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About agebha2

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  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. First, while in both we have the discovery of a dead body, the method of attracting attention to it is different. Because The Lodger was a silent film, Hitchcock had to use visual cues and extradiegetic sound, such as the "To-Night Golden Curls" and the scream. In Frenzy, we have the basic action of the man yelling "Look!" Also, the discovery of the body is right at the beginning of the film in The Lodger, while in Frenzy, it takes three and a half minutes to discover it. Another difference is in the presentation of London itself. In The Lodger, Hithcock played more to its seedier aspects, to set a very ominous mood from the start. However in Frenzy, Hitchcock opens with a very Travelogue-y type introduction to the city, with the aerial view and pleasant/regal music. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. One common Hitchcock touch is giving the audience more information than the characters in the film. By coming in through the aerial and actually being present and the discovery of the body, we know more than the main characters who weren't actually present. There was also a bit of the POV shot. While watching the gentleman speak, the shot gives you the perspective of anyone standing in that crowd. Also, the speed with which the camera shot around to view the dead body is like someone who was near the back just turned around and saw it. 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. I feel like the most important purpose of Hitchcock's opening scenes was to give the audience an at least basic idea of what the storyline of the movie would entail. If I remember correctly, in the first week of this course there was some line saying that Hitchcock would rather let the audience in on the storyline instead of keep them in the dark so that they could focus more on the actual story and less on figuring it out. In most of the opening scenes that we have watched, we have either met all of the main characters, or at the very least had some intimation of any missing ones. There has also generally been some indication of the main conflict in the film, or as in the case of Psycho, what will set off the conflict. In this film. we are immediately introduced to the scene (London) and are lead to believe that the conflict will center around this dead body.
  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. First off, we see that she has two separate suitcases. In one are thrown haphazardly old clothes. Newer clothes, taken from the boxes with the price tags still attached, are laid gently into the second suitcase. As she is unpacking her shopping, she carelessly throws the boxes in a pile. She is obviously someone who is constantly cycling through clothing and insists on it being the best. We also see that she has a lot of money, which would explain the ability to purchase a whole suitcase of clothes. However, there is something off about the money. Instead of it being carefully enclosed in an envelope or wallet, there are stacks just sitting in her purse. From there, we start to get a darker portrait of the woman. While it can seem natural for a well-to-do woman to go on a shopping spree, it's not exactly normal for her to switch everything in a hotel, down to her wallet. However, as Hitchcock takes us through the contents of Marion's wallet, the audience sees that she has several Social Security cards. Finally, we realize that even her hair color is fake. The black hair was just a dye to suit the persona of Marion Holland, but as Margaret Edgar, she must go back to her natural blonde. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? Herrmann's score is interesting in this scene. There isn't the frenetic intensity we've seen in some of his other collaborations with Hitchcock. It is soft yet atonal, such to indicate, without throwing it in your face, that something is not quite right with this woman. What I think is most interesting about the score is the change once Marnie flips her newly-cleaned hair out of the sink. It almost reminds me of the music that would accompany a princess or other famous person who appears at the top of the staircase. In this, I see the evocation of Grace Kelly in the music. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? In this cameo, for the first time (at least that I've noticed), we see Hitchcock actually acknowledge and look at the camera. I think that he does this to signal to the audience to pay attention to the action ahead. In other words, what we are about to see is crucial for us to gain an understanding of Marnie.
  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? One way this opening scene seems more appropriate to a romantic comedy is the fact that it seems more like a "slice of life" than a prelude of things to come. It seems like your classic "boy meets girl" kind of story. Another way is the focus on the love birds in the pet shop. Melanie sees other birds (more ominous ones) as she walks into the pet shop, but there is no lingering on them. The lovebirds seem to signal a budding romance more than an apocalyptic disaster. The dialogue between the two characters as Mitch is describing the ideal bird could also be construed as the perfect mate--not too demonstrative, not too aloof. We learn a few things about Melanie and Mitch. We learn that Melanie is there to pick up a special bird, one that has the ability to talk. Mitch is kind of a superior type--immediately he assumes Melanie is a salesgirl just because she's standing at the check-out counter, but what is more interesting is that she goes along with it right away. We also learn that Mitch has a very young sister whose birthday is coming up, and that is why he is looking at birds. 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? As Hitchcock has stated, the birds are the stars of the movie, and from the very beginning we are aware of their presence. Though we can see the characters, the only sounds we hear are of the birds. While at first the sounds of the birds doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary, the fact that there really is no other extradiegetic sound starts to give the audience the feeling that they are all around, closing in. 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. The Hitchcock cameo in this scene is Hitchcock leaving the pet shop walking his two dogs. While I don't know if it has any particular meaning in relation to the scene, it could be related to the fact that the two characters in imminent danger walk into the shop looking for birds, while the man with the dogs will probably be just fine.
