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1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. 

 

 

A couple of touches that stood out to me were the camera shots of the feet in motion, and the humorous facial expressions that speak volumes.  Also, Hitchcock's use of binoculars to bring clarity to a situation seemed to get a start in this film.

 

 

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 would say Hitch's affection for savvy blondes seemed apparent right out of the gate.  And, when Jill Cheyne's letter of introduction was stolen from her, she soon found herself in a situation where she was dealing with adversity due to circumstances beyond her control, which was a very common Hitchcockian theme.   

 

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?  

 

Not at all. 

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It's really amazing that this is Hitchcock's first scene in his first film. It looks like it was created by a much more experienced director.

Hitchcock always enjoys poking fun at his peripheral characters....you see that here, along with his attraction to the stage (39 steps, Stagefright, etc.).

I can't say that I would see this scene and automatically say it was a Hitchcock film...but maybe that's because I'm not good enough at spotting his work yet.

One thing would be interesting to find out....Hitchcock had the famous habit of appearing briefly in each of his films. Does that trademark begin with his first film? If not, when did it start?

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I have never seen this film, so, yes, it is amazing to see the skill and touch Hitchcock is already displaying with his very first film as a director. A lot of humor, great set up of shots, appropriate use of close-ups, wonderful use of black and white photography. This continues and of course develops even further in his entire career. I don't think this loses anything by being silent, since he tells the story so visually with minimal text.

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1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. 


 


I definitely feel like I see the Hitch I know and love. The first thing I noticed was the voyeurism, both in general as far as the characters' behavior and in the way some of the camera angles make the viewer feel like they are the voyeur. The way you feel as if you have "tunnel vision" as you watch the girls come down the stairs adds to this effect. I also spy the very first Hitchcock blonde, of course. She's a little spitfire -- certainly a premonition of future blondes to come. 


 


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 definitely agree for all the reasons I listed above.


 


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?


 


Actually, not really. I've never seen any of Hitchcock's silent stuff, so I expected this clip not to feel much like the movies I'm so familiar with. Now I don't know why I thought that. He makes excellent use of the resources of the time to make the same impressions I'm already familiar with. I'll have to check out the rest of the film, as I'm interested in thinking more about this and looking for more familiar touches.


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1.    Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. 


 


Definitely I see H’s hand in what others have noted: the staircase, the voyeurism, the blonde, etc. Additionally, I see the trope of frames and framing at work—in the door, on the stage, in the “No Smoking” sign.


 


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? 


 


Yes, I agree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto’s assessment, particularly in the element of doubling (e.g. savvy versus ingénue female) in this short scene. It brought to mind Judy and Madeleine in Vertigo.


 


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?


 


Tone and inflection are always crucial to understanding intent, so I think we do miss some of the depth of each character by not witnessing those verbal cues.


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1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples.

 

I do. The spiral staircase shot, of course a blonde & the voyeurism with the man checkin' out those legs.

 

 

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 agree. See the examples i mentioned above.

 

 

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?

 

I don't think there were any limitations. It was an even playing field back then & as was the case with most silent films there is a touch of over acting to compensate for the non dialogue to convey a scene's premise .

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1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. 

There are definitely many "Hitchcock touches" in this sequence. The POV angles, the blonde, the elements of voyeurism that later manifest themselves in films such as "Rear Window", the comical juxtaposition of Mr.  Hamilton smoking like a chimney in front of a 'No Smoking' sign and the way Hitch always seemed to give his audience a glimpse of the way people in the scene responded to the action of their surroundings and made them an active part of a scene (i.e. the reactions of those in the audience). 


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? 

Yes, definitely. 


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? 

I don't think so, because I think that Hitchcock used many elements of expression in his later films with sound that were used in the Silent Era. Many things the camera does can pick up on action or important things that the audience needs to know. In many of Hitchcock's films, we rely on the camera's POV rather than much dialogue to divulge what Hitch wanted us to know. The camera work is its own character that reveals those things to us. 

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Looking at the "Hitchcock touches," I immediately recognized the focus on the blonde dancer (that the monocled man gazed at), as this would be a signature in Hitchcock's films.  One thing that I noticed was that of when the girls ran down the staircase; as they hurried, it heavily reminded me of the opening sequence in North By Northwest.  Seeing the hustle and bustle of both the ladies and the audience was much like that of the New York City crowd in North By Northwest.  I also thought the score for both The Pleasure Garden and North By Northwest sounded somewhat similar.  

