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About TheRut53

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  1. Anyone in or around the Birmingham area interested is starting a Backlot chapter? Please respond!
  2. I wish to echo my fellow classmates! Thanks to Dr. Edwards, Dr. Gehrig, Ball State, Canvas, TCM, Ben Mankiwicz (probably butchered that spelling), Alexandre Phillipe, and the behind the scene folks who made these last 6 weeks a truly joyful learning experience. I am 61 now and I have been a movie fan since I was about 8. I remeber watching movies on Saturday afternoon...mostly horror movies...and being enthralled. My first recollection was House on Haunted Hill with Vincent Price...????. The advent of TCM served to raise my movie interest up a few notches...and I peruse the TCM schedule daily...and have for years. Let me say these last 6 weeks have served to send my interest and affection in movies in general and Hitchcock in particular to even knew heights.i am sad to see it end..but I now have new resources to study and new films to watch over and over. I look forward to the next course...and regret missing the one on Film Noir. Best wishes and God's blessings to my fellow classmates....and again to all who were involved in providing this learning experience. Jim Rutland Birmingham AL
  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. In the Lodger, the news of the murder travels very quickly...and is the continuance of an already established pattern of murders. In Frenzy, you don't know if this is a random act or not...and you only see the discovery of the body...no aftermath. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. Public space, semi large gathering of people, some information that will draw you into the story. 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. If we are a attentive enough, he always gives us information in short span to keep from having to spend critical time and dialogue to give us the same detail. It can be about the characters or the story itself..but he always seem intent on providing as much info as he can in his opening scene.
  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 a sophisticated thief...not a common one. She is calculating and thorough. She has done it so often, the objects she steals seem to have no effect on her emotionally. She doesn't linger or study over them. She simply coldly packs them away. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? It's a smooth and cool..does not evoke an emotion as the objects stolen have the same effect on Marnie. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? I believe this is the first cameo in which he actually interacts with the protagonist by observing her briefly...then looking at the camera, then looking at her again. As if to tell us,to pay close attention to this person.
  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? The light hearted banter and flirting between Mitch and Melanie. There is a instant chemistry between the two, a playfulness. Both know the other is flirting and both continue to encourage it by using the discussion of the birds as a ruse. 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 sounds are very apparent, enough to make Melanie stop and take notice. It creates a surreal atmosphere, one where you begin to expect something is not quite right..and something odd is about to happen. Melanie going into the shop, her birds being late. Mitch coming in, thinking she works there. The opening score sets the events that follow in an interesting way. 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. I think in a subtle way it does. Dogs on a leash....leading to a discussion of birds in a cage. Both instances show man's desire to harness or domesticate creatures who were born to roam free and unbridled. The cameo lays the foundation for the insuring discussion between Mitch and Melanie
  6. 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? The design suggests the thought of a whole being split into. Norman..though one man has dual personalities which eventually will meld into one. A suggestion that we all are capable of good and evil...and one of those will eventually be our dominant persona. The score adds to the frenzy of someone torn between 2 personalities and doing good versus evil. 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? He is hinting we should pay close attention to the details as they will play a major role in developing the story. Such as Dr. Edwards suggested about the painting Norman moves to spy on Marion. He enters through the blinds to allow us to be a peeping tom on something very private going on in that room. Much as the raising of the blinds in Rear Window opening..which also takes us into the private worlds of the other tenants in the apartments building. 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 is the dominant personality. Sam is more laid back...willing to accept things as they are...and continue the relationship as it is. Marion is not. She wants more and is willing to forfeit the time they share unless Sam agrees to her terms.
  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. We know of their former works...so it is somewhat type casting for both. Normally that is seen as a bad thing from an actors POV...in this case ...it is what makes the scene come off so perfectly. 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 momentarily distracts from the sexual tension that is building. But in the end it adds to that tension in the provocative way Eve blows the match out. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. I didn't notice any music or background sounds...perhaps due to my fixation on the dialogue. I think the dialogue stands alone...needs no help in making the scene work. If there were any additional sounds I missed them. Probably because I was mesmerized by Eva Marie Saint.
  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. The woman's face...all the features are shown...mouth...nose...eyes. I sense the woman will be central to the story. The spinning circles...coming out of her eyes...depicting minds spinning out of control...unable to think beyond the object which causes the mind's constant spinning. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. The close up of the woman's mouth. I think it tells of the lies she will soon speak....as she plays out her act. Then shifting to the eyes where the lies have now caused her life...and those associated with her..to spin perilously out of control. 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 seems to spin as the images do....repeating itself...just as the images, although different shapes, repeatedly spin. The score and the images work in tandem. A,different score might not relay the thought of somethign repeatedly spinning out of control.
