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Emma D.

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About Emma D.

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    New Jersey; born '97
  1. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Clear indications in this scene from Notorious that directly point to Hitchcock are as follows: camerawork (ex: rotating camera angle on Grant, quarter shot of record player spinning) black and white outfits shadows (ex: lines/crosses cast onto wall in immediate beginning) close-ups on faces 2. 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? As Bergman wakes up, she and Grant are contrasted by opposing camera angles. The swirling camera only stresses this. Yet, the first connection we see is their attire, both dressing strictly in black and white. The two standing in the doorway as they listen to Bergman's speech on patriotism tie them both together, even though they have differing feelings. 3. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? As both actors express suave and charismatic entities, the two seem fitting in their respective roles. However, something here makes me feel that Cary Grant is slightly out of place. The pairing of the two, while it seems appropriate, does not convey a certain authenticity.
  2. 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? As with many Hitchcock openings, we see fluid camera movement documenting the setting without a word of dialogue. We see different "pieces" of the "puzzle" and from there, we are able to formulate the situation. For example, Mr. and Mrs. Smith's bedroom is a mess due to a heated argument. Mr. Smith is seen as apprehensive and attentive of Mrs. Smith's actions, like her fussing around under the covers and her worried look when she thinks he had left. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? With the main exception of the genre of film that Mr. and Mrs. Smith exhibits, we see classic tendencies that evoke the Hitchcockian touch in this opening sequence. Like many openings we have seen, the camera pans around a room, noting critical objects and figures. Without a word of dialogue, we understand what has happened. Facial expressions, gestures, and body language are most paramount in openings, and with these, we can infer to fill in the blanks. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? Known widely for comedy, Lombard and Montgomery seem to have a fitting chemistry that bonds both to this farce.
  3. 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. An enigmatic man, Uncle Charlie exhibits many characteristics. First of all, he seems to be nomadic. His distaste for permanent residence is inferred by his out-of-place attire, his small boarding room, and his aloof and divergent personality from that of his apparent landlady. Yet, his "friends" making their presence may state otherwise. After Charlie sees his "friends," we find out that he is being chased, and his crime is given to us in the version of the song playing during this moment: the Merry Widow Waltz. Uncle Charlie can charm when he pleases, but that is no match for his innate duplicity. 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? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations) It seems to be uncharacteristic to show playing children alongside an upbeat music score in a film noir. However, Joesph Cotten makes up for the lack of noir in the subsequent shots. A fantastic representation of this is the shot at 1:59: the darkness envelopes Uncle Charlie, and he does not seem to mind. We also see cigars, suits, alcohol, detectives, and a man on the run, all indicative of a film noir. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? ​​ ​ The score heard in the first seconds of this scene reflect the mood that will come soon enough. This happy and uplifting song mirrors the joyous lifestyle of young Charlie and her family, the same family that Uncle Charlie will soon terrorize. We also hear traces and even segments of the Merry Widow Waltz, a defining song for Charles and his life.
  4. 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? This particular opening scene provides a foreshadowing that evokes a most unpleasant "secretive and silent" influence. After this initial scene, we begin the progression of the film with a flashback that starts it all. In terms of pertinent information, we are, at the same time, given everything and nothing in this opening scene. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Hitchcockian touches in the opening scene include: surreal/nightmarish/Gothic veneer lighting/shadows blonde character the connection of two strangers by . . . fate? camera movement foreshadowing 3. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What affect does the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene? The "cemetery" that is Manderley is made into a character by its severe importance to what is foreshadowed in the beginning. We can tell by the voiceover narration and the flashback structure that the house of Manderley will be the strongest protagonist in this story. It has seen things, experienced things, and will, no doubt, live to tell the tale, whatever tale that may be.
  5. 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 is, perhaps, most notable in our opening scene. The song, accompanied with the smiling guests and comedic wind gust, suggests a tranquil and almost whimsical scene. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. The pair of characters, Caldicott and Charters, add some comic relief to this demanding shot. Their nonsensical discussion on Hungary's National Anthem and their quick commentary on European politics shows the short amount of time (nearly a minute) necessary to lengthen and augment the characterization of anyone. 3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. As is most striking, Iris is the only brunette (not a blonde, for a change) in her posse. She leads the walk with Boris to the stairs, all the while chatting the most out of the other characters and even correcting Boris's pronunciation of "avalanche". She soon makes it apparent that she has a predicament, and, with the camera never taking its eye off of her (nearly always in the center) and her friends, she bossily orders food and drink, and even demands Boris to "make it snappy", until she and her chums disappear at the top of the staircase.