  4. 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? Immediately the score sets the audience on edge. It is evident from the very beginning that this will be a film that works on people's nerves, as the score continues its intensity throughout the title credits. The movement of the lines for "PSYCHO" intimate (at least to me) the blurring of the line between psychosis and normalcy. The black and white harkens back to the original horror films of the 1930's and early thrillers of the 1940's. 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? I feel like by establishing such specifics, Alfred Hitchcock is almost setting this up as a "Based on a True Story" type of thing. This is just a regular America town, in the middle of the afternoon, where the story begins. It almost makes it more chilling, since the events that follow this (maybe not exactly) ordinary scene are so gruesome. This shot is reminiscent of the voyeurism in Rear Window. While the idea of a "Peeping Tom" is not as important in this film as in Rear Window (or obviously Peeping Tom, which came out around the same time), we have other instances of voyeurism in the film, including when Norman watches Marion undress later in the film. I think the idea of voyeurism is interesting in this film, given the fact that the killer is psychotic. In a way, the study of psychosis (looking into the mind of an individual) is a kind of voyeurism. 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. First, upon entering the room, the camera immediately goes to Marion. We can see Sam, but the camera focuses on her face. She is also at the center of the shot once the camera stops moving. Throughout the remainder of the scene, the camera is focused solely on her, including the one cut-away to a lunch, her lunch.
  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 just the consummate debonair, slick gentleman. He tends to play characters that (in my opinion) make you swoon and then before you know it, you're hooked. He is almost too attractive to be trustworthy, and so the comment about honest women and how he's not exactly honest with them strikes a cord. Eva Marie Saint is very interesting. From the lecture notes, we know that she was an extremely well-trained actress, an award-winning one in fact. When applying that to her character, the question becomes, how much of this is genuine and how much of it is acting? What is interesting is how honest (at least) they seem to be with one another. Their chemistry is evident in the complete frankness they have with one another, and that frankness is pleasantly surprising the other person. 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's such an ordinary item, yet it conveys so such more. It is a conversation piece, and it allows us the first moment of intimacy between Eve and Thornhill. A great actor can make anything an important part of the story, and Saint does just that. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. One way that Hitchcock is using sound design is through the use of train itself. While sometimes it seems as if time stops during a kind of tête-à-tête like in this scene, the sound of the train continuing to rush by reminds the audience that the action goes on. In a way, it almost makes the scene more intimate. Even though life is running by at a crazy speed, time has slowed down for the couple as they speak.
  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. My guess would be that the film is about some woman who is under some kind of trance. The spirals immediately make me think of hypnosis or psychoanalysis. Then, based on the track, I would imagine that something terrible happens to her, or at the very least she is in fear for her life throughout the majority of the film. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. In my opinion, the most powerful image in the title sequence is when Kim Novak's name appears along with the image of the woman's eyes. Even with no other context or dialogue, the audience can already sense the fear and uncertainty of things to come. Her eyes are wide, and her eyes are darting back and forth, as if she is either uncertain what to do or is looking for somewhere to hide from someone. 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 together wonderfully to create a sense of uneasiness. The score (at least for me) plucks my nerves, so even before the action starts I feel tense and uncomfortable. With the woman's face, you never see her full face at once, so in a sense, you don't see the full picture. The focus on her eyes are especially unsettling. Then the spirals create a bit of a daze, where you don't feel quite as steady, and you still have the score playing in the background. I don't think the images would've worked as well with a different musical scores. It's as if the music is the missing link to evoke what Bass envisions when he compiled the images.
