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About ChrisSturhann

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  • Birthday August 9

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  1. I am looking forward to this as well. I read the stories about 20 years ago. Rear Window seems to be very loosely based on the story, and I seem to recall that Rear Window also pulled elements from another Cornell Woolrich story in the same collection I had read, but it's been so long I couldn't say what. It's an interesting question. Hitchcock tended to use source material as a jumping off point and then made the film he wanted to make. Chris
  2. Lawrence Kasdan is a good choice. Just wrote a piece on Body Heat. Thomas Newman is one of my favorites. I used to have the soundtracks to Wall-E and The Shawshank Redemption on my work computer. Listened to them all the time.
  3. Though I didn't mention it, I also thought of Vince Gilligan, and definitely I could see him doing a long format series like Breaking Bad.
  4. In terms of credits and possibly things like animated bits and production design for dream sequences, like Spellbound and Vertigo, I could see Hitchcock working with artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Shag. For music, Danny Elfman is kind of a no brainer, but I could see him working with people like Peter Gabriel, Moby, and Trent Resnor. This not too much of a stretch because all three have done film scoring. Maybe a little more outside of the box, would be a group like Daft Punk. I'm sure there are some good hip-hop people, but seeing how I am old and white, I don't want to throw out names and prove how little I know about that type of music. Writers, most of the people that come to mind are people who went on to direct themselves, but do have writing credits, the Coen brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Guillermo del Toro, and Jordan Peele. I could see him embracing long format tv. I think he would find trying to tell a long story that unfolds over a period of years a challenge worth attempting. Finally, I could see him getting into modern special effects, but not so much for action, but for things he did best. I could see him doing a poisoning scene where he shows the poison moving through the body, or maybe a physiological effects of a panic attack on the heart.
  5. My favorite film I think is a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock is, Jumping Jack Flash (1986). I know that a lot of people will not take this film seriously because it was a comedy and a Whoopi Goldberg vehicle for her stand-up/one-woman-show brand of comedy. But to really see this as Hitchcockian, you only have to look at the story. Beware spoilers ahead. Whoopi Goldberg plays a bank clerk who handles international fund transfers via computers. Her outrageous dress and casual friendly but nonprofessional behavior make her an enigma in the stuffy bank. However, she is very good at her job, efficient, and able to help her co-workers with computer problems. While working late, she is contacted by a stranger on the bank network, who identifies himself only as Jumping Jack Flash. He is a British agent trapped in Eastern Europe being pursued by the KGB and in need of an exit contact who can get him back to the West. At Jack's request, she goes to his apartment for a list of contacts who may be able to help him. She is immediately drawn into a web of spies and must determine who to trust and who not to trust. She must rely on her wits and cunning to survive. The situation is very Hitchcockian. An ordinary person is thrown into an extraordinary situation by a chance occurrence, Jumping Jack Flash hacking into her bank's network and contacting her. To be fair, the film is very 80s and seems dated now and a lot of the comedy is playing to the strengths of Whoppi Goldberg as a comedienne, but as a spy thriller, it works well.
  6. 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, Hitchcock focuses not on the sexually oriented murder itself, but the frenzy surrounding the murder. It's funny that I picked the word, frenzy, to describe The Lodger. Maybe having it in my subconscious pushed it out, but when I tried to come up with a better word, nothing came to mind that worked quite as well. In The Lodger, he is trying to cram as much information in as possible in a short period of time. In Frenzy, Hitchcock is no longer concerned with the societal uproar around the murder. By 1972, people are used to murders, so he wants to focus on the murder itself. People think they are jaded and unaffected by this, but Hitchcock is going to push this act of sexual violence right in our face. It no longer matters what the newspapers say, Hitchcock's going to take us to a place we've never been before. