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CaseInPoint

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  1. I will have to defer to my more knowledgeable, up-to-date colleagues on this topic as I am a self-admitted 'old soul' who, believe it or not, rarely goes to current-release movies these days. As long as TCM is around, my movie cravings are satisfied! So my knowledge of current writers, art directors, composers, etc, is somewhat limited. One recent film I did see, however (and that was a couple of years ago!), was Woody Allen's Irrational Man, mainly because of the reported Hitchcock influence. I see where one of the other writers here mentioned Allen as perhaps collaborator as screenwriter
  2. Looking back through these posts (which are GREAT) I'm glad to see a couple of references to the other grand man of 20th century cinema -- Orson Welles. In addition to Touch of Evil and The Lady from Shanghai, I would like to add a film in which Welles appeared, The Third Man. To me, the film has certain aspects of North by Northwest and certainly a film noir feel. Perhaps even add Citizen Kane to the list, coming out a year after Rebecca and featuring one of the first Bernard Herrmann scores. I have often wondered how much Hitchcock and Welles may have influenced each other as they 'gr
  3. One film that immediately comes to mind (and I don't think has been mentioned yet) is Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 (1966). Many of the touches are there, especially the fabulous score by Bernard Herrmann. In addition, we see long tracking shots, POV shots, use of back projection, a blonde leading actress (Julie Christie) in a dual role. One touch I've always liked about this film, in prelude to a story about a world where reading and books are banned, no opening credits are shown written or in text to read, all are spoken. On first viewing of this film many years ago, not knowing much about i
  4. 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. The long slow POV shot of the opening in Frenzy flows smoothly from the long track along the Thames River and through the Tower Bridge, immediately establishing the setting in London (the opening 'London' graphic is almost unnecessary) with music building to a grand crescendo above, and softening as the camera lowers the audience toward the speaker and crowd, almost lulling the audience into a false sense of security (the white birds fluttering
  5. 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. Right away, we get the distinct impression that this is a woman running away from something. She is first shown with the bright yellow bag and suitcase on a train platform. Later, in a hotel room (once again, a hotel room as starting point of a narrative associated with theft) we see money dumped out of a bag, making the assumption that the woman must be the thief, and has expensive taste, having a
  6. 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? In looking the glib dialogue and the verbal sparring between Melanie and Mitch, one could almost substitute Doris Day and Rock Hudson from one of their three romantic comedies (almost 'screwball' comedies) contemporary to the time. The two spar back and forth (like a couple of birds about to mate?) and Mitch is obviously pleased that he has tricked Melanie into playing along. Mitch's constant
  7. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigo and North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? I have always loved the all-strings composition of the score in this film. While the lower strings carry the melody or main theme, the higher strings act as the rhythm, in a 'slashing' sound of the same notes on the quarter beat (and vice-versa). If one were to watch the musicians performing it, the bows of the violins, violas, cellos and basses wo
  8. 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. At the point that North by Northwest was made, Grant, in particular, had already appeared in Hitchcock films (Suspicion, Notorious and To Catch a Thief) in which he played opposite famous blondes (Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly). So merely in context of Hitchcock films, the line 'I look vaguely familiar' may be a bit of ho
  9. 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. Even if one has not seen the film, the title "Vertigo", by its definition, already communicates that the film will somehow be about 'verticality', dizziness, a spinning sensation and probably a fear of heights. The film, of course, delivers on all points. The Lissajo
  10. 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? To me, Hitch is guiding the gaze of the audience as voyeur, as they will become active participants of the voyeurism in the movie along with Jeffries. We get acquainted with the 'world' outside Jeffries' window and get a glimpse of some of its inhabitants. We linger on a brief shot of Jeff, we know it is summer and hot, and with the pan over a camera, photo
  11. 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 most obvious is the high angle POV shot of the train tracks. Shortly after, both men cross their legs with the shoes we have been watching bumping each other to start the conversation. At the very start, the direction in which the characters cross the screen, alternating from l
  12. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Clever use of lighting and the subtle touches of shadow to suggest a window, for example, in the bedroom -- more German Expressionist influence. The POV shot of Bergman looking at Grant is amazing, ending up with a view of Grant upside down and showing the ceiling (which was likely very difficult to do on a sound stage!). 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 dire
  13. 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? Instead of establishing the entire scene from the start, Hitch begins with a pan along the mess of dishes slowing pulling back to establish a disheveled, unshaven man playing solitaire on the floor. Just from the title, this is enough to tell the audience that the man is probably Mr. Smith and, if he is playing solitaire, something must be awry in his r
  14. 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. The character is very well dressed in a suit, even while lying down for a nap, creating a polished veneer. He reacts to disturbing news from the landlady in a calm way, but when alone, the polished veneer boils over to rage, accompanied by the raising volume of the music, to throwing the glass. He is shown in a seedy rooming house yet we see lots of money laying around in the open. Why? Something is not right, the guy in some
  15. 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? Unlike previous films, Hitchcock uses the voice of a narrator to immediately establish that the story will be told from her perspective. The narration is accompanied by long, slow tracking shots (I would even say POV shots of the narrator (?) in a very dark, gothic/horror setting. The opening music is much more subdued than in previous films -- what most audiences would associate with a feeling of foreboding. This is also an early example o
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