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About Wizona

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  • Birthday 09/25/1963

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    Reading, sewing, camping, hiking, dogs, old movies
  1. In thinking about who would be a Hitchcock collaborator in 2017, I immediately went to the Coen Brothers. The movies these 2 have written, produced and directed beginning with Crimewave in 1985, and especially 1996's Fargo, have definite Hitchcock nuances. The dark humor, the seemingly "normal" people in extraordinary circumstances, the dark hidden motives of character all point to Hitchcock. Like Hitchcock, the Coen's also don't seem too concerned with logic at all times. As far as a modern collaborator in music, it is hard to think of anyone with the genius of Berrmann, but I could see a successful collaboration of Hitchcock and Danny Elfman. His film scores run the gamut from child-like to dark and terror filled. I think Danny would be a great musical collaborator for the types of stories Hitchcock liked to tell. He is prolific in his scoring of movies with more than 90 to his credit. The films range from children's movies like Flubber, to the Hitchcockian Dolores Claiborne, and even some Hitchcock remakes like 1998's Pyscho. Danny Elfman would be a composer, I could imagine Hitchcock seeking out. In the area of costume design, I am not that familiar with modern day designers. My son's friend from college is a young costume designer trying to make it in L.A. His name is Chad Edward Lee Evett, and he has done some design work for Whoopie Goldberg, and has done temp work at DreamWorks. Chad does lots of elaborate work for cosplayers in many different genres from fairy tale characters, superheros and villains to historical figures. He is extremely talented and hungry, so I am going to suggest Chad as a collaborator who could work with Hitchcock. He has the ability to work with so many different styles and time periods, he would be a perfect collaborator for Hitchcock. He would be able to work within Hitchcock's personal vision and do well. Chad's attention to detail on costumes would probably rival Hitchcock's detail orientation. To close, I would like to also suggest some actors who could pick up the Hitchcockian torch from the likes of Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant and Eva Maria Saint. I would love to see Johnny Depp and Scarlett Johansson in a Hitchcock film. I could also see Denzel Washington as a leading man in a Hitchcock thriller.
  2. This topic is fun! I am enjoying reading all the posts! Since beginning this course, I am seeing Hitchcockian elements in many movies and TV episodes. One TV episode was glaringly Hitchcockian in some of the camera work. I have been rewatching the original Twighlight Zone on Netfix, and in the episode about the boxer who is past his prime and still has to get in the ring to fight, the director/editor must have been channeling Hitchcock. In the scene during the boxing match, we are shown the spectators of the fight in a montage of hands. We don't ever really see faces, just hands shown in various positions of excitement, anxiety, anger, fear, etc. My son and I sat down and made a quick list of movies we think are Hitchcockian: Enemy of the State: Ordinary man gets involved with spies and secrets by accident while Christmas shopping. Double Jeopardy: Women gets framed for her husband's murder. Secret Window: Writer slowly goes mad in a remote cabin in the woods. Vantage Point: Varying views of a presidential assassination with lots of twists and turns in the plot Shattered: Amnesiac begins to discover that his slowly returning memories are not matching what his "family and friends" are telling him Breakdown: Couple is preyed upon by criminals while traveling by car through the desert Flightplan: Women loses daughter while on a transatlantic fight with a twisting plot reminiscent of Bunny Lake is Missing. There are so many others. I am discovering that many of my favorite movies are Hitchcockian Thrillers, thanks to this class. I am noticing that even the names of the few movies listed above have titles reminiscent of Hitchcock movie titles.
  3. Instead of directly commenting on the Further Reflections questions about Frenzy, I want to discuss what this opening scene says to me in regards to Hitchcock and his career. When the scene opens with the long, long shot over the Thames in London, with the seal of The City of London in the corner, and the music swelling triumphantly, it is like it is meant to be a triumphal return to his homeland for Hitchcock. The Thames is the "red carpet" and Hitchcock is portraying his victor processional to the place he left over 30 years before in frustration over his career. Now here he comes...Hitchcock...he has returned as the victor. He left and prospered. He became one of the greatest directors known to the industry. He has returned to show England that he has made it. However, like all of us there is still the desire to be recognized on our own home turf. So Hitchcock comes back to his roots, to the stories, locations, and actors he left behind. It is time for him to prove it to himself and to everyone else that he is a great director, not just in the States, but in England as well.