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. The biggest one is the helicopter shot. He is experimenting with new technolgy. As mentioned in the lecture, the technology to do a steady helicoptor shot did not exist in 1960 for Psycho, but by 1972, it does. Even though there is one cut, the effect is of one continuous zoom that lasts 2 1/2 minutes. It's similar to shooting all of Rope as one long camera take. He knows that the opening credits now routinely last 2 minutes, and he doesn't need to advance the story during that time, so he is going to use that time to do a technical challenge he has never done before, the longest zoom of his career. The scene of the murder is broad daylight, not the dark alleys of The Lodger. It's a crowd scene, as we have so often seen. It's a political rally, like the one in The 39 Steps, but has aspects of a theater spectacle, similar to other acts of violence at amusement parks, concerts, and theaters. I remember in one of the early interviews, Hitchcock saying that if a young woman looks happy and says she's happy, that is redundant. It's much more interesting to have her say she is happy while she is crying. There's a great line of dialog from the politician, speaking about pollution, where what he is saying is literally contradicted by the situation, "... and that soon there will be no foreign bodies--" "Look!" "What is it?" "It's a woman." [More accurately, a woman's body, a naked woman's body, who has been raped and strangled.] 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. In a way, the opening of Frenzy is atypical in that it doesn't introduce us to characters like most of the others do, so you need to take a step back and look at the function of Hitchcock openings in more general terms. Hitchcock openings prepare the audience for what is to come, even when he knows that the audience is totally unprepared for what it to come. The Lodger - A series of murders and the media/societal hoopla surrounding them The Man Who Knew Too Much - A family that gets pulled into intrigue by the chance meeting of a spy The 39 Steps (and North by Northwest) - A handsome sophisticated, but otherwise normal man, who gets pulled into a deadly situation by a random occurrence. Strangers on a Train - Two strangers are thrown into a murder together by a random act of bumping each other's feet. Rear Window - A wheelchair-bound photographer entertains himself by spying on his neighbors, finding more than he expected. Psycho - A woman in a desperate situation takes desperate measures. Frenzy - This is a story about murder but it's not like any of the other murders we've seen. Previous murders have been committed because of hatred (Strangers on a Train, Bruno and his father), intellectual thrill (Rope), mental instability and greed (Shadow of a Doubt). or jealousy (Psycho). This is a murder motivated by mental instability and sexual deviancy, things that could only be hinted at before. In 1972 in an R rated movie, Hitchcock can show this and that is what he is going to do, and that's what he is preparing the audience for.
  7. 1. 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 appears to a thief from the stacks of cash, though very professional as evidenced by her multiple IDs and clever way of hiding the ones she will use in the future. She is completely shedding her old identity. She has two suitcases, one for each identity. Her new identity is competely new. Everything is packed carefully and brand new, gloves still in plastic bags they came in, other items still in boxes, or packed directly from the boxes they came in new. All of her new clothes seems to have come from the same store, stacks of identical boxes. Her old identity (in the other suitcase) is completed abandoned, clothes just thrown in with no concern for them. She also changes her physical appearance, washing the black hair dye down the drain, arising from the sink a new woman. She gets rid of her old belongings in a train station locker, dropping the key down a grate where it will never be discovered. 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The Herrmann score reminds me of Vertigo, but more subtle. There is something going on emotionally, but it's not clear what it is. It does build to a climax when she comes up from the sink as a new person, and then continues as she moves through the train station. The music abruptly stops, as she puts the suitcase (her old identity) in the locker. It wouldn't surprise me if she had a new theme melody or at least a new variant on the existing one in future scenes as she is a new person. 3. Did you see any variation in what Hitchcock is doing with his cameo in this film, and what do you think that variation means? The cameo is introduced with one of Hitchcock signature shots. Focusing on the purse is reminiscent of the shoes in the opening of Strangers on a Train and following a walking character with the camera that goes all the way back to Downhill (1927) if not earlier. Then something different happens, the camera stops while the character keeps moving. Through the years, he has established a pattern of following characters as they walked. Here he breaks that pattern, and then he comes out of the door, as if to say, you think you know what's going on, but you really don't. By having the camera stop while the character continues to move, he is telling us that this is a story about a person running away from something. I think it also shows that Hitchcock is more confident. He has already shown that the purse is important, but he can now add another layer visual information (person running away), and he knows the audience will follow it.
