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Everything posted by DrNickatNite

  1. Hitch did some really good work on the television series "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour." This topic is a place to discuss, share favorites, etc. To get us started, note that there were 17 episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” directed by Hitchcock: 1. Revenge (02/Oct/1955) — *1.1 (*Season.Episode) 2. Breakdown (13/Nov/1955) — 1.5 3. The Case of Mr. Pelham (04/Dec/1955) — 1.10 4. Back for Christmas (04/Mar/1956) — 1.23 5. Wet Saturday (30/Sep/1956) — 2.1 6. Mr. Blanchard's Secret (23/Dec/1956) — 2.13 7. One More Mile to Go
  2. 1. How does the opening of Frenzy differ from the opening of The Lodger? Feel free to rewatch the clip from The Lodger (Daily Dose #2) for comparison. a. The opening music and aerial shot puts one in mind of a travelogue, but while we can see St. Paul’s and Parliament in the distance, we are taken through the gritty, dirty, polluted side of the Thames south of Tower Bridge with industrial wharfs and canneries, etc. The speaker augments this vision with his explanation that the pollution is going to be taken care of and everything will be cleaned up. (This situates us in the kairos of
  3. Based on the opening sequence alone, what do you feel you already know about Marnie as a character? In what ways does Hitchcock visually reveal her character through her interaction with objects. Marnie is a con artist who changes identities with regularity to cover her criminal tracks. We see little of the Black-haired Marnie – but the “new model” is celebrated with choreographed technicolor. (And isn’t Tippi Hedren also changing from The Birds’ Marion to Marnie’s Margaret?) How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The music evokes a transformation from som
  4. 1. In what ways does this opening scene seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy than a “horror of the apocalypse” film? What do we learn about Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) in this scene? a. The movie begins with a light, comedic mood set by the humorous gesticulations of the shopkeeper, and the flirty banter of Melanie and Mitch, who show themselves to be urbane, fun-loving players in a romantic sketch. 2. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere?
  5. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigo and North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? The mixture of the tight, fevered score with the slicing graphics gives the sense of tightness, tension, anxiousness, jitteriness, even frenzied action. As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona, and a very specific day, date, and time: “FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH” and “TWO FORTY-THREE P.M.” What is Hitchcock seeking to est
  6. 1) Even at the level of the dialogue, this film is playing with the idea that two Hollywood stars are flirting with each other (e.g. the line, "I look vaguely familiar.") How does our pre-existing knowledge of these stars function to create meaning in this scene. a) We are comfortable with these faces (“it’s a nice face”) – and that is what Hitchcock wants from his stars: the ability of the audience to connect emotionally. 2) There is minimal action in this scene, so any deviation from the overall pattern of focusing on the faces of the two leads will have increased significa
  7. 1) Describe what you think this film will be about simply from the sounds and images in these opening credits. Even if you have seen the film, try to focus on these sounds and images themselves and “the story” (or if not "the story," the mood and atmosphere they are establishing) that this sequence is communicating to the audience. a) The abstract images and evocative musical score call to mind: Falling, Mental Illness, Uneasiness, Tension, Mystery. At first blush, I would assume the film is about someone dealing with mental illness. 2) In your own estimation, what is the single mo
  8. 1. & 3. How would you describe the opening camera shot of this film? What is Hitchcock seeking to establish in this single shot that opens the film? Whose vantage point is being expressed in this shot, given that Jeff has his back to the window? Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? a. The POV in Rear Window is always that of a close co-conspirator with Jeff. Since we are also “watchers” like him, his n
  9. 1. In how many ways does Hitchcock play with or visually manifest the metaphor of “criss cross” or “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence. [For those who haven’t seen the film yet, the idea of “criss cross” is central idea in this film, a theme Hitch sets up from the opening frames of this film] Be specific. 2. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example. a. The criss-cross and the contrasts wo
  10. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie?​Close-ups zooming into the faces of the characters to provide an extra layer of information, using the “ordinary girl” who finds herself in an extraordinary situation, and the disorienting camera angles are all obvious Hitchcock touches. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene? What are some of the contrasts that Hitchcock trying to set up between these two characters through art direction, costume, and cinematography?Bergman’s character is in emotional turmoil; disheveled an
