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Everything posted by ThePaintedLady

  1. I have ATT U-verse. I tried watching some programming on TCM app, through my Fire Stick but I keep getting an error message. Nothing will play. So I tried the Watch TCM app on my web browser and it says that it can't verify my account. What's the deal here?
  2. Same. Except I woke up super early (California) only to meet a blackout screen with "Content Unavailable". Moments like these make me hate Sling. I've also seen Force of Evil before.
  3. You're not the only person. I, too, am a HUGE Hitchcock fan, and I border on "not caring for" and "hating" Vertigo. I love the cinematography, the set location (I'm a San Franciscan), and the fashion. I just really hate the plot and the idea that a man has that much control over a woman to fulfill his selfish desire. I actually come out of the theatre angry each time I see it. My top Hitchcock films: Rear Window Foreign Correspondent Shadow of a Doubt Strangers on a Train Why do I stop at 4? Because the fifth one often changes.
  4. It has been a long time since I posted. I hadn't been watching too many modern films as of late. Let me clarify, I haven't been watching any modern, American films as of late. I've been on a Korean drama kick, and I just watched one film that blew me away. I would add this title to the list of international neo-noir. Inside Men (Korea, 2015) Director Woo Min-ho This film stars Lee Byung-hun, who has crossed over into Hollywood films (Terminator Genisys and Magnificent Seven). I might add he is one handsome man. He stars as the thug/gangster in the film. Cho Seung-woo plays the lead prosecutor. Cho has been added to my list of all-time favorite actors. He is an amazing actor and incredibly talented (he also does music and theatre). Watch him in "Secret Forest" available on Netflix. I will just use the wikipedia synopsis of the film: Lee Kang-hee, an editor at an influential conservative newspaper, raises congressman Jang Pil-woo to the position of leading Presidential candidate using the power of the press; behind this is his secret deal with the paper's biggest sponsor. Ahn Sang-goo, a political henchman who supported Lee and Jang, gets caught pocketing the record of the sponsor's slush fund, resulting in a dismembered hand. Woo Jang-hoon, an ambitious prosecutor, starts to investigate the relationship between Jang and the sponsor, believing that it's his only chance to make it to the top. While getting down to the brass tacks of the case, Woo meets Ahn, who has been methodically planning his revenge. Now the war between the one blinded with power, the one hell-bent on vengeance, and the one eager for success begins. My score for this film: 15/16 - Definitely a neo-noir. I highly recommend it. It is available on Netflix streaming. 1. Chiaroscuro for black and white films, intense or muted color in movies filmed in color (In either black and white or color, the technique is used to enhance the mood and/or the emotional content.) Yes. There are several scenes with muted color as well as contrasting colors. 2. Flashbacks Yes. The film starts in the present and goes back two years before proceeding with the present. As the story continues, there are multiple flashbacks to help explain/expand on pivotol plot points. 3. Unusual narration Yes. See above. 4. Crime/planning a crime (usually—but not always—murder) Yes. Lots of political corruption. Vengeance is a common theme as well. Lots of blackmail. 5. Femme fatale and/or homme fatale Sort of. There was a female character that was a fatale of sorts, but she was clearly working on the side of good. She was more peripheral to the story, but still an important role when it comes to infiltration. 6. The instrument of fate Yes. Key characters seem to inadvertently cross each other's paths that eventually lead to some type of epiphany. 7. Angst Of course. The "thug" in the film has the most angst and is driven by vengeance. The lead prosecutor, who has been past up for promotions due to his lack of connections, is driven by justice to help make a name for himself. 8. Violence or the threat of violence It's a violent film. There were times I had to look away, but I then realized that most violent acts occur offscreen. American films tend to be more "in your face" with violence. Not so much in Korea. The worst was two characters (separate scenes) having their hand cut off. Everything else is just fighting. 9. Urban and nighttime settings Yes. Set in Seoul with few rural settings (character in hiding). Mostly nighttime settings. 10. Allusion to post–World War II (or any postwar) themes Not really - Although they did make reference to North Korea and their threats of nuclear weapons, but it really has nothing to do with the plot. It was said more in jest. 11. Philosophical themes (existentialism in particular) involving alienation, loneliness Yes. The thug has moments in which he wants to be the type of criminal who loved and cared. He seemed to be the most conflicted. 12. Psychology (hypnosis, brainwashing, manipulation, amnesia) Lots of manipulation by the journalist and politician. 13. Greed Of course. The politician and journalist have pocketed money from a slush fund. Both are driven by power more than money. 14. Betrayal Yes. One character learns of a betrayal of one individual with whom he had a strong bond. 15. No stark contrast between “good” and “evil” (characters, forces, emotion, and so on) Good = Lead prosecutor; Goodness = thug; Evil = Journalist; Just plain bad = politician 16. Expertise triumphs, perhaps rather than “good” YES! I'd explain, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. Let's just say that the lead prosecutor has to listen to the thug's plans for their preferred outcome.