 

One thing that I enjoy about watching silent films is their reliability on non-verbal communication.  It makes it clear for us to understand the basics of what is going on without the use of words; we can see and feel the emotion based off of the character's social cues.  However, we become limited to the fact that we don't know the full extent of what is being discussed.  We have the idea of what else could be discussed.  

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I'm not as familiar with the scope of Hitchcock's career, so it's hard to recognize the "Hitchcock touch" in this clip from The Pleasure Garden.

 

But something that struck me was the idea that the object of desire is more than an object; it is a thing with agency and perspective of its own. The men (the audience) in the scene come across as leering spectators of the women (the performers) who are there for their pleasure, and then the interactions between the women and men "off-stage" challenge or directly contradict those roles. For example, the sassy blonde with the removable curl presents as clever and unaccommodating.

 

Since I am more familiar with Psycho than most other Hitchcock films, I am reminded of Marion Crane and her interactions with the men in her life before she meets Norman Bates. She is initially presented as an object of desire and an employee playing the role of a woman with little agency, which she quickly contradicts with her actions. So I guess I am seeing here a theme of how what we actually see is shaped by what we want to see, and how that can often lead to ... trouble.

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The Pleasure Garden (1925) is the first of Hitch's silent films I've ever seen. I haven't seen many of his silent films or his British films so I'm excited.
 

From the opening scene of TPG his signature style can be detected. In the first scene of the film, the women dancing down the spiraling staircase with the edges of the film darkened on both sides to give us a sense of tunnel vision and claustrophobia.
 

The focus on beautiful women, their legs and the derpy lusty men overly enjoying (and some confused) with the dance sequence.


One aspect that stands out immediately is the man who can't see very well so he needs to use binoculars (nod to voyeurism) to see the legs and then bulls-eye on one particular girl he is fond of. Classic Hitchcock signature already seen during his directorial debut.

 

I also found it interesting that Hitch denies initially having his eye on being a director during the interview segment in today's lesson. He stated he was happy with what he was doing and that it wasn't until the director didn't want to work with him anymore that he even thought about what he would do. He was in limbo. Then he was asked to direct a film and said yes, but that he never thought of it until then.

Do you think he was being truthful? Perhaps he did simply enjoy art direction and set building and was just a perfectionist and wanted to see his vision shot properly. Or, perhaps at minimum he was subconsciously thinking about directing in the future -- or simply thought the director didn't know what he was doing.

Maybe he was just been lying...but what would he have to gain by doing so? Interesting to think about.  

*Please connect with me on Twitter so we can chat more about films @SethMetoyer

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I can see the beginning of Hitchcock's signature. His penchant for blondes is evident. The camera on the moving feet of the hostesses coming down the stairs. The voyeuristic with men in the audencispoke volume in his comments on society's obsession being an observer. It is evident in the use binoculars.

The use of stairs is used through his career.

 

I do agreed with both Strauss & Spoto's assessment of Hitchcock.

 

Sound is not necessary. His images, camera angles spoke volumes better without sound. If not, better. I got the sense of the scene.

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1. Being able to see the beginnings of "Hitchcock touches" were quickly noticeable.  The filming of the spiral staircase, and somewhat of a fixation on a blonde character are obviously used by Hitchcock throughout his career.  The point of view camera shot/peephole shot is also another "touch" which is most famously remembered in Psycho.

 

2.  I agree with the authors on assessments.

 

3.  I felt there were no limitations to the scene due to the lack of spoken dialogue.  One of the beautiful things of silent film, in my opinion, is the actor's ability to show the audience show much through their face, especially the eyes.

 

 

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1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples.

 

Yes, When a man looking at a lady dancing with a binoculars, and her glaring back at him, it reminded me of Rear Window that would be made years later with Jimmy Stewart looking out in the window with his camrea, while Raymond Burr glare back.

 

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 completely agree, Take Sam Rami the director for example, in almost every movie he made, you see his yellow car at least in one scene, that was his signature.

 

 

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

 

Yes, sometime you can read their lips or how they act with their body language.

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This is the first time I see this clip, and I find aspects Hitchcock presents in his films, makes the faces tell us about the characters, when they look at the dancers. It shows us closed shots of actions to give it relevance.

 

I agree, I think that Hitchcock begins to show us what he wants to communicate, later he will improve it, but of course we appreciate what we will see of this great director.

