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About Dubbed

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    Lover of Film Noir, Thrillers (especially Psychological), The Golden Age/Old Hollywood, Independent, Foreign, Independent Foreign Films, & the grandest of the all: Women-Centric Films (by & about women.)

    Favorite Directors: Chantal Akerman. Joel & Ethan Coen. Alfred Hitchcock.

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  • Jon

  1. I would really love for TCM/Ball State/Canvas to highlight female filmmakers (in all areas of making a film.) Female filmmakers are few and far between, especially when lending direct focus to screenwriters and directors.
  2. I love this idea of modern filmmakers converging with Hitchcock. The first writers that come to mind are Joel and Ethan Coen. They both possess a sense of the Hitchcockian flair within their filmmaking style. The Coen Brothers capture suspense by crafting​ their narratives with elemental effects conveying a sense of danger and urgency (No Country for Old Men.) As for a musician/film scorer, I would knight the supremely talented Mica Levi for this position. Her artistry is utterly incomparable. Mica captures the mood of a film so perfectly it's as though she rewrites its script via musical composition (Under the Skin and Jackie.) Finally, Thelma Schoonmaker would be an absolutely wonderful choice for editor (that being if Hitchcock could tear her away from Scorsese- I believe he would fight so hard to keep her!) Schoonmaker is such a gifted storyteller, making concise edits, strengthening​ a narrative to its very core. She brings a certain touch of her very own to a film and her collaborative efforts alone, I feel, lend aid to Martin Scorsese being the auteur he is known to be.
  3. Newly released 2017 film in the Hitchcockian vein- Lady Macbeth written by Alice Birch, directed by William Oldroyd.
  4. With his critical and commercial successes, and having a lastingly, profound cultural impact, do you believe Hitchcock is the most influential filmmaker of the 20th Century? Of all time?
  5. The Lodger’s opening depicts a woman who is affright, a signature example of German Expressionism utilized by Hitchcock in his early filmmaking days. This film also drops the audience with immediacy into the plot; we have a criminal act, a witness and now an active investigation. Frenzy eases us into its narrative with a lengthy opening, topping three minutes plus, before there is any discovery of a crime. Hitchcock likely began with the ease in effect due to this film’s obscenely depictions of violence (rape and murder.) It's as though he was merciful to his audience, which he did not afford to his female characters. The opening shot of Frenzy is classic Hitchcock. The lingering camera’s tracking shot of London is reminiscent of the opening shots of both Phoenix in Psycho, and Jefferies’ courtyard in Rear Window. Hitchcock is quick in establishing​ the settings of his artistic narratives allowing the camera to capture imagery conveying information with words (at times) left unspoken. Hitchcock, I believe, connects his films intentionally. They are all interwoven by his signature style, his artistic touch. Hitchcock’s conscious efforts of denoting his storytelling in ways of intricacy and attention to detail exhibit an artist true to his work. This, along with his natural genius, are staple examples as to why and how Hitchcock is, was, and always will be not only The Master of Suspense, but A Master of the artistic medium of filmmaking.
  6. Marnie is a character of many characters. This opening scene indicates multiple identities accompanying an endless amount of secrets. Hitchcock lends direct focus to Marnie packing two suitcases with each having stark and blatant contrasts as to the origin and organization of their contents. These two suitcases are obvious representations​ of differing identities. Marnie is readily decisive with her choosing amongst the two suitcases, which exhibits a possible plan of escape. After thumbing through a litany of identification cards, she settles on one, and exits the hotel with a suitcase in each hand. Marnie then elects to stowaway a suitcase of identity she did not seek to assume. Hitchcock​ displays Marnie only through images within this opening scene. His revealing of such information conjures up varying thoughts as to who Marnie really is. Is this woman really Marnie? Or is Marnie simply her favorite of all her identities? The most telling of her decisions in the selection of her identities is the drastic changing of her hair color; black to blonde. Herrmann’s score sounds as though it's the same composition used in different keys and tones. This conveys the sameness yet differentiation of Marnie and her identities; she's physically the same woman, but assumes different personas. Hitchcock utilizes Herrmann's score to the utmost effect when focusing on the two suitcases, as the musical piece rises and falls in its intensity and volume. At the score’s peak, Marnie is officially revealed as a blonde woman now free from a facade. Hitchcock's coupling of this musical intensity with how Marnie is revealed nearly plays as a light-hearted narrative with romantic elements. Hitchcock emerges from a hotel room just down the hallway from Marnie. Upon his exit, his eyes make direct contact with the camera as though he's looked directly at the audience. I don't recall Hitchcock ever looking at the camera, which is a deviation from his typical cameo. This could potentially​ signify a request from the audience. Hitchcock has looked into the camera, so we need to look into Marnie as a character. We need take a head dive into who she is as he peels back the depths and layers of such a persona.
