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snowicki

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  1. 1. Unlike most of Hitchcock's films, this opening scene starts with a flashback. There is an ominous feel to the house and grounds on which the house is on, heightened by the focus on the moon, gate, fog, and dark sky. I agree with other users who say that the house itself is a character that we are coming to get to know in this film. The opening focus on the house is set up ominously and seems eerily silent, different from the openings in movies like The Man Who Knew Too Much and The Lady Vanishes. 2. The shots are similar to that of the older Hitchcock movies. There are POV and movement shots that enhance the scene and help bring the audience into the story, making us wonder and care about what is going to happen next -- essentially forcing us to watch the movie to see what happens. There is also information revealed to us from the narrator that the characters probably do not know, as the narrator is retelling the story in retrospect. The sudden change from the quiet house to the rushing waters also reminds me of Hitchcock -- rapidly cut scenes to create some excitement for the audience. And, in France, we meet two characters who look ordinary and who will become the lead characters as the movie progresses. 3. The house is ominously introduced, complete with images of the moon, fog, and gnarly trees. As we move past the gate, the voiceover enhances what we see on the screen, so we see the house as the character would, a place that she never will visit again, except in her dreams. The house is referred to as a very important place, and words are used that show that the house is important in the story about to be shared. The flashback and narration make me want to watch the movie to see what happens.
  2. 1. The scene is opened with a woman checking out, and with everyone who is sitting in the lobby contentedly. The tune that follows this is cheerful, and ultimately reminds me of something Disney-like. But this quiet tone changes when loud German guests bring in chaos to the scene, complete with a wind blowing them into the hotel. This wind shows that something disorderly is going to happen and the German guests do attract attention. This chaotic mood is furthered with the chiming of the cuckoo clock. This is Hitchcock telling the audience to pay attention to the news that is going to be revealed in the coming seconds. Because of this, the audience feels and sympathizes with the crowd that gathers at the front desk and feels more strongly for them when they are unhappy that their train is going to be delayed. 2. They are like the audience, in that they do not know key information. They wonder what is going on and who the women are. One expresses a dislike for Americans, with his comment that the women are "probably Americans," giving the audience some insight into the social mood of Britain at the time. But, they are still funny and set the scene with wry, witty humor. 3. The women have an important feel to them, as the camera follows Boris, who goes to the door to greet the women. He seems to have forgotten the other guests at the front desk, further emphasizing her importance. Hitchcock has set Iris apart from the other women in that she has dark hair, she talks to Boris while the other two blonde women follow behind, and in that the camera focuses on her as she moves up the stairs.
  3. 1. The opening of The 39 Steps, like The Pleasure Garden, begins in a theatre with the entertainment of Mr. Memory. There is a light feel in this film that also can be found in The Pleasure Garden - joyous laughter, fast cuts between the audience and Mr. Memory, humorous dialogue presented with the questions presented. And there is definitely a suspense in the beginning of the clip, with Hannay's shadow and trench coat. This is present in other Hitchcock openings, like that of the girl screaming in The Lodger. 2. The character is innocent, as presented by Hitchcock, and likable. He asks an earnest question to Mr. Memory and has a refined air about him. He looks clean and neat, and is enjoying a night at the Music Hall like everyone else. But he is cast apart, seen especially when he is standing and talking to Mr. Memory (everyone surrounding him is seated and the lighting is focused directly on Hannay). 3. The setting in a music hall is rather ordinary for the 1930s, something that everyday audience members might get to visit, which connects the audience to the picture. The main character, too, is ordinarily dressed and ordinarily interested in Mr. Memory. There is a sense of humor that can be noted in all of Hitchcock's films and that is definitely present here, with some of the questions asked by the audience. Even further, many of Hitchcock's filming techniques - cant shots, pan on "Music Hall", focus on the back of Hannay until he is in the audience (which further shows his "everydayness").
  4. 1. From the few Hitchcock movies I've watched, I've noticed that his characters and his plots work in tandem to deliver a story that is suspenseful, meaningful, and poignant. While the characters are an important part of the story, Hitchcock creates a movie that the audience cares about through complicated plot twists and action scenes. For example, North by Northwest has characters that the audience cares about, but the motion of the story is not created by Grant's inner changes or desires. Rather, it is created when evil spies mistake him for George Kaplan. The same could be said for a number of Hitchcock's other action packed films. Yet, this particular scene does present dazzling characters and thus, could very well be an attempt of Hitchcock's to create a story based on the characters and their changes, inner desires, and emotions. 2. From the brief scene, I observed that Abbott was a kind gentleman, constantly smiling and happy, despite being knocked down by the skier. His English is not the best, as he does not understand figurative language, but this adds to the suspense of his character and forces the audience to ask where he is from. He knows the uncle/skier, seen when a look flashes across Abbott's face after seeing him, but does a good job in hiding it. These interesting observations make him a character to watch for the rest of the film. 3. The Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew Too Much share the light, jovial mood, conveyed in The Pleasure Garden with the dancing girls and in The Man Who Know Too Much with Abbott's happy character. All three films also have large crowds within them, as others have mentioned. Also, all three have an emphasis on words, but in different ways. The Man Who Knew Too Much is a sound film, so dialogue between the characters sets up the story. The Pleasure Garden uses dialogue cards and "no smoking" signs to get this effect, and The Lodger uses words written on a typewriter or in other parts throughout the scene.