 

It's not a limitation, the faces and actions communicate what really happens on the scene, the titles only help us to understand better, just as the audio could do, but Hitchcock shows the talent so that it is not necessary.

It's not a limitation, the faces and actions communicate what really happens on the scene, the titles only help us to understand better, just as the audio could do, but Hitchcock shows the talent so that it is not necessary.

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1. Yes, the voyeurism and male gaze and obsession with women is relevant.

 

2. I agree, you can definitely see hints of Hitchcock but its hard to compare ones entire work in the first 5 minutes of their first film.

 

3. I don't think the scene needed dialogue to get the point across.

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1. We immediately see the Hitchcockian touch of voyeurism and of women playing a part/putting up a facade. Hitchcock's use of the camera shows us the aspects of the women the men look at, substituting for their whole, the chorus girls' legs, the new girl's purse, and so on.

 

2. One theme present here which will continue throughout Hitchcock's films is the latent Freudian symbolism. For example, the men in the front row are focused on the women, in a kind of ecstasy, completely unaware of each other. Each one is locked into a masterbatorial fantasy, as though the ladies exist and dance only for him. Then one man steps on another's "foot," an extended appendage, while pursuing his own fantasy to the next level. Once he is able to speak with the chorus girl, he claims to be enamored with her curl or hair (though his eyes were far south of her hair). In a gesture loaded with sexual significance, the girl removes the curl, like Rapunzel, "letting down her hair" for a man to climb up. Only here the hair is fake. She deflates the man's illusion of who she is and who he might be to her. This theme shows up many times throughout Hitchcock's career; Vertigo and Rear Window come to might immediately.

 

3. I don't think the lack of audible dialogue is a problem. Hitchcock proves often that he is able to accomplish an immense amount of storytelling with no dialogue at all. I'm thinking of Scottie following Madelyn around San Francisco in the aforementioned Vertigo. I look forward to watching more of these silent films to see what he accomplishes through this genre. 

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1. The "Hitchcock Touch" is already visible in this first film. We already have alluring blonds ladies and villains. There is a crime. And also some humour, like the sign "Smoking is prohibited" and a character smoking in front of it. 

 

2. I agree that many themes, iconographies are present is that short film. 

 

3. I do not feel that there are a lot of limitations, quite the opposite as film is very much a visual form of art. Since Hitchcock started during the silent era, he subsequently always constructed films visually.

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I watched The Pleasure Garden for the first time yesterday and finished it today. I did notice the following in the first clip:

1.) The Spiral Staircase. Staircases play a significant role in a lot of Hitchcock films. Most notably in Psycho when Martin Balsam's character falls down the stairs. It is a great way to open a film.

2.) The look on the mens faces. It was interesting to see the looks and reactions on the men's faces and how they were all attracted to the women. This could have been an early burlesque show. The one man in general is fixated on the girl named Patsy. We see how he is so fixated on her that the camera focuses on her as he uses the binoculars. 

3.) The clip of hair: Hitchcock shows his humor when the man is so fixated on Patsy and her hair that he states how he loves the clip in the back. She then pulls it out and gives it to her. He meant this to be a pick up line but it backfired. 

4.) Men's view of women. This film does showcase how men are so attracted to women and will sometimes do crazy things for them. 

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1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples.

 

Yes, I have often noticed in the most popular of Hitch's films the focus on objects and the focusing of the camera view on the object of importance. For example, his use of the large tea cup in Notorious signifying to the viewer that the cup and its contents will soon be even more important than it already was. (Shortly after the large cup is the focal point of the scene in the foreground, Alicia is alerted to the fact that the contents of her cup should not be consumed by anyone else.) He used focus and focus on specific items (and body parts) immediately in this opening scene of Pleasure Garden. 

 

Later in the scene outside the theater, he focuses on the handbag and notes the pickpockets (pickpurses, haha) are eying it. Immediately we know that there is something inside the bag that she will need. The theft alone will not be as important as what is stolen. And again, similar to the cup in Notorious, it is not the cup itself, but its contents that are important, and we have an indication that that prop and the main character's relation to it it will have significance within minutes.