  7. The opening scene of The Birds is centric to the encounter of Melanie and Mitch. The scene was undoubtedly designed specifically for their accidental meeting. Upon first glance, Melanie takes an interest to Mitch, and pretends to be knowledgeable about all sorts of species of birds, of which she clearly is not. This type of encounter is a classic romantic comedy element, as we witness a fumbling character attempting to impress their romantic interest. Melanie is an interesting character in The Birds, as she seems to be in the typical male role of pursuing a romantic interest. It's as though the “boy meets girl” concept has been reversed. Melanie sees Mitch, finds him appealing, and is proactive about what she wants. She's a take charge kind of woman, and I love this trait about her character. Mitch appears to be a professional of some sort and is an evident family man. His interest in buying lovebirds for his younger sister signifies a close relationship with his family. As for his interaction with Melanie, I believe he was playing along, knowing she had zero knowledge of birds. This could even indicate an interest he might have in her as well. The sounds of the birds nearly render the dialogue as insignificant, as their vocals​ have a towering presence in this sequence creating an ominous mood. Hitchcock's​ utilization of the birds’ calls is a foretelling of the horrific events to come. Every individual call vocalized builds the film’s intensification, setting the atmosphere, mood, and tone, all signifying the narrative’s outcome. Hitchcock's cameo consists of he and his two small dogs exiting the pet shop Melanie enters. Hitchcock appears to have somewhat of a hurried pace, which could possibly indicate his desire to leave the seaside town. This intricate, seemingly minute detail likely crafts a foreshadowing effect of looming danger and it's evident everyone needs to take notice following his lead.
  8. Saul Bass’ direct and intended manipulative distortions of the letter graphics is implicit in the distortions of one's mind. Black and white is a ferocity of contrast, a blatant notion indicative of good vs. evil. His use of a black background with white lettering exhibits darkness​ being emboldened by light. It's a permissory, illusive effect with light casting a blindingly​ overshadowing cloud of anything ominous, teetering on nullification, as we seemingly possess an intrinsic inclination to (at least) want to see the good in people, an allotment of a benefit of the doubt. As noted within the lecture video, Herrmann’s entire score is conducted solely with strings, and this opening piece is specifically concluded with heightened pitches, achieving shrill sounds, an indication of shrieks/screams. The hurriedly, intensive pacing of the musical structure crafts a nefariously foreboding effect of a very pursuant Death gaining and gaining on Marion Crane- she is living on borrowed time. Hitchcock's specifications of location, date and time are a foretelling of a fateful Marion Crane. He's literally establishing her whereabouts, leaving a trail (or in following with the birdlike themes within Psycho)- breadcrumbs for the film's investigators. It’s a setup, and Hitchcock is planting intricate clues within our minds, of with which we don't yet know what to do, as we're unsuspecting of such an act (Marion's murder) to occur to a major film star. Hitchcock allows his camera to stealthily drop us in on an extremely intimate moment amongst Marion and her lover, Sam. This type of introduction is in equal step with the couple sneaking away to a hotel room for what's implied to be a sordid affair. Psycho gives a reminder of the opening of Rear Window. The camera panning the city until it reaches its main subject, finding Marion Crane, and making her centric to the plot. Rear Window has a similar introduction to its center most plot point as the camera lingers on Jefferies neighbors’ apartments across the courtyard. A large indicator on establishing Marion Crane as a main character is her dialogue (to Sam) “you come down here on business trips and we steal lunch hours.” Sam clearly comes to her, which signifies her centricity to the narrative. Marion also is rather assertive with her wants/needs telling Sam this is the “last time” she's to be with him in a hotel. This type of dialogue is revealing of one's character, exhibiting their desires, which are written distinctly for main characters more so than any secondary figures. I seek to conclude my analysis with why I love films being shot in black and white- Photographing a film in black and white creates a certain mood. An evident and defining example is direct comparison in between Psycho 1960 and the shot by shot remake released a subsequent 38 years later (although Psycho 1960 and Hitchcock are both undoubtedly incomparable.) However, for argument's sake, Psycho 1998 did not exhibit the unsettling atmosphere, as the good (white) vs. evil (black) was not a stark contrast within the implicit coloring. Black and white always play off of one another, but they are also comrades, great chums, in the filmmaking process. Black and white are fraternal twins, nurtured alongside one another developing a symbiotic yet contrasted relationship walking the divisive and thinly veiled line of love/hate. However, there is a reliance on their entangled, swirling, love/hate relationship that displays a magnitude of significance when telling a story. And this alone creates an even broader, lusher appeal. Black and white can give certain simplistic complexities within its revelations, specifically, the soul of the film and its characters. The simplicities lie within the mere fact that we witness a soulful emergence; complexities require a peeling off the layers, deeply rooted within a character's/film's very being. We must observe with a keen eye in understanding the film's message and the characters' personalities. And how appropriate of Psycho, a film with such a subject, to be photographed in the contrasting colors reflecting the innermost workings of one's psyche, as the coalescence of such collaborative artistry mark the makings of such a masterful cinematic work.
