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About karenod1

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  • Location
    Laurence Harbor, NJ
  • Interests
    I am a photographer. I am also an actress/director/singer.
  1. I believe that since this is the early fifties, the character of Calamity almost mirrors what is happening in America. Women who worked mens jobs during the 40's while the men were away had a hard time adjusting to giving up their jobs and going back to life as housewives. I think this movie might have been appealing to women because Calamity only gives up some of her toughness and doesn't ever end up totally subservient or as a housewife. She still gets to do the job she loves and feels important.
  2. The African American servant speaking of patriotism speaks to the fact that all Americans were being called upon to defend and protect America. The paintings of the past Presidents on the walls of the staircase show an appreciation and respect for the history of America. The proliferation of flags in the parade scene and just the fact of a parade with soldiers and young people and small town America all speak to patriotism. The conversation with Roosevelt where the President brings up the fact that Irishmen were known for their love of country and how Cohan talks then about his family's love for America. All of these things make the audience member feel a common pride in being American. I believe the opening in the office of the President serves the movie well and leads to the story in a better way than just starting with the parade.
  3. Singing In the Rain, On the Town, Mame, Funny Girl, Meet Me In St. Louis, Holiday Inn....so many I can't possibly choose.
  4. I find it interesting that the opening scene of "Frenzy" is anything but frenetic...... 1. The opening of Frenzy differs from The Lodger in many ways. The Lodger opens with a close up of a woman screaming and a dead body and the view of the crowd from the body...the scene is dark and scary right away with people staring in shock, the quick camera cuts to police, and newspapers etc make us feel disoriented and nervous. In Frenzy where one would expect that we start with a long aerial view of London.....which eventually brings us into the scene....the music accompanying the aerial shot is almost like that of a travelogue....we are sightseers. Once we are in the scene, it is a common area with a politician making a speech, a very positive speech about the waters and how they are going to be clean now (comedy, once we know what is in the water), while speaking a man spies a woman's body in the water. In comparison to the Lodger, this scene does not give us a feeling of apprehension until the body is discovered....it is well lit, the crowd is happy, all seems well with the world. 2. The panning camera, moving in from far away is a common Hitchcock touch...remember the use of camera panning in Rear Window, and Psycho. The closeups of people in the crowd, faces. The black smoke coming from the little boat sweeping across the screen as we get closer to the actual scene. The common area where people congregate but bad things can happen. 3. I believe that Hitchcocks usual purpose in opening scenes was to set the tone of the story, establish a mood, inform the audience, introduce the main character, and to create an apprehension in the viewer.
  5. Watching Daily Dose #19 I am surprised that I now want to watch Marnie. I have been hesitant to watch it....it didn't sound like the best of Hitchcock, and my husband who is a film historian and teacher said he was surprised by it being one of the top recommendations because it wasn't that popular among Hitchcock buffs. So now I'm going to watch it tonight and I can probably say it is in large part due to this opening sequence and to Bernard Herrmanns' music. 1. Based on the opening sequence I learn that the lead character is extremely well dressed, she has obviously gotten a hold of a lot of money and is not going to leave town. She packs one suitcase extremely tidily and this one contains new clothes and all the money in the yellow bag. She throws old clothes messily into the gray suitcase. She washes the dye out of hair obviously used to disguise her while in this place and emerges as a natural blonde. She then hides the suitcase with the older clothes (the ones she wore when stealing the money?) in a locker and throws away the key. There must be someone she thinks is going to be looking for her. The key of course reminds one of the famous key scene in Notorious. And the dye going down the drain is reminiscent of Psycho. 2. The Bernard Herrmann score gives just that hint of suspense...what is she up to? Is someone after her? It makes us want to follow her and see how she got that money and is she going to get caught. 3. Hitchcock comes out of a hotel room...I have never seen him so fully in the scene..usually I have to look for him...outside a show window, getting on a bus etc. This time he actually seems for a minute to advance the plot...as he looks toward the camera as if trying to see if someone is there. I'm not sure what it means unless he just wanted to be more prominent as he became more and more successful as a director and enjoyed the attention. He also had a bit of obsession with Tippi Hedren and maybe liked being right with her in the scene...he did a very similar thing in The Birds!
