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About Reegstar

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  • Birthday 12/02/1949

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    Northern California
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    Books, Movies, Hiking, Dogs, Cooking
  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. Frenzy opens with long aerial shot of London traveling over the Thames, descending through the Tower Bridge, practically landing on the embankment where people are gathered to listen to a politician talking about cleaning up the river and the air. It's almost like a travelogue at first, with the swelling music reminiscent of tolling bells and pomp and circumstance. The Lodger opens with a night time shot of blinking signs advertising a music hall show with chorus girls. Yes, both movies have a dead woman appear at the beginning, and several curious onlookers/bystanders shouting, but it's different as no witness steps up in Frenzy to describe the killer. 2. What are some of the common Hitchcock touches that you see in this opening scene? Be specific. Crowds, curious bystanders, location aptly displayed, dead body/murder appearing in everyday scene, ironic speech of politician talking about cleaning up the river and air, but a dead body floats in a disgusting miasma of dirty Thames water. 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. I think in most all of the opening scenes we have viewed, Hitchcock immediately gives us a sense of locale. We know where the action is going to take place. In many of Hitchcock earlier British films, the crime or murder takes place at the start, and so it does with Frenzy. I kept thinking the murderer was in the crowd looking at the evidence of his own crime.
  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. As a character, Marnie is revealed to be a thief - all the money bundles in her handbag; deceptive - changing her hair color; and, kind of nonchalant about changing identities. I'm guessing we will have these character traits explained or, at a minimum, explored further in the movie. She is mysterious. Also, I noticed that while the musical score is kind of smooth and romantic, we don't see any man in this opening. (Did everyone else notice the name, Marian Holland among the social security cards? Shades of Marion Crane in Psycho.) 2. How does Hitchcock use Bernard Herrmann's score in this scene? The music is very romantic, at the outset, with mysterious overtones. Then, it starts to swell as Marnie changes her persona and washes the dye out of her hair. I loved that part. She could have just had a wig (which she is obviously wearing) which she removes, or, cuts long hair short (ala Jason Bourne), but it's a great shot as the music swells and she flips her head back with her now blonde hair flying back. (I could see a similarity between this scene and the scene in The Fugitive where Harrison Ford dyes his hair and the dye is all over the sink and his arms.) 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? Yes, Hitchcock looks directly at the camera. I thought he was calling attention to the woman who had just walked past, with the bellman overloaded with packages. Hitchcock has a sort of smirk or something on his face - like he's inviting us in on his huge joke. That's what I took away from the brief glimpse we have of Hitchcock in this cameo.
  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? This opening scene does seem more appropriate to a romantic comedy because of the "cute" way Mitch and Melanie meet up in the pet store. There is the playful banter between them about the love birds, and Melanie pretending to be a sales clerk, with Mitch making fun of her ignorance. We know that Melanie is glamorous and sophisticated by her mode of dress and educated way of speaking. She's clearly intrigued by Mitch and shamelessly flirts with him. I really like her in this scene, but later in the movie is another story. I really don't care much about her as the movie progresses. She seems very arrogant, yet stupid at the same time. Mitch is a sympathetic character right off because he's buying a gift for his (MUCH younger) sister. He also seems down to earth and humorous. He kind of falls into the Cary Grant mold, but a just a little rougher around the edges. I think he would be like that, a little rougher, because he doesn't live in the city, even though he's wealthy and smart. He has a little of the Northern California air about him. 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? Until I studied this opening scene for the class, I didn't realize how the bird sounds are layered into the scene. The screeching of the gulls over Union Square as Melanie is walking to the pet store is jarring. It produces a mild feeling of anxiety. 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 cameo is of Hitchcock walking his two Scottish Terriers out of the pet shop as Melanie walks in. Unlike other comments on this subject, I, frankly, don't see any hidden or obvious meaning in this appearance.