  8. 1. 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? First, it sets up Tippi Hedren as a sex object from the very beginning. The boy whistles at her and she stops and smiles at him. I understand this was a tribute to a popular TV commercial at the time. As for the romantic comedy, it has the edge of a screwball comedy with misdirection and a verbal sparring between the man and woman. Tippi Hedren poses as a sales woman to meet Rod Taylor. Rod Taylor knows something is wrong and immediately starts trying to catch her in lies. We later find out that he knows who she is, a famous debutante. What we learn about: Tippi Hedren - She is very stylish, presumably rich. She is very good-looking and from her reaction when the boy whistles is used to the attention it brings her. From the way she treats the sales woman, she is demanding and used to getting her way. She goes after what she wants (Rod Taylor) and is not afraid of using deception to get it. Rod Taylor is good looking too. I have seen The Birds a number of times, so I know he is a lawyer. From the way, he questions her, almost an interrogation, I would guess that he is either a cop or a lawyer. He doesn't have patience for games, though he seems to be able to play them quite well. He has a little sister, who he is protective of, wants love birds to be not too demonstrative nor too aloof. 2. 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? Though realistic, there is the constant chatter of birds. Outside you hear the seagulls mixed in with the sounds of traffic and the cable car. We see a flock of seagulls circling above, so their sounds don't seem out of place. Inside the pet shop, again more bird sounds, again motivated by the situation, a pet shop with caged birds everywhere. I'm sure that audiences knew coming in knew that the film was going to be about bird attacks, so despite the bird noise everything is very normal/mundane. Even the large flock of seagulls is explained as normal by the shopkeeper, saying that a storm at sea would drive them inland. 3. 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 only deeper meaning I can see is that he is walking dogs and not a bird person. Also he is getting away from both the birds in the shop and from Tippi Hedren. He turns the opposite direction that Tippi Hedren had come from.
  9. 1. 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? First off, the score is very violent and unsettling. The titles are unsettling too. They rush in and out from the side, but to extend it further, they are assembled in pieces, preparing us for the split personality of Norman Bates/mother. 2. 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 think by choosing such specific, Time, place, and location, he makes the audience wonder why they would be important, and ultimately coming to the conclusion that the date, time, and place were not important. If the date, time, and place are unimportant, then it could be any date, any time, and any place. Coming through the blinds is similar to Rear Window and shooting through the window, but here it is taken much further. In Rear Window, we never see what happens behind closed blinds. Here we go through the closed blinds, and what do we see, Janet Leigh in her underwear with John Gavin, obviously just having finished making love. 3. 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. The first character you see is Janet Leigh, but further she is the one controlling the conversation. John Gavin suggests she take the afternoon off and that they stay longer (she says check out is 3:00). He suggests that married couples do this all the time (she counters with married couples do a lot of things, reminding him that they are not married). Ultimately she tells him they are not going to do this afternoon hotel thing anymore.
  10. 1. 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. I think it is less so for Eva Marie Saint. She had only made four films before North By Northwest. Cary Grant had made dozens and had a well-established persona. He was the quintessential charming leading man, good looking but not overly so, but with charm and wit that made him all the more attractive. He is used to seducing women. Hitchcock plays this against type. Eva Marie Saint is the one doing the seducing and Cary Grant is taken back by this, that a woman can be so open about the seduction. 2. 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. First of all, the matchbook plays an important role later in the film, so Hitchcock makes it perfectly clear what it is. This way, when it comes up again, we will instantly recognize it. It is treated the same way as other small but important objects in other Hitchcock films, like the key in Notorious or the ring in Shadow of a Doubt. If I was seeing North By Northwest for the first time, I might think that the matches just give Eva Marie Saint a way to seduce Cary Grant. She touches his hand to steady the match to light the cigarette, and just when you think she will let it go, she brings it back to blow it out. I think there is also some Hitchcock social satire going on here. The trademark ROT for Roger O. Thornhill is not an attractive image, but probably better than the other options, RAT, RUT, RET, or RIT. Eva Marie Saint asks what the O stands for. Cary Grant says, Nothing. It is a character chosen for looks, not for meaning. The letter O is a circle with nothing inside, similar to a zero, also signifying nothing. I think Hitchcock is taking a jab at the superficiality of Madison Avenue advertising. At the time, Hitchcock was on TV every week openly mocking his sponsors on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. 3. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. It starts with very natural sounds. The sound of the train and when the music starts it almost sounds as if it could be music that would be playing in the dining car. I honestly don't know if they would have played music on a train back then. Before long the train sound is reduced to vague white noise. By the time, the seduction is really going, the music has changed to a theme that is used for Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint thoughtout the film.
