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About pwest1962

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  • Birthday 11/22/1962

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    I teach history and political science. I love photography; in fact, when I retire in four years, this will be my second career. I love to travel, visit museums and watch TCM. Oh, I love BASEBALL and have visited 16 of the 30 stadiums. All 30 is on my bucket list.
  1. We got more than we paid for; this was an outstanding experience. I learned so much about Hitchcock I didn't know. I had no idea about all the silent films he did, or how he was influenced by German expressionism! I use film as a teaching tool and this class has helped learn how to use it more effectively.
  2. OK, I am a teacher at a Community College in Alabama and teach online courses. You who are complaining should be ashamed. First, this class is free. Second, Dr. Edwards has at least 300, my mistake, 16,000, students in this class. He also has to prepare for the fall term and may also be teaching summer classes for credit at Ball State. People get a grip! You didn't pay for the class and you're not getting any college credit for it, so stop complaining and treating Dr. Edwards with disrespect! Do you think you are the only person in the world or that Dr. Edward's has his own life? He did this course out of the goodness of his heart and to give us a learning experience, so while you are learning about Hitchcock, you might want to learn so patience and understanding!
  3. The opening is very revealing about Marnie. She lives multiple lives is very neat and she steals for the sake of stealing. I like Hitchcock's use of color, her yellow purse, it means caution. The music is beautiful, haunting and has the effect of movement. We see Marnie's legs long before we see her face. We also see Hitch watching her as she goes down the hall and he looks back to make sure no one is watching him, watching her. He is a rascal. The objects he uses as nodes to his other films: the money, "Shadow of a Doubt" the hair dye down the drain, "Pyhsco", the key down the drain, "Shadow" again. I won't go into the relationship with her mother and her fear of the color red and her obsession with keys and things that are locked here!
  4. The opening of The Birds is very playful. The bird sound track is a wonderful touch and at the beginning of the film and sets no ominous tone for the audience. We see Tippi Hedren, Melanie, heading for a pet shop to pick up a Minna bird. She notices all the birds hovering but goes about her business. As she goes in the pet shop, Hitchcock makes a very early appearance with his own dogs walking out and again the audience senses no dread! Melanie asks the shop keeper about the birds and is satisfied with the answer about a storm at sea. She wants her Minna bird but it has not yet arrived. Rod Taylor, Mitch, comes in and mistakes Melanie for an employee and he asks her to help find two love birds and the flirting begins. I like Tippi Hedren in this part; she has the dignity and class of Kim Novak and Grace Kelly, but her character, Melanie, is approachable, especially when she goes after Rod Taylor. He soon discovers she doesn’t know one bird from the next but keeps playing along with her. I love it when he asks her if she feels bad about the birds being cages and they banter about molting season. I love that Hitchcock uses birds as an instrument of judgment or chaos. Birds are, for the most part, melodious creatures and their chirping brings us pleasure, and they are some of the least treating animals on the planet. There are a few exceptions, like Vultures. Vultures are scavengers of death, but he doesn’t use them as instruments of chaos. Hitch uses Sea Gulls, Robins, Crows, Finches and other birds I can’t name to attack this peaceful town. I think Hitch uses the birds because they traverse the skies and see all human behavior from a God like perspective. When I first saw this movie, I thought might be Hitchcock sending a message about the environment, but after listening to Dr’s Edwards and Gehring, I think it really is just about bringing chaos into the lives of ordinary people. I also like the way Dr. Edwars describes the ending of the film and how difficult it to photograph.
  5. The fact that we have another EVE is funny because unlike Jane Wyman in Stage Fright this Eve is dangerous, but not in the way the audience is led to believe. Hitch is leading as a long once more. She knows Thornhill is innocent and knows who the real killers are and she is, on the one hand, Thornhill's protector, but on the other, his advisory at the same time. She is definitely a double agent. This scene oozes sex from the eyes behind the woman's sunglasses, Grant is wearing, to the smirk on both their faces to the music in the background, then the topic of what's good on the menu with the final touch of identifying themselves and to his lighting her cigarette. It is a wonderful touch when Even pulls Thornhill's hand back to blow out the match he has stuck for her. The matchbook is very much like the cigarette lighter in "Strangers" an object of desire and amusement. ROT, who is ROT in this situation. We like Thornhill but know he is a cad. He has "made love" to many beautiful women but has never had a successful relationship, well, except with his mother. This is another hidden joke Hitch plays on his audience.
