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Ann56

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  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 starts with the woman screaming, followed by the sign “To – Night Golden Curls” and then the body with the witness giving her report to the policeman, surrounded by the crowd. In Frenzy, it is the direct opposite with the trip down the Themes and then the crowd listening to the speaker and then the body floating in the water. At that point the crowd moves to look at the body in the river. The Lodger also goes into much more detail regarding the reporter calling in his report, the teletype machine, and the newspaper being published. Frenzy stays away from all of that. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. The POV shot as the boat travels down the Thames, the audience sees what the pilot sees. The same happens as the shot changes to the sky shot and moves to the crowd and the speaker. In addition, we see Alfred Hitchcock in the crowd, thus ensuring his cameo appearance. While the speaker is continuing about the river, a man suddenly sees something in the river and yells out, turning our focus to the river and what is floating there. 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. It starts out as a calm, serene boat trip down the Thames as the musical theme is light, airy, and majestic, like the river, not giving a hint of what is to come, or be found, in the calm, tranquil water. The shot then changes as the camera moves in from the sky to center on the crowd and the politician discussing the river.
  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. The audience can see that by her walk to her hotel room that she is self-assured and in control. As she is unpacking the newly bought items and placing them into the new suitcase, she is changing from one personality to another. Just by looking at the colors, you can see a change from bright colors to more subdued colors. Her original purse, for instance, is a bright yellow, and she changes it to a classic neutral. After she has taken out her personal items, wallet, comb, compact, nail file, she changes again but removing the social security card in the wallet for a different one that she had hidden behind the mirror in the compact. She then washes out the black dye and goes back to her original blond hair color. Watching her during this process shows that she has done this numerous times before and is skilled in deception. 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? His haunting melody is sad and melancholy; however, as she is washing out the black dye in her hair, the melody starts to swell, culminating with her standing up and revealing her blond hair. When the transformation is complete and as she puts her suitcase into the locker, the music stops and the reality of the PA announcements are heard instead of Herrmann’s haunting score. 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? In this cameo, Hitchcock comes out of the hotel room and looks directly at the camera. He has not done that in any of his other films. It is almost like saying, “Hey, look, it’s me.” I am not sure why he would change; however, since he is always looking for new ways to do things, this is just another example of that.
  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? The audience knows that Melanie is not an employee of the pet store; and although we do not know at this time who the man is, we get the feeling by the questions he asks that he is being somewhat teasing Melanie. We can feel the chemistry between them already from their body language, especially when Melanie replies to his request. We can assume that their repartee will continue and will lead to a romantic relationship. There are no indications that some thing “bad” is on the horizon. Of course, we know that the birds are circling the city. 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? As Melanie is walking toward the pet shop, she stops after being whistled at by a passing stranger. She stops and smiles at the stranger, but then she hears the birds and looks up to see a large flock of seagulls flying around and squawking. There are quite a few birds, and they are not singing but making a horrific squawking that is more of a cacophony of sound rather than a melody. Her smile fades into a look that cannot be called a frown but gives the audience the feeling that her reaction is filled with wonder, concern, and even apprehension. However, she shrugs it off and goes into the shop. 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. Hitchcock is leaving the store as Melanie is entering it. As we can see he is being led by the two dogs, again the suggestion of doubles. In addition, instead of walking them, they are walking him. To me it suggests that the animals will lead in this film and will take on the “lead” role instead of the actors.
  4. 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? The lines remind me of bars, like prison outfits, jails, etc., In addition, the audience never knows from which direction they will come or in what order showing chaos which goes along with the title of the film. The title “Psycho” is cut into three sections and are moved back and forth, indicating the split in the “psycho” or actor/actress who will be discovered to be psycho. It is interesting that the only other credit which mimics this action is the one introducing Alfred Hitchcock as the director. The score of the film is in such staccato that it keeps the audience unbalanced, and as we know is duplicated during the killing scenes. In addition, to me it is reminiscent of a fast-moving train where you miss some scenery and lock on to another. When the movie starts, the music slows almost like a train pulling into a station. 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? Due to the time element in the story of when Marion leaves and when her sister starts looking for her, the date and time gives the audience an indication of the timeline. It also explains why Marion and Sam are in this hotel during their “lunch hour” having an affair instead of after dinner at their home….happily married. Hitchcock elects to enter through the semi-closed blinds very much like a “peeping tom” as in Rear Window; however, unlike Rear Window, where no one had anything to hide, the blinds are not open because something illicit is happening inside. 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. She explains through her dialogue with Sam that he is coming down for business trips and she is taking extended lunch hours. She also is upset with having to sneak around and lie about Sam. The fact that she is guilt-ridden because of the circumstances is reflected in the fact that she her bra and slip are white, as is her dress. Later in the film, after she has stolen the money, she is dressed in black, showing that she has sinned.