  11. 1. 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. From the extreme closeups of Kim Novak's face at the beginning, two words emerge for me, sex and obsession. Then as we move to her eye and the filter turns red, and I get the sense of danger. When the swirl appears, I think that about there being something mysterious behind the eyes in the mind. The swirls seem both organic and artificial at the same time, like there is something going on in the mind that is impossible to understand. 2. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. My first inclination is to say the eye, but the eye is not a single image but an amalgamation of multiple effects and images, so that seems to be cheating. There a lot of tricks going on with the eye that take you through a number of thoughts and emotions. I would say the white swirl that appears with Edited by George Tomasini credit is the most powerful single image because it looks vaguely like an eye and hearkens back to all that was going on with the eye the first time. 3. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? I don't see anyone else doing the score as well as Bernard Herrmann here. I never really thought about this before but, it seems that most classic film scores, create music to support the action, there is emotion there too, but that seems secondary. With Bernard Herrmann at his best (in particular, Vertigo and Psycho), it almost seems like it is the other way around. The emotion is primary and the action is secondary.
  12. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? The most obvious one is the subjective shot of Cary Grant as he approaches the bed. I can also see the Hitchcock touch in the way Ingrid Bergman is shot. She is hungover. I'm sure her brain is fuzzy, so she is obscured, by the blankets, by her mussed-up hair, and by the hangover remedy (glass) in front of her. She is upside-down almost falling off the bed. Cary Grant is upside down too, but that is from her perspective. Even when she starts to get up, she doesn't stay up long and has to lie back down. Another touch is giving you information about the characters visually. In bed, she looks down and realizes she is still dressed in the same clothes she had been wearing the night before. When I took a Hitchcock class in college, the professor pointed out a chess motif in Notorious. I think it is significant. In chess, the most powerful piece is the only female, Queen, and the most important male piece in chess, the King, has virtually no power on its own. In Notorious, Ingrid Bergman as the Queen drives every aspect of the plot. Her counterpart on the opposing side, Leopoldine Konstantin, the only other important female character, drives much of the plot from the other side. Looking at this chess analogy in the Daily Dose, when we first see Cary Grant, he is shown in silhouette his arms folded not unlike a chess piece. Other chess imagery, the diamond shapes on the headboard similar to a chessboard when viewed from an angle. The shadows from the window and a glass-doored cabinet cast grid patterns, also reminiscent of a chessboard. There is a wall sconce that to me looks vaguely like a chess piece. On the closeup of the record player, one of the knobs looks like a pawn. 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? One of the most obvious motifs is color. Cary Grant is dressed in a black suit (probably navy blue, but comes off as black). Pinstripes were very big in men's suits at the time, but they chose to clothe Cary Grant in solid black. Ingrid Bergman is dressed in black and white stripes. Is she a good character or a bad one? In many respects, she has aspects of both. I think it's significant that the focus is on the characters, and the backgrounds are blurry. Hitchcock tends to favor a large depth of focus. He wants you to see what is in the background and what it reveals about the characters. Here he wants you to focus on the characters themselves. Through most of the scene, Ingrid Bergman is shown with her head at odd angles. We see Cary Grant at odd angles too, but this is from Ingrid Bergman's perspective. 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? Both stars come into the film with theirs personas intact, but I do think Notorious does challenge what they are known for. I have seen Notorious at least 20 times, but I hadn't seen it in a couple of years, before I rewatched it a week or so ago. I was very surprised how dark Cary Grant comes off. Cary Grant often has a bit of a dark edge to his persona, but normally it is a lovable scamp, a mischievous boy. That is part of his charm. In Notorious, there is a danger about him that is borderline unsettling. For Ingrid Bergman, in other films, Casablanca, Gaslight, and others, I think of her as innocent and vulnerable but with a strength of will that comes out when she is pushed. In Notorious, she is definitely vulnerable, innocent, not so much. Though not a prostitute, she definitely sleeps around. This is not something we had seen from her before. The strength of will is there, but it come out from spite, when she is spurned by Cary Grant. It's an incredibly complicated performance. She's a drunk and a party girl, but she's also a patriot and a hero. She's a woman in love and the woman scorned all at the same time.
  13. 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? There are a couple of shots that are very Hitchcock. First, the long slow pan over the numerous dishes/half eaten plates of food on down to the floor and the solitaire game then up to an unshaven Robert Montgomery. Then Carole Lombard in bed on with her butt up in the air and zooming into show just part of her face. She's only pretending to be asleep. Obviously, they have been in there for days, three days, we later find out. The household staff has only been allow to deliver food, and not pick up the dirty dishes (running out of dishes). Also presumably Robert Montgomery has been sleeping on the couch as there are blankets draped across it. 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 think it is a very typical Hitchcock opening. You get a lot of information about the characters mostly through the visuals that the camera is showing us. In roughly five minutes, we learn that the couple has been isolated and fighting for three days, Robert Montgomery has been neglecting his job, and they have a rule about not leaving until the fight is resolved. If they went out and someone was murdered or they stumbled on a cache of microfilm, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. 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 the casting and chemistry is fine, though more so for Carole Lombard. This is exactly the type of film she is known for. Robert Montgomery, though there is nothing wrong with him, often plays the second banana (guy who doesn't get the girl) in films like this or gets the starring role, when people like Cary Grant, William Powell, or Joel McCrea aren't available.