  5. 1. Alice hears the sound of the scene differently from the other characters, and it shows in the way that she reacts to the repetition of the words, such as that of "knife." As an audience, we are fully delved into Alice's mind because we are hearing what she is hearing -- and thus, somewhat thinking what she is thinking. 2. The visual focuses within the clip complement the aural ones. As we hear the word "knife" repeated, we see Alice's worry and fear at the repeat of the word. We also see the knife being dropped, which happens when "knife" hits the loudest volume in Alice's head. Alice's character, through facial expressions and dialogue, reacts to the sound that she hears, tying the two pieces together to create an interesting story. 3. I don't think that subjective sound is typically used in today's cinema because other techniques, such as inner dialogue and voice over, are popularized.
  6. 1. These particular shots are effective in drawing me into the story and in connecting with the characters' experiences. It makes me feel as though I am with the boys walking shamefully towards the headmaster. I also believe that the shots help to encourage me to continue watching because the suspense of the shots makes me wonder what is going to happen next. 2. It helps to connect the audience to the characters -- and it helps to engage the audience into what is happening in the characters. As others have mentioned, it is harder to simply "watch" the movie with shots such as these, rather than "feel" for the characters. It heightens an interest in the storyline and encourages viewers to delve into the piece. It is Hitchcock's camera angles and direction that are able to achieve this without sound. 3. Montages and superimposed images were seen in Downhill and The Ring to express character development. Downhill uses this technique to show the waitress' past and rise to her current situation, while The Ring uses the superimposed images to show the boxer's acute fear about his wife and the champion. The character's emotions are definitely explored with by Hitchcock in these scenes, as he effectively tries to show what is being felt without heard dialogue. Examples of this include the girl who screams loudly in The Lodger, Ruddy's fear about the waitress and her accusation in Downhill, and the boxer's fear in The Ring. I also believe that all of the movies used tone and mood to convey certain themes -- The Lodger, being a murder mystery, used choppy cuts and focus on evidence as it was being discovered, while The Pleasure Garden had a more jovial feel with the dancing and smile of the man. This, I feel, helps the audience to understand what is going in and to get invested in the storyline so they want and need to know what happens next.
  7. 1. Hitchcock used fast action in the beginning of scene where the women were dancing, alcohol was being quickly downed, and the boxer's wife was getting closer to the champion, to show that the party was full of life. It reminded me of the carefree attitudes of the flappers during the era, effectively mirroring the social mood. Vitality was also seen in the later images where the husband was experiencing doubt about his wife's loyalties with the instruments superimposed on each other. 2. Superimposed images and montages show what the husband is feeling about his wife's attraction to the champion. The montage of instruments and the record-player helped to show the confusion and worry that the main character was experiencing, giving us a look into his mind. 3. The one thing that stands out to me to show a competition is the use of a mirror scene. I thought that this was framed brilliantly, because it was a new and exciting way to set up the story and to create a sense of competition between the two boxers. And as others also mentioned, the manager seemed to allow this insecurity and competition to blossom to help aid the boxer in victory against the champion.
  8. 1. The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger have similarities in that they both display blonde female characters as their centre piece. Both films also both have camera angles that attract the viewer and that propel the storyline forward. However, the tones and moods of the two are quite different - The Pleasure Garden has a lighter feel, while The Lodger seems dark and suspenseful. 2. Though I am unsure if this is "Hitchcock style," I admired the use of phrases (such as "to-night golden curls" and "half of face") that appeared more than once throughout the clip. I believe that this effectively put emphasis on them as a part of the storyline, which was especially brilliant with this being a silent film. I think that Hitchcock placed these to help viewers follow the storyline, but still managing to, as we talked about within the lecture today, use some of the more obscure art forms of the time. 3. The up-close emphasis on the actress shows that something is happening and compels viewers to pay attention. Even further, the actress' body language (facial expression - wide eyes and wide mouth) adds to the scene.
  9. 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Not having seen very much of Hitchcock, I’m not sure if I can comment on his specific touch present within the clip. However, I’m looking forward to identifying his touches as I see more of his work through this class! 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? Again, I’m not quite sure. It would make sense that Hitchcock’s first piece might pave the way for his later work, but I haven’t seen enough to know specifics. 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? I do not believe that limitations existed within the silent film due to a lack of dialogue. Rather, I think that the lack of language enhanced the storyline because it allowed the viewer to specifically focus on the emotions and acting of the actors and actresses in the movie. I believe that the lack of language within the film shows Hitchcock’s ability to tell a complicated story through setting, character development and camera angles and shots.
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