  6. Daily Dose # 18 The Birds opening scene Although I have feel that I have seen "The Birds" multiple times....I do not recall this opening scene so it seems that i tune in when I notice that the film is on tv but have never really watched it from start to finish. 1. The feel of the opening scenes from seeing Melanie smile when she gets whistled at to the romantic game that Mitch and Melanie participate in with each other is that this is a nice romantic comedy. Two people, he mistakes her for a store clerk, she takes him on in a playful way and goes along with the joke. He quickly realizes his mistake but enjoys the give and take of the conversation.....lots of double entendres. We find that she is a bit meticulous perhaps, doesn't like to wait, and has a sense of humor or a bit of feistiness to her. He seems like a nice guy, buying a present for his sister, perhaps a bit of a prude when he says he doesn't want the birds to be too demonstrative in front of her since she's only 11 or perhaps he's just really thoughtful! 2. I am annoyed by the sound of the birds especially in the very first part of the scene....the cawing of the gulls is distracting and lends a sense of unease to the scene...it is at odds with the romantic comedy setup....the noise of the birds in the shop is realistic but after a while gets annoying as well...you want it to stop...a harbinger of what is in store. 3. Hitchcock makes his cameo appearance at the top of the scene, he is walking out of the pet shop and passes Tippi Hedron....he is walking two dogs....I was reminded for some reason of the story of Noah's Ark with this cameo....something terrible is going to happen and he is taking his dogs two by two away from the danger to protect them....of course I'm not supposed to know that something terrible is going to happen but that is the feeling I get when I see that cameo.
  7. Daily Dose #17 Psycho 1. The titles combined with the music set the scene right away for action, suspense and thrills. The lines slicing through the titles...is a the perfect way to set up the Knife scenes....the music enhances it with it's pounding rhythms like a knife stabbing over and over. The combination make us feel uneasy, apprehensive right from the very beginning of the movie. 2. I believe the specific place, date and time bring us to reality...it's an ordinary day in an ordinary place in the middle of the afternoon but then we enter through the window (a la Rear Window) to witness a not so ordinary Friday afternoon event. Two people having sex in the afternoon, we know without any words that it's secret and forbidden sex. 3. I think that the scene sets up Marion as a nice ordinary girl in a not so nice situation. She is involved with a married man, she is taking time off from her job to have sex with him. Although she says she's not going to do this any more, you can tell by her actions and the pain in her voice that she probably will. She is dressed in white underwear which I believe Hitchcock did on purpose to establish her as a nice girl. Later after she steals the money, she is in black underwear (the bad girl).
  8. Daily Dose #16 North By Northwest 1.. How does pre-existing knowledge of the stars function to create meaning? I actually think that having very well known stars in a scene like this distracts the viewer from the story because we are watching the actor not the character. I think that Hitchcock handles this getting it out of the way in the beginning of the scene with the line about "you look vaguely familiar". He is telling the audience he knows that we already know these stars and to forget about that now and concentrate on who they are in the movie....which happens pretty quickly. 2..I believe Hitchcock uses the matchbook for a variety of reasons...it breaks up an otherwise static scene....it introduces a bit of humor...his middle initial O stands for nothing....and it also creates more heat (pun intended) between the couple. Her move to blow out the flame indicates that she can do the same thing later in bed. 3. The music is softly romantic and vaguely sexy and along with the muffled sounds of the train moving and the train car it lulls us a bit and we see how comfortable these two are with each other after just a short time.
