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DLaws

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Everything posted by DLaws

  1. I remember it well; as a matter of fact, that TV show actually introduced me to Hitchcock when I was a kid. I loved his studio cut-ins. I thought they were entertaining and clever. And since they air on MeTV here in metro Detroit, I watch them every night! Thanks for mentioning this.
  2. This is something my Gen X daughter (yes, she loves Hitchcock, and classic films in general. She has good taste!) and I do often - and actually had begun thinking along these lines a couple of weeks ago! Following are my thoughts about current Hitchcock collaborators: Writers: J.J. Abrams, Katherine Bigelow, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola, David Fincher, Paul Haggis, Spike Lee, Sergio Leone, George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, Stephen King, Sam Raimi, Martin Scorsese, Aaron Sorkin Composers: Hans Zimmer, Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, James Horner Actors:
  3. Some on my list already have been mentioned, but definitely worth revisiting, in my opinion: The Stranger - D. Orson Welles. Main character, a Nazi disguised as college professor Dr. Charles Rankin, has a fixation about clocks and is allegedly attempting to repair the big clock in the public square. There are aerial views associated with this element (you have to climb a ladder to reach it); also key overhead shot in the gym, when "Dr. Rankin" attempts to kill Nazi hunter Edward G. Robinson. The clock ends up being (SPOILER ALERT) the source and scene of the criminal's demise. Setting is a
  4. I recognized Charles McGraw in The Birds myself, and as someone who took Dr. Edwards' film noir class and is a FN fan, his appearance stood out. By the way, McGraw was known for portraying similar characters in westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wagon Train, Destry (the TV series, of which Psycho's John Gavin was the star), Laramie, The Deputy, etc.) too, which - in my mind, anyway - are the films noir covering that particular period in history. There are quite a few parallels (harsh realities of life following a war, the grittiness of traveling west and/or settling down in the west (or perhaps not
  5. As I recall, a friend of mine and I went to see Frenzy knowing very little about the plot; we were inspired to see it because it was a new film by Hitchcock, and we are both fans. I see it as a good, solid film, despite the graphic rape/murder scene which was extremely disturbing to both of us (this is what I think of when this film is mentioned), and unexpected - especially the shot in which the woman's body is found. This was a departure from earlier Hitchcock films that always seemed to have the element of sex/sexual repression in them, but weren't graphic. The sexual aspect typically unfol
  6. Wow - lots of parallels between Marnie and Psycho - except that Marnie herself is a more complicated individual with more layers to her personality than Marion Crane (although there is some duplicity regarding identities for Marion which helped her expedite the theft). She assumes different identities in a calculated manner and is a thief with the bundles of money she packs in her "other" suitcase to prove it (Marion also stole money, but ironically is killed before she can make use of it; the money theme also surfaces in the opening sequence of Shadow of a Doubt and involves different sides t
  7. Just as I felt when I first saw The Birds several years ago, it seemed lighthearted, with droplets of humor, such as the wolf-whistling boy, Melanie's appreciative response and her playful attitude with Mitch as she pretends to be a pet shop employee, plus Hitchcock's signature cameo with his two little dogs (the issue of doubles, which is a Hitchcock characteristic). It seemed to be an obvious set up for Mitch, who's seeking lovebirds (also another example of doubles) for his sister - not his wife or girlfriend - therefore suggesting the field is open for a relationship with Melanie) and Mela
  8. My heart still is racing after seeing this opening - one which,like many of us, I've seen many times - due primarily to the perfect marriage of music and graphics (kudos again to Saul Bass and Bernard Hermann). It evokes a feeling of forboding, but at a rapid pace which is both frightening and exciting - and enticing - all at the same time. The lines also suggest prison bars, i.e. being held captive that in this case, it isn't only due to a criminal act that is about to be committed, but also due to the feeling of being held captive (willingly!), as an observer. As with other Hitchcock films,
  9. I love this movie - one of Hitchcock's best, of course - and this is one of my favorite scenes from it. This is a consummate spy thriller, without question, but the sexual tension between the two lead characters is palpable with both being and doing what we expect (despite Eva Marie Saint's method acting background) and, quite frankly, I'm able to identify the flirtation that ensues before either of them says a word. It advances the plot: Cary Grant is suave, smooth and handsome and later on proves himself quite capable, like James Bond - which he always is; and Eva Marie Saint effortlessly an
  10. It has been many years since seeing Vertigo, but the opening sequence brought some memories sweepingly back to the present. I recall being impressed then, as now, with Saul Bass' creativity as it set the tone for this very involved, convoluted and suspenseful film. The sounds and images suggest something psychological, with the woman's eyes - which I consider the most powerful image in the sequence - positively riveting. As a viewer, you can't stop watching them. Seeing her eyes move and the gaze shift give me the impression that she is someone being analyzed - or perhaps hypnotized - and th
  11. Let me begin by saying that Rear Window is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. I'm lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where there is a fully restored 1928 movie theatre that shows classic films as they were first enjoyed - on the big screen (Concessions are the cheapest in town, too!). Having said all that, I've had the thrill of seeing Rear Window in this venue many times, as well as owning my own copies on VHS and DVD and I must say that the opening camera shot never fails to pull me right into L.B. Jeffries' world. Jeff's back is to the window, but this is a shot that establishes his ra
