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About startspreading

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  • Birthday 07/21/1993

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  1. Hi! You can find the estimated budget of some movies on IMDb. For instance: Broadway Melody (1929): $379,000 Gold Diggers of 1933: $433,000 Top Hat (1935): $609,000 The Wizard of Oz (1939): $2,800,000
  2. 1. 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” is more straightforward. The murder is the first thing we see, and the score is suspenseful since the beginning. In “Frenzy” we have a nice score, that makes us feel welcome to London – it’s a very English-like score – and a speech. The dead body is something that breaks the pace of the speech – after all, the man was talking proudly of how the river was going to be clean, and suddenly a dead body appears floating. The curiosity that arises when the body is discovered is the same, though. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. I can see the ordinary setting: a street, right by the Thames river. But the touch that I see better is the villain who commits his crime in a common place, where the viewer can find himself in. Like in other, earlier films, we see the dead body in a public place – even though it was probably left far by the river and the waters brought it there. Also, the credits roll over a tracking shot, and I believe the footage was taken from a plane or even a boat. 3. Using Frenzy as an example, what thoughts do you have about the various purposes Hitchcock had in mind when he created his opening scenes? In the Daily Doses, we have focused on opening scenes, so there should be patterns or strategies you have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career. He sets the tone of the film early on, by making the public a confident of the characters. He also gives the public “the best seat in the house”, as Bill Krohn says, by making them see the danger first-hand. Here, for instance, the man is the first one who sees the dead body, followed by two women and us – the important people with medals and the man giving the speech see the dead body after us.
  3. By the way, here it is the full line-up of the films covered: http://doriantb.blogspot.com.br/p/best-hitchcock-movies-that-hitchcock.html
  4. Years ago classic film bloggers wrote about "the best Hitchcock films Hitchcock never made". My film was Truffaut's Confidentially Yours and there are some Hitch references: http://criticaretro.blogspot.com.br/2012/07/de-repente-num-domingo-vivement.html
  5. 1. 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. Well, she’s fake. She has four social security numbers, with four different identities. She is changing her clothes from one messed up baggage to another, tidier, and selecting only the best clothes We can imagine that she has multiple personalities, and Margaret ‘Marnie’ Edgar is the fancier one. We can definitely tell something is wrong with her. 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The score is suspenseful, yet not as suspenseful as the score of Psycho. We can sense a crescendo as Marnie changes her things from one purse and one baggage to the other. The climax of the score happens as her face is revealed, the real blonde Marnie is seen: it’s like a revelation. And, as she walks the train station, I can identify a sequence of notes that Herrmann used again in “Taxi Driver”. 3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? It is too simple for my taste. Surely, Hitchcock was getting older, but not less creative. But something is interesting: even though the cameo lasts one second, maybe two, it’s the first time I remember seeing Hitchcock looking straight to the cameras in one of his cameos. It may be him acknowledging the audience, or the approximation he got through his TV show being translated to the big screen.
  6. 1. 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) in this scene? The shopping windows remind me of a romantic comedy that came out the same year as “The Birds”: “A New Kind of Love”. The architecture of the pet shop reminds me of the bookstore Audrey Hepburn works in “Funny Face”. The tone is playful, and Melanie even smiles when someone whistles. A mistake about schedule makes Melanie meet Mitch. He mistakes her for a clerk, and she plays along. The conversation about lovebirds and the line “here they are: the lovebirds” can be seen as some kind of innuendo. Nobody could think this would evolve to a horror film, but at the same time it’s all part of the Hitchcock touch and his idea of using an ordinary situation to develop an interesting story. 2. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere? There are only bird sounds in this sequence. As we hear them, we think about tranquility, life in a small community, and also something wild. When we enter the pet shop, we still only have bird sounds, and a light mood. 3. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene. It’s a humorous cameo, and Hitchcock’s cameos usually don’t have a connection with the scene or the plot. But I believe that he may have chosen to walk a couple of dogs – his own dogs – to symbolize Melanie’s search for a pair.
