Daily Dose # 1:
My first experience with a silent Hitchcock film, nevertheless, his touch is most defintely visible upon opening!
The Hitchcock is something that is very apparent to a fan, and although may be subtle to others, upon recognition, I think many people can agree that Hitchcock touch is something that is singulary trademarked by him.
2 examples stand out directly for me, one being the almost immediate introduction of the film's female lead character. Hitchcock almost alway introduces his female leads in the very beginning, often introducing them in a very strong, indivdual format. Opposed to many film techniques, he does not always establish the female character with a man or in any relation to male leads, which I believe is his way of juxtapositioning his beliefs in equality. Many people can say different things about the man, however, basing off his strong relationship to his mother, and admiration for females, Hitchcock is one who does not use, objectify, or sexualize women in his films. The female characters are always secy and beautiful, but they do not throw it to the audience, they make you work for it. Subtle costumes, tongue in cheek personalities, add to the mystery of the overall ploy and theme. This seemed evident to me from the female dancer.
2. I somewhat agree that we see elements, themes, and approaches from Hitchcock in the first film, but I would say if we see any, they are in the most infant stages and if anything, his technique dramatically develops over the decades. This first film, as one could suspect, is his acid test. This is the first opportunity Hitchcock has to make a statement, his first canvas to use for his picture. I think we can recognize a few vintage Hitchcock touches, but anything concrete, no, because Hitchcock does not even know yet. It is too early for his elements to mature, but the foundation is there.
3. I always feel silent films have limitations compared to talkies. I know many people disagree, and Norma Desmond would clearly state silent film was the golden age, but I wholeheartily disagree. Common argument is that with the silent film, one has to be sure everything else attracts the audience as there is no sound. This is true, but once sound was incorporated, no one abandoned the look or acting in the movie. I believe it actually added to the strive for perfection, as now with sound, the film can be complete. Making sure the sound is captured correctly along with the picture, adds a totally new dimension to the process. Sound I believe gave life to films, without it, the art could have been looked upon as second to still photography, or an addition to it. With sound, film became it's own art, allowing for a complete sensory experience. Spoken dialogue in the opening scene, would have instilled many things to the film.