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About AaronF

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    Boston, MA
  1. I think a very interesting collaboration would be for Hitchcock to work with director M. Night Shyamalan. Hitchcock would enjoy movies like "Unbreakable", "The Village" and other movies for their MacGuffin's and interesting turn of events in Shyamalan's films. John Williams is always my choice for composer, he is one of the best that ever lived. Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), or Klaus Badelt (Pirates of the Caribbean) The actor choices for me are Gary Oldman, Cate Blanchett, James McAvoy (Split), Tim Curry, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Campbell and Chalize Theron. I'm not sure about collaborative writers, I enjoy movies written by Stephen King, Joel Cohen, Wes Anderson, Mel Brooks and Rob Zombie.
  2. My favorite homage to Hitchcock is Mel Brooks' "High Anxiety". Mel Brooks references Vertigo, Spellbound, North by Northwest, Psycho and Birds. Brooks is pooped on by birds and is attacked in a shower scene from Psycho by the bellboy. The film lampoons many of Hitchcock's standard plots and directorial techniques, but not in a mean-spirited way.
  3. 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 opens at night with a scream filled with horror, everyone is distraught and surprised. Frenzy opens during the day with a lazy aerial shot of London. There are no screams of horror even when the woman is found dead in the Thames, it's almost expected. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. The opening is reminiscent of the Rear Window where you get a bird's eye view of the neighborhood. The viewer cannot see into windows but this seems like a slow pan of London, it looks so peaceful from up there. Hitchcock uses tongue-in-cheek humor as the character explains how the Thames will be cleaned and scrubbed as we see a dead woman floating to where they are. How many other people or things will they find while cleaning? Hitchcock also makes a cameo in the opening scene. 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. Hitchcock likes to show us the result in the first couple scenes, then we built up to how it happened and why. He uses camera techniques that make the viewer comfortable in most cases. In Frenzy he uses a POV shot of London we look about and see it's nice, then we get hot with a murder. In Rear Window he see a POV of the neighborhood, it's a nice neighborhood but in this case we feel naughty looking into their private spaces.
  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. She is devious with numerous identities, colored hair and discards old clothes so they will not be recognized. It looks like she bought the new clothes and items with stolen money perhaps or she did something illicit to earn the money. She discards the older clothes in the terminal and dumps the locker key down the grate so no one will find them. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The beginning of the score is subdued but as we watch Marnie switch out identities the music starts to get a little faster and louder and by the time she washes the dye out of her hair and we see her as a blonde the music crescendo's. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? Hitchcock's cameo is very noticeable in this opening and it seems like he's up to something. He watches Marnie and the bell hop walk down the hallway but then looks directly into the camera.
  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? Melanie, seems like an intelligent, wealthy woman and is interested in Mitch. She decides to have a little fun with him by pretending she works in the pet store. She doesn't know a lot about birds and is making up information about them as he catches her in this act. 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 over powering in the opening scene. The birds are loud outside and inside, annoyingly loud in listening to the dialogue. 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. He is walking two dogs out of the bird store which is very ironic. I do not think it has any meaning other than being a funny cameo.
  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? The music is so scary that you just know something bad is going to happen in this film. The broken lines in the graphic tell the viewer something is broken/not right and it's going to happen quickly. There is an uneasiness in the combination of visual and auditory sensory, definitely an anxiety. 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 date and time is letting us know the weekend is approaching and the work day is almost over. The couple is doing something illicit in the hotel room and entering through the semi-closed blinds gives us a voyeuristic look into their private life. Similar to Rear Window when the characters are being watched. 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. Marion in my opinion is a strong character. She dominates the scene in the hotel room by ending the relationship, she doesn't want to continue sneaking around and meeting in a hotel where check out is at 3p. She wants more with life and is looking to make a break for it. During the time period this movie was filmed women were usually subordinates and were happy being secretaries or home with the kids, not usually in a relationship where she is calling the shots.
  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? The opening shot gives the viewer a look into the neighborhood and the characters within it. We get a voyeuristic view into through the windows of the other people that live nearby. We also get to see some history of Jeff as a photographer. Leaving us to ponder if he will use his camera to watch his neighbors like we just did. 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 know he is a photographer and has shot some very high profile people, sports and current affairs. Right after we see Jeff's cast we see there is a broken camera on the table. Did the camera and his leg break at the same time? If so what was he photographing? 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? I felt like a voyeur looking into the lives of these strangers. Specially when the camera focused on the woman getting dressed and stretching her legs. There was a feeling of being naughty, even the man shaving through the window, some things are private and not for others to watch unknowingly. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I have not seen the film yet.
  8. 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. We, the viewer smile to ourselves as we watch and listen to this risque' dialogue between two actors we know well. We appreciate the inside joke. 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. The matchbook must be a clue in this mystery, the words R.O.T. must mean something else. Does it refer to just his name? What is his middle name be? Do the initials refer to death? We later find out it's a mcguffin but it makes us wonder. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. The music is very light, slightly romantic in the beginning not very interesting. It just makes you focus on the conversation.
