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Everything posted by JaneNoir

  1. Thanks so much for this podcast! It brought all the pieces together nicely, and emphasized the context for the films which I found informative.
  2. I have to agree with the consensus that Powell was a better and more artstic performer. But I’m surprised to admit that I really like Keeler! She’s refreshing. She’s warm and enthusiastic and awkward and relatable. I do like the opportunity this course is giving me to compare and contrast their styles, and to examine the evolution of dance as depicted in film.
  3. I’ve not seen this one yet, and I’m looking forward to it! I do agree with the idea of a battle of the sexes: I see it in her wardrobe, her gestures, her manner. She is playing along, but demonstrating that she can do anything he can do. She is not easily won over, which is the fun of a romantic comedy. I think this also reflects the changing role of women: they needed to assert themselves more to help their families get through the depression. The rain and the gazebo setting remind me of The Sound of Music. In The Sound of Music a young girl was attempting to demonstrate that she was mature enough for her love-interest. I’m sure there are other later musicals that were influenced by this classic of the genre.
  4. I agree, as a kid, this scene frightened me. I was more horrified at the idea of her being left behind. Not being from the midwest, tornadoes were more abstract for me. And as an adult, even though I know the story can’t happen otherwise, I still wonder if they were right to leave her behind! Haha. My least favorite scene was always the makeovers at the Emerald City. I was so impatient during that portion of the movie. My favorite scene is when the witch calls for the winged monkeys. So effective!
  5. For me,the least-watchable is Family Plot. I've only seen it twice and I really wanted to like it, but I couldn't. That said, a least-watchable Hitchcock film is still better than a lot of other films out there.
  6. Is there one aspect of Hitchcock's filmmaking that you feel he doesn't get enough credit or acknowledgment for?
  7. Interesting point. I hadn't given much thought to guilt in the viewer. I definitely agree with the idea of complicity on the part of the viewer in Psycho as raised in the lecture, as far as the car scene goes. It's palpable, my own apprehension regarding whether or not the car will sink. I hadn't thought about it in terms of Rear Window. I suppose because I've enjoyed the movie too much while watching! Yes, I definitely need to revisit the Strangers film and give that idea some more thought.
  8. Regarding Monday's lecture on Strangers on a Train: Professor Edwards introduced the idea that there's a difference between "Hitchcock guilt" as depicted in this film and how Highsmith used guilt in her novel. I've never read the novel, and am quite interested in exploring this idea. Does anyone agree/disagree?
  9. I enjoyed Stage Fright. It's not his best, but it has Alastair Sim and Jane Wyman, which are worth seeing in this. And it does have a Hitchcock "touch" or two. In my opinion it's more watchable than, say, The Paradine Case. As for Under Capricorn, I confess that I only saw it once years ago and was so disappointed i never went back. I found it slow. But I'm interested to review it again, and see if I have a different reaction to it, especially in the context of this course.
  10. My first choice would have been Stage Fright, up until recently. But in the past few weeks I watched Young and Innocent for the first time, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and surprised by how Hitchcockian it was.
  11. It's a good point. And would make a great classroom debate topic! For me, certain films like His Girl Friday, Chinatown, Pulp Fiction, Sweet Smell of Success, Casablanca, The Lion in Winter, all have strong and important and brilliant visuals, but are all more quotable than any Hitchcock film, and have essential scripts. So for those films, I really do ruminate on the dialogue more than the visuals. I do think it is a question of degrees. Just comparatively speaking.
  12. When I heard this quote in the lecture, I agreed with it. Especially after taking time to absorb the idea. While I agree with you that words and dialogue can be important to a film, I would argue that Hitchcock's reputation was built more on visuals than dialogue. I confess I haven't seen Easy Virtue yet, so I can't speak to that one. I think you make a good point about the "words" themselves being significant, but it sounds as if it is the image of the words that you are describing, rather than the spoken word? For myself, when I think back on a Hitchcock film, I do think in terms of the shots. Even Lifeboat -- I couldn't quote dialogue from it the way that I could with His Girl Friday, for example. But the visual of the woman with the baby, the group physically attacking Slezak -- these images really stand out for me, and contain more power and resonance than any of the lines we hear. Thanks for posting this comment, because it really made me think more on how Hitchcock's films have made an impact for me!
  13. Comparing the two openings: The Lodger reminds me of The Pleasure Garden in that both have a person or persons giving a "performance" and an "audience." In The Pleasure Garden it's the girls on stage, but in The Lodger it's the woman who saw the killer and provides the description of him to the crowd and police. Also, Hitchcock's focus on faces and facial expressions is common to both. The difference, to me, between the two is the general tone. The Pleasure Garden starts of with a lighter tone. The Lodger is very intense in its opening moments, with the silent scream. Elements of Hitchcock style for me: the closeup of the woman screaming; the black humor (the young man wrapping the coat in front of his face as he mimics the description of the killer; the newsboy who's lucky day is Tuesday); the flurry of activity with the newsmen, the ticker tape, the printing press. The effectiveness of the silent scream: For me it's the lighting in combination with the close-up and the angle. The light fading out behind her is particular effective for me. This scream in the opening and the flurry of activity bring to mind To Catch a Thief -- although admittedly the tone is completely different.
  14. I don't know about downloading the modules, but I know once the course is completed, you can continue to access everyting in Canvas in a "read only" mode. Which is a great feature.
