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Posts posted by AprilRain

  1. Both Torn Curtain and Topaz have more than a few very good moments.  I was surprised that I enjoyed them as much as I did.  For me, Hitchcock put a lot of his touches together to make them really good stories on film.  They were not as intricate as his Golden Years but, it was as if he just wanted to have fun making these films.  I'll include Family Plot and The Trouble with Harry in this group.  These two especially deal with the fun of the situations.  I swear Barbara Harris is a whack job.  The ride down the mountain and her climbing up Bruce Dern was the stress in the dumbest, Jerry Lewis, way.  It was fun not to have them yelling at each other because they were both scared.  Dern accepted Harris' for who she is and they knew (not being fooled) who was really responsible.  Yea,  I really enjoyed them all including Frenzy.  All different but if you watch closely, all Hitchcock.  By the way, did anyone notice how much Carolyn Conwell looks like Liv Ulmann?

  2. I would also like to express my thanks for my first TCM class.  To Dr. Edwards and Dr. Gehring please accept my thanks and appreciation for activating a lazy mind.  I never really bothered about who did what in making films.  The only name I looked for was Ern Westmore who did the cosmetics in some films.  He once had a TV program.  Funny too, I saw his name a couple of nights ago and can't remember the movie.  Dumb right!  But, I've learned more than I expected and enjoyed the course more than I expected.  Thank you very much.  I look forward to our next course together.  I hope it is as knowledgeable as Hitchcock.  Thank you for the time and work you both spent to make the course something I had to work at, as well.  It was hard at times but fun all the time.  Again, Thank you.



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  3. Lamb to the Slaughter, if it's the story  I think it is I think it the best.  However, I really haven't seen many of the TV series shows.  As I recall, the wife hits her husband in the head with a frozen leg of lamb during an argument and kills him.  She then pops the leg of lamb into the oven.  The detectives arrive and look for the murder weapon that killed the husband.  The detectives have been there a while, at least long enough for the roast to be ready to eat.  The wife politely asks the detectives if they would like to stay and have dinner.  They are still trying to figure out what killed her husband so they decide to stay and have dinner.  While the detectives talk about the evidence and try to determine what killed him, they sit and eat the murder weapon. It is so Hitchcock.  Ironic, morbid, and funny.  It has always been the one most people remember too. 

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  4. 1&2  The clear calm view of the River Thames is like a travelogue.  The music amplifies the grandness of the River and swells as we pass under the London Bridge.  Slowly the music trails off, replaced by a politician rambling about cleaning up the River.  Hitchcock pops  up in the beginning, as he has been doing in several pictures.  The politician is still speaking on banishing the pollution in the River, when a woman spies something in the River.   A few more people turn and see it's the body of a woman.  No panic.  In fact, in the cut we are shown, only these few people turn and behave like it isn't uncommon to see a body floating down the Thames.


    The Lodger is frenetic, anything but calm and contained.  Panic and fear rule the attitude of the people.


    The openings are completely opposite of each other.  One calm and languid with a hint of stress, while the other is crazy with panic.


    3.  Common touch:  Hitchcock always lets you know the premise of the story within the first ten minutes.  You know who is going to be 

    involved and there is always the hint of what will come next.  I once read that a good screenplay should put forth the premise of the play within the first ten minutes, otherwise you will lose your audience.  Hitchcock hits it every time and maintains that level of nudging our curiosity throughout his films.

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    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.




    Marnie is devious.  She is also beautiful and intelligent.  In a few minutes, she will be someone else.


    She has two suitcases.  One she puts her "discarded clothes" in, and the other, she packs with new, out of the box clothing.  She misses nothing including a new social security card and new name.  Then there is the money.  Lots of money, new money, still in its wrappers.  She puts all but the wallet and handbag in the new suitcase.  When we first saw Marnie her hair was black.  She washes out the dye and what a surprise, she is a blond.  The style goes from wearing it down to a twist worn on top and back of her head.  Her clothes are light in color,  so is her suitcase and handbag.   At the station, she takes a bin and puts her "old" suitcase inside.  Takes a coin, puts in the slot to take out the key after she turns it.  She turns around seeming to look for something.  We see a grating in the station flooring.  Marnie walks to it, drops the key on the grating.  It doesn't fall in.  She gives it a nudge or two and it drops out of sight.  




    How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?


              The music is kind of melancholy  when she walks down the hall to her room.  The tune returns, it seems, when she is taking off the old.  The music lightens up briefly, kind of a light jazz rhythm, the new things come into view.  When she lifts her head after washing out the coloring, the music really takes off and swells up, but only briefly.  The melancholy music returns.  Interesting.


    1. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? 


    Hitchcock opens the door walks out into the hall, after Marnie passes going to her room.  He turns and looks straight at the camera, the turns and walks down the hall.  I can't honestly say what Hitchcock was up to but it did remind me of something.  Hitchcock rarely looked straight at the camera, if ever.  I remembered only one time he did.  It was in The Lodger.  Ivor Novello is hanging by his wrists because of the handcuffs around them.  It's the last scene, the police are beginning to break-up the mob.  The camera moves in to show Novello still hanging there, only showing his wrists.  Directly above him, standing on the narrow ledge of the wall in the middle of the shot and looking square into the camera is a young Hitchcock.  