  5. 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. First, we know how extremely well known and popular these two actors were at the time, so the line is somewhat tongue-in-cheek. 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. The R.O.T. matchbook gives us an indication of Thornhill’s comic style… the initials being the word ROT gives us a clue that he can be “rot-ten” when it comes to women. It is both a prop and a way to give the audience information about the characters. The fact that she brings his hand back to her to blow out the candle, with the matchbook facing her, show the audience that she is willing to be with him even though it is an indication of his character. 3. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. The rolling of the train wheels, the light airy, somewhat romantic music continues through the scene until Eve lets Roger know that she is available and brings out her cigarette. At the point the whistles blow, indicating that this is an important part of the scene, and then the music goes back to the light, airy somewhat romantic music.
  6. 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. 1. The first shot of the woman indicates to me that it will be centered around a female. As the shot tightens to her lips, the actor’s name appears. Since the name is above the lips, it indicates that this will be the love interest of this woman. Moving towards the eyes, the female lead’s name appears. Here we also see the eyes moving from right to left, indicating a criss-cross and double as used in other Hitchcock films. The shot then moves to the woman’s eye and the color is changed to red as the title appears. This is a definite indication that there will be death or blood concerning the lead characters. As the spirals start, it is reflective of the title: Vertigo; however, we don’t know in what way the vertigo will present itself. The circles continue through the remainder of the titles and each circle comes out of the previous one and it ends with going back into the eye. Most of them give the illusion of an eye, which is a central theme of the film because of the obsession of how she looks. 2. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. To me, the single most powerful look is when the black and white changes to red and the eye opens wider when the title comes out of the pupil and leaves the screen and the circle starts. It gives so many clues as to what the movie will be about: vertigo, death or blood, and mental illness or obsession. 3. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? The music and images are synchronized completely. It is a tune that gives the illusion of being off balance and a lack of equilibrium. It reminds me of a tune that would be used to hypnotize people. Another musical score would not work hand-in-hand with the images. It is perfection.
  7. 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? Hitchcock is presenting this area as a living thriving microcosm of the city. Since Jeff’s back is to us, the shot is giving us a glimpse of who lives in the buildings surrounding Jim and that their lives go on regardless of whether he is watching or not. In other words, whatever is happening in the apartments is not dependent upon whether Jeff is watching or not. Their lives go on. Therefore, it is our vantage point. 2. What do we learn about Jeff in this scene without any pertinent lines of dialogue (other than what is written on Jeff’s leg cast)? How does Hitchcock gives us Jeff’s backstory simply through visual design? The camera tracks across the apartment and we are given “glimpses” of his life: a broken camera, many pictures of dangerous and destructive scenes, more cameras as well as photographic items, including the negative of a model who is gracing the cover of a magazine. 3. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? Since the scene tracks through and really doesn’t stop for too long at any one apartment, It makes me feel like I am observing the lives of the people living in the other apartments around me. It is neither positive nor negative…just there, much like it would be if you were walking down the sidewalk of a row of houses in a neighborhood and looked at the houses. If the windows were open, then you would get a glimpse of their lives without prying. 4. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? Definitely. The way everything is seen from Jeff’s POV and that when he sleeps, the lives of the others go on, leaving a gap in what he has seen and what happened. The tracking, the POV, the camera shots along with the acting seamlessly merges together into a film that can only be called a cinematic masterpiece.