  5. Agree completely. I think Tippi Hedren is just an awful actress. It's her performance that makes me dislike The Birds, too.
  6. 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. Judging from the facial expressions of the seated guests, the mood seems to be that of frustration contrasted by the light hearted charm of Ms. Froy. In a way, she is already set apart from the rest as someone to pay attention to. After all, she is the lady who vanishes later in the film. The clock seemed like a cattle call which indeed it was as the innkeeper gathers all guests prompting them to reserve a room as quickly as possible. Yet, the clock also reflects an attempt to restore order amidst chaos. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Peanut Gallery. They provide the comedic element, but they also seem to critique the situation and other characters on scene; sort of influencing or at least presenting to the viewing audience how we should see other characters/situations. 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. First, I have to say that Iris is a total snob, and I'm glad she is put in her place as the film progresses. I can't stand her character. That said... Iris establishes herself as the leader of the trio walking in front. She is the speaker as she explains their reason for their early arrival from an outing. The other two just gaggle in the background. If either of them says anything not to her liking, she lightly scolds them. Ex: When her friend mentions eating a horse, she retorts "Don't put any ideas into his head." There is also this air of superiority as she corrects the innkeeper's pronunciation of avalanche (and he said it correctly). A bit of an insult considering the innkeeper is a polyglot. Iris is also a self-absorbed brat. Everyone is facing the same transportation problem, but "I have to get home tomorrow! How long before they dig it out?" It's all about her own needs. The innkeeper happily obliges to her every command all the while ignoring his other guests. Throughout the scene as the camera moves, Iris is always at the center until they move up the stairs and she leads the pack all the while (literally) talking down to them.
  7. 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? Pattern: Angled shots, long tracking shots, large crowds/spectators, entertainment/sports venue Deviations: In all previous openings, a crime and/or victimization occurs. (I believe Luis is a victim of the young girl's disrupting his ski jump). 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? I agree. Donat's character is likable and his introduced to us in a light-hearted manner. There is no element of tension or anxiety. 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? The audience is in a location where there is an expectation of safety and security. The location is crowded and the lighting bright. A theatre isn't generally a place where crimes happen. Thus, anyone who keep their guard down. Crime is supposed to happen at night, in secluded areas away from public view. At least that is the expectation. Hitchcock reminds us, though, that threats to security can happen anywhere at anytime in full view of the public. This is repeated in other films like Foreign Correspondent, Sabotage, Strangers on a Train, North by Northwest, among others.
  8. 1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet) Considering this is an espionage theme, characterization is most important and we really have to pay attention to each character's persona and motivation. Who can be trusted? Who can't? Is there a red herring? 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? He seems like a good natured man but you know there is something duplicitous about him when he stops mid sentence when face to face with Luis. His fashion sense is a bit flashier than those around him suggesting that he is not like the crowd. Another issue here is his strong accent. Generally, (at least in American cinema) they are not to be trusted especially those with British, German, Russian accents. 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. Each scene goes right into the action: theatre show/gala, crime in progress and aftermath, ski-jump competition. They also contain a large audience. Each also has a victim of some type: victim of theft, murder victim, skier, though not necessarily a victim, loses a competition due to a young girl's carelessness. Differences: We have two productions and one crime. Both Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew Too Much start with a descent from a height whereas The Lodger does not.