  9. Daily Dose #15 Vertigo. 1. From just the credits, I am expecting a psychological thriller, a mystery, a mind game of a movie. Something that will make my heart pound. 2. For me the single most powerful image in the credits is the initial image of the woman's eye and seeing a spiral emerge from the pupil....It sends the message of "psychological chaos) 3. I think the score works to make the credits seem more suspenseful....more indicative that the audience is in for a mystery ride. I am a firm believer in music creating mood. I teach a class to children in acting based on the Ellis Island experience...one of the exercises I developed with them is having them compose letters home as if they were new immigrants to this country. I then have them read the letters out loud....once with no music, then I add sad music and the kids faces get so sad and they interpret the letter as melancholy, then they read the same letter with happy music and they interpret the letter as cheerful. It's a powerful lesson. If these credits had Rogers and Hammerstein music under them there would be a totally different expectation.
  10. I watched Rear Window last night and it was interesting. As I sat down to watch it with my husband I said "I already have seen this a few times but I guess I'll watch it again for the course". Well, watching it this way as a student of Hitchcock was like watching it for the first time. I noticed so many more things than ever before. So here are my answers to the questions 1. a. The opening camera shot is a POV shot, panning across the courtyard from the distance of the window and then into Jeffries apartment and then back out to the courtyard but moving in close to see inside the apartments. It's much like it would look if you were standing at the window yourself and observing the apartment complex as a visitor would. b. The opening scene establishes life in a small apartment complex with a common courtyard. We see the everyday existence of people we don't know, the isolation and quietness of the courtyard and get a peek at what is happening in the street in front of those buildings too...where it is a much noisier and busier world. c. We are seeing all this through our eyes as though we are sitting at the window....showing us what Jeffries sees all day every day. 2. a. In this opening scene we lear that Jeff is injured, immobile, sleepy because of the heat, he is a photographer who has had some dangerous assignments, his favorite photos are hanging on the wall and they look like action photos, his fashion photography is not given such prestige. b. Hitchcock gives us this background by slowly showing us his sweaty brow, his cast on his leg, his camera equipment, his wall of favorite photos (showing action or war shots), and the framed negative. 3. a. Actually the opening doesn't make me feel like a voyeur at all....I feel like a visitor to the apartment. b. I get a feeling of curiosity looking out of the apartment not of guilt or of doing something wrong. Perhaps because I am a photographer I do not look at what Jeff is doing as voyeurism. Everywhere I look, I am always looking for a photograph, I need to be visually stimulated and I believe that Jeff is the same. Ask any photographer, I would imagine all of them are looking for more than what the eye can see. 4. This is an interesting question....I have not seen all of Hitchcocks films so it's hard to compare. But it is more interesting because I'm not sure what Hitchcock is talking about when he says the film is his most cinematic. The dictionary defines cinematic as "relating to motion pictures" or a "movie adaptation of a novel". That makes it difficult to say whether this film is more cinematic than another. However I recently heard cinematic described as film that makes you ask questions. If that's the definition we are using then I would say yes this is one of Hitchcocks most cinematic or maybe the most cinematic film. From the first shot we have questions....where are we, who are these people, who is the man in the wheelchair, and as the film continues we have more...why does she love him so much, why is he so against marriage.....etc. etc. I do have to add one thing....I love how the peeking is through people's back windows....because we all know the facade of a house hides what goes on in the back rooms....great movie.
  11. Watching Daily Dose #13 Strangers On a Train....makes me want to see the movie very much... #1 The use of criss crossing is very interesting in this opening scene. Along with the obvious crossed railroad tracks and the train crossing to enter the right track, there is the criss crossing as the two men walk in different directions toward the train platform, on crosses from upper left of the screen to lower right and the other crosses from upper right to lower left. There are also the crossed legs as each sits down in a seat. #2 We see a lot in this opening sequence to let us know that these are two very different men. One wears shoes and a suit that are a bit ostentatious and one wears plain but expensive brown shoes and a good suit and tie. You can tell that Guy has money, and perhaps Bruno does not. Bruno seems quiet and educated as he sits down to read and we find right away that he is a tennis player (a sport for the rich), while Bruno is talkative and a bit brash and impulsive...moving right in to sit next to Guy without even asking. #3. The music is full and robust as the film starts promising a journey it lifts and excites us, the rhythm as they walk along to the train is catchy and not sinister at all....when they sit down the music goes quieter but still kind of whimsical until their feet touch and the music plays a pounding note which gives us a sense of unease, something to come that may not be as playful as we thought.