  8. 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. The first criss-cross occurs when the taxis are dropping the men off at the train station. One is dropped off from the left and the other from the right. The next is the way the men are walking toward the train…again, one from the left and one from the right. The third instance is the visual of the train tracks which criss-cross and the visual where you think the train will go straight, but it goes to the right. The fourth is where the men are walking to their seats…again, one from the left and one from the right. The fifth is where during their walk, they walk in front of women and men who have their legs crossed. The sixth is where both men, after sitting down, cross their legs which leads to Guy’s foot bumping in to Bruno’s foot. The seventh is the man in the background moving or crossing from the left side to the right side. 2. Even in this brief scene, how does Hitchcock create a sense of contrast between Guy (Farley Granger) and Bruno (Robert Walker)? Consider everything from camera work, to clothing and shoes, to dialogue and speech, for example. In clothing, Bruno’s wardrobe is what I would call a “dandy.” He has white wing-tipped shoes, a pin-stripped suit and flowered tie and a tie clasp in the shape of his name. It definitely gives you the feeling that he feels self-important and narcisstic. Guy, on the other hand, is dressed mainly in dark conservative colors and almost a sporty look, especially since he is a tennis player. The cameral work is almost identical, just from the opposite signs. Bruno’s speech and body language is overpowering whereas Guy’s is quiet and subdued. 3. While the visual design gets the most attention typically, how does the Dimitri Tiomkin score function as part of the mood and atmosphere of this opening sequence? The music is sweeping at first and then become more somber. When the men depart from their taxis, the music almost the same, but there are slight differences. It stays the same until the train starts moving and then it becomes bolder. It slows down when the men are walking towards their seats, and as they bump feet the music imitates the bump making it very obvious that the bump is a harbinger of things to come.
  9. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? The POV shot and tracking of Grant first in shadow and then walking toward Bergman. Since she is watching him, the angle changes since she is looking upside down at him. Before playing the record, Grant is as far away from Bergman as he can get; but as the record is played, he moves toward her and stands next to her, showing that he has gone from distancing himself from her to supporting her because of what she says regarding patriotism to her father. 2. 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? I mentioned the shot of Grant going from distance to support in question #1. In addition, the close up of her face as she watches him walking toward her and the upside-down shot. As to lighting, Grant is shown in darkness and silhouette, implying that we don’t know yet whether he is a man who can be trusted. Regarding costume, Grant is impeccably dressed giving the impression that he is above her whether in status or class. Whereas Bergman has on a flashy, provocative dress which implies that she is a “party girl” and looks at life from the bottom of a bottle. Her appearance is also marred by the way she keeps her hair and her demeanor during the previous scene and this one. 3. 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? Grant was known for his debonair and suave sophistication in the movies, which he continues in this film. I agree with the lecture video that she has a underlying melancholy, or I would say fragility or vulnerability, that lets the audience know that underneath this brazen party girl is a more sensitive woman who is confused and alone.
  10. 1. 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 following are all Hitchcock touches that I see: The camera angles, especially the POV shots, the music which changes with the tone or mood of the scene, the tracking that is done while Mr. Smith navigates his way through the dishes to find a place to put down the breakfast tray. In addition, we learn about the following about the couple: The furniture, linens, and decorations tell us that they are well off and can afford such things, especially when he walks over the couch to answer the door. It gives us the feeling that he takes the material things for granted; therefore, he might take other people’s feelings for granted. 2. 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? The fact that the camera moves through the room focusing on the dirty dishes and then to the cards and finally to the person does remind me of a typical Hitchcock opening. However, since it is a comedy and not like Hitchcock’s other films, there are no indications of suspense. 3. 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 loved Carole Lombard in this role. I have to admit that I’ve never watched her movies, but I can see in this movie how engaging she is. Robert Montgomery reminded me of a spoilt child, and I personally got annoyed with his character. I wasn’t too impressed with the Gene Raymond character either, so I would have to vote for divorce and Carole finding someone other than Robert or Gene. Since I am of a younger generation, I did not live during the time that this movie was made and might not “get” what the norm of the day would have been. So I will chalk it up to that. I also am not a big fan of comedies, so that might be another reason why this wasn’t one of my favorites.
