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Sea Shell

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  1. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. Hitchcock touches: · Sweeping vistas · Public places · Unknown evil in the midst of the crowd · Establishment shot to orient viewers · Initial state of equilibrium that very quickly becomes disrupted 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
  2. Even before the clip begins, the initial close-up of the suitcase envelops viewers into a scene of hyper-femininity. Marnie’s suitcase is lined in pink satin, the same color as her nails. When the camera later zooms in, we see opulent clothes and gloves and boxes, all neatly folded and—most important—juxtaposed against the pedestrian suitcase and its common garb. Here come Hitchcock’s dualities: the suitcases, the sets of SS cards, the hair colors, the purses, the suits. Once again, we see the quintessential Hitchcock trope of binaries and doppelgangers which anticipate the probing of
  3. The trope of the love birds and the flirting between Melanie and Mitch, particularly when Mitch attempts to stump Melanie with the ornithological and molting comments, establish the attraction between the two characters. Interestingly, Melanie’s assertion that they cannot simply let the birds go in response to Mitch’s dig about caged birds sets up, as the professors note, a microcosm of the film: the birds do indeed get loose and enact revenge upon their captors.
  4. The thin lines and the movement from side to side in the opening credits mime the slashing of a knife, as do the frenzied, staccato violin chords. Initially, evenly spaced and building toward a crescendo, those chords echo the sound of thrusting. As with a knife. Together, the graphics and score recall death by a thousand cuts. And of course the high pitch of the violin foreshadows Marion’s screams in the shower scene. In presenting the time stamp Hitchcock establishes that time will be important—he must construct that timeline for us to follow in the narrative. And as we saw in the vi
  5. 1. 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. Those lines about familiarity and “having that effect upon people” demonstrate H’s humor at work—of course Grant has an effect upon people, particularly women. In fact, his lines introduce the narrative naturally and launch the sequence of sexual innuendos within the vignette. Further, this banter between EMS and CG ha
  6. 1. 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 colors red and green interplay throughout this credit sequence and become associated with the two women in the film, Madeline and Judy. The colors reference the stop/go mentality within Scottie: whenever he sees these women, he will falter and stumble,
  7. 1. 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 pan of the neighborhood introduces us to the characters and setting, first with background music and commentary to accompany each apartment’s resident (e.g. radio announcer attending to the middle-aged man’s insecurities regarding his appearance, the exercise girl’s lightly-flirtatious dance music), juxtaposed against children’s voices to
  8. Most everyone has shared about the criss-crossing, but the most important focus for me is Hitchcock’s low angle view of feet. I have mentioned before (Pleasure Garden, 39 Steps) how he introduces us to characters and settings by way of feet, but in this short opening scene he extends that trope. Wow. For example, we have the black and white shoes of Bruno exiting the Diamond cab in a darkened tunnel or passageway versus the monotone (brown, maybe?) shoes of Guy exiting the cab in broad daylight. These two travelers then traverse pavements, thresholds, and tile—covering a lot of ground—
  9. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? As noted by the professors, viewers are disoriented by the canted and upside-down framing of both actors. Once again, we have slow panning and dollying. 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? The mobile framing primarily uses medium close-ups and close-up shots. The lighting draws “lines” all throughout the s
  10. 1. 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? Hitchcock’s touches in the opening scene include the mood music, the lighting and shadows, the panning over elements within the mise-en-scene to tell a story. The fabrics and china and upscale furnishings indicate we’re not in a tenement house but rather a swanky apartment or home. 2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement
  11. 1. 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. We learn that Uncle Charlie has had a spate of good luck—whether gambling or such, for the money is lying as though tossed about, not located in a wallet or tucked away under the mattress. Charlie lies back with total aplomb in his pin-striped suit gripping a cigar as he listens to the landlady discuss the visitors. Only when she leaves does he exhibit emotion: anger or frustration when he throws the glass against t
  12. 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? This scene definitely opens with that nod to the Gothic, with the gates, arches and shadows, as well as with that pan across the great house silhouetted against the night sky. In fact, the foregrounded house pre-figures Psycho’s house on the hill enveloped by dark clouds. Is this the point where Hitchcock develops a penchant for the iconic? 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as
  13. 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. The lighthearted folk music certainly ushers in a certain lilt to the scene, as does the bugler in the cuckoo clock, and the exaggerated accent of the hotel owner. Along with the light-hearted chatter of the travelers, the scene depicted is one of comradery and adventure on a Bavarian mountaintop. Again, Hitchcock opens the scene without ominous sound, and viewers do
  14. 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? Conforms: letters or text provide context, public places containing audiences and performances which set us up as voyeuristic. Deviates: jovial and light-hearted banter and we see nothing at stake in the opening scene, other than Mr. Memory missing a question or two. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent cha
  15. 1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot? (It is fine to make an informed guess about the 2nd question if you haven't seen the film yet) I haven’t seen the film yet, so I’m guessing that the plot will be character-driven, based on the Peter Lorre character who seems intriguing . . . 2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? Abbot seems winsome and friendly—not villainous at a
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