the terrified one of the innocent but framed character played by Novello and the guilty but pleased one of his classmate. Hitchcock wants us to understand the characters just be looking at them and getting into their shoes, without showing much. I personally think that one of the reasons he experimented with POV w
  15. The Ring is certainly not your typical Hitchcock film, yet his flirting with German expressionist ideas and the importance of montage and film editing dominates the film, and it continued to influence his way of filmmaking throughout his career. Rapid cuts, very different from one another and somewhat disturbing to the audience, are used again by Hitch to create a subjective atmosphere. Also contributing are some distorting stills that resemble a painting rather than a film scene, and the constant change of pace from fast to slow and vice versa. Hitchcock uses this disturbing effect to
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