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  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) through their interactions in this scene?

    Melanie is beautiful, looks great and knows it.  She appreciates a whistle by stopping.  She turns and gives the whistler a big smile.  She arrives at the pet shop at the appointed time and asks relatively logical questions about the myna bird.  She has to wait for the shopkeeper to make a call.  The bird has not arrived.  She starts to write her phone number and address for the shopkeeper, but is interrupted by Mitch when he mistakenly thinks she is the shopkeeper.  She doesn't tell him she is not the shopkeeper or that she doesn't work there at all.  She is secure in herself and curious enough about Mitch to try and help him or pull off a good joke.


    Mitch knows what he wants--love birds.  Melanie starts looking while walking about the bird section telling Mitch about the "birds".  Mitch has to know that she is either a ditz or just doesn't know which bird is which.  He is polite and considerate even though he must know he is being had.  She's beautiful so he plays along and when she asks if would take canaries instead he accepts.  Now the canaries are in same shot as Melanie and Mitch.  Mitch knows what canaries are, does Melanie?


    This interaction is more comedic than apocalyptic.  They both are willing to play the male-female game so it has to be romantic.  

    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?

    The opening scene takes place outside in a kind of square.  There is a soft sound of seagulls calling and it grows louder and louder.  Melanie stops to look up and we see all these seagulls flying around in wide circles over the square.  Nothing happens and Melanie goes into the pet shop.


    The sound design is fantastic.  It really sounds like a flock of hungry seagulls that just spotted food.  The pet shop is trickier for me.  Anyone who has ever been in a pet store with that many birds has no need to use canned bird sounds. They make a racket all on there own.  But if they used sound design for the shop and the outside, it was spot on.


    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.


    The opening scene has Melanie entering the pet shop as Hitchcock comes out behind his two terriers.  For me, it brings up what you spoke about, the duality of things; a Hitchcock thing to do.

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  7. 1.  The graphic design of fractured lines moving in different directions to a soundtrack that literally puts, not only the visual but, the audio senses into a very disconcerting aura of anxiety.  If the film begins this way, one cannot but wonder how intense the film will be.  In this case, the title design sequence is a prologue to a very intense and reality altering film.


    2.  This sounds silly, but Hitchcock is specific about the place, the date, and the time of the point we are starting the film because he wants his audience to know these facts for whatever his reasons which he may or may not make known, as the film progresses.  Stretching a point, it may be he is telling us someone has a limited amount of time to live and they won't die here.


    As in Rear Window, the camera moves toward an apartment building.  Unlike Rear Window, all the blinds are down except for one window.  The blind is partially up and we enter the room through this opening.  We have entered voyeuristically.  The woman is in bed dressed in undergarments and the man appears to be hitching up his pants.  Hitchcock implies a sexual act has occurred.


    3.  Marion and Sam (the above mentioned couple) remain in this state of attire while discussing their future together.  Apparently Marion wishes to end their relationship when they leave the room.  She isn't happy and she isn't married.  She wants more than Sam can give her.  Sam is committed to financial payments to his ex-wife and doesn't have a real career that would make it easier to pay off the alimony.  Marion wants more than these brief clandestine meetings and then walking Sam off to the train station.  She wants a real life.  It is clear that Marion has real feelings for Sam but they have no real life together or one to offer.  This is her argument  and why she will not see him again.  It seems Hitchcock has given Marion a strong will and disposition to know what it is she may be after.  She clearly knows what she doesn't want.  Her strong presence is prerequisite of a leading character (other than being Janet Leigh).  

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  8. 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. 


    Uncle Charlie is thinking about something.  He is playing with something in his hands, when the landlady comes in.  We learn his concern about anyone looking for him.  He has been on his bed and doesn't move even when she comes in.  He knows something is waiting for him to face, but he appears not very concerned.  The money carelessly on the floor lets us know a lot of money is involved by his lack of respect for it, especially when the landlady mentions it.  He is scared but not terrorfied.  He seems to have himself under control.  Only when he knows the men are outside waiting for him does his armour crack, but only for a moment.   Even then, he pushes himself forward right out of his room, into the street and passed the same two men.  He controlled the scene.



    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)


    Saw The Killers a very long time ago and remember it being a movie in black and white and lots of shadows.  The opening scene is dark, in shadows, more so when she pulls the shade down.  It is potent of something that has happened and will happen again.  The room is stark. No fancy furniture, just a few pieces to show it's a bedroom.  His mood is uneven and frenetic when he leaves the house to push past the two men.  




    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? 


    Definitely intensifies the scene.  The short big beginning when the boys are playing, to a quiet almost non-existent background in the bedroom, to a frantic loud rushed piece, as Uncle Charlie runs down the stairs out the door and passed the men.  It shows the action  of the scene in sound.

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