  7. 1. 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 score is a tense one, and makes me think of running away and being sought after. The title design reminds us of windows, of dismemberment – maybe of a dead body – and of putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Together, they gave us a sense of voyeurism and of suspense – we’re about to witness a crime and we’ll be invited to help the cops solve it. 2. As the titles end, we have three shots of Phoenix, Arizona, and a very specific day, date, and time: “FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH” and “TWO FORTY-THREE P.M.” What is Hitchcock seeking to establish with such specificity? Also, why do you think Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds from the outside? Does this shot remind of any other Daily Doses we have watched? This opening is voyeuristic as well. We are going to see through the peeking blinders just like peeping tom LB Jefferies from “Rear Window” and, in a sense, also the old man right in the beginning of Hitchcock’s first film, “The Pleasure Garden”. Date, time and location give this beginning a tone of a documentary or a TV program about the police. 3. In the remainder of this sequence, we are introduced to Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin). The scene pushed the boundaries of censorship, especially considering our last Daily Dose for North by Northwest was edited for a line of risqué dialogue. Since this is the opening scene of Psycho, how does the hotel room scene function as a way to establish Marion Crane as a main character? Defend your answer. Even as a lover, she dominates the situation. She is seen being funny and speaking seriously, at the same sequence. She is taking advantage of the situation, she is not blinded by her feelings nor being misguided by Sam. She knows what she is doing.
  8. 1. 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 line, "I look vaguely familiar.") How does our pre-existing knowledge of these stars function to create meaning in this scene. The playful sequence is possible due to the amazing star power Cary Grant had – one that would impress even an Oscar winner like Eva Marie Saint. After “I look vaguely familiar”, he continues the joke with: “You have the feeling you’ve seen me somewhere before. I have that effect upon people, it’s something about my face”. To which she replies: “It’s a nice face”. When he says women fight him and put him in disadvantage, it’s also something about his star persona. This is a bit that only makes sense for people who are familiar with Grant, and it surely made sense, as a tongue-in-cheek moment, in 1959. 2. 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 important piece of acting business (or as a prop) in this scene. The prop is important for their first moment of intimacy, when he lights her cigarette – she touches his hand, that is the only thing in the frame with her. Lighting a cigarette as a romantic gesture makes me think of “Now, Voyager”, from 1942. And the prop makes her ask what the O stands for, and his reply, ‘nothing’, is supposed to a be joke on Hitchcock’s former boss, David O. Selznick, whose O meant nothing as well. 3. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. The sound of the train moving is very suave and low. Most sounds come from the third unseen person here, the waiter, who takes and leaves plate, silverware and glasses to Grant. This, and the suave, almost inexistent score, make the scene very cozy and intimate – like a date in a restaurant.
  9. 1. 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," the mood and atmosphere they are establishing) that this sequence is communicating to the audience. The woman’s face makes me think of obsession. When it turns red, I can think of tragedy, doom. When the spirals come to the screen, I think about falling, being trapped, entering a labyrinth. From then on, I only feel dizzy, like I’m falling into a pit without the chance of saving myself. 2. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. The eye turning red. It is a surprise to see a regular eye turning blood red, and then the title coming from inside the eye. Then we enter the eye, with all the spiraling going on inside the woman’s mind. I see it as a sign of tragedy, as if the story between the characters was doomed from the very start – from the title itself. 3. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? The score itself is hypnotic. Before we see any image, when all we have are the black and white logos, we already have a hypnotic feel. We can hear a “spiral” thing in the score: it goes on and on, again and again. It’s repetition, but it is effective.
  10. 1. 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? The opening is our invitation to peek in that neighborhood. We could think it’s Jeff’s POV, or his nurse’s (played by Thelma Ritter), but since she is not there and he has his back to the window, it’s our POV – the first time we see something the characters are not aware of during the film. 2. 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? Through images, we can reach the conclusion that Jeff was photographing the race and, when the cars collided, right after he took that amazing photo that is shown, he was hit by one of the vehicles. Maybe it wasn’t that at all, since there are several photos hanging. He is, nevertheless, proud of the photos he has taken, and didn’t even get rid of the broken camera – they may be like “war wounds” for him. And whoever wrote in his cast – maybe if was himself – has a dark sense of humor. 3. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? I felt like a voyeur, and I also understood a few things – especially concerning the high temperatures, that are making the couple sleep outside, and Jeff’s backstory. I don’t feel really immobile, because we see down in the patio – something we could only do if we reached the window very closely and hung from there, and we can see inside the apartment as well. We have mobility, Jeff has far less than us. 4. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? If I had to choose the Hitchcock films with the best domain of cinematic technique, I’d put both Rear Window and Vertigo at the top of the list.
