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Everything posted by mtncat

  1. Easy Rider (1969) MacGuffin - The drug money stashed in the teardrop tank of Captain America's chopper. Doubles - Two bikers... Travelogue - ...off to find America. Murder - Actually three in the final count. Montage Editing - Acid trip in New Orleans. Landmarks - House of Blue Lights. Sophisticated Use of Score - Soundtrack totally establishes social context. Mother Issues (Freud) - "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" This exercise is fun. I'd have to revisit Easy Rider, but I'll bet I'd find a blonde, a mirror, a high angle shot, color filters, etc.
  2. 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. The opening of The Lodger provides a dead woman immediately. In Frenzy we wait. The initial humor in The Lodger is school-boyish compared to the delicious irony of a politician trumpeting pollution free waterways only to have a corpse float by. And of course, the magnificent dolly shot opening Frenzy could only have been a fantasy in the twenties. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific
  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 meticulous. She assembles a fresh identity, each carefully purchased bit of it, into a brightly lined suitcase as she simultaneously discards her previous incarnation piece by piece into a drab brown suitcase. I'm then given that a dark past is spiraling down the drain with her hair dye. She emerges shiny and cleansed. The clues to her former identity are stuck away in a locker, the key
  4. 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) through their interactions in this scene? Melanie, if I may say, resembles an exotic bird herself. She likes the looks of Mitch when he enters the pet shop so she playfully pretends to work there, offering to help him pick out a pair of love birds. It quickly becomes clear to Mitch she knows nothing about birds but he goes along with her charade because he's attracted to her as well. Cute couple being cu
  5. I haven't seen Party Girl, but Touch of Evil came out in fall of '58 too and it's in many ways the ultimate Film Noir.
  6. 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 Hitchcock Chord is introduced, dissonant and jarring. Bass' titles come at us in fragments like a disintegrated personality as Herrmann's cellos attack us with minor 2nds like a ravenous shark. (You're welcome John Williams.) As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona, and a very specific day, date, and time: “FRIDAY, DECE
  7. Everything you've said resonates with me. Live tweeting lousy movies with a snarky crowd can be fun, but I think great films deserve more of my attention. I do, however, review the #Hitchcock50 tweet thread to glean what are some illuminating observations.
  8. 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 Thornhill/Grant line, "I look vaguely familiar.") How does our pre-existing knowledge of these stars function to create meaning in this scene. Any less elegant couple playing at this level of carnal innuendo would border on porn. 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 significance. In that sense, discuss how Hitchcock uses the R.O.T. matchbook as an i
  9. 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," then the mood and atmosphere they are establishing) that this sequence is communicating to the audience. Fantasy, possibly a dark and uncontrollable fantasy. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. The close-up of the woman's eye is shot through a red filter as the movie's title blasts ou
  10. 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? Hitchcock is showing us the extent of Jeff's world. We're introduced to Jeff's point of view without seeing it through his filters. What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design? As the camer
  11. 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. Guy and Bruno are filmed at feet level entering the train station as though coming from two different directions. They nearly cross paths at the gate, but remain unaware of one another. The train is then filmed POV from track level traveling through a switchyard where tracks cr
  12. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? As Dr. Edwards and Dr. Gehring discussed, Hitchcock never forgot a thing he learned. His tracking shot in on Bergman's face as she lay hungover in bed, his use of point-of-view camera angles as Grant approaches her from the doorway, all the interplay between light and shadow: we've seen this scene coming for twenty years. In my opinion Hitchcock has now achieved perfection in black and white. How does Hitchcock choose to light, frame, and photograph his two stars in this scene? What are some of the contrasts that H
  13. 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? Hitchcock reveals quite a lot through dolly shots, tracking shots, and extreme attention to detail. He shows us a pair of rich, pampered, self-indulgent slobs who are confined to a room and trapped in a marriage by their insecurities. Not so funny so far. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs.
  14. 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. Charlie's got a wad of cash and a lot on his mind. He also has a couple of guys on his tail. Charlie is cunning, he thinks things through. He briefly lets his violent streak get the better of him and smashes a glass against the sink. Then he sets his jaw and sets his course. Charlie's a pretty snappy dresser, I might add. 2. In what ways does this opening remind you of watching a film noir? If it doesn't remind you
  15. The opening to Rebecca is different from Hitchcock's previous openings in many respects. There is no bustling around in a public place; there is no performance going on nor is there a crowd to which to cut. We are taken on an eerie dream-walk into a dark overgrown wood, a serpentine walk narrated in beautiful prose by a lovely disembodied voice, a walk that eventually reveals what appears to be a rambling, rundown mansion, Manderley. I can identify a touch of Hitchcock in the way the camera moves through the wood. I also felt the sense of foreboding I felt during the coach ride to Jamaica Inn
  16. 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 music and ambience of the opening scene in the hotel lobby tells me most of these folks are on a mountain holiday and are waiting for a train. Soon we learn the holiday is on hold, however, due to an avalanche on the tracks. Everyone seems to be taking it stride. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicot
  17. Hitchcock draws us into the music hall with shots he might previously have used to indicate that something sinister was afoot, Then he disarms us with an obviously pleasant Robert Donnat watching a light-hearted show. Hitchcock clearly enjoys parodying evergreen stereotypes of the British people, i.e. garrulous and irreverent working class hecklers, huffy and stuffy "experts", indignant old women, etc. I would go farther to say Donnat's character, Hannay, is introduced as a parody of the stereotypical decent Canadian.
  18. I have not seen the film but suspect it will be character driven. I'm intrigued by Abbott. Peter Lorre is surprisingly charismatic here. He was introduced to me quite differently in film noir and in the budget horror films of the sixties. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, he clearly has a secret. He recognized the ski jumper and quickly obscured that fact. There must be a reason. Comparing this opening scene with the opening scenes of The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger, I would say it is similar to them in that there is an immediate action sequence and many cuts to crowd response to that actio
  19. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. ​Everything Alice hears as she begins her morning in the store triggers a very personal response from her. We know she's somehow more involved in the murder than just having heard about it when she looks up and commits to memory the phone number for the police. Frank? Mystery to me. 2. 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
  20. The POV dolly shots emphasize a sense of inevitability. The feeling that the boys cannot escape their fate intensifies as the camera (and finally, Mable) draws closer to them. It's no accident that Mable's right fist swings threateningly toward Roddy's groin as she approaches him. Hitchcock creates a flashback with montage superimposed on a close-up of Mable's eyes as she relates the sordid details.
  21. Each technique Hitchcock employs, be it by montage or by expressionism, serves to emphasize the heightening tension the sober, disciplined athlete is feeling. He observes, as if through a window, the fun and frivolous life he must forego to attain his goal of winning the championship. He ultimately sees the social whirl threatening even his romance. He's psychologically quite ready to fight by scene's end.
  22. There's so much Hitchcock in this clip I don't know where to start and would hazard to end talking about screaming blondes anyway. For now I'll simply sing praises to the driving rhythm of his editing. Imagine what joy composers experience scoring his films.
  23. I see instances of what would be called the "Hitchcock touch" in the of depth of field camera work, wherein action in the foreground is complemented by the scene playing out in the background. I found myself watching for his trademark cameo appearance somewhere in the wings of the theater. I do agree many seeds of what blossoms into Hitchcock's style are evident in this sequence. He sees the world through his own eyes, after all. It seems Mr. Hitchcock always had an eye for the ladies, most particularly blondes. Throughout his entire career Hitchcock could tell a story, or any portion
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