  9. Upon my first viewing of North by Northwest, this specific scene lingered within my mind. Cary Grant’s use of sunglasses for roughly a third of the scene makes him appear famous, as though he's someone to be noticed. He does not resemble Roger Thornhill, a character in a film, he resembles Cary Grant, the movie star. Eva Marie Saint’s interaction with Grant is heavily flirtatious, and he is readily receptive. Their exchange feels natural in a sense of their knowing how to navigate that kind of attention, which Hollywood stars are accustomed to having lobbed at them very often. The matchbook is directly utilized in crafting a scenario to involve skin to skin contact amongst Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint after very suggestive dialogue. Characters often times light cigarettes after a love scene within a film. Here, the verbal entanglement of Grant and Saint is designed as their love scene (to a certain degree), therefore, striking a match and having a smoke is the only way to finish such an encounter. The musical​ tone is of a light-hearted romantic feel, as it hints at a potential budding romance in between the two characters. The music helps set the atmosphere, but it doesn't overshadow the more important verbal exchange. The sounds of the train traveling across its tracks specifically​ anchors the journey of Grant's character, as we can both hear and see that he's in motion with his attempts to free himself from the accusations. Hitchcock allows the sound design to be secondary, which helps craft the realness of this scene. We aren't overwhelmed and engulfed by anything that would take attention away from the very playfully flirtatious conversation in between the two leads, and the sheer inventiveness of North by Northwest is another great entry into Hitchcock's oeuvre.
  10. Vertigo's opening credits crafted accordingly by Saul Bass and Bernard Herrmann convey a venture into the innermost unknown parts of the mind, a steep head dive into the profound realms of the subconscious. Bass’ visual creations are artfully dizzying, reminiscent of experiencing actual vertigo. The intensifying effects of Bernard Herrmann's score convey a sense of foreshadowing dread. Bass and Herrmann’s works congeal with such illusionary effect, Vertigo's opening becomes hypnotic, easily a means of entrancement. An extreme close-up of the widened eye illuminated via a red camera filter is not only unsettling but starkly jolting. Widening of one's eyes are often indicative of shock, signifying a state of distress which undeniably weighs on one's psyche. This is purely psychological. Hitchcock takes us into the mind of Scottie, the main character, having arguably crafted a subconscious POV shot. A woman centric to the opening of Vertigo paints Kim Novak's character as an enchantress. Incorporating a lone human figure into the mix of visual and aural effects which are intended purposely for psychological disruption, heighten the symbolism of the female figure. One can render an assertion of Scottie’s demise under the casting of such a spell. There are no other appropriate collaborators for such a constructed theme on this particular Hitchcock film. Capturing and thus conveying an intended atmosphere, tone and mood of a film and all within a very limited frame of time is to be laid at the feet of a mere few. And those few; Hitchcock, Herrmann, and Bass used their own artistic sorcery creating an enthralling, unnerving, never before seen (at the time) psychologically penetrating cinematic opening for the ages.
