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About Alynia

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  1. 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 scene is in color and has a majestic soundtrack - we are in London! (Also a note on the screen tells us so; because without the Ferris-Wheel, how would any identify the city now?) We finally enter the crowd scene and once the body is discovered, people look; but they are a silent crowd and do not show the agitation of those in the Lodger... the body of the woman is blonde... so could be where Marnie ended up. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. -- Well, the opening show is a new one, since it's the first time he's ever performed such an action; and the crowd scene is more crowd-like and less individualistic as in the past; but the speaker is a character, from his rosebud lapel flower to his eager expression and speech. 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. -- Any opening shot of a film is the same as the first sentence in a novel, the first glimpse of a piece of artwork, musical phrase or even the first line of a poem - it is all meant to create the world upon which you will enter. This opening shot is a welcoming shot - here is London. It's huge! It has a bridge and a dirty river that some speaker is talking about cleaning up... removing the body is an excellent first step. His other opening shots, in all the films I've seen (and I did watch Rear Window and didn't mind Stewart half as much as usual - so thank you,TCM!) all create the world we are going to spend some time in; sometimes it's a busy street outside a trainstation, or a mountain side resort, or the inside of an expensive hotel... usually it's been streets though... outside shots to show the big world before moving into the characters and the world they have created. I must say, I did notice the seagulls in this opening clip and had a shiver... thanks, TCM! In all seriousness, this had been a wonderful idea and I enjoyed it greatly; it has broadened my knowledge of Hitchcock's style and allowed me to see how others view him as well. Thank you, TCM... this has been a wonderful month.
  2. 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. -- She is trouble, that's what she is! She likes stylish clothing, knows how to dye her hair, has a ready supply of false SSNs which means she seeks jobs with her identities. She also shops in expensive stores, stays in expensive hotels based on her ease with the world around her. However, she isn't that good at forensic science, which in the 60s wasn't that developed yet, but still, she would have had a lot of DNA on that suitcase she dumped in the locker; a donation center would have been a better 'loss' of her items, but then... she probably didn't know anything about that side of the city. Trouble, trouble, trouble... How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? -- The score adds drama and a bit of suspense in the packing of items and the character's actions. No dialogue is needed as the actions and score fill in the questions nicely. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? -- He glanced at the camera. Usually he's looking to the side or away... but this time, he caught my eye. I don't know what it means, but he was a crafty director and I'm certain he's up to no good too. Maybe he's gone a left a bag of old films at some railway station... has anyone checked the grates for old keys?
  3. An excellent point; as I heard her request, I thought of movies now, where people are looking for robots instead of birds and the dialogue could be exactly the same. I don't think your observation was minor at all!
  4. 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 banter between the two characters could indicate more of a romantic comedy, but for me the tone was off and covered more foreshadowing than playful humor. Melanie is as impatient as Mitch - yet she breaks away from her serious attitude with the clerk to play 'saleswoman' with Mitch. Mitch doesn't seem to be buying it as he knows more about the birds than her, but goes along with the gag, probably so see how far she will go. 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 sounds of birds outside created a seaside town, yet the birds inside, once cheery, become a little more deafening, not because he enhances their sounds but because he does not dim them; most of the time background noises are lessened to allow the dialogue to be heard; in this case, the birds remain a part of the dialogue and therefore, create not a romantic opening, but a sinister one. Subtle. Crafty... 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. -- He passes through the door with his two dogs; Mitch is looking for two love birds for an 11 year old child (2 1s); Melanie and the clerk are the only two women in the store at the time... so yes, Hitchcock offers a clue about doubles for the viewer quick enough to catch it.
  5. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? -- Sharp lines and a break in the words we know, including Hitchcock's name at then end; we know the words, but they are disjointed, cracked... we think we know the story, but it too will be disjointed and cracked. 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? -- We have become Peeping Toms, taking a view from the rear window at a couple within. That he is so specific on the date and time, and the presentation of the information, made me chuckle; until we entered the room and the small drama played out before is... which was not humorous and left me disjointed. Cracked. 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. She likes hotel rooms? We also see her unclothed! Gasp. I have no defense for my answer, the woman is a hussy and deserves Norman's cracked and disjointed judgement. Fictionally, of course.
  6. 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. -- This is a light breach through the fourth wall and into those fans of the stars on screen; it provides them an inner connection, a moment when they can nod and say, 'yes, I know that face,' but then add, 'and what are you going to do now?' 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. -- Come on baby, light my fire. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. -- It's a light scene, but the dark sunglasses on Grant and the suspiciously familiar tone of the conversation indicates a darkness boiling and a promise, very shortly to leave the pot and spill the story onto our laps.
  7. 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 title is Vertigo and the opening shots consist of a woman's face; and sequence comes out of her eye, which could indicate the chaos of her mind. Reality has been twisted and it's a question of who she is and what is going on in her head. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. -- The eye. We watch the film as the film is watching us. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? -- They spiral and twist into each other, creating an effect that the viewer has no escape from. Any other score that did not create the spirals would have allowed the viewer a means to step back from the film... and escape.
