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About A_Laff

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  1. 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 opening of Frenzy differs from the opening of The Lodger in a couple of ways. First, The Lodger opens with a close up shot, while Frenzy shows us a long, aerial shot of London. The Lodger has a hard opening with the scream and the murder, while Frenzy opens with a seemingly innocent scene of a public speech, and only at the end of the clip is the body discovered floating. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you se
  2. 1. 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? Based on this opening sequence, you already know that Marnie is skilled at changing her identity; clearly she's had a lot of practice. Hitchcock reveals, through her interaction with objects, that although Marnie likes expensive things, she doesn't place any sentimental value on them. Things are meant to be used and thrown away to Marnie. 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score
  3. 1. 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? This opening scene seems more appropriate to a romantic comedy because we watch this little meet-cute between Melanie and Mitch. She's a prankster, thinking she's playing a little joke, while Mitch knows what she's up to this whole time. We learn that Melanie does not seem to take things very seriously, while we go on to find out Mitch decides to play this joke in order to teach her a l
  4. 1. 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? The graphic design is very sliced up, almost as though a knife has been taken to it. The music is also very frenzied and immediately gets your heart rate up. 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 s
  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. Knowing Cary Grant as a debonair, suave playboy, that persona plays directly into this scene. Although Eva Marie Saint had just finished playing a very innocent young woman in On the Waterfront, she is still a strong and confident woman, and she holds her own (and more) with Cary Grant in this scene. 2. There is minimal acti
  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. From the sounds and images you can tell several things about the film. First, it seems as though both faces and minds will be important. The music is very mysterious, a repetitive melody with crescendo. The abstract shapes that spin and spiral also add a level
  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 shot of this film establishes all of the many characters that will play a role in this film. Because Jeff has his back to the window, the point of view expressed in this shot is that of us, the audience. From the start, we are voyeurs in this film, the same as Jeff. These people that we're looking at might be our neighbors; this window we're
  8. 1. 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. There are many ways in which Hitchcock plays with the metaphor of "criss cross" that is central in Strangers on a Train. First, you see Guy's and Bruno's shoes appear as they each disembark from a cab, and in one critical moment, those shoes touch. Another example is the interl
  9. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? There are several Hitchcock touches in this early scene. For example, the interesting camera angles, specifically when Cary Grant is entering the room. Second, there is a lot of use of light and shadow. You also have the telling conversation between the two main characters. 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? At f
  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? One Hitchcock touch I see here is the messiness of the room, which seems to reflect the couple accurately. Another Hitchcock touch is that we meet several characters, and dialogue between the minor characters gives us a better characterization of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. ("I'm running out of dishes!") As always, the use of music here is very well done,
  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. In this opening scene, Uncle Charlie seems tense, worried, sly, and it's obvious that he's in some kind of trouble. This characterization stands in stark contrast to the Uncle Charlie we'll see around his sister and his sister's family. 2. 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
  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? The opening of Rebecca is different from the multiple opening scenes we've looked at from the British silent and sound period films in many ways. First, this opening contains a voiceover. Second, this opening does not use humor. Additionally, this opening is not driven by interactions between several characters. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? One
  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 opening of this film is definitely lighthearted, natural, and even a bit comical. The music absolutely makes the film seem lighthearted, as it sounds like a score you might even hear in a part of a Disney animated film or other movie for children. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add
  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? Some similarities are the interesting camera angles and the use of music. The scenes also feature a spectator/performer dynamic. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? I do agree that Hitchcock is focused on introducing a more innocent character. He is at a see
  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) Based on this opening scene, I think that the characters are going to be more important. You really have no idea what the plot will be, based on this clip. However, you meet several characters, and you watch them and listen to them interact with one another. 2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view
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