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Everything posted by Chris_Coombs

  1. 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? It is similar to 'The Pleasure Garden', 'The Lodger', and 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' in that it has humor in it. It differs in that there is much more humor than the other films, and it's funny: "Who was the last heavyweight champion of the world?" "Henry the eighth" "My old lady" ' There is the slow pan across the letters 'Music Hall'. Hitch uses the same camera movement in
  2. 1. what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? Hitchcock is more concerned with characters. He introduces the characters - Bob, his daughter Betty, and Abbot - and the plot, though interesting, is not the main focus. The main focus is how the characters comport themselves. How do Bob and his wife Jill deal with the kidnapping of their daughter? How does the victim, Betty, deal with it? How do the villains (Abbot and his crew) behave while trying to pull off their plans? These are the important aspects of the film. Hitchcock focused more on
  3. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? The woman starts talking about the murder, and tends to dwell on the fact that a knife was used. As Alice sits at the table, starting at the bread knife - similar to the one she stabbed the man with - the word 'knife' triggers her focus on it. Hitch gradually lowerd/muffles the conversation leaving only the word 'knife' audible, as in her mind, that is what she is focusing on - the knife.This sound technique creates a subjective aspect - we enter her mind as she obsesses over the
  4. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? The point of view shot puts us in the perspective of the character. We start to empathize with them. As they slowly approach the headmaster, we are feeling the nervousness of what they are feeling, as we see it through their eyes. 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? I believe Hitch uses the POV to achieve the empathy with the character. We start feeling what they are. As the boys slow
  5. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? The cutting during the dance scene between different angles of the two dancers, and the people watching, adds vitality. As the party continues the shots become shorter and shorter in length - the dancers, the piano player, the crowd, the instruments, the record, - this increases the pitch of the party scene and intensifies the wild feeling of the party. At this point we get a dissolve back to Jack. The wildness of the party with it's editing dissolving to the static scene of Jack adds to the
  6. 1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden Whereas The Pleasure Garden took time establishing the scenario, The Lodger begins in medias res - with a scream to a murder already committed. There is no set up or establishing of situation. There was no montage in The Pleasure Garden, but In The Lodger Hitch uses montage to create irony - the Marquee sign announcing 'Tonight Only: Golden Curls' cut with shots of a dead fair-haired woman. This is fairly dark humor, which is a common element in Hitch's film career. The Pleasure Garden's scene is more casual in the
  7. 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Yes. First, there is the use of camera/film techniques that visually (and sometimes humorously) aid in the storytelling. Such as the shot of the man using binoculars to stare more closely at the girls' legs. The out of focus shot which changes to a close up is an effect to illustrate this, but it is also a point-of-view shot, which is a Hitch trademark. The moving camera - the use of a camera to tell the story through visual means, which is necessary in silent films but is carried on throughout Hitch's career.
