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Everything posted by barkerjuliea

  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. We get the long shot coming in, vs seeing a screaming woman. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. Hitch cameo, shots from above. 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 have noticed over the course of opening scenes spanning Hitchcock's 50 year career.He is always getting us ready to be involved in the story. Giving us some background, or appealing to us to look or listen.
  2. 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.We know she has several identities from the many SS cards, which could lead us to think she's a spy or a criminal. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene?It's very melancholic as we watch her walk, but gets brighter once she's washed the dye from her hair. We get snapped back into reality at the train station when the score ends, and the sounds of the conductor, etc, begin. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means?He looks straight at us, then around to Marnie. Seems he wants us to watch her.
  3. 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?We have a case of mistaken identity, with Tippi pretending to be a clerk, while they flirt with each other. They are both well groomed, which seems to make them from the upper socio-economic classes. Perhaps used to having their way, as Tippi can't be bothered to wait for her mynah bird, but asks for it to be delivered. How does Hitchcock use sound design in this opening sequence? For example, how are the sounds of birds used to create a particular mood and atmosphere? The gulls are very noticeable in the scene over the square. Also inside the pet store. I've never seen a pet store with so many birds, and so few cats and dogs. The opening scene contains a famous Hitchcock cameo. Describe the cameo and if you think it has any particular meaning in relation to this scene.Hitchcock leaving the pet store with his 2 dogs on a leash may be showing we think we can harness/tame animals.
  4. Psycho opens with title design by Saul Bass and music by Bernard Herrmann. This is their third collaboration for Hitchcock, including Vertigoand North by Northwest. How does the graphic design and the score introduce the main themes of this film? Lots of lines and a very intense score which lets us know there are going to be very intense moments happening in this film. 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 seeking to establish with such specificity? Also, why do you think Hitchcock elects to enter the hotel room through the semi-closed blinds from the outside? Does this shot remind of any other Daily Doses we have watched? The specifics of the day and time want to ground you in reality, almost as if this was a documentary rather than a work of fiction. The entrance through the blinds hearkens back to Hitchcock's voyeur motif. . In the remainder of this sequence, we are introduced to Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin). The scene pushed the boundaries of censorship, especially considering our last Daily Dose for North by Northwest was edited for a line of risqué dialogue. Since this is the opening scene of Psycho, how does the hotel room scene function as a way to establish Marion Crane as a main character? Defend your answer.We see she is not as morally upright as she could be, since she has taken her lunch hour to meet with her lover in a seedy hotel. We see she can do bad things, as she does when she steals the money later.
  5. 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. Cary Grant is seen as the attractive leading man he always is in all of his films. Eva Marie Saint is basically seducing him, which many men and women viewers would like to do. There is minimal action in this scene, so any deviation from the overall pattern of focusing on the faces of the two leads will have increased significance. In that sense, discuss how Hitchcock uses the R.O.T. matchbook as an important piece of acting business (or as a prop) in this scene. It allows them to touch, vs talk. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer.Violins and train noises. Romantic music from the violins help us know this is a romantic scene...the train noises are just background to remind us of where this is taking place...one of Hitch's favorite places.
  6. 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. I think it will involve this woman, and from the music and designs, it will have dreamlike sequences. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer.I like when HItchcock's credit as director comes up. The music is powerful at that point. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? They are superb together. I can't imagine a better partnership.
  7. 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? We are taking a tour of the neighborhood. This is the viewer's vantage point. What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design? We see photographs, a busted camera, and a very large leg cast that apparently came from taking said shots. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? We are being nosy, and don't really have to feel bad about it, as it's "just a film." Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic?I certainly would name this as my favorite, even though some of the other's have a much different scope as far as the sets go.
  8. 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.Lots of criss crossing here. The shoes of our main characters, the train tracks, the walkers going into the station. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example.Clothing goes from flashy (Bruno) to relaxed (Guy). Bruno talks much more, and invades Guy's space on the train. While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence?Music is similar but different as our players head from the taxi to the train. Bruno's is more jazzy.
  9. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Light and shadows, upside down shots. 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? For a protagonist, Devlin certainly isn't sweetness and light. He's full of shadow, as shown in the opening shot of this scene. He's debonair, while Bergman is dressed somewhat patriotically in stripes...only she still has on her clothes from the night before. She's not the nature girl, but the party girl....shown as sullied. Based on this scene (or the entire film if you have seen it already), reflect on the casting of Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Does this scene conform to or challenge their well-known star personas? Challenged, I'd say. We are not seeing the funny Cary Grant, nor the good girl Ingrid Bergman.
  10. 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? Some touches are the attempt to tell the story as a silent film....husband is on the couch means there must have been a row, food everywhere, so they've been at it for more than a day. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: the opening sequence of Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a typical "Hitchcock opening" based on openings you have seen so far in the other Daily Doses? Why or why not? It's not suspense, but there is a lot of information given, just as in many of his other films. What do think about the casting of and chemistry between Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery? Do you think both are well cast for this "comedy of remarriage?" Why or why not? They seem to play well off each other.