  6. The music is jagged and unnerving, combined with the titles which are broken parallel and horizontal lines make the viewer tense from the outset of the film and foreshadow the stabbing in the shower. The partially open shades are similar to fully exposed or lifted shades in Rear Window. Another classmate said something to the effect the blinds, "suggest the stabbing motion of the knife." Good call! The fact that they are only partial exposed tells the viewer something is going on inside that no one should see. Sex as an "Afternoon Delight" between unmarried adults spells taboo and bad girl and boy. Crane is also a bird's name and in an ironic twist, what the English call an easy natured, girl, a "bird." However, this Bird wants to get married and to end the afternoon trysts. The boy, however, does not have enough money to set up a nest for the two. This sets in motion the motive for Marion to steal $10,000 in cash a customer brings into the real-estate office where she works and the need to head out west to where her boy lives, so they can marry and build a nest together. We know the rest of the story; the money is merely the "Magoffin" Hitchcock uses to push his little Bird toward the Bates Motel and Norman Bates and Mother! Of Course, the "Bird" simile will become a reality in The Birds.
  7. This opening sequence is really not much different than other openings! Hitchcock has used wheels from trains, clocks, cars, and records to not only convey movement/action but also, to convey disorientation! What makes this opening stand out is its vivid color and now, Hitchcock can use special effects like spirals and curves he could not use in the past! And, of course, Novak's lips and eyes! In all the films we've highlighted, there is a point when our hero is made to doubt his/her own senses or sanity! Am I really seeing what I'm seeing, feeling what I'm feeling, knowing what I know! Can I be wrong? Does perception equal reality? Hitchcock was on to the post-modernist dilemma before it was cool! Can our mind play tricks on us? Can we get lost in our own minds, thus making up our own realities! Is there a "true" reality? All the characters that mirror each other or shadow each other reflect how our human nature, senses, intuition fail us on so many occasions. What makes a killer snap? I'll just use one example from Strangers on a Train. Guy wanted Mariam dead, but did not have the courage of his convictions or outrage! BRUNO is our ID, the seething caldron of desires that will do anything to get what it wants. BRUNO has no boundaries; morality, shame nor fear of being caught will stop him! There is no filter of any kind with BRUNO; what is in his head comes out of his mouth, down to his hands and onto Miriam's throat! He lives in his own reality or morality and cares not one wit if anyone disagrees with it! Think about it; did anyone one of us really care that Miriam is murdered She is an awful woman. If the two guys from Rope want to kill someone, Miriam should have been their choice. If she had been, Rupert/Jimmy Stewart might have let them walk; hell, he might have even helped! I've only seen the second half of Vertigo, so I want to see the whole film to know if I'm right about Hitchcock as a bridge from Modernist thinking that right and wrong exist, but are twisted and often not recognized because of human failings to the postmodernist who believes perception and reality are one in the same. There are no universal truths or "truth"! There is only what we believe is real or true. Truth depends upon our worldview and is not independent of it! We can all live in little realities of our own making and if we're not careful, our mind can forget what is a part of a real world experience and become lost and live in a mind altered, created, deluded world of fantasy, which becomes our living experience! Hitchcock sees "Virtual Reality" long before it becomes a part of our everyday lexicon or existence!
