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visball

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  1. What Hitchcock "touches" do you see in this early scene from the movie? The upside-down viewpoint shot of Cary Grant.​ 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? His framing is close on his stars most of this scene. The background becomes unimportant. Devlin is dressed sharply in a tailored suit. Alicia is frumpy with bed head and wearing yesterday's dress.​ B​ased 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? ​ The scene fits them from what I have seen so far.
  2. 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 humor is the "touch" that stood out to me. The dirty dishes everywhere show that the couple have been in that room for a while now. And the maid trying to get a look at what is going on and the other maid's comments about running out of dishes reveal that this is not the first time this couple has holed up in this room. 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 disagree. Most, but not all, of Hitchcock's openings have been in crowded public places. 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? So far I like the casting. I'm not familiar with their other movies, so I have nothing to compare to this scene.
  3. 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. Uncle Charlie is a loner and in some kind of trouble. With the police perhaps? The scene doesn't really say but Uncle Charlie is accepting his fate. He tells the lady to let the two men in next time. Later, he boldly walks right by them. 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) I'm not familiar with film noir other than the hard-boiled detective stories, so this didn't remind me of watching film noir at all. I'll have to watch the whole movie in order to expand my definition of film noir. 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 music served to heighten the emotions that Uncle Charlie was feeling, especially when he threw the glass.
  4. 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? Most of Hitchcock's opening scenes are in public places. This film differs in that it is in a lonely, desolate location. 2. What are the Hitchcock "touches" in this opening that help you identify this as a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock? The tracking shot down the long overgrown driveway and the sense of mystery. 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 ominous outline of the house, the shadow of the cloud portrayed as a giant hand, and the lights coming from the window all give the house character. The flashback and voiceover make me curious about what happened there.
  5. 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. The music sets a whimsical tone to the opening scene. Add to that the general confusion and the cuckoo clock and we have a sense that the film is a comedy. 2. Discuss the characters of Caldicott and Charters in this scene. What do the performances of Caldicott and Charters add to this scene. Caldicott and Charters' banter lend a comedic touch to the scene as well as to help put the focus on the American girls. 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. Hitchcock has all of the extras move to the front desk only for them to be ignored as the clerk rushes to greet the Americans. Caldicott and Charters' expression of surprise at this turn of events and their questioning who the girls are puts the focus on the girls. The way Iris dominates the conversation shows that she is the star.
  6. 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 bit of mystery at the beginning of the film fits in with how Hitchcock starts other films such as The Lodger. Other opening scenes such as The Man Who Knew Too Much, reveal the characters right away. 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? It's hard to tell how innocent the character is in this opening scene. He certainly has a confident air about him and doesn't join in with the crowd in mocking Mr. Memory. 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? Here, Hitchcock is opening with a non-threatening location where people are enjoying themselves. This seems to be a common theme.
  7. 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) My guess would be plot. I don't have a good reason for that guess. 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? He is a foreigner who doesn't understand local sayings. He appears to be wealthy because of his attire. The look between him and skier suggests something sinister between the two men. This introduction makes me suspicious of the Abbott character. 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. All three films opening scenes have an energy about them. The Pleasure Garden has a lighter tone, whereas The Lodger has a darker tone.
  8. 1. In this sequence, describe how Hitchcock uses sound design to put you into the subjective "mind of Alice"? Be specific. As the customer babbles on about the knife all her words become gibberish except for the word "knife," which keeps getting louder in Alice's mind. The customer is practically screaming it, which freaks Alice out and she throws the knife. 2. Describe the different ways that the sound design of this scene operates in counterpoint to the visual track. For example, how does Hitchcock set up the shot where the knife flies out of Alice's hand so that it registers a shock in his audience? Pay attention to both what is happening visually and aurally. Be specific. As the scene at the table progresses, Hitchcock starts with a wide shot and then pulls the camera in closer so that we only see Alice, but we hear the customer babbling on. The customer's babbling is broken up when when Alice's father asks her to cut the bread and we see the camera pan down to the knife. Hitchcock builds the tension by showing Alice nervously handling the knife while all we hear is "knife" until that final loud shout that scares Alice into throwing the knife and makes the audience jump in their seat. 3. Why do you think this particular use of subjective sound is not used frequently in cinema? It would get old fast and would lose its shock value.