  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 camera shot is one I love because I feel like you get a great sense of the scene without the need for someone to describe it. It sweeps over the apartment buildings, and gives us some insight into some of the (albeit minor) characters' daily lives. I believe Hitchcock is trying to establish the scene for the audience. While we get more in-depth looks into some of the individual apartments, this is the limit of the action. Essentially, this is the world for the purpose of this picture. Finally, If I had to chose anyone's vantage point, I would say that it is probably a director or God-type person's vantage point that is being expressed in this shot. The way the camera sweeps across the scene conveys an almost-omnipotent kind of feeling. 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? The most obvious thing we learn is that he lives in a large city. Only in a large city are apartments that close together. From the cameras and framed photographs of interesting events, we can easily venture that he is a photographer of some sort. There is also an interesting item hung on his wall as the camera swings from Jeff to the camera that indicates he has traveled to exotic places. The negative and stack of magazines show us that one of his recent assignments was a fashion shoot as part of a "Special Report on Europe." 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? While I don't exactly feel like a voyeur, by shooting through the frames of the window I can definitely get the sense of being an immobile spectator. I feel like I do most days, where I look out my window and see what is going on around me. In that way, the biggest feeling I get is a sense of normalcy. I don't necessarily feel like a Peeping Tom, just because so many films and television shows give us those same vantage points. Like Hitchcock said (heavily paraphrasing), we could easily look away from the action and not snoop, but we just don't want to. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I'm not sure if I understand what "cinematic" means in this case, but I can say that whenever I think of great films, invariably Rear Window comes to mind. There is also the commentary which has Jeff as a surrogate for Hitchcock, wherein they are both showing us the action from a fixed perspective, and focusing on the action they want us to see.
  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. 1. The criss-cross of the train tracks (to determine which direction the train will go in)--there are several diverging and converging sets of tracks 2. (Obviously) The accidental touch of Bruno and Guy's feet 3. The criss-cross of Bruno from one side of the train car to the other 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. First, I feel like there is a subtle change in the music that accompanies each man's walk to his seat on his train. Bruno sits down to a more sinister rendition of the violin music that was playing as he exited his taxi. Guy, on the other hand, sits down to a tune less ominous. From a clothing perspective, one can get an idea of the background of each character. Guy is much more subdued, more in line with a self-made man. Bruno, on the other hand, is wearing spats and what I can only describe as a very fine suit (with a very hideous tie). It is immediately obvious that Bruno comes from money. Another indication is the nonchalance with which Bruno talks about his mother. It seems like only the rich can pool of that kind of dismissal/non-dismissal of their mother's involvement in their lives. Bruno immediately asserts himself as the dominant personality. He engages Guy in conversation (even though he looks like he'd rather be reading his book), and the minute it looks like he's involved in the conversation, Bruno seats himself next to him, even though Guy is a celebrity of some sorts and not know to him. 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? From the very beginning of the sequence, there seems to be a sense of conflict brewing, a feeling of some kind of clash, which is driven by the score. With the insistent playing of the strings and the crash of the cymbals, one can almost feel the tension in the air, see two characters fighting one another for dominance. In a way, I feel like it is almost operatic. Then, as the two characters walk towards one another, there is the same insistent playing that ramps up the desire to see what will happen when these two characters meet.
  9. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? An immediate "touch" is the POV shot. When Ingrid Bergman looks up at Cary Grant, we see him at an angle, which is probably how she would have seen him, and then rotates as he comes closer to the room until he's upside down. Another touch is the ordinary person being brought into extraordinary situations. Bergman seems like a typical society woman, but here is Grant bringing her an opportunity to help in a sort of spy scheme. 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? When the audience first sees Cary Grant in the scene, it is on an angle, such that they can feel they too are looking up at him from the bed. By putting the audience in Ingrid Bergman's point of view, it draws them into the scene. He continues this by almost spinning the camera to follow Grant as he gets closer to the bed. Another contrast that he makes is in the costumes of the two actors. Grant, a law-enforcement agent, wears a simple black suit and tie, while Bergman stuns, even just wearing a sparkly striped shirt/dress. Also, whenever the two are standing near one another, the camera seems to tighten and focus entirely on them. It seems that all the room is just made of them. 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? For Grant, I feel like it conforms more towards his younger (so still at that time) star persona. He is bossy but caring, and his distance makes him sexy. He also plays a man with good intentions but is forced to put up a front in order to do his job. There is also the element of humor that, while not always obvious, is so subtly used in his dialogue. And we can't forget the sense of self-satisfaction each of his characters seems to find. For Bergman, on the other hand, I feel like the persona is challenged a bit. As mentioned in the note, she typically plays the consummate lady, but real ladies don't get hangovers. She is also quite rude to Grant. However, there is the passion we often see in her characters in the recording Grant plays.