  11. 1. 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 he is a solitary person who is preoccupied with a problem of some sort. When the landlady comes in and informs him that the two men had stopped by, he did not tell her what he was going to do, but mentions the things that he might do…not giving a straight answer, but skirting around the answer. We also see that even though his clothes are nice and he has money on the table, he is living in a lower-class area and is renting a room rather than living in an upper-class area and owning a home. Thus giving us a picture of a duality that is mentioned in the video. 2. 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) Detectives, seedy apartment, evasion of questions, the conversation between the landlady and Uncle Charlie regarding the men stopping by to see him and the fact that they don’t want her to tell him…secrets, the way the detectives look away from Uncle Charlie as he walks by but that their heads turn and watch him walk down the road and then they follow him, the way they both put their hands into their pockets to infer that a gun might be there. As we move into Hitchcock's Hollywood years, his scores will take on more importance than they 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? The moody sounds that start the scene where Uncle Charlie is on his bed and then how the music changes as the different events happen in the scene and the music fits what Uncle Charlie is thinking and what he is going to do. …1. The discussion with the landlady. 2. When he walks to the window to look for the detectives. 3. The change in music to The Merry Widow Waltz when Uncle Charlie is thinking about the murder. 4. The crescendo when Uncle Charlie decides to get his things and lead the detectives on a merry chase.
  12. 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? It is a voice over describing a scene which is placed in the past, describing a dream but not a dream. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? 1. The camera angles from the sea to the figure standing on the cliff. 2. The point of view angle from figure looking down to the sea. 3. The music which goes from haunting to sweet after Olivier meets Fontaine. 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? The story is more than just set at Manderly because Manderly plays such an important role in the movie. It is where Rebecca reigns and Ms. Danvers carries the torch for her, keeping her alive by reminding the new Ms. deWinter what an influence Rebecca had on the house….almost as if the house and Rebecca were one. The voice over and the flashback lets you know that both characters will survive whatever happened to and at Manderly and that at one time Manderly was whole and alive. It piques your interest as to what happened at and to Manderly.
  13. 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) I believe that the characters are going to be more important part for each will play a role which will further the plot. 2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? At first he is jovial and not angered by being knocked over by the skier; however, when he sees the skier, his mood immediately changes and you see a different side of him along with a tension which will last throughout the film. 3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. He starts this scene with a recognizable sporting event where it is rather predictable as to what is going to happen; however, the scene is then changed when the dog and the girl cause the crash of the skier….into the crowd, including Abbott, which will carry the plot to the next incident. This scene is like The Pleasure Garden since it happens in a common identifiable location which is ordinary. This scene is not like The Lodger, which is sinister and focused on a screaming woman.
  14. 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? The electric lights, like the ones used in The Lodger, are shown at the beginning of the film. The music is happy and lighthearted. The scene seems to be innocuous to what is going to happen in the film. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Rothman's assessment that Hitchcock in this film is focused on introducing a more innocent character than in previous opening sequences of his films? Definitely, the character of Hannay is treated like he is almost invisible since his question is passed over when another character shouts out his question over Hannay’s shoulder. When his question is finally addressed, Mr. Memory greets him and the audience applauds him. 3. Reflect on the role of yet another public space opening a Hitchcock film--this time a music hall--the prominence of a performer (Mr. Memory), and the reactions of the audience in the film to Mr. Memory's act. How does these on-screen elements play into the Hitchcock touch as described by Gene Phillips? It gives the audience the appearance of a routine, everyday happening like a theatrical act that is there just to entertain and have little or no impact on more important things happening outside of the theater. In addition, Hannay is looks to be a typical person out for the evening in a typical establishment.
  15. 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. At first the tone is light with the lady is smiling and happy which is supported by the upbeat and happy music while she is there, even though the characters look bored. However, when she leaves, there is a change of mood where the characters are arguing, frustrated, and noisy, which is supported by the cacophony of sounds. There is also the frustration of the passengers of the train because of the avalanche. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. These men are the stereotypical “British” subjects who consider themselves and their needs foremost to any other nationality along with their attention to manners and the right “British” way of doing things.The men are discussing their frustration of trying to get to the cricket match on time along with the more disturbing subject of war 3. From their doorway entrance to their staircase exit, describe how Hitchcock uses dialogue, camera movement, and the placement of characters in the frame to establish Iris (Margaret Lockwood) as the star of this scene. First, the manager of the inn goes straight to Iris and shakes her hand first. Second, she stays at in the foreground of the shots and next to the manager while walking toward the stairs. Third, the other girls are completely left out of the shot as the manager and Iris move closer to the stairs. Next, the manager passes her and Iris is placed above the other girls, as they return to the shot. Iris is in the middle between the manager and the girls. The next shot is focused on only the manager and Iris. As they walk up the stairs, Iris stays in the middle of the shot.
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