  6. 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? A mysterious figure entering a crowded, public place jogs our memory (pun intended). We see some exhibits of dark humor being showcased with some tongue-in-cheek jests and the appearance of unusual or strange characters. A deviation from the typical patterns we see could be the first lines our protagonist utters. As we look back, do any other first lines signify important messages or meanings such as these? 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? While it is possible that our main character may be innocent, the first twenty-two seconds we see of him do not show his face at all. With this, as we all know, comes a mystique surrounding our protagonist, an uncertainty that has the capability of leading and wandering to many things. 3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? All that we see in this short scene reflect points made on the Hitchcock touch, notably the ordinary people and setting, the hero's plight, and the unleashing of valuable information prematurely.
  7. 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) I suspect the characters will have a bit of an edge to this film, seeing as Hitchcock, even in his silent days, put emphasis on characterization. 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? While many individuals would have been angered and inconvenienced at the situation, Peter Lorre's character does not break a smile throughout the entire incident. Even his hearty wave as he is walking away seems unnatural. And, because fate always has a way of appearing in Hitchcock's films, we will surely be seeing Abbott again. 3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. Expressions and gestures are given much emphasis in this scene, while close-ups on faces make a meaningful appearance as well. However, with the synchronized sound, we are not given many visual stunts as with Pleasure Garden and The Lodger. With these two silent films, we see a plethora of intentional overlaps, blurring, superimposition, surreal visions and more. With The Man Who Knew Too Much, there is a strong lacking that further exemplifies its talkie qualities.
  8. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. The repetitious "knife" said by the loquacious friend was the immediate thing that intrigued me to this movie. The creepy tone added to it with the silence in between only emphasize poor Alice's scattered head. In addition to this, the abrupt silence when closing the telephone booth's door and the immediate emergence of talking again once it is opened reinstate the subjective use of sound design to further empathize Alice's emotions to the audience. 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 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. As the word "knife" is the only emphasized word heard by Alice (and us, for that matter), the gradual increase of volume initiates suspense and apprehension. When the word is said for the last time, it is screamed in an eerie shriek that would make anyone jump out of their skin. As mentioned before, the phone booth's opening and closing of its door also does much to keep us solely within Alice's mind. 3. Why do you think this particular use of subjective sound is not used frequently in cinema? A possible reason why subjective sound is not frequently used could be because it's seen as a distraction (to some viewers). While I believe it adds to the awareness of the film, it could be seen as intrusive or unnecessary to others.
  9. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? These particular scenes certainly give the audience a palpable touch of suspense. The drawn out scenes stretch time as well as patience, something Hitchcock was the master at conveying. 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? This visual technique further demonstrates first person point-of-view, as well as the added apprehension to the given circumstance our characters are involved in. It was also another addition to the list of Hitchcock's novel cinematic additions. 3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. -Blondes -Visual artistry (fades, dolly shots, superimposition, surreal ideas, parallels) -Time expansion/compression - usually ties into novel visual methods (speedy newspaper salesmen, the boxer's filling mind with surreal visions)
  10. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? The various sequences throughout this clip express a very surreal ambiance. With the folks dancing and cheering, alone, they convey a richly appetizing party, yet with the editing, montage, and superimposition, a dreamy and lush veneer coat this man's mind with a dreadful vision of his coquettish wife. 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 to create that feeling of subjectivity. One part that conveyed this protagonist's feeling of hopeless dread was the visual from 3:40 to 3:45. Seeing his wife flirting with a boxing champion, we see the protagonist's upset disposition, yet we also see his reeling mind. The playing record perfectly lined up with this man's skull seems to tell the audience that there is no placidity in the moment, and with the thought of betrayal weighing on him, a never-ending cycle of thoughts relentlessly plays on. The other special effects we see capture the drowsy, unaware fear that one can be exposed to when in a similar situation. 3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen? The two gentlemen are in separate rooms connected by a mirror. The boxing champ is lounging among the partying crowd with a girl on his lap and music in his ears. The cheated partner on the room opposite is alone and contemplative of his future. The hallucinations of his lover and the other man follow him wherever his gaze lands. As much as the partyers in the next room dance and sing, the protagonist progressively feels uneasy and explosive.
  11. 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? Some similarities between the two films include each possessing a six second-long opening with a cut to many different faces. A stark difference between the two films is a drastic change of emotion between the screaming face of the murdered victim in The Lodger and the joyful chorus girls in 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 emotion? Some examples of the "Hitchcockian" style include the following: doubles ('mur/der' sequence, two paper boys riding in car) repetition ("to-night: golden curls" throughout the film, paperboys loading cars, cars following) chaos in otherwise calm areas (streets with crowds) drawn out scenes with no talking, dialogue (typewriter scene) Images or techniques that convey powerful storytelling could be the disarray of the townspeople in the streets or the elongated scenes with the typing typewriter, while images that exude excessive emotion include the obvious opening scene, the hysterical eyewitness, the buzzing newsroom, and the general chaos that erupts over the city. 3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? The shot utilizes an askew-ed, dramatic viewpoint that shows the audience that what has happened is important. The awkward positioning of the camera to the blood-curdling scream supposedly taking place is possibly reminiscent of Marion Crane in Psycho.
