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Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose #4: Depends on Your Point of View (Scene from Downhill)

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1. Effect of watching the POV dolly shots in this scene? I didn't feel like my sense of reality was skewered, actually. It felt like a more realistic view of walking toward the headmaster or him back toward the students when he used the POV shots. It can add to the anxiety in a scene vs. a static view of the action from only one fixed vantage point.

 

2. Why does Hitchcock use the technique? It was probably new & cutting edge at the time.

What does it add to his visual storytelling? It added to the intensity and realism of the scene.

 

3. What connections do you notice between his earlier films and the film that came after this (The Ring)? Give specific examples. As mentioned in the Daily Dose commentary, Hitchcock again uses the montage technique when Mabel describes/gives her version of what had occurred between her and Berwick. We saw some of that in "The Ring." Also, exploring male-female interactions, as in "The Ring" & "The Pleasure Garden" & to some extent, "The Lodger."

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Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

 

It gives that ominous overtone to the visual story - almost claustrophobic as he is closing in on the two boys that are being focused on. The  camera juxtaposition between the girl and the boys only increases the tension/suspense of the storyline.

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It's all about FOCUS. It could be called the POF shot as well...where to Focus your attention. It's a POV because we are told where to Focus by our director's POView. Hitchcock is a story-teller. He has a story to tell with a particular sequence of events he wishes the viewer to follow. He emphasizes his view with the movement of the camera. Words are really not necessary, ie., the captions. His direction to the actors is perfection. Their facial expressions and body language speak volumes. Hitch keeps his audience focused by his point of view. The camera does the rest.

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1.  The effect of watching the POV scene in Downhill emphasizes the feeling of foreboding.  The boys enter the schoolmaster's office and you glance the stern look on the schoolmaster's face from across the room - and the room itself seems especially long - then the POV shot as the boys walk up to the schoolmaster's desk further intensifies the feeling of something bad is about to happen.  The same feeling occurs as the girl walks towards the boys to accuse one of them. 

 

2.  The POV shot works extremely well in setting the scene and evoking the appropriate feeling for what is about to happen.  It engages your attention immediately and focuses on the main object of the scene as does a spotlight.

 

3.  What stands out for me as connection between The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger and The Ring, is effects of storyboarding - setting up each frame of the scene perfectly through use of lighting, architecture, camera angles, for example. 

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Hold everything! Start watching the clip at 2:22. Does the young lady grab the "lower mid-section" of the boy on the right? Of course, he does! Hitchcock loved to put this kind of stuff in his films. The kind of stuff that makes you do a double-take. It's like, "did I just see what I think I saw?"

This is the kind of stuff I love about Hitchcock. Here's the famous scene from 'The 39 Steps' where Robert Donat gets jerked off.

 

I watched it, is that really what is happening? Hard to believe!

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The effect that I experienced regarding the POV dolly shots/tracking was a heightened awareness of the mindset of the characters.  Example, the boys enter the head masters office.  Visually their faces reflected two entirely different feelings.  One seemed frightened and bewildered the other somewhat menacing, knowing.  This helped create a suspenseful atmosphere.

 

Hitchcocks use of the POV shots/tracking is an incredible visual aid to the viewer!  It sets the tone.

 

The use of montage is very clearly used.  Crosscutting between different spaces/actions.  In the Ring, what her husband was imagining as far as what was happening with his wife, the frenetic pace of the party, the elongated piano keys use this technique.  Creating suspense at the climax in The Lodger starting with the 7th victim a young, blonde woman whose curls are illuminated as she screams.

 

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1.    In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? It made me feel like I was there, watching the scene progress.  In addition, it captured my focus, much like in Vertigo during the falling scene.

 

 

2.    Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? These shots heighten the tension in the scene.  It also draws your attention to the characters and focuses on what they are thinking.

 

 

3.    What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 

The focus the theme of love triumphing such as in The Lodger, when you suspect him to be the Ripper.  All the images point in that direction, and you start to believe it because you think that he is going to kill her. Later, you find out that it is not true, and that he is innocent.

 

In The Ring, the theme of love triumphing comes through when his wife supports him during the boxing match instead of the boxer.  

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1. In this scene, I see the POV dolly/tracking shot as a way of expressing intimidation and increased tension between the two boys and the girl. Questions in the minds of moviegoers who haven't seen the picture beforehand begin to pop up, such as "Who is she going to choose?", and "What will happen after she chooses?".

 

2. I think it's because it adds a whole 'nother layer of suspense to the overall mood of the film, and it makes us feel what certain characters are feeling at that point in time.

 

3. What comes to mind is his use of close-up shots that he uses in all of those pictures. It's an ingenious way of instilling emotion into the audience when used properly, and for Mr. Hitchcock, he nails it every single time.

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You see his use of dance and music to convey sexuality and decadence.  The hallway the boys walked down looked like a church aisle; the high arches gave me the feeling of a cathedral and the walls looked like pipes from an organ. 

I wasn't scared for the boys, but as I mentioned earlier I suffer from guilt complexes anyways, so whenever the boss says she needs to see me, my first thought was what did I do wrong?  Tim knew what was going on but I can't remember the name of our downhill, spiraling hero, he walked in just fine because he knew he hadn't done anything "unhonorable."  Loved how Hitch used the hat lying on the table just before the boys were called in the headmaster's office.

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I think Hitchcock uses the POV tracking shot to reinforce the emotions and process that the character is going through. In this scene specifically, the striking scale of the office, and the time it takes for the characters to track through it, relays the tension and apprehension they are feeling.

