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MovieBuff56

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  1. Question 1: Considering that this is Hitchcock's first talky and the fact that the field of sound film is brand new and completely unexplored, I think that his first foray into this area is imaginative and effective in bringing us subjectively into the mind of Alice. She is obviously shaken and disturbed by her experience the night before. The boorish woman droning on about the murder becomes a torture device to Alice, who eventually can only hear her continual use of the word "knife". Her frazzled nerves finally interpret the word as a kind of a scream, causing the butter knife she is trying to cut cheese with to fly from her hands in a reaction of shock. Through Hitchcock's already effective use of sound, we can hear how her brain is interpreting these assaults and sympathize with her reaction. A moment later, we can hear her brain's interpretation of the bell on her shop's door as a vibrating knife. We know about the terror she's experiencing because we've been given these insights by Hitchcock's clever use of sound design. In so many films of that time, sound is thrown in as a gimmick to garner a larger audience. Hitchcock is already employing sound to add more punch to the scene and to allow us to gain a further insight into the character's psyche. We can certainly SEE that she is shaken and terrified. Sound adds a further dimension to our insight into her terror.
  2. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? I appreciate the way Hitchcock uses editing to convey the frenetic pace of the party going on. By cutting from dancers to other revelers to piano keys to blurred human images, one is drawn into the somewhat disturbing, drunkenly frantic scene. His experimental style is on full display here. 2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. The main character is tortured by jealousy, emotional turmoil and inner conflict. Hitchcock highlights this by superimposing a scene of the man's impression of his wife flirting with and eventually kissing his rival in the other room with a scene of his promoter trying to convince him to begin training to further his career. The other men in the room with him are paying no attention to the debauchery in the next room; it is driving him nearly insane. 3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen? I thought that the device of the mirror Hitchcock uses - with which the protagonist sees what might really be happening or might only be happening in his tortured imagination - is an effective and intriguing one. The serious meeting happening in one room contrasts sharply with the boozy party in the next, and this plot device really ramps up the tension and desperation we can see in the boxer. He looks like he's about to break down. His rival has truly become "the enemy".
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