  9. 1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? The first shot conveys the boys' feeling of dread and fear in meeting with the very stern-looking head master. The second shot conveys a sense of anticipation as we wonder which boy she will pick. 2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? POV tracking shots make the audience look at the scene through the character's eyes. We feel what the character is feeling. I think that's one of the things that made Hitchcock great: he was always aware of what the audience was feeling. 3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. The theme that I noticed in all those films was that of the underdog winning in the end. In The Pleasure Garden, the dancer who wasn't the star of the show eventually got the right man. In The Lodger, the mysterious and misunderstood boarder was exonerated in the end. In The Ring, the up and coming boxer wins the fight against the boxer who holds the title and wins back his wife's heart.
  10. 1. How does Hitchcock use montage or expressive editing to add vitality and rhythm to this scene? The party scene cuts between shots showing drunken clumsiness, wine being poured, music being played on an instrument and a record player, and dancing. This gives a carefree merriment to the scene. 2. As is the case with a lot of German Expressionist films, in this scene, there are many shots that are very subjective and put us into the psychological mind of a main character. Please note the various techniques Hitchcock uses to create that feeling of subjectivity. The scenes between the husband's wife and the man on the chair show a growing familiarity between the two characters that ends with them kissing. When the fighter bursts into the party room, we see that this was all in his imagination. 3. How does Hitchcock stage the action, use set design, and editing techniques to increase the stakes in the rivalry between the two gentlemen? I thought the use of the mirror as the window between the two rooms was very clever. The husband watches with growing jealousy as his wife converses with the established fighter, but it's the wife that looks back at the mirror and sees her husband. To the husband it seems like the established fighter has everything he wants: a career as a famous fighter and even his wife (in his imagination).
  11. 1. Compare the opening of The Lodger to the opening of The Pleasure Garden - what similarities and differences do you see between the two films? I struggled to see any similarities between the two movies, but the difference that really caught my eye was the tone: one was playful and fun, the other was frenzy and fear. 2. Identify elements of the "Hitchcock style" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Even if you are not sure if it is the "Hitchcock style," what images or techniques stand out in your mind as powerful storytelling? Or images that provide an excess of emotion? The color really caught my eye. Outside scenes were blue, and inside scenes were an amber color. I found it a bit distracting and found myself paying more attention to the colors instead of the story. Maybe that is that influence of German Expressionism where the emphasis is more on the technique than the people? 3. Even though this is a "silent" film, the opening image is one of a woman screaming. What do you notice in how Hitchcock frames that particular shot that makes it work in a silent film even though no audible scream that can be heard. And what other screams like that come to mind from Hitchcock's later work? Honestly, all I could think about as I watched that scene was how unconvinced I was that she was terrified. I got that she was supposed to be screaming but it took me a second to realize that. My first thought was, why is this woman standing there with her mouth open? I haven't seen enough of Hitchcock's later work to compare it. Hopefully the acting gets better later on.
  12. I'm just getting started on this course and hope to get caught up soon. 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. I've only seen a handful of Hitchcock films so I'm don't know what Hitchcock's touch is. Hopefully I'll learn more about it as I progress through this course. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto assessments that this sequence contains elements, themes, or approaches that we will see throughout Hitchcock's 50-year career? I never new that Hitchcock started in silent films, but now I can see how that influenced his later films where he has little to no dialog in long stretches of his later films. 3. Since this is a silent film, do you feel there were any limitations on these opening scenes due to the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue? No, I understood what was going on.
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