  11. 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 is not as he seems to his landlady. He starts out seemingly morose, with a lack of affect, and becomes upset after hearing about the "friends" outside, shown by smashing the water glass prior to going outside to meet his fate. 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 like Siodmak's The Killers? (Note: If you haven't seen The Killers, it is fine to answer this question in general terms about your own personal expectations) We have a man, seemingly outside the law for some reason. Shadows, a suit that has seen better days, a man without a job, but with money. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they did during the British years. Music will play a big role in Shadow of a Doubt. The film's score is by Dimitri Tiomkin, the first of four film scores that the composer will create for Hitchcock. What effect does the Tiomkin score have on the mood, atmosphere, and even the pace of this opening scene? We start with lighthearted sounds, as we see the children outside playing. We get a taste of the Merry Widow waltz. The music becomes more insistent and driving as we watch Joseph Cotten confront his fate by walking past his "friends."
  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 is not a public space full of people. It's quiet, not boisterous, as the narrator tells of her dream. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Light and shadow, camera angles. 3. How does this opening sequence use Manderley--the house itself--as a kind of character in the story? What affect does the flashback structure and the voiceover narration have on your experience of this scene? Manderley is recounted almost like a long lost friend. The structure makes me aware we are going to be seeing the story of Manderley in the film.
  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 folk music used helps to establish this place as rural or unsophisticated. The seated folks are morose, as they are waiting for some help. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. These characters are used as comedic relief to the distress of the waiting passengers. 3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. The camera follows Iris and her friends all the way through the lobby, with seldom a glance at the waiting mass. Obviously she is the queen of this show, and has the full attention of the hotel manager.
  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? A pattern I've seen is that there is an audience in many of the openings. This particular film also seems pretty lighthearted, as compared to some with a more serious opening. 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? He certainly seems amiable enough. An outsider, attending a performance at a music hall, and not seeming at all bothered by his "otherness". 3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? The space seems happy enough, we have no idea that evil might happen here. The audience heckling the act also seems normal enough. The other elements making up the Hitchcock touch don't seem apparent to me at this time in the film.
  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 would think the characters are going to be more important. Opening with ski jumping and we're not going to continue with skiing or the same location seems to bolster that. 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? He's rich, or playing rich, he's not English, and his physical response upon seeing the skiier seem to indicate they will have dealings later in the film. 3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. There are crowds....an audience in all 3. Only the Pleasure Garden does not include some kind of physical crime or injury.
  16. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. When Alice walks into the phone booth, we no longer hear the sounds of the conversation happening outside. This lack of sound causes us to instead hear what Alice is thinking, as shown in her expression after seeing the number for the police. The gossipy customer with her talk of how a knife is not an English way to murder...this repeating of the word knife starts to upset Alice. The word becomes a screech by the time she throws the knife to the floor. 2. Describe the different ways that the sound design of this scene operates in counterpoint to the visual track. For example, how does Hitchcock set up the shot where the knife flies out of Alice's hand so that it registers a shock in his audience? Pay attention to both what is happening visually and aurally. Be specific. The gossiper is talking, and Alice is silent, focused inwardly. The repetition of the word knife is all she hears, until it seems a screech. The second bell of the customer also means something, but it's hard to know what without seeing the film. 3. Why do you think this particular use of subjective sound is not used frequently in cinema? It's too much work for modern audiences. Most times voice-overs or other visual methods are used to explain internal thoughts.
  17. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? The POV shots make us identify more with the characters. We are, in effect, seeing through their eyes. 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? He uses the shots to better engage us with the characters and the story. 3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. The montage, the visuals used for characters thoughts and ideas, as shown with the superimposed images here and in The Ring.
  18. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? We see the film cut back and forth from the party to the meeting scene with the husband, which helps the viewer see both the husband's and wife's perspectives, without dragging it out by showing both chronologically. 2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. The superimposing of the wife and her party partner in her husband's head during the meeting help us see how he's feeling, even without the cards. The same is true for the wife and her looks into the mirror at her husband in the meeting. 3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen? The montage, the party atmosphere vs business meeting, helps show the rivalry.
  19. 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? Blondes....Hitchcock definitely had something for them, and used them in both films. He's using the cutting back and forth technique in both as well. Subject matter is much darker in the opening scene of The Lodger...a scream vs ladies gaily tripping down a spiral staircase. 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? Camera angles, cutting back and forth, lighting. 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 head angle makes you aware this is not a normal voice or head position. Reminds me of Psycho and Janet Leigh, or Kim Novak.
  20. 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Absolutely. As so many have noted, we are observing the observed. Potential voyeurs, following along with the row of heated gentlemen in the theater. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto assessments that this sequence contains elements, themes, or approaches that we will see throughout Hitchcock's 50-year career? Blondes, women as objects of beauty, spiral staircases,danger unobserved by the victim, etc. 3. Since this is a silent film, do you feel there were any limitations on these opening scenes due to the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue?Dialogue is an additional way to understand the films, but the visual presented is the main element.
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