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About jamesrspencer

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  • Birthday 02/13/1968

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    Long Beach
  1. Thanks loemsch , for your thoughts. I"m so in agreement with you. I so prefer Mancini's score for Frenzy. It feels very dark, foreboding Jack The Ripper -retro Gothic Victorian with the pipe organ and fugal development. In fact Stephen Sondheim said that Mancini's score influenced his musical Sweeney Todd (which also opens with creepy pipe organ). The Goodwin score is very pompous over patriotic British (which is what Hitch wanted to create the ironic dark humor of the opening scene). I'm not a big fan of Frenzy to be honest. I don't like that Hitch gets so graphic in the rapes
  2. I'm sad that the Hitchcock class is coming to an end as I have enjoyed it immensely and hope TCM will do the following: 1. Have ongoing classes like the Hitchock Class 2. Create a low cost online streaming site like Netflix... so more people including myself can watch TCM daily. I refuse to pay $140 in Long Beach, CA just to get 1 channel TCM. Crazy (I don't watch most of the mindless tv programming that is out there. Concerning the score to Frenzy. There are some interesting facts people might not know: Henry Mancini was originally commissioned to write the score to F
  3. At Jimmy L. Thanks for dropping by the panel discussion. Glad you love Herrmann's scores too and have been examining them. Many of Herrmann's actual scores are up on Youtube with the music so you can view the score as you listen. I included a link to Psycho score as well. Yes agreed a basic knowledge of music theory is helpful in understanding the devices Herrrmann uses to get certain effects, but just listening offers many clues. There are numerous cd and digital collections of Herrmann's scores as well as many documentaries. The Psycho dvds often include the Herrmann
  4. 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. I actually really love Frenzy. Frenzy returns to Hitchcock's "low British" roots of film making. Ron Goodwin's score set this up so brilliantly we get a rather 'patriotic British hymn" score with the travelogue style stroll down the Thames River. At first this set up what would first seem a travelogue style movie. It is Hitchcock paying tribute to his roots. After the pan shot under the London Bridge I notice the dark black smoke coming off
  5. 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. I have watched Marnie many times. I have to be honest, it is not my favorite Hitchcock, but I do see genius touches throughout the movie so it does engage the audience. As for Marnie's character I agree with film historians that Hitchcock slightly teases his audiences with throwback ideas from previous movies. We see Tippi's of Marnie with the things she has stolen The walking with the black h
  6. 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 Birds is my 2nd favorite Hitchcock next to Psycho. Contrary to the question I do sense a slight "horror apocalypse" foreshadowing in the opening scene mixed with dark and romantic comedy elements. Maybe that is because I first saw this movie at age 6 and was really creeped out by it. I have never been a big birds fan when it came to nature or pets. As a child, there was a a large jun
  7. 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? I'm so glad we are finally studying my favorite HItchcock movie Psycho, which in my opinion is his absolute best blend of all aspects of film making coming together: Brilliant score by Herrmann, perfect psychological development of characters, great acting and cinematography. Saul Bass's title design is perfect! It is symbolic and psychological
  8. Here is a link that gives excerpts from iconic Bernard Herrmann scores: Showing his diverse style of composition:
  9. I'm such a huge Hitchcock fan so to narrow it down to my five favorite performances is difficult but here it goes: 1. ANTHONY PERKINS (PSYCHO) Anthony Perkins was the perfect person to play the role, he brings all the complexity of this character out completely. Gentleness vs. violence, the sexual ambiguity (gay in real life), the passive/violence. He is mesmerizing. 2. JUDITH ANDERSON (REBECCA) She is creepy, cold and obsessive as Mrs. Danvers. Truly one of the most iconic performances. Love her. 3. ROBERT WALKER (STRANGERS ON A TRAIN) Another mesmerizing perform
  10. I personally find some of the later movies slow moving and they did not hold my interest: Family Plot, Topaz specifically. I'm also not a fan of Mr. and Mrs. Smith (I'm not into screwball comedies) Some of the early Brit movies are slow for me too but others are masterfully done.
  11. For a more detailed look at Bernard Herrmann's life and career, I have included this short 10 minute video where I discuss some of his key movies: 1. Daniel and Mr. Webster (1941) : Herrmann wins his only Academy Award. 2. Citizen Kane (1941): Herrmann experiments with orchestral color such as scoring parts of the score with 4 alto flutes. 3. Hangover Square (1945): He writes a through composed 1 movement piano concerto and begins to establish his Horror/Suspense iconic sound. The score has many typical Herrmann elements such as the use of tritones, minor 2nds, chromatics and the min
  12. Good Day: I'm James Spencer, a musicologist from Long Beach, California. I wanted to create a panel discussion on the key points to Bernard Herrmann's score for Hitchcock's Psycho. Psycho is the most iconic horror score of all time and set the bar to inspire other horror film composers to compose in a similar style. Here are some key points about Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score: 1. Scored for only String Orchestra using the whole voicing range of instruments: violins I and II, violas, cellos and double bass. Each line of music often was divided into two parts to create 8 to 10 v
  13. 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 found this scene slightly humorous because indeed Hitchcock plays with the fact that both actors are indeed big stars so the audience can get some of the inside jokes. When seated at the dining car, Eve Marie Saint is the typical cool, sexy Hitchcock blonde, she is dressed glamorous, and smokes. Cary is wearing dark sunglasses (
  14. 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. Vertigo is my second favorite Hitchcock film. It is very obvious from the opening credits that the film will be a psychological thriller. The close-up of the face and then the eye with the morbid red light filtration ads the feeling of fear and trepidation and dan
  15. 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? We see the courtyard of the apartment complex through the window of Jeff's apartment. The opening shot pans through Jeff's window to the window views of the all the neighbors. Hitch sets up the minor characters of Rear Window in the opening shots. We see the married couple with the dog sleeping on the firescape, the dancer in her apt, the composer/piani
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