  8. I see Anchorman as more of a satire than a spoof or parody. Allen's Bananas was a conceptual parody with it taking elements of a genre and putting them into different settings (like taking a supply raid and setting it in a sandwich shop). Young Frankenstein was a loving parody of the classic Universal monster movies. ZAZ was a zany parody of spy thrillers with it's visual puns and verbal gags. Anchorman however, isn't really a parody or spoof because there is no real genre of TV reporter movies. There are many reporter films, like His Girl Friday, Deadline U.S.A., and Five Star Final, but Anch
  9. Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein was made at the end of Universal Studios run of monster movies. It was as if there was nowhere else to go but comedy. In that way it is different from Young Frankenstein, because the latter could look back with nostalgia at the classic films, and parody it. Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein was just that - a meeting of two current genres: An Abbot & Costello film and a Universal Monster movie. I have only seen parts of Anchorman, but it seems to be more of a satire of certain attitudes of that era of the 70's (such as sexual discrimination, self
  10. The Naked Gun (and Police Squad, the show it is based on) take traditional elements of the Police Drama format and turn them on their head: The cop quickly pulling into the parking spot - in this case he always hits something, like the garbage can The cop getting results from forensics - in this case the gag with the microscope, walking around the set wall, etc. The cop voice over - in this case relating calm information as the chaos of the car gags are in the background. The cop getting a new device - in this case the swiss army shoe and cuff link darts. The series, a
  11. Bananas was the only Woody Allen film I have seen other than Manhattan. Of course in Manhattan the comedy (and drama) was more emotional (and cerebral) so it was a experience seeing this earlier, wilder film. But I could see elements of the latter in parts of Bananas, like during the early scenes of Allen and the girl together. Young Frankenstein is a film you can't say enough about. It is an almost perfect film, and I would say it is definitely one of the top five comedies ever made. It's up there with Strangelove. The Three Musketeers (and The Four Musketeers) are wonderful films and
  12. Young Frankenstein parodies the classic Universal Monster movies very well. This clip is a parody of scenes we see in many films, where the scientist is first seen demonstrating his expertise: performing an operation, or an experiment, or lecturing a class. Think of Dr Waldman's lecture at the college in Frankenstein. He discusses with his students the difference between a normal and abnormal brain. It is often the case that the scientist in such horror films are introduced in this manner, and that is how Froderick Frankenstein is introduced to us. The film moves between broad slapstick (t
  13. The scene is a parody of a couple things: First, it is a parody of a war film which often has a scene where a group goes on a raid. In this case rather than a covert attempt to raid a warehouse or steal supplies from a town, he goes to the sandwich shop. Secondly, it is a parody of an ordinary sandwich shop scene, which we see in hundreds of movies. But in this instance he he placing an order for 1000 men. The humor of the joke is first in the specifics of the order ("One of those is on a roll") and secondly in the casual way the shop owner takes the order, as if it is nothing unusual. Vis
  14. I believe the time of the film was 1908. So that is around the time women were fighting for the right to vote, which they got in 1920. In the Great Race Maggie and Mrs. Goodbody were suffragettes, which is a movement of the silent era which also paralleled the sixties women's rights movement. So the film reflects the ideas when it was made while also echoing back to the times of the silent era. It does not really predate the era of silent film, rather it is set at the beginning of that era. We saw the first silent film in our studies was 1896 and Keystone Studio was founded in 1912, and Ch
  15. The Great Race is not only an homage to classic slapstick, it is set in the time period of the beginning of slapstick, taking place around the time of Keystone and Chaplin, between 1910s and 1920's. It harkens to the days of early cinema even in the credits with the hissing and booing of the bad guy, and the cheering of the good guy, and the time period music played on the piano, just as a piano would accompany silent cinema. It feels like a live action cartoon, I would say clearly more Road Runner than Bullwinkle. We see Fate continuously trying to thwart Leslie with devices and contrapti
  16. The Great Race was an homage to the old slapstick films. It presented a clear good guy (all in white) and clear bad guy (all in black, with the mustache twisting). Running with that was a modern element - the equality of women - which was big in the 1960's but also echoed back to the 20's with the suffragette movement. Even the credits, with hissing and cheering, seemed to recall the old days. The pie fight (and the bar room brawl) are iconic slapstick things which it payed tribute to, and tried to out do. The running gag of Leslie remaining immaculate throughout the fight is one of the t
  17. OMG Where to begin. A Shot in the Dark is IMO the best of the Pink Panther Movies. This clip is loaded with funny bits from beginning to end. I will start at the beginning. Clouseau is in love with Maria Gambrelli (suspected of murder) so he is uptight when questioning Monsieur Ballon, Maria's lover. The fumbling of words (rit of fealous jage) is not just funny as a Spoonerism, but because we know Clouseau is terribly jealous himself. He wrings the pool cue and is visibly agitated as he speaks. This is contrasted with the suave, calm George Sanders as Ballon. What's also funny about his agita
  18. Color adds to the comedy in many ways. Subtly, the light of the candle drew my attention to it, showing the wax dripping off at a slant which is a funny bit. In n the end Lucy falling into the mud is made funnier by contrasting her pink pajamas with the brown of the mud. The film is shot cinematically, which contrasts with TV. We start with a shot of Lucy, which pulls back, and moves to frame on a two shot. Though subtle, it is a more complex shot than one would see in early TV. We also have reverse angle cutting common to film, whereas TV at the time was shot more frontally, without the b
  19. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was an epic comedy, and the cameos in that film were great. I disagree that a cameo is a person playing themselves. While the Jack Benny may have been, most of the other cameos weren't. Rather, they were cameos where the actor played a typical type associated with themselves: Don Knotts as the nervous guy, Three Stooges as firemen (the Three Stooges comedies often featured them in various trades, like plumbers etc.), and Jerry Lewis as the crazy driver. They weren't playing themselves as much as they were playing a type of character they would usually play.
