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About melissasimock

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  1. Hmmmm. I <3 Grantchester. I hadn't thought about Hitchcock when I watched this show. But I will definitely keep it in mind for my second viewing!
  2. My favourite homage to Hitchcock, is episode #16 "Mr. Yin Presents" (season finale) of PSYCH, season 4. Directed by James Roday. It is hands down, the best episode of the entire 8 seasons of the show. Here are a few snippets to wet your appetite: Psych Catch Up - James Roday "Mr. Yin Presents" Intro SEASON FINALE of Psych on USA Network - "Mr. Yin Presents" 3/10 Promo Scene from the SEASON FINALE of Psych on USA Network - "Mr. Yin Presents" 3/10 Scene #2 from SEASON FINALE of Psych on USA Network - "Mr. Yin Presents" 3/10 Scene #3 from the SEASON FINALE of Psych on USA Network - "Mr. Yin Presents" 3/10
  3. 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 Lodger starts with a face close up, and then goes to the dead body. Frenzy starts with a far away view of the city, slowly getting closer tot he people, and eventually gets to the dead body. The Lodger starts with the killing, where Frenzy lets you get comfortable first. We don't immediately know what we're in for. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. We're in a location that is seemingly harmless. There is a crowd of people. Are we already seeing the MacGuffin? The ecological agenda? The dead body? 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 establishes the location. Sets the tone. Introduces us to a main character. He dives right into the story.
  4. 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 uses multiple identities, by the number of SS cards she has. We know she changes her appearance, we can assume with her identity, as she goes for quick changes. (Fyi, that black dye would never rinse out like that, leaving bright blonde.) She has expensive taste. We know she's leaving one life behind. She tosses her old clothes into the suitcase she leaves at the station, and she throws away the key. The clothes for her newest life are neatly placed into the other suitcase. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The music is very low key until she starts rinsing the dye out of her hair. Then it picks up in volume and gets more dramatic as we witness her transformation. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? This time he looks at the camera, towards the viewer. A little cheeky! Almost a nod to the audience.
  5. 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 see the symbolism of 'couples', and reference to love birds. We witness the flirtation between to people who just met, and are attracted to one another. Other than not being able to escape the bird sounds, the scene has a lighter feel to it. Melanie is looking for a companion. Mitch has a sister who is much younger than he is, and he cares for her. Mitch is also knowledgable of birds, and is well aware Melanie doesn't know what she's talking about, but sort of goes along with it anyway. 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 bird sounds are very loud, especially when they are in the store. They are louder than the humans. The birds outside are loud too, and get your attention. You can't escape the bird sounds here. It's a sound that is usually relaxing and enjoyable. But here it becomes unnerving. 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. In relation to the scene, it's not an accident that Hitch walks out of the store with two dogs, a couple. And not just two dogs, but two of the dame kind of dog. Mitch has come to the store for a pair of lover birds, a couple. Melanie comes into the store to get a single bird, who talks, to be her companion, but meets a human companion. This is where Melanie and Mitch meet for the first time, and start to couple up.
  6. 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? You know there is going to be some intensity in this film. You will be on the edge of your seat. There will be tense and anxious moments. There is brokenness to these characters. 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? If Hitch is showing it to us, we know it's important information. It tells us exactly when and where the story starts. Before we even hear Janet Leigh refer to her boss or her lunch break, we already know this is a normal work time for most people. By going in thru semi-closed binds we know we are seeing something private. Something the characters don't want anyone to know. It reminds me of the opening of Shadow of a Doubt, when we go into Charlie's room. And obviously the huge window opening scene in Rear Window. 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. She is the first character we see. She's the one who's taking control of the situation. She's the one who lives in Phoenix, while Sam travels there to see her.
  7. 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. They are both beautiful, talented, Hollywood stars. Cary has a reputation for being sexy, charming, suave. From Eva's TCM interview, she admits to being attracted to Cary. In the scene Eva's character is the one who goes after Cary. Both being big Hollywood stars, they have similar clout. In real world Hollywood it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume Eva could approach Cary in the way. Unlike a civilian, who probably would not, or at least would not get the same response from Cary. 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 gives them an excuse to physically touch. Eva uses her cigarette, and the blowing out of the match, very seductively. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. I like the sound of the train traveling along the tracks. And the silverware clanging on the plates. The light, mellow atmospheric background music. All things you would expect to hear if you were in the dining car of a train. Eva and Cary's characters are still the main focus of the scene.
  8. 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 this sequence, it appears to be about a woman, and the inner workings of her mind. Turmoil. Things may not be as they appear to be. There is a definite sense of unease. This scene also gives me the feeling that time is fluid here. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. The blue one that does not swirl, but gets larger as it comes closer to the viewer. All the imagery is eye related, but this one stands out to me. It reminds me of when someone gives you the evil eye. Slightly squinted. Cold. There is a sinister feel to it. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? They work so well together. Both the images and the music convey the hallucinogenic feel of the film. They are in sync. I'm sure another score could be written that would also be effective. But there are few that could achieve what Herrmann's score has.