  4. 1. In the opening scene of Marnie we learn some things about her. She is obviously concealing her identity. In fact, she has many identities. One might wonder if she is a spy, as she calmly packs and ditches her old clothes in one suitcase and packs brand new, still in the package clothes in another. She seems organized and methodical. There is no hesitation or panic, just calm actions. 2. Herrmann's score is sad and haunting. It builds to a crescendo when the audience finally gets to see the face of the woman we have been following. The music is beautiful to match the beautiful woman, but there is a sadness and longing in the music that signals all is not right in this story. 3. In his cameo in Marnie, there is no element of humor. He simply comes out of a hotel room door into the hallway. In other films there is usually some element of humor, sometimes overt, sometimes subtle, but always there. This cameo is devoid of humor. I think this variation means that this movie is to be taken seriously as a serious comment on whatever it's theme will be.
  5. 1. The opening scene of The Birds seems more like a romantic comedy because of the light flirting and banter going on between the two characters. The audience knows (and later we discover Rod Taylor knows) that Tippi Hedren is not a sales clerk in a pet store and that she knows nothing about birds. This is very similar to romantic comedies where misunderstandings happen and the romance begins. In this scene we learn that Melanie wants to buy a Myna bird and is anxious to get it. She has obviously been in pet shop before because the clerk knows her name. We also learn that she has a sense of humor, she smiles at the wolf whistler, and she tries to fake Mitch out after he mistakes her for a shop clerk. We learn that Mitch is looking for a pair of love birds for his sister for her 11th birthday. We also learn that he has a razor sense of humor as well, when it becomes apparent that Melanie knows nothing about birds he continues the ruse and asks questions that he knows she doesn't have the answers to. 2. The background sounds we hear in the opening scene of the birds are focused on bird sounds. We don't hear music. There are the sounds of the city, but even these are over-powered by the sound of the gulls in the sky. The mood is somewhat creepy, and the absence of music is somehow unsettling. 3. Hitchcock's cameo in the birds is very brief. As Melanie walks into the pet shop, he is walking out with 2 terriers on leases. He moves quickly, not even looking at Melanie or the camera. He is out of the shot in moments. It seems like Hitchcock knows what's coming and he's getting the heck out of there.
  6. 1. Saul Bass's graphic title design introduces the themes of this film by using horizontal and vertical lines. The title of the film, Psycho, is divided into horizontal lines that then move in opposite directions. It almost forms the word Psychotic. During the dissolve into the opening scene, the vertical lines resemble the lines of a heart beat. Bernard Herrmann's score is genius. The hard driving strings make me feel unsettled and anxious. I feel like something bad is coming. The score and the title design work so seamlessly together, that I am again wondering which came first, the title design or the score? 2. Hitchcock gives us the specific place, date and time so that we are aware that what is happening, is happening during normal working hours. When we enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds we are being "peeping Tom's" again, just like in Rear Window. What we are seeing is a couple who are breaking the grounds of tradition (and the moral code of the time) by meeting during working hours in a hotel room for an elicit rendezvous when "decent" people would be working. 3. The opening scene of Psycho establishes Marion Crane as a main character, first in the title sequence. Marion Crane is the only character mentioned by name in the title sequence. When the scene opens in the hotel room the camera is pointed at Janet Leigh (Marion Crane) on the bed. We only see the lower part of Sam's body standing next to the bed. Maybe it is just because I am a women, but I also think the camera angles and lighting in the scene make Marion a more sympathetic character than Sam. We can feel her desperation at the situation she is in. Marion does more speaking than Sam, as well.
  7. 1. The dining car scene in North by Northwest is one of the sexiest scenes in a movie. The way Eva Marie Saint keeps looking frankly at Cary Grant throughout the entire scene and his rakish charm help build the appeal of this scene. I was especially struck by this when Cary Grant lights Eva Marie Saint's cigarette and she gently touches his hand and then blows the match out. That scene is hot! I don't have a lot of background knowledge of Eva Marie Saint, but she comes across as cool, sexy and in control. Now, Cary Grant, I have heard some stories about. I have heard that he loved women, especially beautiful ones, and that he regularly fell in love with the leading ladies in many of his films. This definitely comes across in this scene, we get the feeling that he has had quite a bit of practice flirting with beautiful women. 2. Hitchcock uses the R.O.T. matchbook to break the sexual tension that is building between Roger O. Thornhill and Eve Kendall. It is also a bit of foreshadowing as this matchbook plays an important part in an upcoming scene. 3. Hitchcock is using sound design in this scene to make us truly believe we are on a train with these two. The sound of the train click-clacking along the tracks is a constant in the background. We also hear the muted sounds of a dining car, muted conversations, dinnerware clinking, etc. There is music in the background and it is extremely soft at the beginning of the scene, like background music in a dining car might be. As the scene progresses and the sexual tension between Roger and Eve builds, the music begins crescendoing and we hear it more clearly, just as we see the chemistry between the two actors building on screen.