  8. First, I have not seen this film all the way through, so I am looking forward to seeing it on Friday. I already have the DVR set, just in case! The opening shot is a 360-degree view of Jefferies' stifling, claustrophobic world! That doesn't mean there is no action or interesting things going on in this world; it just gives us a closed in feeling. From the movements going on inside and outside his apartment, there is plenty of action. Jefferies' is closed in because of his broken leg, so we feel that as well. Shooting from this point of view is masterful. We get movement and claustrophobia at the same time. As Hitch pans around the apartment, we see a broken camera and action pictures on the wall. Some of them are from sports, other from war, all of them look like there is an explosion. Jefferies' is a man of action and a world traveler; we can tell this also from the magazines on the table. He has a negative image of one of the covers' in a frame; she is a beautiful woman. I get the idea Jefferies' likes beautiful women and since I know Grace Kelly is in the film and plays Stewarts' love interest, I don't think I wrong in saying he's a player and has had quite a few flings. Now, he's stuck in a wheel chair, sweat is pouring off of him as he bakes by the window. After watching this scene, of course, I find the film title, Rear Window ironic, since Stewart's back is to the window and he doesn't have a front window, so how can he rear window? If we watch the film, we are forced to watch the world through Stewart's window, thus we are both immobile participants and voyeurs at the same time. The choice is ours. If we continue to watch, we move from immobile participants to voyeurs just like Stewart. He views his world through the lens of a camera just like Hitchcock! So, if Dr. Edwards is right, this will be Hitchcock's most cinematic film.
  9. After watching Stage Fright, I can see Hitchcock's prelude to Strangers on a Train. As I posted earlier about mirroring, there were pairs and doubles and mirrors all through Stage Fright. This film was a laugh riot and I loved Alister Sim. I wanted to see Sim in every scene of this dark comedy. We even see Eve's mom; we see this couple. She's a bit off and he doesn't live with her. Marlena Detrich's character as a faux fem-fatal and "Johnny" Noir were wonderful send-ups. "Johnny" loves her, but she's using him. Then, Hitchcock introduces us to "Johnny's" friend, Eve, Jane Wyman, who is in love with him, the way he loves Detrich! She is an aspiring actress; Detrich's character is a stage performer: mirrors and an unrequited love triangle. When we hear the name Eve, we often think uh-oh, she's going to be trouble, but in this case, Hitch gives us a good Eve. Everyone thinks Johnny killed Detrich's husband, but Eve believes in him. She hides him and then sets out to prove he's innocent. We are then introduced to "Johnny's" double, Detective "Ordinary" Smith. Eve pretends to be ill to get information from him about the murder; she also wants him to believe Detrich's character is in on everything and really killed her own husband. (Hitch got me here; I honestly believed "Ordinary" was on to Eve the whole time.) If you watched the film, you know the rest of the story. If you didn't, I would recommend watching it because you will see how Hitchcock is working on little details here he will perfect in Strangers. Detrich's Charlotte and Eve mirror each other, while Johnny and Ordinary mirror each other. Everyone is playing a part except for "Ordinary" just like "Guy" in Strangers. The end of Stage Fright foreshadows Strangers. Johnny and Eve are hiding in a carousel looking coach on the stage much like the one at the Carnival in Strangers. There are shadows across Johnny and Eve's eyes; Johnny's thinking about killing her. Watch the end of the film and the stage curtain comes down on Johnny and it is a prelude to the carousel crash at the end of Strangers. Hitchcock had a better script with Strangers on a Train and used techniques he had been using from earlier films to perfection. On TCM, Ben and his guest, Phillip', talked about how the films from The Paradine Case through Stage Fright were not successful, but I could see in Rope and Stage Fright the use of the lighter as a prop that would later become so much a part of this later film. I see how he built on the strange relationship Eve's parents had to the strained relationship between Bruno's parents. Eve's mom is batty, so is Bruno's! Phillip' talked about Bruno and his mom as a prelude to Norman Bates and his mom; I agree! However, I see the preludes in Stage Fright! I'm glad I got to see Rope and Stage Fright back to back; I could see the progression in Hitchcock's story telling and directing methods in both films as he honed his craft toward better films.
