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GigiGirl

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  1. I have seen "The Killers" only a few times, so memory of opening is just not there. But I have seen "Shadow of a Doubt" at least 100 times (not exaggerating), and the opener not only has all the style of noir, it is signature Hitchcock -- we know everything we need to know about Uncle Charlie in the first three minutes and from there, his insinuation into his "family" in Santa Rosa is cringe-worthy anxiety through to the very last scene. We learn that he abhors humanity; he doesn't care about anything, evidence the money strewn all over the floor. He is casual to a fault. And he has no feeling or fear as he walks by the detectives he knows are looking for him. You know, I've always wondered this: I get the feeling that Charlie is not really the uncle (mother's brother); there are hints sometimes: Ann says "you look different;" the mother really doesn't know what he does; with his gifts upon arrival, the old photo is supposed to be their parents, but I get a queasy sense of doubt that he's making it up. It's just a veil of a sense I pick up every time I watch this movie. I'm not an expert, but does anyone else get this feeling that he is not the real Uncle Charlie, but instead has hijacked the identity. Maybe I'm over-analyzing. Does anyone else get any kind of feeling that he may not be the real Uncle Charlie? That would be really dark, yes?
  2. Last night I dreamt... Rebecca is my absolute favorite Hitchcock film. The beginning narration of Joan Fontaine voice, and her dream, always gives me the chills of anticipation and anxiety, no matter how many times I watch this movie. Which, by the way, is probably about 100 or more times. That first dolly shot taking us down the overgrown drive is the first giveaway of the Hitchcock touch. Yet, it is different than openings in previous Hitchcock films. It has a more gothic air, with the mist and the shell of a mansion, and of course we want to know what the heck happened. It has a much slower, dream-like pace, not edgy and frenetic. Also, Hitchcock does not give us a lot of information in that opener: only a woman's voice talking about her dream about what appears to be her former residence that burned to a skeleton of itself. That house is a dark character in itself. And we see that later through Judith Anderson's almost sexual love for the house she has taken care of, like a mistress. It feels so Jane Eyre, so mysterious, so dark and foreboding to me, which I why I can never get enough of it.
  3. I love these Hitchcock opening scenes where there's always a crowd in some kind of situation, which appears all very normal, except for one slight snafu, such as an avalanche! I'm still not understanding the psychology of this type of device for the audience, but I'm just beginning this deep dive on Hitchcock, and I'm certain, this course really only scratches the surface. I digress -- except for the avalanche diverting the travelers, the tone is lighthearted, and very British. Enter Caldicott and Charters and for me, they steal the show. Right away, we have the comical counterpoint to balance out the anxiety of being stranded in an in after an avalanche. Hitchcock loves snow and the mayhem it can cause, doesn't he. In the last bit of the opening scene, Margaret Lockwood clearly is the leader of her posse -- just the way she is placed (on the stairs, a few steps up from the other women, as if deified), giving orders to the innkeeper, again the goddess entitlement. There's no question that she's the focal point.
  4. Similarities to Pleasure Garden, et al - crowd scenes as openers, or at least in the first few minutes. Hitchcock is lulling us into normalcy, the mundane. What could possibly go wrong when there's a crowd of people around. North by Northwest is my favorite in that respect. Peter Lorre, when he's knocked over by the poor doomed skier, is laughing when gets up, dusts off, until he sees the skier. As another student in this thread said, he facial expression turned on a dime, and we see the quick and easy switch from laughing and joviality to just plain sinister. I've seen both versions of this film and I think the character development is more important in the first version, more so than in the later version. I just can never warm up to Jimmy Steward and Doris Day, no matter how many times I watch it. It's easier to follow the story in the later version than their whining melodramatic handwringing (do I sound like an awful uncaring person where a missing child in involved! Ugh!) In any event, the characters in the Lorre version are much more interesting and engaging.
  5. Alice is clearly in trouble mentally and emotionally, and with the lack of a musical track, Hitchcock's use of conversation, tonal variations, sound effects (store bell ringing) convey her distress possibly better than any music track could. We're so accustomed today to having music tracks guide our viewing of a film--and our emotions and feelings about it. Movie soundtracks are their own industry (revenue, awards, etc.) so I'm guessing that this has a lot to do with the fact that we don't see this kind of cinematic device anymore. But in Blackmail, (which I haven't seen yet, but will this week on TCM) our subjective view of Alice is driven by the mundane - talking, her very good acting, and manipulating the sound qualities of the conversation. It's effect is so subtle as you watch Alice's distress in her face and movement, until boom! the store customer is babbling and all Alice (and we) hear is the word "knife." How brilliant Hitchcock is with specifically the talk of the knife as the father asks Alice to cut a piece of bread. Can't help but jump when the sole word "knife" is literally screamed out. Fantastic.
  6. Completely forgot about Rebecca!! Might be my favorite, or at least tied with The Birds.
  7. I love the phrase "impending doom." That's exactly how this POV makes me feel, I just couldn't find the right language! Thank you!
  8. The absence of a soundtrack threw me off a bit. I've never seen Downhill, so I watched this clip several times. The POV shots, the tracking, puts me IN the film; rather than observer, I feel like I am in the scene. There's also a kind of suspense, or suspension of belief, in this device.
  9. It's amazing. Without using words (sound) Hitchcock gets us right into the head of the main character, the champion in training. I couldn't help notice the humor in that throwaway line about training for a divorce. The brief scene we viewed is chaotic, intense and very sexual. The two female dancers infer lesbian trysts, a man forcing some liquor on one of them brings the scene to a different level of sexual tension and the portend of violence. And getting us into the subjective POV of the champion in training is very effective with the montage view of his wife sitting on the lap of the other man, following the sight through his eyes around the room. Very creepy idea to blur the photography, which only adds to the dark psychology of it all. We really feel that the champion in training wants to kill the other guy. Fighting for her? Ha! He'll be fighting for his pride I think!
  10. Hitchcock's use of music in "The Lodger" is what first struck me as a strong example of the "Hitchcock style." I'm thinking of Hitchcock's 1956 version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much." Doris Day's creepy "Que Sera Sera" is all over that film, together with the sound design, it really drives the suspense and the tight emotions that follow. I got that same feeling from the music in "The Lodger." The scream: there is nothing like a silent scream to disturb one's sensibilities. The way Hitchcock frames the woman's face -- very close in and askew -- throws the viewer off even more. I can't help but think about Jessica Tandy in "The Birds" when she discovers Mr. Fawcett's dead body with his eyes pecked out -- the horror of it all is that she's so shocked by the sight, nothing comes out of her mouth but we know she's screaming inside, heck, I scream every time I watch that scene! Relative to the "Hitchcock style" in "The Lodger," the perspective/POV of driving, where he puts the viewer in the car with the driver in some fashion reminds me of other Hitchcock movie scenes: Cary Grant driving drunk; Tippi Hedren driving to Bodega Bay; I'm sure there are others, but tense driving scenes seem to be a thing for Hitchcock.
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