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Everything posted by mfederman

  1. 1. The opening scene of Frenzy, is vastly different than that of The Lodger. Where the Lodger opens up with flashing lights, and a silent scream followed by a montage of cuts that introduce the setting, Frenzy does not open with a “frenzy” as it were. Instead there is this long, extremely long air-born dolly shot above the Thames. Accompanying it is music that is a bit dated for the date of the films creation. I could tell right away that the film wouldn’t deal with the reality of the 60’s in England. Especially London. However, there was something uneasy about the sound track. As we move
  2. 1. In this opening scene from Hitchcock’s, Marnie, we gather almost everything we need to get the ball rolling. Marnie is basically changing identities. Why? Because she’s a thief. Not much more to say except to state the obvious of what give us these clues. New clothes in a new suit case, old clothes in another. Switch out the old Social Security card and pick from one of the other ones. She’s done this before. Dump your stolen money in the new suit case, wash out the dye in your hair and dispose of the old suitcase in a way that will take people a long time to discover. It all echoes bac
  3. 1. In this opening scene from The Birds we see a playful flirtation between Melanie and Mitch being created. First off, we know that Melanie doesn’t work there, Mitch doesn’t. With her verbal exchange with the employee we get the idea that Melanie is upper class, seemingly busy, on some strict schedule, and a little worried that the bird she ordered isn’t what she will get. But this shifts-obviously Melanie isn’t too busy to have a little fun with the attractive Rod Taylor’s character. The minute she can’t name the strawberry finch’s correctly, Mitch decides to have bit of fun with her as
  4. 1. In this opening title sequence and scene, Saul Bass and Bernard Hermann basically tell us we’re going to get chopped up, physically, emotionally and psychologically. The broken wording brings to mind the way in which the human mind can seem illogical or completely separated from reality. The pure string orchestration when combined with Bass’ imagery, brings to mind slicing knives. The sound is harsh and unforgiving. 2. The actual first shots of the film not only give us a visual on a city which is not gigantic and at the same time not terribly small. So we have a small town vibe
  5. 1. In this sequence of North by Northwest, the train lunch scene is so important in truly setting the viewer up for a very confusing ride when trying to figure out the legitimacy of everything coming out of everyone’s mouth except Roger’s. The exchange of, “I know, I look vaguely familiar…” is on the first level plot oriented in that he is probing as to whether Eve, knows who he is. On the second level, it is perhaps a tool that deals in the actual psychology of Hitchcock towards his audience. Hitch knows the audience knows these two stars well and they will sympathize and feel for the bot
  6. 1. Well since I’ve seen Vertigo a couple of times, it is hard to answer this in a guessing manner, either way I’ll echo back to when I first saw it. As an artist and art teacher I am naturally very responsive to abstract visual cues, but a I am also a huge Saul Bass fan. By title alone, Vertigo automatically suggests that there is an imbalance of some sort and that something in this plot won’t add up. However, the deeply psychological mood or atmosphere created wouldn’t be the same without the wonderful counterpoint of Bernard Hermann’s score to Bass’ graphics. Both question 1 and 3 go han
  7. 1. The opening shot of Hitchcock’s Rear Window is an exercise in his masterwork as a silent film maker. He is an illustrator by nature and a designer. Hitchcock knows how to give us a great deal of information in a quick amount of time. The camera starts with a slow push out the window to a courtyard as the viewer takes in information about most of the neighbors. Early morning, we are seeing the intimate behavioral patterns of our neighbors. I say “our” because that is Hitchcock’s intent; to make us an instrument in some way. As stated in the lecture notes, Hitch is also intent on making
  8. 1. In the opening sequence to Strangers on a Train, the symbolic visual representation is seen in almost every new shot, from cut to cut. The music cues us to the visual representation as well. First is Bruno’s feet. The camera sits to the right of Bruno’s character, focused on his feet. This contrasts with the shot of Guy getting out of the car in which the camera sits to the left. This suggestion of two opposing characters and entities crossing paths randomly continues in the shots of both characters as they walk; Bruno shot walking toward the left and Guy shot walking toward the right.