  14. 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's paralyzed not literally but figuratively. He doesn't move, he doesn't shift his weight, he doesn't sit up. He is at such a low point that he can barely move. He has a lot of money, but he doesn't care about it or the things it can buy. He lets his money fall on the floor, and if he wanted the luxuries that come with money, he would be staying a nice hotel and not this rundown rooming house. When the landlady pulls down the blind, then he gets energized like he is invigorated by the darkness. Then he decides to take action, violent action, throwing his glass on the floor. He looks at his opponents, the men outside, and decides to go out and confront them or escape. 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) The seedy boarding house with a character who feels like he is trapped in a cage with bars he can't see is very film noir. I just re-watched the opening of The Killers. The focus is on the situation and the killers themselves and how they are after the Swede, Burt Lancaster. In Shadow of a Doubt, the focus is on Charlie, Joseph Cotten. They both are in the same state of mind, paralyzed by fear, but Joseph Cotten decides to do something about it, take action, whereas Burt Lancaster lets it happen. Stylistically, The Killers is probably more noir, much deeper shadows in the room. You can't even see Burt Lancaster's face. The opening of Shadow of a Doubt set in the daytime, shadows that deep might have seemed unrealistic. Hitchcock could have set the opening at night, but I think he wanted to show the kids playing stickball in the street, so that he could contrast the East Coast, big city, family experience with the small town experience of Santa Rosa. I think there's more going on in Shadow of a Doubt. There's a dynamic in the way the shadow moves across Joseph Cotten's face when the blind is pulled down, and he is motivated into action by it. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than the 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? First, it's significant that the Merry Widow Waltz is incorporated in a couple of spots. We hear it as the kids are playing, but then it drops out as we see Joseph Cotten. In fact, the music drops out completely to match the lack of energy on Cotten's part. Once the landlady leaves, the music comes back, it is dark and foreboding, but what is the danger? Is it Joseph Cotten, seems likely from his violent behavior? Or is it the men outside? The Merry Widow Waltz is brought back in right after he thinks, "What do you know. You're bluffing. You don't have anything on me." Whatever they want from Joseph Cotten is tied up with that waltz. Then the music goes back to sinister as Joseph Cotten goes out to the two men who are after him. There are a couple of mini climaxes in the score, as Cotten comes out the door and again as he walks past the two men, building tension and releasing it, then building and releasing again....
  15. 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? All of the opening scenes we have seen so far have been public places and have given you a lot of info on multiple characters. For most of the opening of Rebecca, we don't even know who is describing the scene. Also, the previous openings through both visual information and dialog allow the audience to decide how they feel about the characters. In Rebecca, the voiceover narration forces us to experience it as it is described. The main character in the opening of Rebecca is not a person at all but a house. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? The Hitchcock touch is mostly the long subjective shots as we approach Manderley. In particular, the shot where the camera moves through the gate. An easier way to shoot it would be to dissolve from one side of the gate to the other. I assume that they built the gate in two pieces on casters, so that it could be pulled out of the way to let the camera through without cutting. Also, there's a shot where the camera passes through fog before you get to Manderlay. Realistically, moving at walking speed from the gate to a house like Manderley would take several minutes, which I'm sure Hitchcock didn't want to be too long for fear of the audience getting bored. The fog gives the impression of more time/distance passing. Another Hitchcock touch is Olivier on the cliff. In particular, the sequence where we see him from the back with the waves crashing on the rocks in front of him and then cut to a closeup of his lower legs as he inches toward the precipice. Obviously, he is contemplating suicide. 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? It definitely sets up Manderley as a more of character than just a place. Also there is a sense of foreboding in the way it is shown and the words that are spoken. The house has been abandoned and the grounds have started to take over it. The narration imagines that lights come on as if the house is alive. It continues to say that the house is a shell of it's former self, foreshadowing that Rebecca is going to be about how Manderley got this way.
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