  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? The scene sets Jeff's apartment as part of the complex, but also,separate and aloof. We see out, we never see in. We,are privy to everyone else's activities, but no one seems to be looking back. The lives of the other people go on without the slightest thought by them that anyone is watching. 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? He uses camera shots and props to tell Jeff's story. In a matter of a few seconds, we see his state, we see his occupation, we see how he was injured, we see a female and assume that she is his love interest. And we come to understand that none of what we have seen plays a major part of the plot but is necessary to the plot. Which is why he shows us, but doesn't spend major time in doing so. 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 you want to turn away and not look...as you are witnessing private things occurring which if the people knew, they might not care to share. Although as the movie progresses, you lose that feeling and do indeed become a voyeur..and become part of the people's lives in a creepy sort of way. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I fell in love with this movie the very first time I saw it. I own a copy of it...but still never miss a chance to see it when it is aired. It is my fav Hitchcock movie....by a wide margin. It is his masterpiece!
  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. Two men whose lives intersect...arriving from different back,grounds...visually shown as the cabs pull up from different directions, he men walk to the gate coming from different directions....walking to the train car..from different directions...facing different directions causing the feet to collide as the legs are criss crossed. .and their lives quickly become intertwined..shown by Bruno moving to same side and sitting next to Guy. And of course, the criss crossing of the train tracks. 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. Bruno..obviously the more well to do..more sophisticated..from dress and speech and demeanor. Guy , the athlete, successful, but still common roots. A sense of old money vs. nouveau riche. 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? Creates an early sense of urgency....and tension which is felt throughout the film.
  11. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? The close-ups, the POV shot, the use of humor in the dialogue, a flashback, but not a visual one, this time he uses an audio flashback...a nice touch. 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? The first view of Bergman is somewhat blurry, which lets you know right off, she is not merely asleep, but in a altered state. Her first view of Grant is totally black, and let's us know that is how she views him at this point, dark and sinister and about to ask her to do something she does not want to do. He is about to turn her world upside down....and the POV shot suggests that very strongly. Costuming is superb,Grant perfectly dressed, dapper, Bergman somewhat in disarray after having slept in her clothes. 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 it challenges both, Grant playing a apparently cold and calculating agent, and not the happy go lucky charming ladies man. Bergman playing a shady member of society and not the glamorous almost aristocratic female lead. She is still GORGEOUS! Had to throw that in there.
  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? Obviously his trademark humor, light hearted script. We learn the couple is very well off, having spent several days in a vert nice hotel room. There is some dissonance between the two, and we find out that it is a regular occurrence. They have played this scene a few times before. 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 a very private setting as opposed to the normal very public and often crowded settings in most of his films. But as in other films, we do learn a good deal about the protagonists in the first few minutes of the film. 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? On the surface, in those first few minutes, there seems to be a rapport between the two. A sort of Nick and Nora type chemistry....it seems to be a very good casting decision.
  13. 1.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 has money, I'm guessing he came about it in an underhanded way as it seems he doesn't care about it or material things. He is cold, calculating, knows trouble will find him so he doesn't run from it but seems to invite it. Obviously not concerned with his own welfare. 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) When I think of noir film, it's always my general impression or sense of overwhelming gloom, a somber mood. I certainly sense that in this film. Especially in the character. 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? It augments the mood and atmosphere. Cotton sets it with his acting, the score undergirds and reinforces it. As Cotton's mood change from somber to defiant, the score changes pace with him...agiain reinforcing what is being portrayed visually.
  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 British films mostly opened with a scene set in a public place. A specific action is occurring with numerous people involved in the observance or participation of the action. The scene is lively. Rebecca opens almost in direct contrast; a private, deserted drive. No one is present. The overgrowth on the drive and the decaying she'll of the mansion convey a dead scene, void of any action. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Specifically, the camera angles, the high and low angles and the moving POV shot of the drive to the decayed mansion. 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? We are introduced to Manderley at the very first....the house is old, decayed and seemingly a useless relic, but due to the voiceover and the flashback structure, we come to sense the importance the house has in the story and will play a central role, therefore taking on the form of a character. The effect of the moon shining down almost gives the structure life very briefly, before it leaves and the house one again seems dead.
  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. It's light, but also multiple moods of anxiety and frustration. He seems to be setting a mood where there will be continuous tension among all the characters. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Comedic relief! They offer a break from the tension displayed from the rest of the group. They focus on trivial things and are not focused on the major issue of the train being delayed. I look forward to seeing when and where they appear as the movie progresses. 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. She takes the lead in the banter, has the best "quips". Is out front as the trio moves t the stairs, conversing with the owner. Seems to always being in front center of the frame..even as she is moving.
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