  15. You're so right about Desi Arnaz. His facial expressions were highly entertaining, and he really commanded a scene better than I'd remembered. I especially enjoyed his terror when his wife took the wheel of the car. As a child, I wasn't able to watch this film, because I only felt disappointment that they weren't Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. Now I can appreciate it in its own right, and I was surprised how entertaining I found it to be. The colors really popped in this one, and I enjoyed seeing familiar faces: Keenan Wynn, Madge Blake, Herb Vigran.
  16. This scene is so much fun to watch, and watch again. I love Harpo's stretch across the waiter's plates at the end, and never thought about this scene before within the context of the geometry of the shot. This was a great scene to break down.
  17. I admit that I had a hard time appreciating Charley Chase. Did anyone else feel that way? I was looking forward to his shorts, because they were new to me, but once I started DOLLAR DIZZY, I felt less engaged than I had with any of the other performers thus far. Maybe the topic was too dated for me (gold digging females) and the gags too familiar. I did chuckle when Thelma Todd called the house detective and Charley answered the phone, though. I love Laurel and Hardy, and The Music Box never fails to admuse me. I enjoyed seeing it again.
  18. I was so pleased to see Abbott and Costello included in this lineup, because the duo is a childhood favorite of mine. In my opinion, Abbott and Costello seem to me to be on more uneven ground than the Marx Brothers did in the Daily Dose of Doozy #6. And that uneven power dynamic worked well for Aboott and Costello -- with Abbott typically the stronger, more dominant, more bullying, straight man. Costello the more "every man," the underdog, with his expressive face and exaggerated vocalizations. As a kid, I was always pulling for Costello. And their physicality to each other also demonstrates this. Their routines are less exaggerated, to me, than as seen with the Marx brothers, more real in tone. There's still some exaggeration, but it's less overt. This gives their routines a different dynamic than what I've seen in other verbal slapstick routines. There's a less crazy atmosphere, though no less humorous. I do agree with Mr. Gehring's observation regarding their polish and timing -- their routines were perfectly executed. The shooting dice scenes, the crazy math when paying their rent (or not paying their rent) -- there was a wit and a verve that we don't see too much of these days.
  19. For me, the contrast between the crazy set design and the seriousness and determination in Keaton's expressions heightens the visual gag in the clip. As I watch Keaton's clip, I can't help but marvel how he survives these stunts, something that never crosses my mind while watching Chaplin. With Chaplin, he makes the ordinary a constant source of amusement, while Keaton is definitely extraordinary to me. Keaton brings a heightened sense of surreality. I agree with others here, that Keaton has raised the stakes with his brand of slapstick.
  20. That had not occurred to me, but it's an interesting point, and I do agree that it would have been funnier!
  21. For me, this clip captures a key element of comedy, anticipation. I do not know very much about slapstick, but when I think back on old comedy routines, my enjoyment was heightened by my anticipation of the reaction I knew was coming. We see the boy messing with the hose and know that the water will spray all over the gardner, but we still find it amusing when it plays out in front of us. I'm looking forward to learning more about this form of comedy!
  22. I find this to be an impossibly tough question -- tougher than any question found on any quiz or final in our course! I love all of these films (that I have watched so far; I have not yet watched Caged or Brute Force) but for different reasons. But, colt pistol to my head, I'd have to select: The Killers, Dark Passage, Gilda, Beware My Lovely, and Kansas City Confidential. A note about Gilda: prior to this course, even though I had seen the film, I had not given much thought to the use of jazz music in films noir, so that stayed with me. And a final comment, prior to this course, I avoided films with boxers and boxing. That just didn't interest me. But The Set Up changed all that for me. I know it's not a Daily Dose, but that film and Robert Ryan's performance impressed me so much that I wanted to say, if you haven't seen it, you should.
  23. I'm still pecking away at my DVR list! But so far: Born To Kill, The Set Up, Tension, Raw Deal, and No Questions Asked were all films I watched for the first time this summer and consider "new" favorites. Also, this course and TCM have given me a new appreciation for Barry Sullivan. I'd seen his work before (in The Bad and the Beautiful, for instance) but never thought too much of him as an actor. He was great in No Questions Asked! Noir really did allow the actors to shine.
  24. I'm glad this Daily Dose asked us to consider the use of the Salvation Army in this scene. Initially I didn't give it much thought, to be honest. It was a detail that didn't resonate for me. On further consideration, if one views the Salvation Army as a symbol of physical and spiritual relief, it provides a nice contrast to the horror/nightmare that is happening in Robert Ryan's world. It also serves as a reminder of hard economic times, the recessions of a postwar period (both in the time the film is set in, and in the time the film was shot in), and a reminder that Ryan, being a handy man, is dependent on the community for opportunities to earn a living. In this way, Ryan seems to be a very "noir" male character. The mirror, the closeup, the highlight around the victim's face, the high angle shot: all very noir! My favorite part about the opening of this film is that the viewer simply doesn't know, at this stage, whether or not Ryan is a killer. This scene is thick with uncertainty and confusion. By the way, has anyone been listening to Karina Longworth's podcast called You Must Remember This? For Ida Lupino fans, I recommend episode #9: http://www.vidiocy.com/youmustrememberthispodcastblog/the-many-loves-of-howard-hughes-part-2-the-many
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