  10. Dr. Edwards calls it criss-crossing; I call it mirroring! We have two men, they are going to cross paths, but the way Hitch sets the shots up, the viewer is supposed to contrast these individuals by seeing the shoes they wear, the luggage they carry, and as our teacher, says they way dress and speak to one another at the beginning of the film. First, we see a flashy dresser with diamond patterned shoes, getting out of the cab. These are "loud" shoes and only a "loud" person would have the boldness, brashness, or even crassness to wear them. He has two suit cases. The other man has plain, sensible shoes, steady shoes if you will. He has one suitcase and two or three tennis rackets. Oh, the sturdy shoes; he plays tennis a lot. He's on his feet, moving, so he needs good solid, shoes. Both men move toward the train and get on it. We're going for a ride. I think it is here where the train tracks criss-cross each other as Dr. Edwards mentions. Hitchcock uses trains, records, clocks, windmills, things that move, so he keeps his viewers moving with him as we go on this journey with the characters. He does not waste a frame of film in this sense of the word. He wants continues movement as if we are on a ride. "Bold" shoes sit down near a table and soon after he joined by "sturdy" shoes and his "sturdy" shoes bump into Mr. "Bold" shoes. "Bold" shoes look up, does a double take, then recognizes, "sturdy" shoes as and I can't even remember Farley Granger's name, but I know he plays professional tennis. However, everyone remembers "loud" shoes' name: BRUNO! His tie is as loud as his shoes and his dear mother brought a tie clip, which bears his name. He's brash to disturb the young, shy tennis pro and introduces himself with a hardy, handshake! Bruno points to the clip and then tells whats-his-name to keep reading his book because he doesn't talk too much. The viewer knows right away that is a lie. We don't know whats coming but we do know BRUNO is going to disturb "steady" shoes a lot. These characters are going to criss-cross, or as I put it, mirror each other through out the film. Move for move, like a tennis match or chess game! Their personalities are also going to mirror one another and cast a shadow on each other. Hitchcock hinted at this idea earlier in Shadow of a Doubt when Charlies is leaving the library after she has read the article on "The Merry Widow Murders" and we see her long shadow at the door way. The viewer understands the long shadow Uncle Charlie casts over Charlie and her family. Bruno will bring out things "sturdy" shoes and in the audience, don't like to think about. We keep them in the dark. Bruno's boldness or psychopathy brings them out of him and the audience. This is the guilt, Dr. Edwards mentions in the video. We've all imagined doing horrible things; we just don't have the "boldness" or craziness Bruno has to do them. Sometimes, we wish we did and that is why we feel guilty just like "sturdy" shoes. Hitchcock holds a mirror up to us and we see reflections of ourselves and we're not sure how we really feel that too is why we feel guilty for liking him or rooting for Bruno.
  11. We see Bergman through a chair, then a close up of her disheveled body lying on the bed. There is a glass of milky substance on the table next to her. Suddenly, Grant appears in the door and tells her to drink it. It is more of a command, really. He walks toward her and Hitchcock changes the angle of the camera, in almost a 360, resolution as he makes his way across the room. This shot causes the viewer to experience two emotions: can we trust grant and just how confused and disoriented Bergman's character is after a drunken stupor. Disorientation will be a reoccurring theme in this movie as Bergman and Grant shift from hate, to love, to hate, to self-loathing, and back into love again. We know Grant is some kind of cop and Burgman hates cops because they, like her father, have destroyed her life. His bosses want her for a job, but she wants no part. Grant seems disgusted by her drunkenness and loose ways, but when he puts on the record which shows she would not help her father hurt America, he does smile. So we get on the one hand, his disgust for her at first, and on the other, he knows she may be a mess, but loves her country. Bergman stumbles from bed toward the door and listens to the record and watches Grant. She is disgusted with him and herself. Here we see the first hint costume will play a part in character development. Bergman is wearing a top with horizontal lines which look like tiger stripes. Grant is dressed up in a smart suit. From outward appearances, Grant looks like he is all business, doesn't trust or care what this girl has to do because she is a drunk and a tramp. Bergman looks the part and yet as she is listening to the record, we know some how she is a deeply wounded woman haunted by her father's fascism and her past. Frankly, Grant comes across as a jerk at the beginning of the film and acts like a jerk for most of the film. I do not like him very much in this movie and that shows you what a great actor he was. The way he treats Bergman after he gets her entrapped into helping our country is horrible. He forces all the decisions, especially, the one about sleeping with Sabastion and then marrying him, on Bergman and hates her for it. Clothes don't always reveal the man or the woman.
