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About IraH

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  1. In the opening scene, the whistle by the boy on the street before Melanie notices the large flock of gulls in the sky gives a lighter tone to the incident. Melanie pretending to be the saleslady, the playful banter between Melanie and Mitch, and Mitch going along with the pretense gives it more of a romantic comedy feel, especially since he is looking for a pair of not "too demonstrative" lovebirds. It is clear that both Mitch and Melanie are demonstrating their interest in each other. The sound of the gulls heralds the events to come. It helps to focus us on the birds. The birds are quite loud in the store as well, and compete for attention with the dialog. Hitchcock's cameo with the two dogs is kind of interesting in that, just like Melanie noticed the birds, one of the dogs stops and looks back in that direction as well. A couple of the people on the street looked, but Hitchcock himself did not.
  2. Herrmann's musical score is very jarring and anxiety producing. Bass's graphics are like slashed ribbons sliding, then thrashing, against each other to the music. Both work together to bring about a sense of unease in the viewer before the story unfolds. The specificity of the day and time give you the information that it is a regular working day, during work hours. When we see the closed blinds, we know something is going on beyond that open window which we are not invited to see. It is like the closing of the blinds in "Rear Window", and it gives you the impression something secret, perhaps illicit, is going on. Marion Crane is introduced as a risqué woman that does what she wants. She is very aware of how their meeting will and will not attract attention from both her boss and the hotel staff. She states this is the last time she wants to sneak around with her lover. She is very much in control of the dialog and is seeking control of the relationship.
  3. It is interesting that two well known stars - actors that Hitchcock chose because of their star power - are sitting discussing the vague familiarity of Cary Grant. Roger Thornhill initially lies about who he is, and is called out by Eve, who is aware of him through the newspapers. He's an advertising man who puts his initials on a matchbook, spelling "rot" with an O that "stands for nothing" by his own account. It is an interesting way for him to advertise himself. Regardless, Eve makes sure it is known she doesn't care about these things by grabbing his hand and softly blowing out the match.
  4. The opening sequence focusing on the parts of a face abstracts the beauty of that face into its parts for consideration. I think it is clear that Hitchcock wanted the viewers to see only parts instead of the whole. You are led to believe the face will be an important part of the story, yet you will have to piece it together. The change of color from black and white to red and "Vertigo" appearing from a widened eye was very powerful. It shifted the feeling while watching the opening sequence from mere interest to apprehension. The Lissajous figure appearing in the eye then proceeds to give you the impression of an inner turmoil or physical sense of being dizzy. The images and score work together to give a mesmerizing effect. The Lissajous figures are hypnotic and absorbing to watch, and like the music, are repeating/revolving patterns which give the sequence is spellbinding atmosphere.
  5. The opening shot glides through the window into the private lives of all those in the other apartments. A continuous unfolding of life that is happening even as Jeff has his back to it. It is a kind of through the looking glass moment, where you discover a concealed world you hadn't noticed until take the time to stop and observe. We learn a lot about Jeff in this scene without dialogue as we see him in the wheelchair with his leg in a full cast. He may be limited in his mobility, but his broken camera, action shots and magazine covers tell of a full and very active life that he has led up until this moment. With the sweat on his face and the thermometer showing the temperature, you can tell he is stifling in that apartment. You do feel like a voyeur as you see everyone going about their private business getting ready for the day. It is almost embarrassing to see so much, except that it is very interesting! I do think "Rear Window" is very cinematic because there is a great deal of the story told visually-you can't often hear dialog and are reduced to interpreting the visual narrative based on what you see through the lens of Jeff, and ultimately, Hitchcock.
  6. Hitchcock visually manifests the metaphor of “criss-crossing” in this introductory sequence by using a lot of opposing angles. The camera is at opposite angles for the cabs arriving. Then the men walk through the station coming from opposite directions, they approach to the seats from opposite ends of the railway car and end up sitting opposite each other. The railroad ties criss-cross as the train starts out, before it gets on its final track. A sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker) starts out with the contrast of shoes, light and dark, flashy and plain. The same with the suits of clothing. Bruno is striped and adorned with his 'Bruno' tie clip on that lobster tie, handkerchief and cuff links. Guy is dark and almost plain by comparison. The music for Bruno was more brassy, for Guy it was softer. The same with the characters speech, Bruno is quite a talker, while Guy appears quieter, speaks softly and just wants to read his book. Dimitri Tiomkin's score really sets a tone for an upbeat, jazzy beginning. The musical instruments are a bit different when each man gets out of their cab, giving them a different tonal motif.
  7. In this opening scene from Notorious, Hitchcock uses the close up of Ingrid Bergman, and the spiraling POV shot to convey the state of mind of her character. She is just waking, with a hangover, in the clothes she wore the night before. Cary Grant stands in shadow in the doorway as she wakes and as he emerges into the light and her view of him spirals, I like that the conversation flows to, "What is your angle?" The difference in lighting and dress place Cary Grant's character Devlin as in control, while Ingrid Bergman's Alicia is at a disadvantage. Devlin is impeccably dressed in a dark suit and Alicia is a bit disheveled. When they are framed together by the doorway, the contrast is quite apparent. I can't really say if this scene challenges their star personas. Cary Grant certainly is the has control of the scene, but Ingrid Bergman appears be a strong match for him, even while her character is vulnerable.