  11. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this opening sequence? Moreover, what do we learn about or know about the couple through the scene's visual design: the props, the set design or dressing, the decor, the camera angles, the lighting, etc? a. It appears they live in the lap of opulent decadence beyond the wildest dreams of avarice. (Not exactly the “ordinary man” of the thrillers, huh?) The focus of the cameras on the facial expressions as they react to off-screen cues is very Hitcockian. Hitchcockesque. Ish? 2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: th
  12. Sorry - a day late due to travel: 1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. 2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you of a film noir, what makes the opening here different from the opening of a noir film like Siodmak's The Killers? a. Even before reading the notes for this film – I had immediate Déjà vu of the Swede in The Killers. In the beginning of both films, it seems that we have walked in on t
  13. 1. Describe how this opening is different from the multiple opening scenes you have seen in the Daily Doses from the British silent and/or sound period? The setting is far from pedestrian and commonplace (as we have seen in the British period films) – it is the shell of a great remote mansion (albeit in ruins.) 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Hitchcock touches include the POV dolly shot and close shots of Maxim’s face to visually convey information when the narration stops. 3. How does thi
  14. 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. The opening is comedic with light, whimsical music and humorous interactions between the travelers and each other, the travelers and the wind, the hotelier and the noisy environment, etc. Touches like the unusually loud cuckoo clock and the correction of the pronunciation of “ava-lawnsh” lend to the humorous texture. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in
  15. 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? Surely I’m not the only one that thought of “Golden Curls To-Night?” 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 – IF you mean innocent as in “innocent bystander” – i.e. the common man in an ordinary place, giving the sense that this could happen to any
  16. 1. Based on this opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? a. While a “plot” is hinted at in Lorre’s glance of recognition, the characters are center stage in this first scene – the odd character of Lorre, and the “spoiled” character of the girl. 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? a. He is “foreign” – e.g. he doesn’t understand English idioms. And… He has a nurse. Is he ill? In bad health? (
  17. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. As the visitor/customer natters away, all she can hear is the word “knife” punctuating the rambling monologue. 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 juxtaposition of Alice’s quiet cont
  18. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? When the filmmaker shifts to a 2nd person (i.e. “YOU”) POV in the story-telling for a bit, we lose the detached distance of the 3rd person POV – and this is illustrated by taking us from the long, faraway shot of the headmaster’s desk to a closer and closer encounter with the authority figure, each step putting us more firmly in a subject position to the powers
  19. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? Our group has posted so many good responses to this – but the chief impression for me is the PACING. We “pick up speed” after the dancers collapse and wet their whistles with refreshing libations… and then, hit the dance floor again and spin out of control. 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 t
  20. Slightly off the topic of the Golden Curls clip: INFLUENCES Though I hadn't previously thought about it, I can easily detect the influence of Eisenstein and the Russian Collage Theory - with Hitchcock's use of "the cut" as a compositional tool. (E.g. the scene in The Lodger where the gawkers are "looking" at the victim's body - but they are never shown together in frame.) And I was only familiar with Murnau's Nosferatu, so I though, "Yeah, the macabre, the shadows, the ominous, etc..." but then I saw The Last Laugh! You gotta watch like the first couple minutes or so of Murnau's L
  21. 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? As noted by other commenters - the striking difference is the stark, dark, harsh "opening with a bang" of The Lodger against the playful prelude of "The Pleasure Garden." 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 emoti
  22. Two Cents on The 1st Daily Dose (Pleasure Garden) 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? 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? If the "Hitchcock Touch" is his creative and unique visual rhetoric, then - yes! Hitchcock uses the camera like a tool or weapon in many more recent films I've seen - but there are good examples in this short clip: The tight, focused shots of legs, faces, purse (illustrate how Hitch u
  23. Sunny day, birds are singing, and the new Hitchcock Course begins! What could be better? I guess the birds are sorta "caw"ing more than signing, but that's cool. Wow, more birds out here than I realized, but I'm sure it's fine.

  24. I watched Too Late for Tears as my viewing of the week, and it made me re-think the Daily Dose's opening clip from the film. At first blush, I thought our femme fatale's complaining about not wanting to go to dinner was just filler, an excuse to have the lights flashed. But, no - this first confession revealed the forces that controlled her life: insecurity, fear of poverty, selfishness, insatiable avarice. These forces are what she has inside - where a "heart" might be in other human beings. She is not just bad, but bad to the core. Dependably bad. Predictably bad. And so, we watch with horro
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