  12. "Shadow of a Doubt," "Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver, "Pride of the Yankees," and "Best Years of Our Lives," have one thing in common: one of Hollywood's most underappreciated and talented actresses, Teresa Wright! To star in one of these films, would be a highlight in anyone's career, but to star in all five! I don't know why her film career did not last a long time, but she is in five of greatest films ever made.
  13. The opening to this film next to Mr. and Mrs. Smith is the funniest of any Hitchcock film I've ever scene. You have so many sounds going on: cuckoo clocks, and Swiss like gay, folk dancing music popping in the background of an overcrowded hotel, or chalet. This is farcical chaos. There has been an avalanche and the trains are not running so the hotel is overbooked and the manager is overwhelmed. Immediately, we are introduced to key players in the film. They are chorus girls led by Margaret Lockwood who plays Iris and knows how to get around the manager with charm and bribery; Basil Radford as Charters and his friend, Naunton Wayne as Caldicott, who seem to only care about getting back to England before the Cricket finals. These English gentlemen are banal characters, yet so funny because their myopic obsession of Cricket is both annoying and funny because they banter about a game, while we know because of the title, The Lady Vanishes, another game, cat, and mouse, with more serious consequences is about to be played and these men won't notice or care what's going on. We meet Dame May Whitty who plays Mrs. Floy; she seems rather a good hearted old soul who has been in this make believe Swiss like country for several years. Now, we are wondering which lady will vanish? The opening scene points us toward Iris because is so prominent and above noise and the restrictions placed on the other guests. Her behavior toward the manager is both beguiling and cynical as she is able to arrange for her and her two friends to keep their fine rooms, while the others, like Charters and Caldicott, have to make due with scraps. Perhaps, this is also part of why there is a conflict with these characters later on?
  14. The opening scene from Rebecca is in darkness and there are no people, but we hear Joan Fontaine narrating over the unsettling background shadow of "Manderlay." Her voice is somehow quietly strained as she remembers the past and her time at that place/palace. I don't remember any other opening without people or motion. However, this opening is so creepy that you know it is a Hitchcock film. Olivier then appears on the edge of the cliff as if he is ready to jump. We hear Fontaine voice again filled with fear as she warns him to step back. We hear concern rather strain; she fears he will jump or fall to his death. Her concern takes Olivier aback and he dismisses her and walks away quickly. The shadowy darkened house becomes a character as soon as we hear Fontaine voice telling us when her memories take her back to "Manderlay." The shadow of the house casts along with Fontaine's narration creates a shadow of its own and somehow we know something terrible happened there; something that changed her life forever.
  15. The opening scene of this film reveals quite a lot about Uncle Charlie. For one thing, we only see his silhouette or one side of his face, so even in room light, he looks suspect. He has a wad of money on the table and another pile on the floor; this seems to be careless, but we know this is not so. He is contemplative; his mind is on something else as he taps, taps and taps his cigar on his chest. We know he has a lot of money and some how we know he didn't get it legally or morally. We also learn a lot about him when the landlady comes in to tell him about the visitors. She is not supposed to tell, but she does anyway and she likes Charlie because we see she is concerned about his health and the money wad on the floor. Uncle Charlie has a way with women; he is able to garner their sympathy and even when she learns the two men are not Charlie's friends, she all the more concerned with him. She picks up the money and pulls down the shade, so he can take a long nap. That's just what you need she tells him, a long rest. Now, he is now in the shadows and the music begins to rise in an ominous tone as Charlie quickly moves from the bed, throws the glass; it shatters, making a jarring sound as then heads to the window to look out for the men, who are on the corner. Charlie says, "They don't have a thing on me." Cotten delivers the line with a hint of tension as if he is trying to convince himself. The shade, silhouette and then darkness combined with the music is very much Noir. The music becomes takes on an even more ominous tone and begins to drive the action toward a crescendo as Charlie walks out of the room, down the house stairs, the outside steps and to the corner, past the men. They begin to follow him, but he is not worried because he knows they don't even know what "he looks like." Some how, the viewer already knows he is going to get away.
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