  8. The opening of the film "Rebecca" is quite different from his previous British films. Instead of being introduced to the characters in an action oriented setting, the narrated dream is a soft, quiet, misty and dark introduction. Joan Fontaine speaks of Manderley like someone who is now dead, but remebered fondly. Travelling down the drive as the narration takes place reminds me of other POV tracking shots of Hitchcock's other films, building a bit of tension before we see Manderley. Joan Fontaine's description of Manderley in the dream gives you the sense of its importance, and the sadness of its fall into ruin. The use of light and shadow give the illusion of Manderley being full of life, then an empty shell. It sets up the location as being central to the story, and the viewer wanting to know more about what has happened there.
  9. The lighthearted folk music sets a happy tone until the entrance of the German men, which starts the tone of chaos. The music stops with a whoosh of wind. It is replaced with loud talking, the proprietor of the hotel on the phone-unable to hear the news of the train-yelling into the receiver, the clock trumpeting the time, and the travelers rushing to register at the hotel. It all gives the feeling of confusion and being in a rush before the entrance of the American women. Caldicott and Charters help the viewer make sense of the confusion and the importance of the women who entered by their conversation. Their commentary is lighthearted and silly in some parts, but definitely point out that there are more important people in the room. As soon as the ladies enter, Boris, the proprietor, rushes to greet them and escort them to their room. Iris is the first to speak and kind of takes charge of the group from the beginning, dominating the conversation and attention of Boris.
  10. In "The 39 Steps", Hitchcock once again places you right in the action with the entrance of the protagonist into the Music Hall. Mr. Memory proceeds to give a demonstration of his remarkable skill, and has to endure some teasing from the audience. It is a very lighthearted introduction to the characters in a situation that anyone could relate to. It is much different in tone than the opening of "The Lodger" and closer to "The Man who Knew Too Much". Hitchcock certainly puts his lead, Robert Donat, into a more favorable light with his positive reception by Mr. Memory and the jovial nature of the crowd. This is indeed in stark contrast to how Ivor Novello in "The Lodger" is introduced, all covered up in a scarf coming in from the dark and fog outside, resembling closely the description of the Avenger. The Music Hall space and performance play into Gene Phillips description of the Hitchcock touch in that it is a very commonplace public space that many were familiar with and the audience on screen is relaxed and having a good time. It puts us as the viewers of the film in the same frame of mind.
  11. Alice's subjective mind is shown by allowing us to hear what Alice does. As she is focused on the talk of the murder, that is the main conversation we are allowed to hear. When she steps into the phone booth and ceases to pay attention to the conversation taking place outside, we hear nothing, but instead are shown the police number and her anxious reaction. While Alice is reaching for the knife to cut the bread, the focus is solely on the word 'knife'. Her hand shakily reaching for the knife shows you Alice's fear. The knife turns and glints while the word pierces the conversation. There is a momentary lull before the shriek of "knife!" It is aurally jarring while we are surprised by the knife flying from her hand. I think the use of subjective sound leads you to think of the disturbed emotional state of the character. Music is often used to create emotion in the viewer today. The tension and fear in "Psycho" was felt through the string music. It played like a repetitive scream.
  12. The POV dolly shots in this scene give the sense of tension over the ground to be covered before the boys face the headmaster and discover the reason for being summoned, which you know is not a good one. You can tell they are both nervous and frightened as they do not even notice the girl in the chair, their sole focus is on the headmaster. When the girl is going to point out the father of the baby, it is almost as if she is going to fire a gun. The emotion in the scene is heightened by the close tracking of her approach. The facial close ups linger and covey the emotion of each character in each of the Hitchcock films we have seen. The montage and edit of the images over the girl's face as she recounts dancing and being alone with Roddy in the shop after it closed are similar to later ones in "The Ring."
  13. I found the montage and editing really convey the sense of the frantic imaginings of the husband. His mind appears to be spinning: everything is sped up and distorted just like his thinking. With this sense of distortion and confusion, like drunken party guests, you aren't sure what really happened. You are left to sort what is factual from fabrication. Later when Jack shouts at the guests, you see their bewilderment at his behavior. You can surmise that Jack is not in a rational state of mind. Placing the characters in different rooms, compartmentalizing them in different environments, gives the sense of separation between the couple in a very physical way. With the both of them viewing the other through the reflection of the mirror, you see the couple visualizing the other not only through the lens of their perception, but everything is also physically flipped. The sense of rivalry between Bob and Jack is shown by the attention of Mabel. Mabel is relaxed and jovial in the presence of Bob. His attention is on her and pulls her close. Jack is tense and isolated in another room, and Mabel looks unhappy when she is thinking of him. When she glances into the mirror, he is turned away from her.
  14. 1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? Hitchcock puts you right into the action of the story in both films. However, the feeling of the opening sequences is quite different. In the Pleasure Garden, you were drawn to the faces of the audience watching the dancers. In The Lodger, you were feeling the terror of the victim and the horror of the onlookers after the crime. 2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? I believe the Hitchcock style is shown though the elements of the story on which he wants you to focus. In the The Pleasure Garden, it was the blonde dancer with the attractive legs and the man viewing them with his binoculars, and later the focus on the handbag robbed of its owner's letter. In the The Lodger, the focus was on the terrified victim's face and then the description of her murderer given by the overwrought witness, acted out by the man standing behind her and seen in a reflection to provide emphasis. 3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? The woman's face fills the shot. It is shot from above, as the POV of the murderer. Her mouth, opened in a scream, and her eyes, opened wide, are what make the opening image work to portray the terror of the victim and what is happening to her. Vivian Leigh's mouth was also a focus in Psycho during the shower scene, as well as Tippi Hedren's during the attack in the bedroom in The Birds.
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