  9. It's Doris Day's singing that makes me dislike this film. I felt it was completely out of place and a bit ridiculous.
  10. My tope of five. I feel that each of the characters had very strong character development and growth from beginning to end. Well, except for Robert Walker. He just gave a great performance as the charming psychopathic murderer. 1.Teresa Wright (Shadow of a Doubt) 2. Robert Walker (Strangers on a Train) 3. Robert Cummings (Saboteur) 4. Eva Marie Saint (North by Northwest) 5. Grace Kelly (Rear Window)
  11. Shadow of a Doubt as I am a fan of Joseph Cotton. I also like seeing Santa Rosa in the 40s. I also enjoy The Trouble with Harry for its black humor and the set direction.
  12. I had that problem, too, on my mobile device. I attributed it to being on the ferry as I was commuting to work. On my laptop, it played normally.
  13. I have to say that this is my first time seeing Blackmail with sound. I'm not sure I like it. I've seen it three times before as a silent picture, so it's a bit unnerving to hear the voices so high pitched. Anny Ondra actually had a deeper, huskier voice. Anyhow, on to the daily dose... 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. In this scene, we have two different "worlds". That of the public world (the shop and customer) and the private world (Alice's home and mind). The public world is noisy and the private is silent. When the two worlds merge, the public world is muffled as though Alice is trying to silence the reality of her justifiable crime. However, the shop customer imposes on the private moment as she stands at the entry watching the family eat breakfast (how rude!). She continues to speak as Alice is essentially trying to block out the moment, but the the word "knife" continues to impose itself on her world reminding her of what she had done. 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. Be specific. The sounds are amplified which garners a reaction from Alice. "Knife" is shouted out when the knife flies out of the hand. The shop's entry bell is also amplified, which causes a stir from Alice (in her eyebrows). In reality, the sounds would be at normal level, but in Alice's mind, the sounds jump at her. This demonstrates the anxiety she feels. 3. Why do you think this particular use of subjective sound is not used frequently in cinema? Everything is about eyecandy and explosions in today's cinema. Their plots also lack depth. Today's audience, particularly American audiences, want to be entertained. They don't want to walk away from a theatre with questions. This is why you see many theatres dominated by the action packed blockbusters. There are films that can match the quality of Hitchcock films but they are not as widely marketed. I'm just glad that I live in a community (San Francisco Bay Area) where there remains an appreciation for the art of classic cinema. We have quite a few theatres that play classic films (pre 1965) or silent films exclusively. And of course there is the annual Noir City, Silent Film and Hitchcock festivals. So there is an audience out there; it's just not that big. I always enjoy going to the silent film theatre and seeing a much younger audience in attendance. It keeps the tradition alive.
  14. My favorite moment has always been the long shot in Young and Innocent. The song "No One Can Like the Drummer Man" has always brought a smile to my face, and it makes me get up on my feet (I'm a swing dancer). It was never released as its own single. The only copy of this song is in the film itself. The only other time I hear it is a rendition of it at a Hitchcock film festival. Both Castro Theatre (in San Francisco) and Stanford Theatre (Palo Alto) have the Wurlitzer organ and the organ player usually performs this song.
  15. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? I immediately had a feeling of anxiety; I felt what the two students were feeling; a sense of dread, concern, wonder of what the problem could be. 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? As others have said, you are immediately pulled in to the action both physically and mentally. The audience becomes the characters at that moment. This is precisely what Hitchcock wants of his audience; to empathize with the hero. 3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. The framing of certain individuals such as the chorus girl in The Pleasure Garden and the couple in The Ring. Up close head shots such as in The Lodger, The Ring, The Pleasure Garden.
  16. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? The flappers create the rhythm with their high energy Charleston dancing. The vitality is shown through the guests' having a grand time, the drinking, the excess, etc. 2. As is the case 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. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. The use of doorways and mirrors. This puts us in the place of the fighter as we see through his eyes. The distance from the revelry creates the feeling of isolation and not belonging. The distorted piano keys represents the fighter's warped sense of reality. His thoughts are superimposed over the mirror, which represents the reality of the situation. This is also interspersed with the revelry and the music's speed. This highlights the anxiety for the fighter. 3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen? Hitchcock creates separation from the fighter and his wife by placing them in opposing rooms. At the beginning of the scene, we see the couple framed in the door way, which is disrupted by the dancing flappers. Then it switches to the couple being framed in the mirror, and this is also we see. No other reflections. At that point, the mirror is the only connection of the two gentleman and their not yet established rivalry.
