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  1. Just saw this. Had been thinking this back when we watched Rear Window. Who could forget Alvin and the Chipmunks? Thanks. Got my certificate yesterday. Woo, hoo! Camille Dee
  2. I'd like to add my thanks to you, Prof. Edwards, and your team for a really enjoyable and informative course. I look forward to watching the rest of the films on my DVR with a more informed view. I've also loved reading other students' insights and comments both on this message board and on the Hitchcock Bulletin Board. I've told many of my friends about the class and look forward to the next one. So happy to have found you all. Cameos
  3. 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. Similarities: London setting, Thames River, police, press and spectator presence, a blonde female body found. Also, the cast includes established theater actors (Alec McCowen, Vivien Merchant, Anna Massey, Clive Swift, Billie Whitelaw, and Jean Marsh) as opposed to movie stars. The Lodger's star, Ivor Novello, was a well-known theater performer. Differences: The Lodger is in black and white and the opening scene takes place on a foggy night, while Frenzy is in color and the opening is in the day (bright and sunny). Frenzy has no close-up of the woman's face before she is killed, no graphics, no drawing of the shadowy male figure, no shots of machinery (teletype, printing press) or cars racing down the streets of London. The music for The Lodger is menacing and suspenseful, while Frenzy's opening music has a majesterial sound as we see the grandeur of the London harbor. Also, the aerial shot of the river is very different from the tighter shots in The Lodger's opening. --------------------- 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. I mentioned this in the similarities between The Lodger and Frenzy. Also, Hitchcock appears in his cameo in Frenzy's opening. --------------------- 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. I think Hitchcock conveys a lot of information about the characters in his opening scenes and sets the tone of the film. He contrasts normal, everyday life with the exceptional--in Frenzy, on a bright,sunny day, a group of people listening to a politician speak are suddenly confronted with a dead body in the busy harbor. The main message I get is that in life, things are not always what they seem, so Beware!
  4. 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.In this opening scene, Marnie appears to be a woman of mystery--a chameleon, although we do not know why. She is beautiful with expensive looking clothing, shoes, compact, wallet, luggage, etc. She also appears ladylike--the white gloves and elegant suit and hairdo. Although she seems to choose expensive, fine objects, and takes care in the way she packs her new clothes, the way she just throws and stuffs her old clothing into her old suitcase indicates these objects are no longer important or of use to her. Also, the way she just throws aside the boxes seems to communicate to the audience her disregard for these things. The multiple Social Security cards with different IDs and the bundles of cash tell the audience that this is no ordinary woman. The hair color change, the railroad, the hotel, and the locker communicate that she is on the move--for unknown reasons. It reminds me of a reptile shedding its skin. The color palette is also significant: blacks, white and grey changes to more earthtone/neutral/warmer hair, clothing, suitcase, purse. --------------------------- 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The music seems to be suspenseful as the movie opens and as Marnie is transforming herself, rising to a crescendo as we see her face for the first time as she rises from the sink after washing out the black hair dye. ------------------------ 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? I didn't see any variation in Hitchcock's cameo. The only thing I noticed was that he looked at the woman walking past in the hallway and perhaps he was extremely visible (although I remember one of his cameos where he is on a train and he interacts with an annoying little boy). Hitchcock is an older man in a dark suit and tie leaving his room. Could be a dirty old man!
  5. 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?Tippi Hedren is beautifully dressed and is walking quickly (and happily) in downtown San Francisco. There are wolf whistles and she turns to "acknowledge" them. The pet shop is a happy place, full of chirping birds. The tone of the clerk's voice and her dialogue are lightly comedic. Tippi Hedren then reacts to Rod Taylor by pretending to be a sales clerk and they engage in playful banter. Taylor wants to buy lovebirds, reinforcing the romance element. Hedren even convinces him to buy a canary instead which signifies his willingness to accede to her. The only dark element is the large number of gulls almost swarming in the sky nearby and Hedren asks about them. ----------------------------- 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? We hear the normal sounds of urban life--traffic, horns, the cable car bell, and the seagulls cawing in the background. As Hedren enters the pet shop, the birds are chirping lightly. When Taylor enters, the bird sounds become louder and a bit more aggressive (masculine?). As the two converse, the bird sounds almost come to a crescendo indicating the chemistry between the two. ------------------------------ 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. I think it is a delightful cameo reinforcing the romantic comedy atmosphere of the opening. A gentleman walking with his pair of dogs also reminds the audience of the image of a romantic couple. Another thought: Sorry to introduce politics, but when I watched the final scene in the Lecture Video, it eerily reminded me of the present political situation. Very scary for those who disagree with the current administration. So great to see the marvelous actress Jessica Tandy in that scene.
  6. 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?The deconstruction of the letters in the title sequence seems to indicate something that is seemingly whole (when the letters are together) is really torn in two--a schizophrenic mind and person who seems to function normally, but is really broken inside. The stridence of the music, the screeching and high-pitch of the strings indicate a tautness, ready to break quality. -------------------- 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? It establishes that it is almost the beginning of the weekend for most workers; 2:43 in those days would remind the audience that it is almost bank closing time. It reminds me of Rear Window, only this room is more tawdry and darker, letting us know this is a clandestine tryst. --------------------- 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. Marion Crane says she must get back to work, speaks of stolen hours with her lover and says this will be the last time. Loomis is an occasional visitor to Phoenix and we get the impression she is just a diversion for him. To me, this establishes Marion as the more rooted and, therefore, important, character.