  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? I'm not sure what the word "Psycho" would mean to someone going to see the movie for the first time in 1960, but, after viewing the titles and hearing the music, they are going to be amped up and already in suspense as to what will unfold. The lines of the titles and their constant shifting made me think that something was broken, i.e., not working correctly. The piercing music is further upsetting as it effectively stabs the eardrums. The overall theme that is introduced is disjointed. 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? My initial thought, after the titles end, is that it seems odd to have the location so specifically spelled out. I'm guessing that the location, being Phoenix, gives us the idea that this movie is taking place in a very unromantic and not glamorous place. The time being 2:43 pm - further expanded upon by the couple in the hotel room - lets the audience know it's the middle of the afternoon. After all, what bad thing could happen in the middle of the day? The camera POV (audience) slips through the Venetian blinds almost exactly like they did in Rear Window. What we're seeing is going to be none-of-our-business, but it introduces us to Janet Leigh/Marion Crane, and to her state of mind. The very first time I saw this movie, I thought John Gavin was going rape or beat up Janet Leigh, that somehow something bad was going to happen in the hotel. 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 scene works very well to establish that: a. Marion is a working girl, b. Marion is sexually experienced, c. Marion is not married (but Sam is???) and may not want to be married right now, and, d. Marion is willing to fool around in a hotel, on her lunch hour, but she's not too happy about it. She is kind of a romantic, as she loves being with Sam but doesn't like the sneakiness of it and being in a crappy hotel.
  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. It's practically impossible to totally divorce the characters from the famous stars who portray them. The movie audience would "know" Cary Grant - and that's how Hitchcock has Cary Grant play the character of Roger Thornhill. He's handsome, suave, sophisticated, and sexy - and that's how he plays Thornhill. There is also the evident sense of humor and willingness to laugh at himself that is revealed during the scene where Mason gets him drunk and sends him off in the car along the twisty ocean road. (As an aside, I wanted to put in my two cents about the ocean roads. They might be by Manderley, in the South of France, Cornwall, Long Island, or, where they were filmed, California, but they play such a big role in so many Hitchcock films. Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Nigel Bruce, Cary Grant, and Kim Novak, all come close to death on the edge of the ocean or ocean roads. Please note that there are no hilly, twisty roads on Long Island. Twisty, yes, hilly, no.) I don't know, except from the lecture, what the perception was of Eva Marie Saint's star persona. Her previous roles were of young, naive, working class women, so this may have elicited some new thinking about her. But, that said, Eva Marie Saint fully inhabits the character of a smart, young, yet sophisticated, single professional. It's a beautiful acting job. She's very much like Joanne Woodward. 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 ROT matchbook first works as a way to present the humorous, sexy, side of Roger O Thornhill, a man who can make gentle fun of himself. Then it is used by Eve Kendall as an excuse to touch Roger's hand. It's a very sexy scene - to me - as she almost caresses his hand when she blows out the match. Wow - that is a HOT matchbook. 3. How is Hitchcock using sound design in this scene? Consider music and other background sounds in your answer. Per his usual "touch", Hitchcock brings the theme music into the scene at exactly the right moment. It seems to waft in, just under the clickity-clack of the train wheels, and the very quiet background voices. Those other sounds fade out as the music grows. It is perfect timing - the music comes in precisely where it should - when Eve is talking and inviting Roger to her sleeper. That is such a romantic and sexy scene. Now I have to run and get a drink and watch North by Northwest all over again.
  6. I will probably not get to all of the films during the time span of this class, but, I've seen all of Hitchcock's films at least once, except for the silent films. The silents were a real treat for me. I generally disdain silent movies, but seeing the beginnings of Alfred Hitchcock's career was a wonderful opportunity. This class has really opened my mind to the art and genius of the silent film period. It's wonderful to the see the progression from those silent films, to talkies, to beautiful, lush, wide-screen movies with fabulous stars at the height of Hitchcock's career.