  9. 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. The intro scene has a lot of "criss crossing" the two men getting out of cabs from opposite sides of the screens (and cabs), one man walking to the left the other to the right. The train tracks cross each other as do the mens' legs on the train. The men's suits also criss cross as one has stripes and the other is solid. One man likes to talk as the other likes to read. 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 man has black and white shoes with a striped suit as the other has solid colored shoes and suit. The man that is all solid colors wants to read and is quiet as the more "loud" clothed man is very talkative. 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 score is very upbeat and has a "joyous" tone when the two enter, as they are walking the music has a marching sound as they walk into the train station. When their shoes touch the music has a playful pop to it.
  10. 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. In the opening sequence the spiraling graphics appear within the woman's red saturated eye is dizzying to watch. We have the premise of the kind of film that will be mysterious, a drama, a film that will take us in circles perhaps not knowing who did what. Include the musical score as the scales are going up and down in conjunction with the spirals and now the viewer knows for a fact this film will be a mystery with a lot of twists. The crescendo's in the music add to the anxiousness of the visuals. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. I think the red saturated eye is very powerful, the woman opens her eye wide like she sees something that scares her or maybe scheming against someone. The close up of the human eye can be beautiful but also disturbing. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? The score definitely adds a feeling of going in circles, the musical scales ascending and descending while the graphics spin. The combination gives me vertigo as I focus on the visual and auditory combination. If the score was light it wouldn't have the same effect.
  11. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? The use of light and shadow is well done, when Cary Grant appears in the doorway and you see the silhouette of him standing there it's a powerful moment. Hitchcock then uses the rotation of the camera to simulate Bergman's head rotating on the bed is a movement he has done in the past. 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? In the opening scene, Bergman's character is lit up while Grant is in the shadows. The camera is tight on her as it's loose on him. They are set up as oppositions to me. 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? I think they work well together, personally I think she is a stronger actor than Grant, he has good technique as an actor but she has more emotion and as more believable.
  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? I did not see any Hickcock "touches." The opening scene is a hotel room (possibly) which looks like no one has left in days with room service dishes everywhere. This is not a loud public place like his earlier opening scenes. The camera roll across the room into Mr. Smith's face is maybe the only "touch" I see. 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? The camera roll is the only resemblance of a Hitchcock opening I see. I disagree that this is a typical "Hitchcock opening" it seems like he was trying something totally mainstream. 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? I like the chemistry. The disheveled look of the couple, the way they look at each other, her from under the covers and how he smiles over at her. They seem to genuinely like each other. He also has comedic timing, I like how he walks over the couch and not around it. I think they are good together, but I have not seen the entire movie yet.
  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. Uncle Charlie is a man with a past. He is calm and collective but someone who lays in bed in a full suit is either paranoid that he might have to run at anytime or expecting someone to come calling. He has a wad of money on the night stand and floor. Is it stolen money? Was he gambling? If the two men who came calling are police or mobsters Uncle Charlie doesn't seem to be deterred by them in front of the landlady, but once she leaves he gets violent and throws his glass. 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) (I have not seen killers yet) The film opens outside in the daylight where children are playing, then the camera leads us into a dark rented room in building 13 where Uncle Charlie is laying fully clothed on his bed. The darkened room is mysterious as we focus on the money laying about on the floor. Two strange men are waiting outside. There is a menacing tone about Uncle Charlie, what is he thinking? Is the emotion he's conveying melancholy, paranoia ? These are signs of a film noir film. 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 score begins upbeat and joyous when we see the children outside but then stops as we are introduced to Uncle Charlie and his landlady. The music begins again after the landlady leaves and Charlie finishes his drink he gets up. The score continues to ebb and flow as he decides to go outside. We get the sense Charlie is a man on a mission as the music gets faster and louder. This style of music continues as he walks up the the two men and passes them. The music controls the scene it adds an energy to the scene and adds excitement.
  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? The opening of "Rebecca" is not in some kind of exotic, loud, theater or hotel it is quite the opposite. The opening is set in a dark quiet forest on a path leading up to an old mansion. There is a quiet narrative of a lone woman telling of a dream, even the music score is quiet until we see the ocean and the waves breaking against the cliff then the music crescendos and gets louder. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? The use of light and dark transitioning back and forth and the movement of the camera roll through the path up to the mansion. The mansion itself seems like it will be a character in the film how the windows light up as the moon and clouds transition themselves like it's alive. The use of music and sound effects are used with care like a silent film, if there was no dialogue the viewer can get the sense of what might be happening. 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 viewer is shown that something happened here, we do not know what yet, some wrong doing perhaps as we are told by the narrator that she hasn't been back in years. I get a longing of good memories of the house but visually I am curious to know what happened there.
  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. As the scene opens the music is jovial but there's a depressing mood, everyone is sitting quietly watching the Front Desk Clerk on the phone. A happy woman enters to do some business with the clerk and everyone seems jealous of her and her happy demeanor. All of a sudden the music stops when the two men come in from outside, they are loud and animated. The cuckoo clock's music is also loud and obnoxious as it fights for attention. The room becomes a cacophony of sound. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. They add a jovial banter, it really adds nothing to the scene as far as I can tell. The conversation sounds like a married couple going back and forth. Right now they are my favorite characters. 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 Desk Clerk runs right over to them ignoring everyone else, this movement tell us the women are very important. Iris is framed in the center /right of the shot and has the most dialogue out of the three women. She leads the way walking with the other two women behind her and then finishes the dinner ordering an extravagant magnum of champagne. The Clerk treats her like royalty forgetting about the room of unlucky travelers as they watch this "show" in awe.
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