 

As a side note, he focuses on the legs but also provides context regarding the ways in which the men focus on the legs - via monocle and theater glasses/binoculars. That is so very similar to the use of Jeff's camera in Rear Window. Things are blurry or small until the character uses a visual aid to view the important detail. This reminded me of the methods he used for introducing a new character with questionable intentions (e.g. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca). I have often noticed the zooming in on the face and the altering of focus at other times (such as Vertigo zoom) in his films when the observing character's visual focus and mental focus on the person or object is important to him or her (as well as to us, the audience).

 

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? 

 

Yes, but I don't think I would not have recognized this as a Hitchcock film if I had not been told it was. Once I knew, I watched for him. In later films, the elements and approaches are much more obvious, at least to me. Before I was a Hitchcock fan, if I saw one of his later films I would recognize some of these aspects immediately and know it was his film. So, I think they became more pronounced and developed as part of his style as his portfolio grew. There have been times when I watched one of his films for the first time and groaned a little when I saw the use of some of his angles and classic elements. I almost felt as though he maybe got stuck in using some of them until they became less effective for those who had seen so many of his movies.

 

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?

 

Possibly that the use of title cards (is that the correct term?) required breaks in the scenes where focus on body parts or props was so important. With spoken dialogue there would be no cut to a title card, so maybe that could keep the attention on the visual elements that were so important to his style.

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1. If I'm being honest, without a frame of reference, I might not have gotten it, but knowing who the director is, it was very easy to see the "Hitchcock touch", the dark contrast of the rest of the frame to the staircase, the juxtaposition as they are coming down the stairs, a cross section of reactions from the men (what we all might be thinking inside, which one am I), the narrowing of the man's vision, from the very broad to the focused, the women, the humor (the no smoking sign / the hair piece), in general, the very nature that he's trying things maybe no one else has done.

 

2. Yes, it's hard to imagine he got "that certain something" the first time out, but he is The Master. Equally amazing, is it's always fresh and draws you in, even if we've seen it before (or will see it again).

 

3. Certainly there were limitations, but limitations can become strengths in the right hands. Without synchronous dialogue we're forced to draw certain conclusions about the characters and their actions, less is more, and we get to fill in the blanks, just the way he likes it!

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In the Pleasure Garden, the shot with the manager smoking in front of the “No Smoking” sign provides an immediate clue that he is man who does not follow the social norms or rules of society. Even though this is a silent film, Hitchcock develops the story with details of mise-en-scène. This shot is reminiscent to Norman Bates, in Psycho as we view him in the parlor shot prior to the shower scene. The decorative walls describe Norman’s character with the stuffed birds of prey and paintings of men attaching women. Even though Norman seems normal, but he is predator like the images on his wall. 

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1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples.

 

Yes, I do; particularly in the camera shots. The offstage view of the performance struck me as a unique shot for that time period, because it presents the main action from a removed perspective. Silent films usually tend to focus on the explicit action, whereas here, it shows viewers what is going on behind the scenes. The next distinct example of Alfred Hitchcock's style was the tracking shot of the audience. I can't pinpoint any specific moments in his later films where this is used, but I'm sure I've seen variations of it. Either way, the way it was utilized in this instance stood out as unique. There was also an overall sense of humor surrounding the personalities of some of the characters, which seems like another one of Alfred Hitchcock's general staples in his approach to film-making. Additionally, when the view through the monocle was presented, it instantly reminded me of the usage of the telescope in Rear Window.

 

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 do agree, because after reading their analysis beforehand I was more aware of their points while watching the scene. It made it easier to catch the techniques I've described above.

 

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?

 

There are always limitations of dialogue in silent films, and as a result, sometimes title cards are limited to crucial information. However, in this film, Alfred Hitchcock successfully creates compelling action even outside of the titles.

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Although many silent films featured "damsels in distress"...often in very distressing circumstances, Hitchcock is able to capture the suspense by prolonging the voyeuristic scenes and then flattening them out with humor (not sure if they are recurring character in the film or not).

For me, I appreciate 2-3 viewings of silent films before I feel I have captured everything. All of the scenes are rich in detail, which is certainly a Hitchcockian trait (and why fans typically watch his films over and over)!

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I have to admit I wasn't sure if the "Hitchcock Touch" was specifically referring to technical aspects (camera focusing on objects he wants us to observe i.e. the purse) or his recurring themes (mistaken or in this case stolen identity) but both are present here.

 

I absolutely agree there are already elements here that he uses throughout his career (see above).

 

I suppose there are types of limitations due to lack of spoken dialogue but there are also advantages visually, I love to seek out and observe cues in silent films. 

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