  7. 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. As someone who has experienced vertigo, the changes in the spirals that seemingly are coming towards me or moving away gives me a very real feeling of falling. As many times as I've seen this film, it's surprising that I've not focused on that feeling before now. Maybe I have and I just don't remember it. The jarring music also seems to increase in volume and then fade slightly, until the bass wind section comes in with a thud. Mystery and some sort of violence are what I expect to see after this opening. 2. In your own estimation, what is the single most powerful image in this title sequence? Defend your answer. The most powerful image of that opening was the credit, "Directed by Alfred Hitchcock". It seems to abruptly come straight out of the woman's eye. The other credits have been shown, and this stands out as it is all by itself. The eye is in a blood red wash of light. Very cool. 3. How do Saul Bass’ images and Bernard Herrmann’s score work together? How different would this sequence be with a different musical score? OMG, these guys are perfect together! Pure genius. The music and video seem to weave in and out, not exactly in cadence, but off just enough to be interesting. It's similar to when you hear an impromptu jazz improvisation. It is supposed to work you up, not send you sleep. I honestly cannot imagine any other composer doing these titles. Maybe Tiomkin could do something close, but he's not as innovative as Hermann. Plus, with Tiomkin, I'd still have High Noon in my head.
  8. 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? This establishing camera shot opens up a contained world of apartments all backing up on an interior courtyard. In the Hitchcock world of film, it is a "slice of life", being lived by the various inhabitants with their own joys, problems, and, idiosyncrasies. Most of them are concerned with their own lives and routines, but we, as the audience, are peering through the rear window of an apartment, and no one can see us - or, our own problems and peccadilloes. What an advantage the Peeping Tom has! No one else knows you are looking in at them. That must be the hook that keeps them Peeping. I took this opening shot to be the "every man's" 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? We learn that Jeff is incapacitated with a broken leg (hip?) and it pretty much confined to a wheelchair. As the camera pans around the room/apartment, we observe a smashed up camera; simply framed black and white photos of a car racing accident, a tanker fire, a terrible car accident, and, a bomb explosion; assorted camera/photography paraphernalia; and, finally, the cover to a fashion magazine with a beautiful model on it - as well as a framed negative of that model shot. With that non-verbal opening, we can deduce that it's a really hot and muggy day and Jeff is a world class news photographer who is currently not on the job due to injuries. 3. Does this opening scene make you feel like a voyeur or, at a minimum, remind you of being a an immobile spectator? What feelings does Hitchcock elicit from you as his camera peers into these other people’s apartments? I'm not sure what a voyeur feels, but this opening scene made me very curious about what's behind the curtains. I will admit, that when I'm walking in my neighborhood, or, anywhere, really, I will look in the windows and think I can learn something about the people who live behind the front doors. In my mind, it's like window shopping. This is maybe a common feeling among all humans, or most of us, anyway. Hitchcock elicits interest and curiosity in me, but not prurient interest. I think that feeling would be more like that of a voyeur. Also, I couldn't help but notice the cat that's prancing up the stairs. Was he/she also a curious? 4. Bonus question: if you have seen the entire film before, do you agree with Hitchcock that this film is his most cinematic? I have seen the entire film, and would wholeheartedly agree that this film is his most cinematic. He pulls out all the stops with the cast, story, music, color, wide-screen format, and lush cinematography. He takes advantage of the medium - to the best effect.
  9. Just saw this topic, but thought I'd throw in my two cents. This is the first online course I've taken, and, I think it's incredible. I appreciate the detailed notes/lectures and the vast amount of research that has gone into this subject. I'm retired (probably like 99% of the people who watch TCM), yet, my days are fairly full, so I haven't been able to stay abreast of things. Plus, I totally missed the first week when I forgot I had registered for this class. That said, I've been able to follow along at a pace that works for me. Thank you for that flexibility.
