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Master Bates

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Everything posted by Master Bates

  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
  16. 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. The music underscoring the opening scene is practically a character itself. As the camera pans the lobby of the inn, the music dominates. The music immediately brought to mind the light-hearted scoring of Disney cartoons of the period, where you might expect to see flowers and trees dancing, birds whistling--specifically, the music at 2:22 in this "Silly Symphony" cartoon: ht
  17. 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? ​As in THE PLEASURE GARDEN and THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, THE 39 STEPS opens in a public place; specifically, as in THE PLEASURE GARDEN, in a theater. But unlike the all-lecher audience of THE PLEASURE GARDEN, THE 39 STEPS unfolds in a music hall where men can bring their wives. ​Opening as it does with the ticket buyer's back to the camera, then a shot of his feet walking down the aisle, at first it has what
  18. 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) We meet all the main characters in this upbeat opening scene--all but the mother, and yet she IS introduced by way of mention as to where she is, what she's doing, etc. There will, of course, be a plot, but the characters--and how they will interact--seem to be at the forefront. 2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introducti
  19. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? Despite the boozing and booty-shaking of the two women in the living room, our hero just can't join in. He sees Mabel in the next room via her reflection in a mirror. She's seated on the arm of Champion Bob Corby's chair, laughing it up, having a grand old time. When Jack's boxing manager says, "It's not necessary for you to take your wife with you. She can stay here," Jack begins to "Walter-Mitty" about just what it will mean if he leaves her here when he starts training tomorrow. Here, the refle
  20. 1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? ​The main difference a difference of tone. THE PLEASURE GARDEN opens with the almost joyous masked shot of leggy showgirls quickly descending the backstage staircase, a conduit delivering them from dressing rooms to stage. A show is ready to start and backstage chaos is always exhilarating. On the other hand, THE LODGER opens with a tight shot of a woman in a terrified scream. It may be silent, but her face frozen in a scream of horror makes us "hear
  21. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. When Alice enters the store, the gossip is chatting away to the clerk--and really to herself, if not to thin air. We hear every word of the dialog. But when Alice enters the phone booth and closes the door, she also closes off the sound. The glass both--and the abrupt lack of sound--is a wonderful metaphor for how cut off from the world Alice feels. This gives us a subjective sense of how isolated she feels at this point. 2. Describe the different ways that the sound
  22. The headmaster looms large, powerful even without the POV tracking shot. But as the camera slowly, inexorably tracks closer to the headmaster, making him grow in the frame, we get an undeniable look at the utter disdain in his eyes. From the boys' POV, we sense their escalating anxiety as they approach him. The headmaster in addition to being the Supreme Court of the school also seems to possess some sort of strange magnetism that pulls the boys toward him, even against their will. ​More importantly, the boys' POV shot puts us in their shoes. While they don't yet know why they've been called t
  23. This opening sequence--showgirls spiraling down the staircase--shows Hitchcock at the very outset of his career knew what would instantly grab an audience's attention: skimpily dressed chorines showing lots of creamy skin. Assuming he signed off on the casting, it's interesting that the very first chorus girl singled out in a medium shot is a blonde--not yet of the "icy" variety a la Eva Marie Saint, Tippy Hedren, Kim Novak or Janet Leigh, but a quite attractive blonde nevertheless. So sex is already at the forefront in THE PLEASURE GARDEN. Soon after, the scene not only revolves around mone
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