  12. 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Some beginnings noticed in this film are: blondes (the chorus dancer) parallel, connected scenes depicting diverging action (chorus girls backstage preening and the conversation between the character Jill Cheyne and the booth man) thievery [or a possible McGuffin] (the loiterer pick-pocketing Jill) geometrical shapes / light with shadows (the spiral staircase, various lines / the stage lights, the ominous night sky with its curious inhabitants of the streets) colorful music score (different sounds to convey different emotions, though this deals with silent films and other movies in general) 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? There seem to be many characteristics of Hitchcock that we can observe in this film that are sure to be repeated within the next 50 years, as answered in the question above. Yet, while watching this, I did not get any overwhelming sensations that made me think of Hitchcock - some of the points above were merely far-fetched observations. That being said, it can be seen that some strong characteristics present in Hitchcock's films make their early debut in this film. 3. Since this is a silent film, do you feel there were any limitations on these opening scenes due to the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue? I feel there is a great advantage when dialogue is not present in a film - the viewer is now able to chronicle their own unique diction while viewing the same visual as anyone else. There is a certain charm with the faces of silent film actors that evokes an isolated era in film. By excluding synchronous spoken dialogue from this, I do not believe the limitations possibly presented weigh enough to notice.
  13. With ZAZ's approach to film comedy, you could almost watch this scene in cartoon version and still have the serious quality of the jokes set throughout the scene. The nuances of some of the scenes, like those that make you say something like, "Woah, why did he walk around the wall and not through the door?" or that personalize some of the acts, like mistaking your car for a runaway driver, make for an inherently funny film. With this, hugg, flashy comedy scenes are needless, but probably welcomed. While watching this Daily Dose, many of the comedic bits closely resembled that of Brooks/Wilder, in that I could picture the two films exchanging scenes (while fitting it to each respective movie) and the flow of comedy would never seem to vary. Both sets of creators incorporated a sense of seamless 'normal-ness' to each particular comedic bit, a quality that somehow takes the hilarity of each bit and fits it appropriately to the circumstance the characters are in while not seeming too outlandish or random, even to the audience. But, that applies to all comedy films/shows/etc., (especially those that parody or spoof) in that the characters in these situations don't necessarily see the strangeness of the occurrences that we see, as the audience. The two characters of Drebin and Clouseau resemble one another in that they both seem unqualified for their jobs. In the Daily Dose, it even mentions that "Drebin is probably the most bumbling film detective since . . . Clouseau." Both have many clumsy, foolish, and downright simple moments, while still giving us a deadpan seriousness in respect to their characters and their situations. (P.S. I recognized Nielson from this famous scene: "Don't Call Me Shirley")
  14. One of the primary qualities of this scene, in terms of a parody, could be the subject content we are given: a scientist with a world of knowledge, yet has an underlying background that inevitably elaborates into the film. Initially, we have the hilarity of many nuances in this scene, as well as throughout the movie, of course. Instances owing to the comic subtlety can include something as simple as the pronunciation of Frankenstein's (or Fronkenstein's) name or the "Give him an extra dollar" cue in an already funny predicament. On the other hand, the broad slapstick humor can include the scene aforementioned with the older volunteer/guinea pig, and also the final scene with Dr. Frankenstein stabbing himself with a scalpel. There are seldom, if any, scenes and/or gags in this film that overwhelms or bores. Each is played just right to the appropriate extent that makes this parody an unpretentious classic. A substantial reason for this movie was to parody the classic Universal horror films of the 1930s, so to film in black and white seems to be the only option, in terms of the movie's aesthetic. Very often I try to picture a favored black and white film in color, and it's still unclear to me why it's feels so different. Of course, there are reasons innumerable, but it never fails that captivate me.
  15. From the beginning of the scene, you get the introduction of the stunt about to be performed, the assembling of said stunt, the lull with bated breath just after the hole in the balloon is discovered (an obvious conflict that arises), and the final segment of the performer soaring down with a parachute, landing him safely to the ground. With this scene, you have a clear protagonist and antagonist (one that also has an accomplice), aiding in the standard hero/villain concept of many early slapstick comedies. You also have a complicated stunt, one that involves a sudden problem, but that miraculously ends in success. From a visual standpoint, the initial look of the "hero" and the "villains" gives clear, bold statements leading to their respective stands in the movie. Curtis is dressed all in white, performs in front of a huge audience (who are all there for him), and ends up succeeding in his complicated stunt even with the dangerous hindrance caused by Lemmon. In the same respect, Lemmon is dressed in all black, with pronounced make-up featuring an evil brow. Not to mention the balloon that finally drops on the villain, stopping him before he can escape.
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