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Aownby

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  1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? The party scene is most often viewed in a wide shot, inclusive of all the partygoers. The center of the shot, with the dancing women is where your eye is drawn, but if you glance to any other area of the shot you still encounter continual movement. EVERYONE in the shot, except for the wife and her male friend (whom you can barely see because they are behind a party goer) is engaged in large expressive movements. Most of the cuts in this scene are to smaller caches of party attendees who are fully engaged in the merriment. The pianist is feverishly attacking the keys while smoking. Even the few moments when the women fall into chairs exhausted...their lost energy is replaced by the constant movement of fawning men and fanning handkerchiefs. Cuts to the spinning record seem to echo that continual, dizzying energy in the room. 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. ‚ÄčThe position of the main character immediately sets a tone. He is as physically distant from his wife as he is emotionally. He is as removed from merriment and happiness in distance as he is in mood. His appearance and attire are pristine, suffocating and starched. While the partiers have loosened their ties and shirt collars, are tossing their hair around wildly as they revel and openly drinking and smoking. The use of the mirror to see only the reflection of his wife's behavior removes him from her even further. Her glance of him in the same mirror solidifies that distance. The elongated keys of the piano and the blurred shots of revelers provide two things. Not only do they remind us of the drunken state of the group but they also confirm the husband's distorted view about his wife's behavior. The use of superimposition reflects the husbands nagging thoughts about his wife that become more and more intrusive until they don't just co-exist with reality, but blot it out completely. All our impressions are confirmed with just one inter title about him not being a champ - yet. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen? In addition to the above, the use of visual story development clarify the multiple layers of the rivalry. It's not just that the husband is in a separate room. It's that he isn't even allowed to join due to training. The woman isn't just a crush, she is his wife! She see's his dismay and doesn't care. the rival makes assumptions that he can take her out again. The set has two rooms, two worlds that seem to only connect in the reflection of the mirror, like the husband and wife. The frantic energy of the party begins to wake us up, but the real slap in the face occurs when we learn they are rivals in multiple ways.
  2. 1) The opening sequences are starkly different in setting. Pleasure Garden's opening is upbeat and frivolous. Dancing, merriment, spectators enjoying the experience. The Lodger opens with a tight shot of a woman screaming and then the dark, outdoor anguished explanation of a female witness. They are similar in a few respects. They are both open to a highly controlled view of the opening scene which very effectively sets an immediate tone. We are sustained in that tone for the first few moments of each film with subsequent story development. In both films Hitchcock also makes us an insider to a part of the story the general population isn't aware of. In The Pleasure Garden it is the irreverence of the blond dancer for her suitor and the upper hand she immediately takes with the situation. In the lodger it's that we know how the information traveled from the witness to the general public. We are made somehow more invested in the events than others. 2) In addition to the above his style is revealed in other ways. I once heard a commentator on Hitchock say he shot love scenes like murders and murders like love scenes. That bears up here. The opening scream is a tight shot of the woman's face in mid scream. It is soft, she is beautiful, she might be swooning for a kiss with a slightly different expression. It pulls us in emotionally, and she is his signature blond. His central figures at the beginning of the film are female, the victim and the witness. Besides the murderer, men are peripheral initially. The montage of the witnesses statements being delivered to the masses via the press is well engineered. We understand what each shot means without knowing what is actually happening in each step of the news delivery. His odd use of perspective and angles is at play here as well. The shot of the back of the paper delivery truck with the light shining through the rear windows, each passenger perfectly withing the center of each window. It mimics the eyes of the viewer, pulling the viewier from an external bystander to an insider with the delivery men. The next shot pulls you exactly that way. It is an internal shot from the cab looking through the window - the effect is complete. we are now invested and part of the machine work that delivers the story. 3) The silent scream is highly effective! You immediately imagine the high pitched sound and cringe. It is as if you have simply placed your hand over your ears to shut out the sound. But you can't look away. You know it is no ordinary scream because the shot continues just a bit too long to be anything other than agony. My immediate connection after viewing it was the strangulation scene in Dial M for Murder. The shower scene from Psycho uses the music to sub for the scream, but it is silent. The death scene in Strangers on a Train. Just to name a few.
  3. Hitchcock Touch? Absolutely. He loved strong female characters who approach male characters as equals. Ex) the chorus girl, openly dislikes the focused ogling, and has no problem making jokes at the gentleman's expense. Shades of Melanie Daniels (the birds), Lila Crane ((psycho) and Jesse and Frances Stevens (to catch a theif). His ability to control your focus onto just the right thing to develop the story is strong. Tight shots of legs, controlled focus on only the girls descending the staircase, panning the mens excited faces sets the tone easily without dialogue. There are innumerable examples in his work but many shots in Rope come to mind. Limitations: The only one I see is the forced break to reality each time you read the dialogue cards. This pulls you away from being immersed in the film. It seems he tries to recapture you with a tight shot immediately after each card. Andrea
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