  9. 1. The Hitchcock “touch” as stated in the video lecture, is the unique revisiting of the POV twirl shot as Grant’s character, Devlin approaches Alicia, Ingrid Bergman. The close up shots on her face are a lot like many other films, such as Mr. and Mrs. Smith when Lombard is in bed in the opening sequence. Though it’s not the opening sequence, it is classic Hitchcock in the set up of the characters, plot and suspense or mystery in a quick amount of time. If you haven’t seen the film you would have to look up a plot summary to figure out what’s happening though. 2. Love that Berg
  10. DAILY DOSE #11 “Thought I’d Left”, Mr. and Mrs. Smith 1. AND 2. In my opinion, Hitchcock is keeping his “touch” but it’s not in the same way as with the silent pictures in Britain or in the sound films from Britain. Hitchcock is choosing to create his mystery and tension in less obvious ways and allows us a bit of a slower introduction to the cast. However, Hitch is still able to introduce the plot dynamics through character (which has always been his choice), within a rather short beginning to the film. I think this change or departure into more sophisticated method of his “touch” b
  11. 1. This opening scene in Rebecca is almost entirely not typical Hitchcock. Aside from the use of miniatures and the foggy landscape, there isn’t a series of quick cuts and immediate character introductions. You don’t have a public place as a setting, but a rural one isolated from the rest of the world. The pace is slow. The gradual push shot that gives us the first person psychological perspective and flashback at the same time is a convention that Hitchcock would use. But it is slow and Hitch, prior to this film didn’t open a film with a flashback narrative. I find it hard to believe that
  12. DAILY DOSE #10 1. The scene is extremely like the opening to The Killers, though set in the daytime as opposed to the dark night time. Laying on his bed, eyes closed, but awake, money on the floor suggesting that it is not of any real concern of his. This scene tells us that Charlie has for some reason become embittered and there is a dark spirit overwhelming him. A sense of futility, and isolation from humanity. Specifically it is Charlie’s reactions to his boarding house host; a woman whose most likely the same sort of character he will criticize at dinner later in the film. Charlie lat
  13. 1. The opening of, The Lady Vanishes offers an immediate contrast in tone and atmosphere. The soundtrack offering a peaceful happy tone with a no-stress attitude as the elderly lady checks in with the hotel manager. After the intro push shot we have two quick cuts to a depth of field shot in which we see our male duo of Caldecott and Charters trying to close the door to keep the cold out, while the old lady disrupts this by needing to exit. In this shot we have a wonderful foreground placement of the manager and the action in the background. All seemingly peaceful, but the struggle of Cald
  14. DAILY DOSE # 7 1. The opening sequence of The 39 Steps is similar to the other Hitchcock films in that we have a very public space in which a performance of some sort has drawn the crowds and we know exactly where we are. Typically, this is where Hitchcock would have started off with character faces and introduction right at the first frame, but not here. Intrigue is created by only being introduced to a character’s hand buying a ticket and their feet as he walks in. Even then we still only see the back of his head as he takes his seat in the theater. So again, as in The Man
  15. 1. In terms of importance, we know that Hitchcock most likely chose Peter Lorre for The Man Who Knew Too Much for a few reasons. Lorre was coming off “M” and the acclaim so audiences knew him, second Lorre has an exotic look about him with the haircut and gray patch. Moreover, he has a thick German accent and an overall eccentricity portrayed in Abbott. So I believe the audience will buy into a sympathetic feel for Abbott interestingly. As mentioned in the lecture video, Hitch keeps a slapstick element and Abbott/Lorre was described as perhaps the “nicest villain ever”. Character wise in
  16. 1. Hitchcock has almost exploited the fidelity issues with early microphones and placement in this scene from Blackmail. To get us into Alice’s head, he segues the relatively clear chattered conversation that was in the forefront of the scene into a background murmur that returns to the word “knife” with clarity. The camera isn’t on the chattering woman. 2. Sound is so critical here in that to cut to Alice’s face while we hear the chatter of the woman would be an impossibility in silent film in that to know the woman was talking you would have to see her on screen. Now, we have the i
  17. 1. The German Expressionist movement in film making along with visual art increasingly moved toward the personal psychological aspect of inviting the viewer to feel what the subjects of the paintings/films felt. In this clip from Downhill, the “push” shot is used to invite the viewer into a 1st person POV. Hitchcock wants you to feel the anxiety of these two young men entering the room as if you were them. And this is exactly what tracking shots are supposed to do; bring motion, physical and psychological realism to a scene. Personally, within this shot I felt that Hitchcock uses it to als