  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. While the credits are rolling, we see the traffic and pedestrians crossing in the background. I do love how the shot shifts from the distant view to the lower, close-up view of the taxi arriving at the curb. We then see feet emerging from the taxi, cross cut to different feet emerging from a different taxi. Then there are cross cuts of these two pairs of feet crossing the station, crossing paths with other travelers, and crossing into the entry to the train platform. Of course, there are the crossing train tracks. That's a great scene. There is more crossing as the two pairs of legs/feet, cross through the train car, in front of other legs and chairs. When they do sit down, they cross their legs - and then we see their faces. Fascinating and intriguing opening scene. 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. The first sense of contrast is created through costume. Bruno has fancy shoes and a striped suit. He even walks with a jaunty step and his hand in his pocket. He gives off an air of nonchalance, yet, a little flashy. He even shows his tie clip with his name to Guy. Plus, once we see him, he starts talking about himself nonstop. Guy, on the other hand, has plain shoes, a fairly plain, solid color suit, and is carrying tennis rackets. In speech, Guy is quiet and polite, while Bruno is talkative and brash, almost pushy in sitting down next to Guy and yakking away. Also, I don't know if it's deliberate (when is it not?), but Bruno's talking about himself makes me think he's a liar. He likes telling Guy what he's like, and I've often thought that people who tell others how they are, generally are hiding how they really are. For example - President Trump is always saying, "Trust me!". That's the last thing I would do! But, I digress. The scene seems lighter when it's focused on Bruno's feet and legs walking across the floor, in contrast to Guy's walking scene and crossing into the train car. Guy's focus does seem slightly darker, but maybe that's just me. 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 lush and faintly classical over the credits, and then turns light and playful as the scene cuts to the shots of the legs getting out of the taxis, and crossing the sidewalk/station. It's hard to figure out what to expect from the change in the music. The music then changes into an uptempo rhythm, almost a march as the many feet of the passengers funnel onto the platform. The music under the train tracks shot was so reminiscent of High Noon, that I had to check IMDB. Same composer - Dimitri Tiomkin. As the characters are anonymously crossing through the train cars, the music suddenly turns rather ominous and eerie. Now, we really don't know what to expect in this movie.
  11. My husband and I love to visit Bodega Bay. It is about a two hour drive from our home in Northern California. There is great food, lovely hiking trails, and fun shops. The locals love the fact that their little towns (Bodega and Bodega Bay) were the locations for Hitchcock's famous movie, The Birds. I'm going to attempt to attach a photo my husband took of the little old church in Bodega that was used as the setting for the schoolhouse. And, yes, there are still one-room schoolhouses operating in Northern California.
  12. Before I go into detail on the numbered topics for this sequence, I want to say that Notorious is far and away my favorite Hitchcock movie. I've seen it many times over the years and I never get tired of it. Sometimes I find a scene or shot that I never took notice of in prior viewings. All of the things Prof. Edwards mentions in the Lecture Video are true for me as well. The casting is perfect, the acting is perfect, the costumes are awesome, and the cinematography is outstanding. In the movie, I want to point out a sequence in which Hitchcock builds suspense by just the merest effort. He doesn't need to bang this into our heads, it's just there. While Grant/Bergman are snooping around for the wine, Hitchcock sets up the disappearing champagne bottles as a reason for them to get caught. When Alicia first looks at the ice chest, there are ten bottles, then Devlin looks at the ice chest and counts only seven, Pretty soon they see there are only three bottles left and they must act before Claude Rains goes down to the wine cellar for more champagne. Alicia and Devlin walk across the room and out to the patio to get to the cellar. What really hooked me in this scene is everyone at the party is drinking champagne! The people standing around and chatting, all the guests on the patio are drinking glasses of champagne. It is a small thing, but it manages to ratchet up the suspense just that much and more. This is genius. 1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? Opens with a party scene with lots of drinking. We have a mysterious man in shadow, we can't quite get a grasp of what Devlin's all about. There is a beautiful woman in bed, peering over the covers, and then we see the odd angled POV shot that spins around. We also have 'modern' gadgets in the phonograph player and secret recording. I'm not sure people knew all about that in those times. And then we see a budding romance, or at least some interest. There is also a shot of the light streaming in through the window with strong shadows. Of course, the close up of the glass of bromo-seltzer (?) next to Alicia, with Devlin urging her to drink it, foreshadows the end of the movie when Alicia is being poisoned and Alex and his mother are constantly urging Alicia to "drink her coffee", which is laced with poison. Nice!!! 