  8. 1. Based on the title sequence of Vertigo, I think the film will be about psychosis and fear of some kind. The psychosis and fear will be related to a woman. Whatever the story in the film, it feels like it will have a cyclical structure. The spirals make it feel relentless, almost inevitable and repeating. 2. In the opening sequence of Vertigo, the most powerful image for me was the static Lissajous figure that resembled an eye with a brow. Besides the fact that it resembled an eye (relating back to the closeup of Kim Novak's eye) it was also unmoving. The other Lissajous figures were spinning and this one remained still. As it moved closer, it began to look like a spider web that the viewer was getting caught in. This strengthened the feeling of being ensnared and trapped in something with little control over your plight. 3. Bass's images and Herrman's score work seamlessly. The music is cyclical, spinning and returning, just like the figures on the screen. There is also a dreamlike, otherworldly quality to the music that helps give the impression that we are entering a private world of dreams, visions and psychological issues. It is difficult to imagine this sequence with different music, because it is so obvious that the two artists worked together to create this. It makes me wonder who created what first? Did Bass create the images and then Herrman wrote his score to support it? Or did Herrman write the score and then Bass created the images to support it? Since the images and music work together so flawlessly, I would be very interested to find out how their collaboration worked.
  9. 1. In the opening camera shot of Rear Window Hitchcock is giving the audience some knowledge regarding the characters and setting without the use of dialogue. It is shot from the vantage point of the omniscient audience. The audience is let in on some things that even Jeff doesn't see because his back is to the courtyard and he is sleeping. The audience can see all in this shot, as opposed to the rest of the movie where we see everything from Jeff's point of view. 2. We learn a great deal about Jeff from this opening shot. We learn that he lives in a studio apartment that backs on a courtyard. He is confined to a wheel chair because of a broken leg. He has a dry sense of humor, based on the writing on his cast. As the camera pans around the room, we can see that he is a photographer, based on the cameras, equipment and photos. We also can infer how his leg was broken based on the race car crash photo and broken camera. The audience also sees a photo for a magazine cover of a beautiful woman. This also gives us an indication of how Jeff and Lisa met, perhaps when he was photographing her for the magazine cover (of course we don't meet Lisa till a bit later in the film). 3. This scene does make me feel like a voyeur. Surprisingly its not looking into the apartments of the neighbors that makes me feel the most voyeuristic, it is when the camera begins peering into that private world in Jeff's apartment. It is when we examine his belongings and himself closely that I feel most voyeuristic. 4. I would agree that Rear Window is Hitchcock's most cinematic film. It is all about what Jeff/we can see. We learn nothing about the crime via dialogue, it is all based on what is viewed. Rear Window is #1 on my list of favorite Hitchcock films. As a side note: Can I just say that the score for Rear Window is one of the best in films? I love the combination of original music with well known standards. This reflects the collaborative approach Hitchcock took to film making. The jazz music at the very beginning is wonderful. It has such an urban feel to it, and it really helps cement the city apartment setting of the film.
  10. 1. Hitchcock plays with the metaphor of "criss cross" in various ways in the opening scene of Strangers on a Train. There are many visual criss cross elements. The opposing taxis that frame two different men, who enter the station through different doors, the criss crossing train tracks, the two men's crossed legs, the two men across from each other on the train. Another criss cross item that struck me was the music score. There seemed to be a criss cross of musical themes between the two men, an almost comical, lilting theme for Bruno and more serious, smoother theme for Guy. 2. Hitchcock creates a sense of contrast between Guy and Bruno in many ways. The first I noticed was the shoes; Bruno wears much more dramatic shoes, a white and black wing tip, while Guy's shoes are more sedate. The lighting is different beginning when the men leave their taxis. Bruno enters the train station through a tunnel so the lighting is darker and more sinister. Guy enters through a more light filled entrance. Bruno wears a garish tie, while Guy has more understated clothing. Bruno is gregarious and engages Guy in conversation. Guy seems quiet and has little to say, he just wants to read his book. Bruno seems a "close talker" (to steal a Seinfeld term) and invades Guy's space with his larger, louder personality. 3. Dmitri Tiomkin's score really functions as part of the mood of the opening sequence of Strangers on a Train. I was immediately impressed by the criss cross musical themes used to represent each man (a leitmotif). I have not noticed a leitmotif for character being used much in films before and during this time period, but I definitely hear a criss cross of Bruno and Guy's motifs in this opening sequence. I have not seen the film before, so I am excited to hear if the use of these motifs continue throughout the film.
  11. I just wanted to be sure there was some discussion of Lifeboat. It is near the top of my list of favorite Hitchcock films. I think I enjoy it so much because aside from the fact that it is a "locked door" mystery, it is a wonderful character study. You have a group of people from very different backgrounds and walks of life. All of the characters are recognizable: "upper class" wealthy, the rough working man, the innocent young women, etc. The circumstances force them together and how they react and change as people is truly at the heart of the film.