  11. Hitchcock drops us immediately into the world of L.B. Jefferies. We're introduced to the central most point of the narrative, that being the stories taking place across the courtyard. Although lacking the intended centricity of the film (Thorwald himself and his apartment), Hitchcock exhibits an extended POV shot from Jefferies’ residence, as this one room will be where we, the audience, embark upon the voyeuristic journey with Jefferies. Hitchcock allows his camera to move in a continuous fashion, and we are given clear details pertaining to Jeff, his occupation, and his current situation. Jeff is bound to a wheelchair due to a broken leg, as he was likely involved in an accident. The camera reveals this information in its transitioning from his leg in a cast, to a smashed camera, to photos aligning a wall exhibiting a wreck on a motor speedway. The continuing shot furthers the narrative displaying Jeff's photojournalistic work of varying subjects within framed photos and magazine covers. Rear Window is blatant voyeurism within its nature. The film is undoubtedly crafted from Jeff’s point of view, as Hitchcock produces those ever famous POV shots a la subjectivity. However, we also are the peeping toms of Jeff's life. We witness the woes of his relationship with Lisa, the verbal sarcastic dances with his nurse, Stella, and all other intimate details pertaining to his life. Regrading evoked feelings, this film does bring out the voyeur in each of us. Rear Window is a self reflective type of picture, as Hitchcock (I believe) purposely intended to create an introspection within us all. Voyeurism​ is never an ideal trait within one's character, as peeping tom spectatorships are undeniably illegal. Admittedly, although Rear Window is a favorite film of mine, I cringe as the camera shows Miss Torso bending over and putting on her bra. This specifically, along with other shots of her, are reminiscent of a stalker/predator’s watchful eye pinpointing an opportunistic time to attack. Rear Window is absolutely Hitchcock’s most cinematic work. The set in and of itself is massive in scale, which is a very telling aspect of the film. The realistic and intricate details of the apartments were crafted specifically for this cinematic effect. Hitchcock is transparent with his pedanticism, especially in the case of Rear Window, as he created a world from one, lone set with the minute details engulfing​ us as an audience as though we are living as L.B. Jefferies himself.
  12. The opening of Strangers on a Train is hands down one of the absolute greatest introductions a visual storyteller has ever produced. I love, love, love this opening sequence! Hitchcock masterfully connects both Guy and Bruno by directly exhibiting their differences via a ping pong to and from effect. He bounces the characters off of one another, while simultaneously tying them together crafting a sameness with such stark contrasts amongst the two. The intricately interwoven aspects of Guy and Bruno are reflective of a possible divergence in one's own character, as Hitchcock readily displays in highlighting tracks of the train. This is indicative of no path in life being a course of stringency, forks in the road(s) will weave us in directions we could never begin to fathom. An indicator of character is one's choice of clothing. How one dresses is a form of self expression, a way of revealing oneself to the world. Hitchcock's​ main focus is two sets of men’s shoes; a black pair (Guy) and a dual colored pair of black and white (Bruno.) The shoes seem to signify Guy as a straight ​shooter, a kind of person who's walked a straight line his entire life. Bruno, on the other hand, is more of a person to examine, he's to be watched. There is a sense of unease in the duality of how he's presented, as though there is more to him than meets the eye. Bruno's shoes have always piqued my interest due to the blatant contrasts of white and black dressing the same shoe- white/light conveys purity/innocence and black/darkness signifies danger/guilt. This poses numerous questions, the most important one lingering on the mind- will we ever know Bruno to the fullest extent? Tiomkin’s score begins light and airy, reminiscent of a possible comedic narrative. This musical tone remains constant until the frame centers on those two pairs of shoes. Tiomkin then hurries the music’s pace nearing a crescendo as Hitchcock implements his to and from cutting technique. Here, the music seems to take on a darker tone foreshadowing future events binding both Guy and Bruno forever. The opening sequence of Strangers on a Train involves multiple aspects of filmmaking, and all congeal perfectly. Hitchcock finds an unrelenting rhythm as he balances the ever effective similarities of contrasts. He hits a cleverly timed pace with the editing, all the while relying on visuals alone. Moving images with words left unspoken are often times more powerful than any dialogue written for a scene. And with the Master of Suspense at the helm, we know the images produced will be unforgettable in every sense imaginable.
