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Master Bates

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About Master Bates

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    Writing, Travel, Photography, Film History, Swimming, Piano
  1. 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. THE LODGER (1927) OPENS with the (silent) full screen shot of a woman screaming. This gets us right into the action: the body of a woman has been discovered on a London street. Forty-five years later, however, Hitchcock has come a long way--and so has the movie industry: FRENZY (1972) opens with an extended, technically flawless aerial shot above the Thames, following the river, going through the raised gates of Tower Bridge, resolving on a
  2. 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. Right out of the gate, we see there is something "hidden," something "underneath" about this character, this Marnie. Methodically, she unboxes and takes the tissue off new clothes apparently bought at an upscale store. She obviously has money to spend on expensive clothing, which she carefully packs in a light-colored suitcase on her hotel bed. Meanwhile, she casually tosses undergarments into a s
  3. 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? ------ AN UPSCALE, WELL-LIT pet shop is antithetical to the typical horror film setting. It isn't a fog-shrouded castle in Transylvania, or some mad scientist's laboratory. But it's typical of Hitchcock to open in a public place--in this case, a pet shop with many well-heeled patrons; and, on the second floor, LOTS of birds. It's here that our two stars--'Tippi' Hedr
  4. ​I think Hitchcock and composer Stephen Sondheim could have produced a major collaboration. There are several reasons why I say this: ​1. Sondheim's love of movies. He's on record saying he's never been a reader, but he's a great lover of movies and has been all his life. ​2. Sondheim loves puzzles. This would seem to be a perfect match for Hitchcock's love of the same: working out the "puzzle" of a character's psychology, etc. ​3. With "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," Sondheim has said that he wrote the score as if he were scoring a motion picture--a horror picture at tha
  5. In VERTIGO, why is the manager of the McKittrick Hotel (Ellen Corby) insistent that "Carlotta Valdez" hasn't been at the hotel that day? We have just seen "Madeleine/Judy" opening the shade in the room above the lobby. Or have we only seen her there through Scottie's eyes? Through his...imagination? In which case, is she there...or not?
  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? Saul Bass's bold, black-and-gray, parallel bars that slide back and forth--and through each other--are an abstract manifestation of a knife slashing (vertical bars) or stabbing (horizontal bars), then pulling out of, a body--repeatedly. This is a stylistic representation of the brutal murder that will be at the heart of PSYCHO. The murder--the
  7. 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. EVEN THOUGH CARY GRANT is playing a role--"Roger O. Thornhill"--in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, Hitchcock--and Grant--are not letting anyone forget that he is still Cary Grant. Right off the bat, he's wearing "movie star" sunglasses, ostensibly because his character is on the run from thugs who have mistaken him for someone else and from p
  8. 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. THE MARRIAGE OF BERNARD HERRMANN's score and Saul Bass's computer animation in the title sequence tells me this film is going to be a mystery of complicated--spiraling, "twisted"--psychology. The hypnotic, swirling, multi-colored designs tell me I will find mysel
  9. 1. 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 CONTINUOUS PAN that opens REAR WINDOW introduces us to the universe of the movie and serves as a microcosm of the world at large. We're briefly given an overview of all types of people seen going about (what they think are) their private lives. But their lives aren't private. We are already peeping as the shot moves around the courtyard. "L.B. Jeff
  10. 1. 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. RIGHT OFF THE BAT during opening credits, Hitchcock gets right to the idea, the motif, of "criss-cross." In alternating ground-level shots, we see two taxis arriving at a metropolitan train station. The side doors of both taxis fill the frame as the taxis arrive from opposing di
  11. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? ​​I would imagine the "hang-over" scene early in NOTORIOUS posed something of a problem for Hitchcock: "How do I make Ingrid Bergman look hung-over?" "How do I make the audience believe ​that this exquisitely beautiful woman could ever look bad?" ​For starters, Hitchcock has her hair mussed, as it would be for anyone who's just waking up after a night of too much booze. To keep the viewer from--once again--being just dazzled by her beauty, Hitchcock obscures a portion of her face with the glass of bicarbonate of soda.
  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? The opening sequence, at least the part in the bedroom, is essentially a silent movie. There is sound, of course--sound effects and music. But Hitchcock, proving that his roots in silent film go deep, is allowing the mise-en-scene and the camera work exposing it to do almost all the "talking." The music is bright and cheery. The room is well-li
  13. 1. As mentioned in the curator's note, this scene operates as a prelude to the main story. What do you learn about the character of Uncle Charlie in this prelude? Be specific. WE LEARN THAT Uncle Charlie is living temporarily in an urban building where individual rooms are for rent. We're in an unnamed American city. We know it's American right off the bat because of the architecture and because children are playing ball in the street. We discover Charlie in a dark room, lying on a bed, smoking a cigar, window curtains throwing watery shadows across his face. A pan from Charlie reveals cons
  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. ​We learn that Uncle Charlie is living, temporarily, in an urban building where individual rooms are for rent. We're in an unnamed American city. We know it's American right off the bat because children are playing ball in the street. We discover Charlie in a dark room, lying on a bed, smoking a cigar, window curtains throwing watery shadows on his face. A pan from Charlie reveals considerable cash on the bedside table
  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? ​REBECCA opens with a POV tracking shot in a rural setting, far from any public space packed with people. In fact, no people are seen. We are in a dream, narrated by an off-screen voice. The mood is not light. It's dark, like an enchanted forest. A witch could appear at any moment. (This, of course, will happen later with the first appearance of Mrs. Danvers. More on that later.) Because we are in a dream, we don't know if what we're seeing i
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