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About jminear

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  1. 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 opening fits the pattern of quick cuts and focus on small items of detail. There are no wide angle establishing shots used; I think Hitchcock wants his opening to draw the audience into the story and to start them identifying with one (or more) of the characters. The opening differs -- from the Lodger, at least -- in that the opening sequence is light and comedic instead of dark and dreadful. Hitchcock reveals important information to the audience, but he packages it along with funny dialog and comedic characters. 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? I disagree. When you compare this lead character to the couple in the original Man Who Knew Too Much, both are, I think, equally innocent. This is a pattern repeated in many Hitchcock films. An innocent person, who was more or less minding his own business, is nonetheless involved in a desperate and dangerous situation. He has to use his ingenuity and his courage to foil the criminals’ plans and prove his innocence. 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? The Music Hall and the performer are both characteristic of the Hitchcock touch. The setting is public and non-threatening. It is just the kind of place that the film’s audience can see themselves as having visited many times. The performer is an example of a character that is normal on the surface but who is hiding a vital secret. Both will return later in the film and will help resolve the film’s main conflict.
  2. 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) Having seen the film before, I know that the plot is more important. The opening scene introduces characters that are not terribly interesting by themselves. They appear to be ordinary, upper-class folks. They become interesting when the plot places them in difficult situations. Will the heroes save their child and the foreign head of state or not? 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? Abbot is shown to be a pleasant enough fellow, but with a hint of mystery or secrets about him. Later in the film, when we see Abbot commit criminal acts, we feel a tension in ourselves and in the character. How can such a pleasant person do such awful things? Will this pleasant man actually kill innocent hostages? We’ll see. 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. Hitchcock’s openings for these three films are all action scenes, fast-paced activity and quick cuts. There are no leisurely establishing shots opening any of these films; Hitchcock doesn’t have time for that. He wants to grab his audiences from the start and keep them involved in his story.
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