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? Hitchcock just uses his genius to show how remarkably beautiful Ingrid Bergman, the star, is; despite waking up with a raging hangover. He shines a light on her in a very beguiling way, with her hair piece falling off, yet she's luminous. She has a fabulous outfit on, that seems very fashion forward for the times. Grant's character, Devlin, is shown as kind of mysterious. We aren't sure how it's going to go with him - hard or easy? - and Hitchcock brings this out by having him standing in the shadows and only lastly coming into the light when he reveals his motivation for getting together with Alicia. Hitchcock has the initial view of him, through Bergman's bleary eyes, beautifully shot with him going from standing in the doorway shadow and then turning upside down as Alicia turns over. She's established as a party girl, trying to forget her father's treason and trial, and her anger that Devlin is bringing that all back by taking advantage of it. 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? This movie could do nothing but put extra polish on these two stars. It shows a fabulous, gorgeous, couple falling in love and spying for the good of the "country" thrown in as hot sauce. I believe this might have been a bit of a departure for Grant, in that it is not a light comedy, or war movie, but Grant does very well in this ambivalent role - much as he did in Suspicion. He is the perfect romantic lead, handsome and sophisticated, yet possibly dangerous. I don't care who they cast as James Bond, Grant was the best at this kind of character, and Hitchcock puts that part of Cary Grant to work in this film. I cannot say anything bad about Bergman - her acting is superb! She says more with the **** of her eye or the angle of her head than many actresses say with pages of dialogue.
  13. 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 opening sequence of Mr. & Mrs. Smith has a few Hitchcock "touches". First of all, the music is key to our appraisal of what is happening, or, going to happen in the film. The tempo is lively and the melody is quirky, setting a lighthearted, humorous, feel to the coming film. Of course, we have a telephone sequence - somehow that always gets worked into a Hitchcock movie. Also, we have a pretty blonde seen lying down in bed, but is not dead. We also see her eyes peering over the bedcovers - a typical Hitchcock shot. What really got me, and is a perfect Hitchcock "touch" is the little scene of Robert Montgomery/Mr. Smith putting the boiled egg into the pocket of his robe. A small but very funny little bit. 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? I beg pardon, as I am both agreeing and disagreeing. As another student mentioned in their comments, on first viewing, there seems little to connect this opening sequence to the previous openings we've seen in the Daily Doses thus far; there is no large public assemblage, or setting, no ominous music, nor any exotic locale or screaming bystanders. Yet, on a second viewing, you can see how Hitchcock uses a panning shot to go from the "body" on the bed across the bedroom to the sitting area that is awash in strewn dishes, uneaten food, lots of glasses, and, finally the camera rests on a guy playing solitaire, with a three-day beard, dressed in his pajamas, and, smoking a cigarette. It's Hitchcock's standard POV shot and a voyeuristic view into this married couple's bedroom. Then, you subsequently have the 'servants' giving their descriptions of the situation in the bedroom. They may as well be hawking newspapers on the streets of London shouting about the latest developments in a public "murder". Also, when I saw that antic with the boiled egg (mentioned in the above paragraph), I couldn't help thinking this is the little "hook" that lets you in on what this character is like. It's kind of like the comical routine between Caldicott and Charters in The Lady Vanishes opening sequence. 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 love the casting in this movie. While they aren't William Powell and Myrna Loy, I believe Lombard and Montgomery were well cast. I love the 'play against type' that seems to work between them. Lombard's character refuses to be a pushover wife, and argues her position very well. I love when Hitchcock shows a strong female lead that actually has brains. As in a French farce, or, any bedroom comedy, there has to be a logical sounding reason for Mrs. Smith's behavior. I think Lombard carries the part with gusto. Montgomery is also good, he can sound supercilious and loving at the same time. Comedy is never as easy as it looks. Oh - and FYI - as I didn't answer this part in Topic #1, I knew this was a real American movie, directed by Hitchcock, from the opening credits! The font and style of the titles, along with the music, clearly show Hitchcock's touch.