  17. I don't think it's been released to the home market, yet. A couple years ago, there was The Hitchcock 9 film festival here in San Francisco, and I was able to see most of the films. It travels around the U.S. and England. They're probably trying to generate interest with a Hitchcock 9 tour before creating a home release DVD set. Sometimes, Silent Film festivals will show case Blackmail.
  18. I agree, Craig. I, too, felt it was out of place, and it's at that moment that I make my eyeroll. The Birds is actually among my least favorite films by Hitchcock mainly because I think Tippi Hedren is a horrible actress, and I really hated her character. I also thought that many of her scenes were ridiculous. What was the point of her leaving the diner to be barricaded in a phone booth only to return to the diner again? I also didn't like the children's chorus as she's waiting in the school yard. So annoying! Other than that, I love the Bodega Bay location. I often visit as its only a 90 min drive. Great mini Hitchcock museum, too.
  19. 1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? The Pleasure Garden is more uplifting. There are singing/dancing chorus girls and an audience that is enthusiastically engaged. In The Lodger, it is clearly a darker tone where the onlookers are more curious and shocked by the murder. There is more use of colors/hues in The Lodger with blues and sepia tones. One similarity I noticed is an assembly line. The chorus girls as they descend the spiral staircase and the newspaper press as the latest edition is printed and delivered. 2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? Point of View: We, the viewing audience, become part of the action as we ride through the streets with the newspaper delivery. Extreme close-ups: Victims at the height of distress are often a head shot. The charming serial killer: the Avenger in this film, Norman Bates in Psycho, Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt. 3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? This is an extreme close-up of a screaming woman which adds to the intensity of the situation. We see this in The Birds, when Jessica Tandy runs out of the house terrified yet too perturbed to emit a sound in her screaming. Of course there is Psycho with the intense close up on Janet Leigh as she screams.
  20. Also a favorite. It is part of my DVD library. I wish, though, there was a recording of No One Can Like the Drummer Man. I really love that tune.
  21. Hello all. A little late to this thread, but it's been a busy work week. On to the dosage... 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Yes. The concept of the viewing audience as voyeur is evident particularly when wee see through the gentleman's perspective as he's focusing his attention on a particular chorus girl. We see this concept repeated in Rear Window when we see through Jeffries's eyes and in Psycho through Norman's eyes. From a technical standpoint, the high angles as we view downward at the chorus line. This is a technique known as the crane shot that Hitchcock faithfully uses in many of his films. Particular favorites for me is North By Northwest and Rear Window. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto assessments that this sequence contains elements, themes, or approaches that we will see throughout Hitchcock's 50-year career? I agree. I've mentioned an element (crane shot) and theme (viewer as voyeur) in my previous response. Other themes: the clever lady. Hitchcock's women always seem to have this very smart wittiness about them. The chorus girl reminded me a bit of Eva Marie Saint's Eve Kendall in NxNW. Though I have not yet seen Pleasure Garden, I get a sense that I just witnessed the first MacGuffin with what was stolen from the handbag. 3. Since this is a silent film, do you feel there were any limitations on these opening scenes due to the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue? Not at all. In fact, I feel that some of Hitchcock's best and most pivotal scenes (in sound films) were those that lacked dialog and/or had complete silence. It usually highlighted the tension. Some examples: Notorious when we focus on Bergman's hand containing the key; In Rear Window, most of the film lacks dialog as we peer into his neighbors' windows. In Foreign Correspondent as Joel McCrea is trying to avoid detection in the windmill.
  22. My Top 5: 1. Rear Window 2. Shadow of a Doubt 3 Foreign Correspondent 4. The Trouble with Harry 5. Sabotage
  23. I, too, like that shot. Reminds me of Edward Hopper's Night Windows
  24. Schindler's List - only seen once. Imitation of Life - both the '34 and '59 versions. I'll Be Seeing You - even just seeing the film poster brings me to tears. Apocalypse Now - for one particular scene that was not staged.
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