  13. As mentioned in the lecture video, we are graced by the ever effective POV shot from Hitchcock. This camera work is a signature of the classic Hitchcock directorial style. He places the audience in Alicia's positioned state in the wearings off of inebriation. What's both technically interesting and intelligently crafted is the timed length of the shot and movement of the camera. Hitchcock doesn't just cut to a quick POV, utilizing a to and from type of exchange amongst Alicia and Devlin. He allows the camera to linger as Alicia and then moves it in the direction in which she moves her head. The result of this clever approach is an unbalanced, near room spinning, semi drunken effect via character point of view. Within this scene, Hitchcock exhibits Devlin nearly obscured in shadow, conveying a sense of suspicion, possibly even blatant danger as he walks toward, eventually looming over, a recovering hungover Alicia. After establishing Devlin as a non immediate threat, Hitchcock frames both Alicia and Devlin in many medium close up shots, which are suggestive of a potential burgeoning interpersonal relationship. In terms of character contrasts, Hitchcock implements a difference of appearance and natural composure. Alicia is rather disheveled, a near total mess from the night before; tangled hair, slurred speech, still wearing the party dress as she lies in bed nursing her hangover. Devlin is Alicia's stark opposite. Dressed in a suit, he is composed, professional. Devlin has been delegated a task via his boss (to recruit Alicia as a spy), which seems to be a rather unlikely coupling for a team of spies. I am in total adoration of Cary Grant. He is undeniably one of the finest performers to ever work within the artistic medium of acting. Grant is a versatile talent, embodying a varying range in his acting skills. Ingrid Bergman is Grant’s counterpart, his absolute equal in both talent and profession. I'm not well versed in Bergman's life or career, however, when on screen, she is a scene stealer, a captivating performer who wins an audience via skill and charm. Therefore, the casting of Bergman and Grant in Notorious is the summation of perfect casting for a film. Notorious, I believe, is a non-conventional role for Grant, and likely Bergman too. Grant is often times the charming male lead, the handsome hero. His character in Notorious seems a bit grittier, a not so innocent (on the surface) type of leading man. Here, the same applies to Bergman as well. I get the impression Bergman could likely have been relegated to certain types of leading female roles. Notorious removes her from that box, as Alicia is not your seemingly standard female character. She's definitely flawed, three dimensional, a full character not awaiting Devlin's return from a job. She accompanies him, embarking on the the difficult and dangerous journey of being a spy. Perhaps it was the Studio System during The Golden Age (contracts, managers, agents, etc) or perhaps it was the keeping of an image, but while Grant and Bergman are undoubtedly two of the greatest screen actors, one can usually seem to connect them to a certain kind of character. However, in Notorious, the two broke the mold revealing their range, skill set, cementing their legacy in Hollywood as two of the greatest actors to ever grace the silver screen.
  14. A signature Hitchcock touch in this opening scene is clearly attention to detail. The bedroom of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is an intricately crafted mess. Articles of clothing are strewn about, dishes crowd the floor leaving an impossible amount of room for a pathway, and the married couple appear to have remained in their pajamas for days on end. Hitchcock pedantically conveys his message in lacking of marital bliss very overtly through a simplistic mechanism of an unkept room. I can maintain a firm stance in agreeance with stating this opening sequence feels like Hitchcock. It's evident there is a stark contrast in subject matter (in comparison to his other films), therefore the tone of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is vastly different. However, Hitchcock retains his effectual artistry via camera movement and his attentiveness to great detail. He allows the camera to explore the current state of Mr. and Mrs. Smith's world before we are ever introduced to either character. (In exhibiting their bedroom, Hitchcock actually gives direct insight into the married couple themselves.) Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with Carole Lombard or Robert Montgomery, as their work has escaped me for too many years. But, Hitchcock does give a good introduction to these two actors, and although, not spending a large amount of time interacting with one another within this sequence, they seem to possess the type of chemistry needed to successfully execute a screwball comedy. Nonetheless, I'm fully convinced Hitchcock and company created another healthy entry into the world of cinematic storytelling.
  15. The opening of Shadow of a Doubt signifies a foretelling of ominous events. We are introduced to a character called Charlie. He’s relaxed, lying on a bed, cigar in hand, possessing zero concern regarding a rather large sum of money sprinkled about the nightstand and floor. Charlie appears to be in rumination, his eyes fixated in a forward direction. Nonetheless, we have been dropped into the narrative of an interesting character who is a wanted man with a shady past. Charlie is swiftly informed of two men, possibly authorities, awaiting his “return.” Maintaining composure, he suggests he will meet the men willingly, but angers quickly upon the woman's exit. Shadow of a Doubt’s opening plays directly off of shadow and light. Shadowy figures often dance about in a film noir, lurking around corners and obscuring villains from detection. While The Killers shrouds the Swede in darkness only to reveal his face just before he's murdered (indicating his guilt), Shadow of a Doubt places Charlie in the shadows just before he makes his escape. Darkness befriends the guilty in a film noir, a necessary, close companion of those fleeing from any sort of sleuth. Charlie has an incredible character transition perfectly matching a shift in the musical tone. As he sits up from a lying position, we can briefly hear a very low resonance, indicative of a growl, within the orchestrated track. It's a literal mounting occurrence of anger within Charlie as he slams a glass into the floor. Dimitri Tiomkin heightened his score here as a crescendo, aligning the music with Charlie's madness and the two clash together intensifying the pinnacle of both musical score and theatrics. This particular scene is revelatory as we witness the making of the narrative's villain. The blinds are drawn, darkness overtakes the room, and alas the true character of Charlie shrouded in darkness is revealed.
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