  12. 1. Hitchcock touches noticeable in this scene are the POV camera angles and close-up shots. The shot of Devlin (Cary Grant) from Alicia's (Ingrid Bergman's) point of view is classic Hitchcock. In addition, the close-up of Bergman lying in the bed is another Hitchcock touch. Bergman seems to be an ordinary person (except for her beauty) awakening with a hangover. This ordinary person is being asked to participate in an extra-ordinary spy job. This is a Hitchcock touch as well. 2. Hitchcock uses interesting framing for Grant when the audience (from Bergman's POV) first sees him framed in the doorway. The canting angles we see him from give the impression that Bergman's character is attempting to figure him out, understand who he is and what he really wants. Grant is very suave and elegant (as always) with his perfectly cut suit and immaculate hair. Meanwhile, Bergman is at a definite disadvantage, she is in bed, ill from a hangover, hair and face disheveled. She has slept in her clothes. I have not seen Notorious before, but I get the feeling that Bergman is going to be at the mercy of Grant for the entire movie. That somehow he is always going to have the advantage over her. 3. This scene conforms to what I know and have seen about Cary Grant. He is always handsome, immaculately dressed, and with a sense of self-confidence and control. The scene challenges my knowledge and perceptions of Ingrid Bergman. I am most familiar with her from Gaslight (one of my favorite movies). The opening of this scene shows her in an unflattering light. Her hair and make-up disheveled. Her clothes wrinkled and slept in. She is suffering from a hangover. This is not typically the way a Hollywood actress of the 1940s would want to be filmed.
  13. 1. The "Hitchcock touches" I see in this scene are mainly based on the camera work. The camera pans across the dirty dishes in the room slowly. The audience is left to try to figure out what is going on, the aftermath of a party? Then we see the cards and Robert Montgomery, with his 3-days beard and we start to realize that something else is going on. There is no dialogue for most of the scene. The audience has to rely on the visual images. There are elements of this opening scene in Rear Window, when the camera pans slowly around Jimmy Stewart's apartment and the audience is left to figure out what is happening based on the visual images. From the visual images of the opening scene in Mr. and Mrs. Smith, we learn that they are fairly well off. The dishes, the furniture and the home are all beautifully designed and decorated. The rooms are enormous and light filled. There is white everywhere. They are well enough off to afford at least 2 domestic staff, a cook and a maid. We also learn that Mr. Smith is a lawyer based on the interaction with the law clerk (who I recognize as Pepe from The Shop Around the Corner). We also learn that they have been married for some time, based on the conversation that this has happened several times before. The set design is wonderful. One of my favorite aspects of movies of the 30s and 40s is the gorgeous homes they portray. The lush furniture and draperies, the touches of art deco. Wonderful! 2. I do agree with the statement that the opening scene of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical Hitchcock opening. The opening scene relies heavily on the visual. There is not much dialogue, at first. The audience is left to put the pieces together from the images they are shown. 3. Carole Lombard was one of the goddesses of screwball comedy. There probably couldn't have been a better actor for that part. I am not as familiar with Robert Montgomery, but the chemistry between the two of them seems to work. As a side note; I could imagine William Powell in the role as well, but I'm just a huge fan, so I can imagine him in many roles. Possibly he would have been too old for the part, but Hollywood never worries too much about casting young women with older men.
  14. 1. In the opening scene of Shadow of a Doubt, we learn that Uncle Charlie is being pursued by someone (maybe the police or maybe a gangster he wronged). He seems, if not unconcerned, resigned to it. Almost as if he knows it is futile to fight against it. He seems tired, almost defeated in some way. We also learn that he must be a likeable person in some ways, as his landlady seems concerned about him, and even warns him about the men looking for him. She also believes he is honest, evidenced by her statement that she hasn't had much trouble with dishonesty. There is lots of money on his bedside table and on the floor, but he seems unconcerned with it. If he has come by the money dishonestly, he didn't do it just for the money, but maybe for the thrill of it. 2. The opening scene of Shadow of a Doubt reminds me of film noir. We open on a gritty, city street. A man lies on a bed in a seedy boarding house toying with an unlit cigar (sometimes a cigar is just a cigar). Minor key music plays. The expression on the man's face is blank, resigned. There are shadowy figures waiting outside for him. We can guess that the large amount of money on the bedside table and floor was obtained dishonestly based on the man's demeanor and the information provided by the landlady. 3. Tiomkin's score for Shadow of a Doubt greatly heightens the anxiety and suspense of the action. The music is in a minor key. There are many discordant harmonies. The music builds anticipation and also builds when a decision is being made by Uncle Charlie. Tiomkin is a master at projecting the mood of a film. The music is a definite film noir touch to the movie.
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