  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? One of the "touches" I noticed in the sequence was the way Hitchcock cued in the audience on what was going on in the room, to the exclusion of the domestics and other characters. In a way, the audience knows more about what is going on than the other people in the house. We learn that the couple isn't sleeping together. Robert Montgomery is sitting next to a make-shift bed on the sofa, while Carole Lombard is curled up in the bed. It appears they are keeping up the pretenses of a happily married couple, as Montgomery does his best to keep the maid from looking inside, but are obviously having problems. However, they aren't doing a very good job, as the scene cuts to two women (domestics?) who gossip about the couple. However, we can see that they really do love each other, not only from the dialogue, but form the camera angles and the lighting. As they talk to each other, the camera is focused solely on them, as if they are the only two people in the world. Also, the lighting seems to highlight that "glow" of someone in love. 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? I tend to disagree with that statement. In the other openings we've watched, there's always been some tension, so indication of the action to follow. However, in this opening, I feel the focus is more on the (actually) happy couple, so I don't get an idea of what is going to go on later. 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 think that Carole Lombard is a great cast for a "comedy of remarriage," and I think Robert Montgomery could work. There seemed to be some chemistry between them (nothing explosive, mind you). Lombard is a comedienne who could easily master the roll, and there was something in Montgomery's portrayal that indicated he could pull it off. While serious, there was something playful in his demeanor that made me feel like he could make light of a bad situation.
  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. One thing we learn about Uncle Charlie is that he is being sought out by two men, two strangers, and his reaction to the news indicates that he is expecting that. However, he has specifically told his landlady that he is not in to anyone, indicating he is hiding from someone. He also has a large sum of money laying out on the floor, and that would only make sense if he either had been quickly moving from place to place or he wants to be able to leave at a moment's notice. We also learn that he has been a very isolated man since he came to the house. It seems like a big deal for him to leave to meet the two strangers. Again, this is another indication that he has something to hide. 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) One way this opening reminds me of a film noir is that we have a character resigned to their fate. Even though we know Uncle Charlie is on the run, he doesn't even flinch when his landlady knocks on the door, and he even invites her in. When she tells him that two men were looking for him, he just closes his eyes. However, that calm sensibility flees once the landlady leaves, and we can see into Charlie's mental state. He wants to know what the two strangers know, what they have on him, and then the fear that they might just have something on him. The psychological is, in my opinion, a huge factor in film noir. Finally, and just a small note, I feel like in any film noir I've ever seen, there has always been some kind of "following" by mysterious men. 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 first thing I noticed about the score was that the tone changed, from being happy and carefree outside the building with the children, to a slower melody once inside the room. While everyday life is just flying by outside the building, every minute is dragging on for Uncle Charlie in his room. It creates a sense of calm anticipation. However, as he stares out and wonders what the two strangers have on him, the music ramps up, becoming louder and more insistent, fear creeping in. The music continues with its urgency, a crescendo as he starts to walk towards the men.
  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? My first thought is that the opening focuses much more on the place than on the people. It is as if the house is the most important piece of the story. Another difference is the lack of music in the scene. I feel like in some of the other openings we've seen, music or crowd noise has been the primary introduction to the scene. However, in Rebecca, the music feels less important, with the voiceover taking control, until we leave Manderley. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? One "touch" is the seemingly ordinary person being drawn into extraordinary circumstances. Joan Fontaine is a newlywed who, through coming to live at this house, has her life changed forever. Another "touch" is the obvious experimentation. About a minute into the film, the image of the house goes blurry for a second as a feeling comes upon Fontaine. Through the use of this device and the voiceover, the audience can feel the same sensations as Fontaine as they approach Manderley. One thing, though I'm not sure it's a Hitchcock "touch" so much as a recurring item, is the use of the sea. I feel as though as often as not I can rely on the sound and image of waves breaking against the shore and the image of a precipitous cliff. 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 opening sequence immediately intimates that Manderley is a character in the story by putting the entire focus on the house itself. While we can hear Joan Fontaine's voiceover, the camera is focused on the house, not Fontaine. Also, the way Fontaine describes the house is more in the vein of how one would remember an old friend or acquaintance, not a house. The way the voiceover and camerawork is done is extremely in the Gothic sense, in that nature, homes, etc. can be an expression of human passion and emotion, and so I feel the Gothic sense right away, which informs my viewing of the film (I have seen this one before).