  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. The most obvious way is by showing the train tracks crossing. I can perceive also a cross between instruments, or two different melodies in the soundtrack. They also don’t cross paths until they are inside the train – for instance, they don’t pass the gate one after the other, but with several people between one and the other. 2. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example. The first contrast we notice is in their shoes. Bruno wears black and white, dandy shoes, while Guy wears all black, traditional shoes. Bruno wears pants with little stripes, while Guy wears plain pants. Guy has a checkered tie, while Bruno has one with lobsters – and his name. Bruno starts the conversation and introduces himself – he’s a man that gets things done. Both have men carrying their luggage, though. 3. While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence? I hear the song in a crescendo – until they meet. The song is thrilling, but it is as if announcing that something solemn was about to start.
  12. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? I see that Alicia is a heroine left to fight with her own resources. The same goes for Devlin, even him being a spy! As a narrative, this scene doesn’t have much of the Hitchcock touch. Also, Devlin sounds like devil. A word play, perhaps? 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? The first thing I noticed were the shadows above Bergman’s bed – I’ll have to look up how the scene compares to the one involving milk in Suspicion. She is a clear figure, in her white nightgown and sheets, her almost blonde hair. He is a darker figure, with black hair and black suit, and he is first seen as in the shadows. He is more serious person than she is. But she can be serious – she’s not wearing an all-white outfit, but a striped blouse. She can be a mix of serious and non-serious. 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? In this film, Cary Grant is once again a reluctant character, something he played in other of his most famous films, like “Arsenic and Old Lace”. Here, he is reluctant to accept that he has feelings for Alicia (Bergman) – he is focused on the mission, and doubts a little of Alicia’s seriousness. Bergman is great – as the lesson told, she is a mix of pure and bold. I think she’s perfect for the role, and can be more mundane than Grant.
  13. 1. 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? I can recognize a playful score and a lavish set. Mr and Mrs Smith, as their own names show, are an ordinary couple. By the props, we can see that there has been a fight – it’s not a normal apartment, but one full of mess, with the wife sleeping alone in the bed and the husband playing cards. She is particularly mad, but wants to end the fight and forgive, but she doesn’t want to be the one to apologize – that’s why she pretends to be sleeping and peeks from under the sheets. 2. 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? It’s typical for his Selznick years – just like in Rebecca and Shadow of a Doubt, and especially like in the later, the opening is not with a crowd, but in a bedroom. But it sets the tone early – they’re a fighting couple, but they love each other a lot. 3. 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? I’m biased because I think Carole is perfect in all roles she played. I think they’re well cast, and Robert Montgomery adds playfulness and some kind of fun bad mood to his character. I can also envision Cary Grant as Mr Smith, with a great result.
  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. We can see that he has a lot of money – so far we don’t know where the money comes from. He seems to accept his fate, but when the landlady leaves he becomes nervous and decides to run away – he’s guilty of something that we’ll only know later. And, well, I love his “hiding in plain sight” moment! 2. 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) When I read about the opening “of a man waiting to be killed”, I instantly thought about The Killers. I see that, like in this movie and many other noirs, we have a high contrast caused by shadows and light in the apartment. Of course, the Swede’s apartment in the 1946 movie is almost empty, while Uncle Charlie’s is a better one, with a good amount of furniture and décor. I see a very noir touch when Uncle Charlie opens the window and sees the two guys – by the framing, Uncle Charlie is behind bars. 3. 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? It’s quiet inside Uncle Charlie’s room – a contrast to the kids playing outside. Is it a symbol of losing the innocence? Maybe. As for Tiomkin’s score, it makes us feel tense. As Uncle Charlie says “nothing on me”, the score becomes more dramatic, and we already know that the detectives may have nothing to incriminate him, but he is a sinister figure anyway. When Uncle Charlie gets out of the apartment, the score comes to a crescendo that is almost a scream.
  15. 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? The most obvious difference is that all the openings in Daily Doses have happened in crowded places, whereas the opening of Rebecca happens in a far-away property. It also has a voice-over narration, something new. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Although it’s not one of the elements of the “touch” described by Phillips, I see that we share the point of view with the second Mrs. De Winter. What I see that was described by Phillips is the ordinary lead, here played by Joan Fontaine. But, overall, Rebecca is more a Selznick picture than a Hitchcock one. 3. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What affect do the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene? A house says a lot about the people who live in it. The word “symmetry” was a key to me: a symbol of order and sobriety. I also think that the moon casting a light and then a shadow helps give the house a “feeling”. Manderley is as sinister as a haunted house. On the other hand, by those few initial minutes, we can sense that Maxim is a disturbed, haunted character, and the second Mrs. De Winter is a naïve and nervous one – she is insecure and awkward.
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