  9. 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? He's seeking to establish the environment where the story will take place, the characters of the story, our point of view for the story, and helps us to feel what it is like to be living there. He also lets us know what time of year it is, thru the temperature and open windows. The viewers vantage point. We are as much a voyeur in this as Jeff is. 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 learn he is a photographer, an action photographer. He lives in an apartment complex in a city. He's recently broken his leg. We learn his broken leg was the result of a work related accident, by the broken camera. He's also done some fashion photography, or has someone in his life who's interested in fashion. 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? It makes me feel more like an immobile spectator. Your eye naturally gravitates towards movement. No one sits at home and stares at the walls when they have a huge window to look out of. It's human nature to watch what's going on around you. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I have seen this film many times, but I have not seen all of Hitchcock's films yet. I do agree with it being quite cinematic tho.
  10. 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. One has all black shoes. The other mostly stark white shoes, with black trim. They are each shown walking across the frame in different directions. The criss crossing of the railroad tracks. On the train they each approach their seats form different directions. And sit on opposite sides on the train, but directly across from one another. One wears a light coloured jacket, the other dark. 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. One has all black shoes. The other mostly stark white shoes, with black trim. They are each shown walking across the frame in different directions. On the train they each approach their seats form different directions. And sit on opposite sides on the train, but directly across from one another. One wears a light coloured suit, the other dark. Bruno is much more talkative and outgoing, while Guy just wants to read his book. 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? The music matches the pace of their footsteps.
  11. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Ingrid Bergman viewing Cary Grant from an upside down perspective. The use of light and shadow. The close up of the record on the record player. 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? Cary coming out of the shadows, gives you the feeling there's something sinister about him. They both have close-ups, in individual frames. They are both important in star quality, and as characters in the film. Contrast - Cary is very put together, stylish, composed, and in control. Ingrid is a bit of a hot mess. Cary is standing up very straight, walking confidently. Ingrid is rolling around in the bed, not wanting to deal with him, or anything else. 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? Confirms. They both have many close ups. They are well dressed. Even tho Ingrid is disheveled in this scene, there is still an elegance to you. You can tell by her dress and surroundings that she is living a high society life.
  12. 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? In this opening scene we learn the couple has been in the room, or at least the room hasn't been cleaned, for a few days due to the stacks of dirty dished lying around. We know something isn't right between them, because he's been sleeping on the couch and she's been on the bed. He also shivers when he looks at her. Yet we know it's not a dangerous situation from the light flute music. Also, he leaves her half of breakfast by the bed, without trying to rouse her, and takes his half back to his nest. He plays a trick on her while she's playing opossum, making her think he left the room when he hadn't. This brings them back together. 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? You learn a lot about the characters in a short amount of time. There is a decent amount of time with no dialog, just music, that clues you into what's been going on. It's definitely set in a place where you wold expect to feel safe. It does have a much slower pace than a lot of the other openings. It definitely sets the tone well. 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? Yes, I think they were both cast very well. They have a good chemistry between them. You believe they could be a married couple.
  13. 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. ​​ He's living in a boarding house. Two men are following him. He is preoccupied with what is going on in his life,. So much so that he lets lots money lay all over and doesn't care that the landlady sees it. And just lays on the bed, lost in thought. He's done something he shouldn't have/ feels guilty about something - he says "You have nothing on me." 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) Strong contrast of black and white. Use of shadows. Someone is on the run/being followed. Someone is tailing a main character. There is a somber tone to the scene. 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? The music shifts from gay and playful when we are outside in the streets with the children, to slow and soft when we move inside the room of Charlie. When Charlie rises from his bed, the music rises with him. It continues to do so, creating a feeling of anticipation until he walks out the front door of the building. As he walks past the men following him, then as they start to follow him again, the music mirrors the anxiety and anticipation of all three men and the situation. As the men follow him, the music also mimics the rhythm of their footsteps.
  14. 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? It's much mellower. Only two characters, and in a desolate place. There are no frantic movements or sounds. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? There is an element of suspense. You know something has happened there, and something has happened to the main character, but you don't know what yet. In this opening scene, Hitchcock even shows you the part of Manderley that has been gutted by the fire. He's giving you a lot of information early on, even if it doesn't all make sense to the viewer yet. 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? The house is a character in the story. From the opening sequence, you get a sense of the house itself, and what you may expect to feel if you visited there. You van feel it's history, and energies.
  15. 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. He establishes a calm, light-hearted, and jovial atmosphere. The music gives you a sense that something comedic could happen at any moment. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. They give us a little more insight into what is going on, and we get a look into the minds of everyone stranded in the lobby. 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 doesn't move off of them, except when it turns back to see all the other people in the lobby watching the girls intently. They are front and center, and take up most of the frame. Iris corrected the hotel clerk's pronunciation to a fancier version, giving her more of a star quality.
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