  7. 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. Cary Grant is playing the Cary Grant film persona--handsome, debonair, perfectly groomed, savvy, and cool. I love that he's wearing the sunglasses. The surprise for me (and the audience) is Eva Marie Saint as a seductive woman who comes onto Grant in an extremely aggressive sexual way--not her previous image in films such as On the Waterfront. She is very modern in this way and somewhat shocking for the 1950s. Fun to watch the verbal sparring and SO much chemistry between them. --------------------- 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. Hitchcock uses the matchbook as a device to move the plot forward. Grant attempts to deceive Saint regarding his name and the R.O.T. matchbook confirms his true name. It's also part of the sexy cigarette lighting, although in Grant's other hand. ------------------------ 3. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. There is romantic violin music lightly playing in the background along with the sound of the train moving forward--along with the characters' relationship. As things heat up between them, the train horn sounds loudly, communicating the increasing sexual attraction and possibilities.
  8. 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 sounds and images in the title sequence create a mood of psychological turmoil. The spirals, of course, are incredible and almost remind me of the DNA and RNA double helixes. They are hypnotic and that also communicates that we will be in the world of the mind and psyche. There is also an element of the Yin and the Yang. I love how the spirals are superimposed over the eye. I also love how the titles swoop down horizontally on the screen. The music is also eery repetitive rounds, echoing musically the image of the spirals circling. The echoing sounds and the shrill flute also create a suspenseful mood. Genius! ----------------------------------- 2. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. I think the spiral superimposed over the close-up of the iris of Novak's eye as it grows larger and larger and finally erupts to the list of supporting cast names, morphing into a purplish Lissajous figure is the most powerful image. Novak's face is the only one we see. These spiraling figures are so primal looking--embryos, early life forms. Morphing is also an important theme of this film. ------------------------------------- 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 rhythm and tempo of the music follow the spiraling images and camera shots. The minor keys and dissonant sounds also create the psychological mood of a mind in turmoil. Toward the end of the credits, we hear a theme almost pleading for sympathy for the characters. It is hard for me to imagine any other music because Herrmann's score so perfectly meshes with Bass' visuals and with Hitchcock's shots.
  9. 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?Hitchcock establishes Jefferies' world with the panoramic shot of the view across the courtyard. The shot is almost a slice of life, albeit Jefferies' limited present life situation. Many of the cast of characters in this world are shown. ------------------------------------------ 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? We quickly learn that Jeff is a photographer--the pan to the photographs, negative prints, the broken camera--and probably a fairly successful one, since his work has been published. The pride of place of his work indicates its large importance in Jeff's life. Also, his apartment looks like a bachelor's apartment, a lower middle-class or working-class apartment. ------------------------------------------ 3. 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? I definitely feel like a voyeur watching the life of the building's tenants going about their daily lives not knowing they are being watched. ----------------------------------------- 4. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I have seen this film, but not in a long time, so I don't feel I can answer, alas!
  10. 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 train tracks are the most obvious "criss cross" in the opening sequence. However, other "criss crosses" are: people crossing the station, the cars in the street outside the station moving in both directions, Bruno and Guy approaching their seats from opposite directions, the crossed legs of both Bruno and Guy. Guy's arms are also crossed; Bruno crosses over to sit with Guy; the seats are across from each 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. Their clothing seems the most visually apparent difference: Bruno wears a loud, striped suit and loud tie with two-toned spectator shoes, while Guy wears a solid colored suit and shoes. Guy also seems shy and soft-spoken, while Bruno is more of a self-confident kind of wise-guy. Bruno's walk is also more strutting than Guy's. Bruno is more aggressive in that he moves over and sits with Guy before being invited. ----------------------------------------- 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? The music has a "dramatic" sound--you know something is about to happen. As the camera is on Bruno's feet, the music sounds almost "**** tonk," while Guy's is softer. The music builds and rises to a crescendo as Bruno and Guy are walking to the train to their inevitable and fateful meeting.
  11. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie As mentioned in the lecture video, the point of view shots of Grant is one. The extreme close-up of Bergman's face while lying in the bed harks back to Hitchcock's early films--The Lodger, The Pleasure Garden, and also Carole Lombard in bed in Mrs. and Mrs. Smith. The lighting, Grant's character--the well-dressed stranger trying to involve Bergman in the McGuffin. Also, as in The 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes, and even Rebecca, the romantic leads are adversarial to each other. There are also close-ups of Grant. -------------------------------------------------------- 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. Bergman's character has more lighting, close-ups, and her costume literally has black and white stripes, symbolizing her character's ambivalence. The close-ups and point of view shots for Bergman make the audience identify more with her, I think. There is a softness to her. Grant is dressed in a dark, tailored suit and is all-business and the camera shots telegraph him much more objectively than Bergman. Grant is calling the shots here. ---------------------------------------------------- 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? I think this scene conforms to Grant's and Bergman's star personas. Grant is the man who's confident, in-charge, fearless. He also looks impeccable and extremely handsome, debonaire and worldly. Bergman is beautifully dressed, but not at her best moment in this scene in which she is hungover and being verbally "assaulted" almost. She appears vulnerable and there are tears in her eyes and on her cheeks when Grant recites her father's traitorous acts and plays the recording of her patriotic reaction. As mentioned in the lecture notes, Bergman has a "niceness" to her, despite her party girl life. I agree with Prof. Gehring, this film is tough to watch because I am always so frightened for Bergman.