  8. 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 shot is an introduction to a world seen from a window. The viewer in this case since the character sleeps, has become the voyeur - we check in to see Jeffries is sleeping before we look again out the window, and then finally we look at him and his inner world. 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? -- According to our tour of his room, Jeffries likes to take photos of damage, I thought he may have been a race car driver and that was how his leg was damaged... not being a fan of Jimmy Stewart, this is not a film I've seen, so don't recall the character easily. He also had a friend who has a sense of humor, hence the writing on the leg; but not a lot of friends as the cast is not written upon by several people... only the one. Which could also mean only one friend was honored enough to touch said cast. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? -- More as a voyeur, a resident witnessing the morning routines of neighbors; because the camera moves its view, it doesn't create the effect of a immobile spectator; we are in the apartment with Jefferies, as if we were a guest waking up to the morning. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? -- I always agree with Hitchcock, it's his life... I'm just looking at him through a window.
  9. 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 objects on the screen are shown in different angles, creating a criss-cross pattern on the screen; the train tracks continue that pattern as the train moves; and once again, the feet move in different directions onboard the train, passing passengers with crossed legs... then Bruno's speaking continues the criss-crossing pattern where the scene ends. 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. -- Bruno is flash; from the tilt of his foot when he pays the cab to his gait as he moves toward the train. His shoes are flash, his tie... his bright, open expression and his speaking to a man he doesn't know and ending with the line, "You go ahead and read, I don't talk that much." .. and then he looks over the man's shoulder to read the book. Whereas Guy, is just a guy; he doesn't stand out from the rest of the passengers in dress or manner. 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? -- Dramatic music at the start and then, comic phrasing with the shots of the feet. He almost lulls the viewer into ease.. but it's a Hitchcock film, so I'm not setting down the blanket yet, Dimitri... nice try.
  10. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? -- Shadow, of course, though the focus on the set is diminished and given more on the two characters present, who are played as shadow and light. 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 awakening of Ingrid's character to her situation and the uncomfortable path she will need to follow is hinted at in this scene; as is the character of Devlin - is he good or bad? The devil or the saint? 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? -- The scene challenge's Grant's followers because he appears to be reciting his lines soto - however, the humor appears in his tone toward the end of his narration and, of course, by the end of the scene, his eyes are alight with mischief, which allows me, one of his fans, to know he's going to win and is one of the good guys... how he will accomplish this has peaked my interest.
  11. 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? -- The play with light is visible; especially the angles that cross the hallway when Sammy and the housekeeper are trying to get the paper signed. 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 of his skill; the acting is smooth, the scenes are set... the only difference is that unlike his other stories, we are not left wondering "what next?"... we don't have a hook to help us turn the page. 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? -- They work well together and seem to have the chemistry that viewers like to refer to... I think of it more as good acting, editing and direction than 'chemistry.'
  12. 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. -- Charlie doesn't seem surprised by the landlady's comment about the two men; that she confided her feelings to him and suggested in words and action a sort of 'protection' indicates he has some charm over her not visible in this scene. He is also not a coward and while he supposes they do not know what he looks like, he makes certain they do when he approaches and then passes them by; he has gotten a look at them - so he is a man who takes action and gathers information. 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) -- The play on light and shadow - isn't as soft as in other films; it is stark and dares to show the line between black and white, but as it's shadow the black and white is actually gray and suspect. The music is melodramatic and indicates action in the character's thought, even when he moves slowly. The final bit of the film, where Charlie is framed by the two men... who place their hands in their jacket pocket (I think that's gonna be a gun, Charlie...) and creates a long 'walk' is something I consider very 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? -- As I mentioned earlier, it adds a touch that indicates the character's mood and thoughts, while his expression relays calm, the music suggests otherwise.
  13. 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? -- It began with a narration and miniature shot... and finally our two main characters meeting. There were no dancing girls or crowd... the film began quietly, softly... like the monster that creeps from the closet when you are near sleep. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? -- Nothing really springs to mind. Upon reflection, the camera angles on the two characters and their intensity for the moment and brings to mind the Farmer's Wife in the treatment of the two characters; dark and light; despair and laughter. 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 allure to know more about this character, what happened to create its current state pulls me into the story. The voiceover narration is an additional tease to enhance my interest. If this had been a silent film and only the camera to the house, I would still be interested to know what happened.
  14. 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. -- Music runs as background, but also a clue that reveals itself once the 'agent' Mrs. Froy is known to be an agent and hums the tune for our duo. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. -- They add a great deal of humor and a bit of suspicion that they could be more than mere travelers. I love this pair, and in fact, the entire cast of this film. Subtle details in gestures and glances carry as much power as the dialogue... and these two have taken the award for backstory! 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. -- A busy and active scene, with a mix of people and music; Iris seems aware of others around her, yet moves through the scene ensconced in her own world.
  15. 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? -- People, people, people... Mystery can start in a crowd. You're not safe anywhere. The film deviates from the others in that it has sound. There is also a sense of calm, for being in the midst of a crowd - who watches a performance and not of dancing girls, but of Mr. Memory - an unattractive man. Swiss. Am I right? 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? -- I Disagree. The only character I've seen that was suspect was the Lodger... and that he was supposed to be Jack the Ripper but for the fame of the star, I think that is the reason. I enjoy the films because ANYONE can be sucked into an adventure - but only if you're aware enough and loyal enough to be so. 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? -- They work to build the scene. This is the first time we've followed the main character into the scene; before the scene was done to set the tone and this is no exception, but this time we have a mystery to start us right out. Who is this man? And when the gun fires, was he the shooter or the target? And by the time we figure out what's going on, we are sucked into the story.
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