  14. I have seen this entire movie, at least a few times, and I'll see it again for this class. Shadow of a Doubt is a great film. It's really cool how it's set in Santa Rosa, it's such a great location. I've been to all of Hitchcock's northern California locations. If you can ever get to San Francisco, there is a walking tour of the Hitchcock locations in San Francisco. Some of the locales have changed very little in 60 years. 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 Joseph Cotton/Uncle Charlie has done something nefarious, by virtue of money strewn about carelessly, and the landlady coming up to tell him that two men were asking to talk to him. Since he's just lying on the bed, smoking a cigar, I'm guessing - if this were my first viewing of this movie - he has committed some sort of crime and is going over it in his head. He does not seem remorseful, but he is pensive, maybe he's thinking the police have something on him. After he opens the blind and sees the men on the corner, he becomes confident, and, in the voiceover, he's convinced himself they have nothing on him. From that thought, until he walks past them and out of the scene, you think he may have a new scheme brewing. 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) The two things that jump out at me as "Film Noir" in this opening scene are: the protagonist - Joseph Cotton/Uncle Charlie - is a criminal; and, there is an inner, psychological, conversation going on in his head. This opening scene also has echoes of German Expressionism in the window shots and shadows. The scene opens with a street scene that seems low-rent, and kind of gritty. While I have seen The Killers, it's been a very long time, but it seems to me that in The Killers, the main guy is innocent, but he couldn't escape the killers sent after him. There is crime and punishment and measures of guilt in both of the main characters in these movies. 3. 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? I'm so happy this question is a topic. The brilliant music of Dimitri Tiomkin makes this scene work so beautifully. I just knew Cotton was going to throw that drink glass at the wall, from the way the music built up to that point. We also get a hint of the motif - just a very short riff from The Merry Widow waltz music that seems to drift through Cotton's head. I also love the harsh piano chords as the cops turn to follow Uncle Charlie down the street at the end of the scene. The chords are perfectly matched to the cops' footsteps. Tiomkin is a genius, and, together with Hitchcock, we get all the ominous music motifs rendered in a sophisticated score that is not as heavy-handed as we heard in Rebecca. It is a wonderful musical arrangement, and I can see why Tiomkin was admired by Hitchcock. It's a good collaboration.
  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? To my mind, this opening scene of Rebecca is closest to The Lodger in tone and feeling, but, otherwise, it is pretty much a total departure from the British movies. The music is totally different, it's haunting and gloomy, not gay or "show business". Also, there are no crowds of people, no neon lights, no city streets. The use of a narrator is totally different, although it's exactly how the book opens, and I can't imagine anyone making a movie of this book and not using the opening paragraph. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? Although the music in the opening is different from the previous Hitchcock movies, it has a haunting motif that is typical Hitchcock. It's also set in an exotic locale - South of France/Monte Carlo - so there is that Hitchcock "touch" (although the South of France in Rebecca looks mysteriously like the California coast of Big Sur and Carmel). Another "touch" that I noticed was the cute "meet up" between the leading characters. They are initially shown as opposites in temperament and 'class', which was the case in earlier Hitchcock films, The Lady Vanishes, and, The 39 Steps. 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? Manderley becomes more than the setting for Rebecca. Immediately, the audience knows, from the narration, that this is a haunted, important, element to the plot and to the characters. Everything that is going to happen after this opening sequence will be tied up with Manderley and it's secrets. Let me also say, I adored this movie, and I read and enjoyed the book. The Joan Fontaine character works for me, but at the beginning, I just wanted to shake her. I like that she's intelligent, but I hate her lack of confidence. Joan Fontaine is certainly brilliant in this film and I think she measures up to Olivier in almost every scene. All around, I think this is a great film, but just a bit out of the "norm" for Hitchcock. It is much richer than his British films, and a great intro to his new American career.
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