  12. 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 Hitchcock touches I see in this opening scene are the close-up of the "ordinary" (good-looking, prosperous) man and the close-up of the beautiful blonde. The panning of the camera over the room--the dishes with old food, the comforter thrown over the couch quickly convey that there is a situation. There is also an "audience," first the maid and the housekeeper, then the office staff. The brightness of the house, albeit with shadows of the Venetian blind slats (trouble ahead?), the size and lavishness of the home, and its furnishings, the fact that they have a staff (well-dressed), and the husband seems to be an attorney, all indicate they are a well-to-do couple. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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? I disagree that this is a typical Hitchcock opening, with the exception of the close-ups of the male star, the beautiful blonde, and having an "audience." ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 love these two stars, so I think they are very well cast. They are both attractive and likable, which are important qualities if the audience is going to care about their plight. I think their chemistry is amazing. They are also both very good actors. When Montgomery gives her that little boy smile, who wouldn't melt and forgive him?
  13. 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. Joseph Cotten lies on a boarding house bed fully-clothed in a nice suit and groomed, holding an unlit cigar (symbolic?) in the middle of the day--already a clue that something isn't "right" or ordinary. He does, indeed, look like a man waiting for death, or at least tired of life, especially in shots where his eyes look closed. The fact that he has cash strewn carelessly in his room is another indication of someone who does not care about life. The landlady's caring attitude towards him seems to indicate that he has a way of eliciting the sympathy of older women. He seems to think of something that mobilizes him to go out and brazenly walk right past the two men who have been asking for him and are waiting on the corner. He also says they have nothing on him.This seems to show that he is arrogant and thinks himself above the law and a risk-taker. --------------------------------------- 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 whole contrast between the outside with happy children playing in the the bright street and the shadowy room with Cotten lying on the bed fully-dressed in the middle of the day in a boarding house, places the film in noir-land for me. I always think of noir characters as somewhat marginalized from society (as Weegee's subjects are). Cotten's voice is creepy to me, too. With his eyes closed, he looks dead, especially after the landlady pulls down the shade. When he leaves, we see the house number is 13. Also, the two men waiting on the corner for Cotten augur some kind of trouble or violence to come. The whole scene also has a grittiness (dialogue, sets, lighting), one associates with film 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 we see children playing outside in the street, the music is light and happy. It gets darker once we enter Cotten's room/world. As Cotten becomes mobilized, we hear bells that almost sound like wedding bells or funeral bells. For brief moment, we hear bucolic, somewhat "wholesome" music, perhaps reflecting Cotten's thought to go to his family in California. The pace of the music gradually quickens and becomes more suspenseful, reflecting Cotten's inner turmoil and comes to a climactic crescendo as he brazenly goes out and walks past the two men. The music then sounds almost like a march of sorts as the two men follow Cotten.
  14. 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 opening seems much more introspective and panoramic to me than the previous films. There is no theatrical setting, nor close-ups of women screaming, and no act or event with large groups of people present. It also focuses on an individual house, rather than a public place. -------------------------------- 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? The "dolly shot" up the drive to the house, the large shot of the cliff with a tiny individual standing on the brink, the roaring sea, the close-up of Olivier's feet, the cut to the shot of him from behind and then the close-up of his face, are Hitchcock "touches" to me. -------------------------------- 3. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What effect does the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene? Because the house looms so large, both literally and figuratively in the narrator's words, we understand that the house will play a large part in the story. The flashback and voiceover tell the audience that something tragic and dark took place in this once beautiful house.
  15. 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. As mentioned in the Curator's Notes, in the opening scene, the mood is lighthearted--the folk tune playing in the higher register of the flute, the humor of the cuckoo clock and its emerging figure, and the group of travelers awaiting their train in a seemingly "safe," happy hotel lobby where business is going on as usual. The use of the folksy music also portends the Michael Redgrave character who is interested in folk music. ---------------------- 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. They are both the comic and chorus duo discussing minutia of cricket game attendance, etc. (Could not really hear all their dialogue.), unflappable and secure in their proscribed little world. Their main worry about the delayed train is that they won't make their cricket match. --------------------------- 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. When we first see the three women, the minor two are facing the camera, while Margaret Lockwood is in profile (another of those side views). Hitchcock increases the anticipation--We must wait to see her full-face. She dominates the conversation with the hotel manager, teasing him and not-at-all shy about ordering what she wants. By the end of the scene, we see Lockwood facing the camera, while the other two women are in profile. And she is leading the group upstairs.
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