  12. The opening scene to Strangers on a Train is ripe with criss-cross imagery, some obvious, others not so much, but they are definitely there. The crossing of the train tracks, then splitting, and crossing again - which in and of itself is riveting - draws the filmgoer into the action, which mounts with the shifting/crossing of the scenes of the two men exiting their taxis. As one walks into the station to his seat, you also see a man and a woman with their legs crossed; in opposition, you see another pair of passengers seated with their knees together. Both men sit down and cross their legs, wi
  13. Hitchcock truly pulls out all of the stops with Notorious. The imaginative, daring camera angles that depict Alicia's drugged fogginess as she fixes her eyes on the elegant image of Devlin/Cary Grant (this was truly a masterstroke, reminiscent of the shot of Ivor Novello in Downhill); the intimate ECUs of Devlin and Alicia that essentially block out anything else in the shot; the breathtaking overhead shot that slowly, steadily moves in to focus on the key clenched in Alicia's hand; the wonderful costumes by Edith Head, one of my favorite designers (and Hitchcock's apparently), who clothed the
  14. This is a fun, lighthearted movie that I saw many years ago before realizing (I didn't pay attention to the opening credits back then!) it was indeed Hitchcock's work. Nonetheless, the opening sequence bears the Hitchcock touch - panoramic view of the messy bedroom, Mr. Smith's hands playing cards, his unshaven face and Mrs. Smith's tousled hair and drowsy eyes which all together set the tone for this romantic, comedic romp. There is Hitchcock's trademark attention to detail (the silkiness of the bed sheets, her slip style nightgown and his pajamas; the elegant decor that is warm, but isn't ov
  15. As someone who is a Joseph Cotten fan and until seeing Shadow of a Doubt, someone who is accustomed to seeing him portray more honorable, principled characters, I cite the realization that this "Mr. Spencer," as he's known to the landlady (whom I recognize as Dr. Brulov's housekeeper in Spellbound) is sinister, unscrupulous, wanted by police and rather brazen (as he mentions to the landlady, he actually does come out to "meet them," nearly brushing the shoulder of one of them). He does this despite the fact that he believes "they've got nothing on" him. He appears to be a well-heeled gentleman
  16. "Rebecca" is one of my favorite Hitchcock films, perhaps due to the slower, pensive pace not just of the opening, but throughout the film, which sets it apart from Hitchcock's earlier work. You have the narration which sets the tone in large part, but you also have the chance to become familiar with Manderley yourself, through the POV of the speaker. It is not a fast moving film - despite the fact that Mrs. Van Hopper admonishes the soon-to-be second Mrs. deWinter that she "gives her credit for [being] a fast worker" in gaining Maxim's affections! (Still waters DO run deep) This approach, alt
  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. Without question, the tone is lighthearted, fun - and funny, especially due to the hotel desk clerk's reaction to the croweded lobby and the comments by Caldicott and Charters who can only seem to focus on cricket! The delightful folk tune is the element that grabs the filmgoer's attention initially - very unlike previous Hitchcock films in which a mood of foreboding is the
  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? This opening fits the Hitchcockian style in the sense that something compelling is happening visually to draw the audience into the story (the scroll of bright lights spelling out Music Hall, similar to the opening for The Pleasure Garden) and the location is public place that is not necessarily associated with anything sinister or life threatening. This deviates from the equally compelling opening of The Lo
  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? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet) Since I have seen neither version of this film, I would say that it will be character driven; and that the characters' interaction with each other will essentially advance the plot. 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? Despite Abbott's good natured an
  20. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. The most obvious use of sound design in this case is hearing the word "knife" repeated in the dialog. It has been established that Alice is deeply disturbed by this particular murder and given her own experience, she's frightened to the core - all of which is expressed visually. In Alice's mind, though, it's as if the murder is all anyone can talk about, including the sometimes darkly humorous prattle of the female shopper/neighbor. All of her dialog, and of others --
  21. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? As is usual with POV dolly and tracking shots, it squarely puts me in the character's position; I experience that individual's feelings at that time. I find that I cannot be a casual observer when Hitchcock uses these techniques. This is particularly effective in silent films. Sound really isn't necessary to make these points. 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? I think he uses this techniq
  22. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? It's a case of using the frenzy of dancing, music, drinking and a distortion of those images that puts the audience inside the boxer's mind, i.e. you know he's worried about the state of his marriage, and that the possibility of his wife's infidelity (with his opponent/reigning champ, no less!) will be the impetus for him in the boxing ring (he's fighting for her). 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
  23. I did, as well. The elements you mention are precisely the reasons that Hitchcock's silent films work so well, and set the tone for his later works. Dialogue isn't necessary given the visual techniques employed. The CU shot of the woman screaming in The Lodger grabbed my attention immediately, and drew me into the action. I am thoroughly intrigued -- and can't wait for more!
  24. -- How does this opening sequence establish Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe? What do we learn about Marlowe in these first few moments of the film? -- Do you see a difference in Bogart's portrayal of Marlowe compared to his performance as Spade in The Maltese Falcon? -- In what ways can the opening of The Big Sleep be considered an important contribution to the film noir style? This is classic, definitive Bogart in one of his best and in my opinion, most compelling roles. The Big Sleep wastes no time with preambles or setups - the viewer is thrust right into the action; nothing o
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