  12. In watching Daily Dose #11 Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I noted 1. That though there are some Hitchcock touches they don't knock you over the head. The long opening shot of the messy dishes, silence, the man playing cards and the woman in bed completely covered up with just her eye exposed...let us know that something is amiss and because it is in a bedroom we assume they are a husband and wife. Hitchcock's musical touch is also noticeable...the music comes in after the initial quiet scene panning...the panning of the camera, the close ups of the dishes and of the wife are all Hitchcock touches 2. Though I some of his touch, I don't see this as a typical Hitchcock opening. The feeling is much more lighthearted, there is not feeling of suspense or dread, only slight curiosity. 3. I love the combination of Montgomery and Lombard....the scene of them together in bed is so real and so intimate it feels completely comfortable as though they have known each other a long time!
  13. In Daily Dose #12 "Notorious", 1. The most obvious Hitchcock touch is the pot shot of Grant where he becomes upside down in Bergmans view...but also the play of shadows and then camera angles...the view through doorways and the closeups. 2. The way the film treats the stars in evidenced with all the close ups...how frame is almost filled with the actor....and when it's not, the actor is in focus but the background is blurred. Also the movement into and out of light. The contrasts I see are that Grant is dressed in dark clothes and presents in shadow, he is always in focus which indicates a solidity, he knows what to do, a lot of the time Bergman is well lit and for the beginning of the scene covered in light colored sheets when she is up she is dressed in black and white perhaps a sign of her difficulty in doing the right thing and her lack of definition. Also, when she first hears the recording she is in shadow and as we hear her go stand up for her country and deny her father she comes into the light. 3. I do believe that Grant and Bergman are well cast and that this scene and in fact the entire movie challenges their persona....Grant is known for hid debonair, classy, lighthearted persona and here he plays a cold hearted spy. The camera depicts his this way too. Bergman, on the other hand, has a good girl persona, to see her drinking and refusing to do the right thing is a bit jarring for the audience.
  14. In the opening scene of "Shadow of a Doubt" we learn that the character of Charlie is a shady one. We know simply from his demeanor in the bed...fully clothed lying on a bed does not indicate that a person is relaxed. The money all over the nightstand and on the floor indicates that he has done something wrong to get all that cash. His way of speaking to the landlady is sinister. We learn that this is a man who has most likely done something wrong to earn that cash, that two men are after him and that it makes him nervous but that he is reckless enough to confront them. The noir signals come from the shadows in the scene, from the seediness of the boarding house on a gritty urban street, the criminal being watched by the detectives....the innocence of the children playing on the street while danger lurks reminds me of "M". The score plays an important role in this and subsequent Hitchcock movies....the initial music to make us feel playful with the kids turns quickly somber as we enter Charlie's bedroom. There the music stays quiet and ominous until it crashes and thunders as he throws the glass, it again turns frenetic as he leaves the rooming house.....causing the audience to feel nervous and off balance.
  15. I was away on vacation all last week so now catching up with all the lectures and daily doses from then. 1. The opening to Rebecca is different in several ways from the openings we've seen before. There is no public place with lots of noise and freneticism or quick camera movement. We meet our characters right away but don't find out yet anything about them. 2. The Hitchcock touches are there. The camera angle on the man on the cliff, the dolly shots and the pov as the voice over character is walking down the path to the house, the close ups of the mans shoes at the edge of the cliff and the back of his head. The music which switches and changes when he wants us to feel something else. 3. We see Manderley as a character through the dreamers yes and her description which personify the house...she calls it secretive and silent, she refers to the cloud covering it's face and says it looks like a shell without a past. The flashback structure with the voice over makes me want to see Manderley in the old days and makes me want to see what happened to the dreamer there and why it is in such disrepair now....
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