  18. 1. In this sequence from The Ring, Hitchcock has really tapped into his illustration skills to present us with a critically paced series of images that would fall apart otherwise as a story. The Ring is not just a physical fight pitting boxer against boxer, but instead the rookie is finding that he is already fighting the champion… over his wife. To create this tension, the first thing we notice is the staging- communication via mirror reflection to show that husband and wife are very aware of each other. Second is the party atmosphere-women wildly dancing, drinks flowing, and you get the
  19. “To-night Golden Curls” is on the menu literally. An advertisement announcing the inevitable death and public exploitation of death is how Hitchcock follows his powerful tilt-screen close-up opening scream; a shot like the Psycho shower scene. The public is going to devour this with a frenzy and in the end also become a victim of sorts. Again like in Pleasure Garden, Hitchcock is quick to set his stage and doesn’t have to linger on long character development or back story. Art imitates life as Hitchcock’s awareness of marketing and mass appeal plays out in this sequence. True to German Expres
  20. Daily Dose #1 1. I believe we can see Hitchcock’s “touch” from the first frame as it was suggested. Hitchcock doesn’t waste any time in getting right to the conflict of his films while simultaneously introducing key players and their situation. First is the entrance of the chorus line women who come cascading down a staircase like a drink being poured into a tumbler. In a circus like manner, Hitchcock sets up this predator vs. prey atmosphere. We quickly take on a voyeuristic role as well as the camera cuts to a high angle downward shot from off stage which creates a cage-like quality.
  21. Again in the opening of Criss Cross we have the city playing a part in framing out the perspective we are to take as viewers of this play. The arial shot of downtown Los Angeles with the police headquarters as the identifying landmark carries with it two concepts: 1. This is going to involve the law for sure, possibly some law enforcement corruption, maybe not. 2. That this, again is our, "home"-this is the reality of the multitude of schemes that get played out in the big city. That these two figures we descend upon are merely 2 out of hundreds of thousands that have a similar story to tell.
  22. Journey into Fear and Apocalypse Now, are two different films that use two different pieces of music to imply a certain calculated assault. The fat assassin in Journey systematically plays his ritualistic record as he prepares for his day/assassination. It is an opera I believe, a passionate cry in the vein of Carl Orff, but not as intense as Carmina Burana. Never the less it is a methodical psychological key that unlocks the assassins capabilities to perform acts that otherwise would weigh on him morally. In Apocalypse Now, it is Wagner's, Flight of the Valkyries playing from the Huey helicop
  23. You only really see one great punch by Raymond Burr, and it had to have been real. The close up on the fist at the end of the action is classic. Nothing could be more telling as to how brutal this film is going to get. In every heist there is this back-room, box-like dump of a place with all kinds of discarded items where big plans are made, and the squeeze is put on guys that don't wanna play. With every sway of the lamp is another punch to our victim. You don't have to see the violence to make it clear. The chaos and soul-darkened violence is accentuate by only seeing the brutality in s
  24. John Huston does an amazing job of making a statement about the 'every man' and the 'every city'. It is a narrative in an existential sense. This is home, this is "Mean street" (Van Halen reference, but apropos), this is the Asphalt Jungle. A labyrinth of twisting turning brick stucco, mortar and asphalt, where even the purest of souls can lose their humanity. The city could be any city, these characters could be anyone. However, it goes farther. This city is almost war-torn, like that of the European cities in France or England, but it's a different kind of war. In addition, the building
  25. The opening scene in Elevator to the Gallows appears to be a wonderful tribute or compliment from the French to the films and film makers of the U.S. The French are wonderful musicians and have always been devoted and at times were fanatical about the American Jazz period. It is said that Jazz is probably the only true American art form. At least at the time it probably was. Many musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, etc. made their way into the major cities of Chicago and New York to hear this "pure score" if you will that jazz musicians create and improvise. To name a couple from the "Mod
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