  20. I have never seen a Jaques Tati film, so i really can only guess his character from this short clip alone. To me, he seems to be a kind, gentle, friendly and patient man. We see him giving a gift to the girl who obviously wanted a tomato, we see him interacting pleasantly with the neighbors. As he walks up the labyrinth of steps and hallways to his apartment, he does so with a calm, patient manner. The adjustment of the window is funny because it is only after a bit that we realize he is trying to give the bird below some sunlight. At first we have no idea why he is fussing with the window. He
  21. Abbot & Costello's verbal style differed from the Marx Brothers in the fact that Bud was a straight man, but also was a power figure over Lou. He was gruff, criticizing, disapproving - he was always giving Lou a hard time. Lou was always bumbling and getting into situations. That dynamic between the two was consistent throughout their careers. That meant Bud would often set up the joke and Lou would give the punchline as in: "That's the bunk!" (Bud scolding) "That;s what I'm trying to tell you. That's his bunk!" (Lou's punchline) This also meant that the content of the verbal slapstick
  22. Lloyd again shows his style to be a more normal person, and we can relate to him being enamored of a celebrity. He takes what we would do in the situation - probably constantly looking at the rear view mirror - and exaggerates it by actually turning around. The projection screen stuff matches up pretty well, selling the gag. And Babe Ruth comes of genuinely flustered. Brown fishing through the puddle is great. What can you say about Leslie Nielson? That gag keeps going on and on too. I think the next one he starts yelling 'STEEEE-RIKE!!' before the ball even goes over the plate. The TV
  23. I found the comedy in the Charlie Chase more situational. There wasn't a verbal sparring or clever dialogue skit. He talked out of the side of his mouth from the situation, and talked funny to the Pip when she comes up behind him, but there was no verbal routine or play on words. The Marx Brothers seem to have a lot of sparring between people. Sometimes between Groucho and Chico, sometimes between a Marx Brother and a straight man. But the comedy comes from the back and fourth - the way one responds to the other. W.C. Fields the comedy is all on him and what he says, much of which is an asid
  24. The Marx Brothers scene does fit the definition of verbal slapstick: -the comeback that turns the first speaker's words around, insipid verbosity that turns the speaker's own words against himself (all this talk of first party second party etc). -one-liners (that's why I didn't say anything) -puns (you should have been at the first party) -outrageous metaphors (long arms = baboon) -malapropisms (sanity clause / Santa Claus) -foreign accents (Chico's exaggerated Italian accent). there are some subtle characteristic gags, such as the double take, which Groucho uses. The double take i
  25. First time seeing Charley Chase The comedy does match the criteria for slapstick, but it is not as extreme as we saw in the silents. We see exaggeration in the reactions to the squirting water, and in the body language when the Pip comes up to Chase. This exaggeration also includes exaggeration of sound, in the Pip's highly flighty talk and Chase saying 'Amy McPhoison'. We also see the exaggeration in the beginning as Chase tries to talk sideways so as not to show her his breath. It's physical - the squirting water, the shaving scene - but still not as extreme as we might see in a Chapli
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