  13. I was out of town, so please excuse the late response: 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. My first reaction was to that of the music. The folk music is so light, one would think it the introduction to a comedy, not a thriller. The atmosphere is almost light-hearted, different from other opening scenes we've seen so far. There are also little things that introduce humor to the film, such as the old woman. First, we see her come down completely happy, contrasted with the train-goers just sitting around watching her in the lobby. Then, as she tries to leave, it takes two men to wrangle the door from the wind just so she can get out. With the two foreign gentlemen entering and arguing and the obviously distraught man in the desk paired with the cuckoo clock, there is almost a feeling of the absurd. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. In a way, they kind of remind me of Laurel and Hardy, with the back and forth banter. They offer a subtle humor outside the main characters, and with the their banter, keeps the audience interested in what's going on outside the stars. 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. First off, the hotel manager completely bypasses everyone else to talk to her and her friends, despite the fact that he had just told all the stranded passengers that they needed to register immediately in order to get a room. As a star, she gets preferential treatment. Iris also has the impertinence to correct Boris on his pronunciation, something she wouldn't have gotten away with had she not been the star. Boris also doesn't make Iris and her friends register for a room, meaning either she is special enough just to claim a room, or that she is important enough to have a standing reservation. As all this is going on, the other passengers are just staring and watching them. They become the center of attention.
  14. I've been out of town, so please excuse the lateness of my reply: 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? I agree with both Rothman and Phillips in their assessment. The opening shows a mysterious man, who draws the audience in because they are curious who he is. It also shows the audience that the strange events can happen anywhere, such as (once again) taking place in a music hall. There is also the introduction of humor into the opening, with the crowd making fun of Mr. Memory, which seems to be a deviation from his openings, perhaps with the exception of The Man Who Knew Too Much (depending how you react to Peter Lorre's character's reaction). 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? I think that Hitchcock was more focused on showing that just because someone looks shady to begin with, that doesn't always mean they're the villain. And therefore, because he seems to be the one suspicious character we notice, evil can also hide in plain sight. 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? One way that these elements play into the "Hitchcock touch" is that that performance could be happening in any number of theaters around the world. A music hall, watching some kind of performance, is just an ordinary type of activity, and Hitchcock is showing that wrong-doing can happen anywhere. Another touch is the inclusion of many working-class and ordinary citizens at the hall. In other films, like The Pleasure Garden, the music hall seemed primarily comprised of upper class citizens. By including predominantly ordinary citizens, it emphasizes that ordinary people can get pulled into situations due to circumstances outside their control.
  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) Based on the opening scene, I feel the characters are going to be more important in the film. There is a lot of focus on developing the backstory of the main characters. 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 seems to be an easy-going type of fellow. He has just been knocked down into the snow, but instead of being angry or upset, he is laughing. However, there is a definite sense of "otherness" about him. The fact that every other character speaks perfect English highlights his inability. There's just something odd about him (though I feel that way in every picture I've seen with him in it), and you can see Louis thinks so too from the way he watches Abbott as he leaves. Based on this introduction, there is a definite feeling that something is just not right with him (he isn't your average Joe). 3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden andThe Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. The first thing I notice is a similarity to The Pleasure Garden. In both films, there is a focal feature at the direct center of the screen which draws in your attention--the staircase in The Pleasure Garden and the ski slope in The Man Who Knew Too Much. A similarity to The Lodger is the use of the crowd. In both films, the crowd is used to amplify the situation at hand. A difference between The Man Who Knew Too Much and the silent films is the lack of frenetic energy in the opening. While the action is more or less fast-paced, it lacks the kind of heart-thumping energy I felt watching the silent openers. This may be due to the lack of music to ramp up the action.
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