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The POV maximizes the suspense. It slows the whole scene down to the films main twisted plot for the viewer to really get involved and feel the characters portrayed and their motives, emotions. I feel the themes/visual techniques etc in these clips are precisely selected and carefully created to bring the film to life for the audience from whatever perspective Hitchcock chooses. From the gocking men in the front row to the societal threat of serial killer----hey I had a lightbulb moment--- he is showing the human condition of a given situation. His POV, intimate close ups, controlling surroundings with every frame. Wow, that's why he has a cameo. Every detail is intentionally done purposely. Finally I am getting somewhere. Awesome. I am embarrassed I haven't seen but a handful of his films now. Thank goodness for TCM and Ball State University

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I made these notes while watching this film on TCM...these are my first thoughts while watching though mostly in order I have added things in that may be out of order

 

The wrong man accused theme or plot...the opening scene has school boys having fun playing sports in what looks like a private or boarding school....later I noticed it is supposed to be a British school for rich kids, though scholarships are to be had.

 

They were playing rugby & the star  captain was Roddy (Ivor Novello) & his best bud Robin (Tim 

Wakely) 'we need more boys like Roddy' the (coach?) praises him & the movie goes on to prove how good Roddy is.

 

I read on Wiki that the American alternative title for this movie is:  When Boys Leave Home...I would go on to say when boys of that age leave home they get into all sort of trouble then come back home & hope their parents will bail them out of the trouble they put themselves into. One of the boys kicks his book on the floor because he knows about the trouble coming when they are called into the headmasters office.

 

Roddy takes the blame for Tim when Mabel (Annette Benson) lies about being w/child ...she does this for money & Roddy being the good sport he is...he does take the blame, leaves school & gets into even more trouble. he does go traveling while getting into more trouble. Why he marries an actress I have no idea except Hitchcock put this in or maybe Ivor Novello wrote it in ...I don't know ...for drama I guess & maybe he thought his life was over because he had to leave school. Also, he inherited 30.000 pounds (British) & so he spent it on a woman Julia (Isabel Jeans) & she had a boyfriend & she kept this boyfriend even after marriage to Roddy.

 

Roddy's saving grace is found on the docks where he is rescued & shipped home & is found out that the lie is uncovered, forgiven & he returns to school & this movie has a happy ending.

 

What I like is the sepia toned color ...it is visually beautiful & looks like a sepia toned still print & the blue toned scenes when he is on the boat returning home ( Wiki) said these scenes originally were green toned to imply stress about returning home. I saw these as blue so....worked for me.

 

I liked the scenes in the Bunne Shoppe (spell) old British shops....love those. Also, where Roddy sneezes on the stuffed dog & he had deeded his apartment to Julia ....maybe Julia is smart.

 

Maybe Roddy learned a few things about the real world on his travels....maybe he learned more traveling than he did playing rugby

 

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As the young waitress is choosing between which boy to blame for her claimed pregnancy we can feel the same amount of dread the boys are as the dolly shot closes in on them then playing with our emotions switched point of view to the accuser. This is a very effective way to draw the audience in. We also see similar shots and themes as we had in other of his movies, The Lodger etc, such as close ups of the eyes, dancing and records signifying emotion and sex, and close ups that bring the face into the foreground. Again for me there was a sense of suspense with the shot but even more so one of dread.

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Love triangle theme plot

 

More crowd scenes so we jump right into the action & more big teeth props...Hitchcock must like big teeth ...a big sign with big teeth appeared in a number of his movies ...Man Who Knew Too Much had big teeth mentioned in the opening scene referring to Abbot (Peter Lorre) & the big teeth dental office with the scene almost silent because the characters are not talking when Bob (Leslie Banks) poses as the dentist ...big teeth keep turning up in these Hitchcock films ....visually funny.

 

What I really like about this movie is the fortune teller or tarot reader (Clare Greet)...she reads the fortune of Mabel (Lillian Hall-Davis) & the cards are not tarot cards but ordinary poker playing cards. I adore the cute little wagon the fortune teller stays in while in the carnival. She provides a character befitting a carnival ...all carnivals have tarot readers ...right? The lighting on her face is beautiful as well as all the scenes she & her wagon appear in...beautiful warm sepia toned light. I'm a non-smoker but I love her pipe & the smoke that is will lit in many of her scenes.

 

She also has a horse shoe for luck ...it is upside down (points face downward) & depending on what culture we are from is the direction the horse shoe faces ...up or down?  There is also a wish bone from some type of fowl...chicken maybe. This is where the green eyes of jealousy surface between the three...Mabel, One-Round Jack & ...Bob.

 

The split between 'One-Round Jack' (Carl Brisson), Mabel & Bob (Ian Hunter) is a standard Hitchcock plot ...if I can call it a plot. I understand from (Wiki) that this movie The Ring  is a Hitchcock original screenplay.

 

"Freaks" from the carnival attend the wedding of Mabel & Bob after Bob comes between Mabel & One-Round Jack. The latter gets roughed up in the ring because he fights against a pro fighter not knowing he is a pro...not fair. Also, not fair that he loses his woman to this other guy ...Bob. Looks like trouble maker in this film is ...Bob.

 

In true Hitchcock style Bob may win the fight but not the girl; Bob will not win Mabel.

 

Humor is the nose-picker at the carny wedding ...not sure who he is in the film but he is close to One-Round Jack. 

 

 Hitchcock uses double imagery ...maybe two pieces of film put together ...not sure how they did this camera trick back then in 1927 ... I have done in-cam doubles for years  with 35mm cameras & the way I did  it was to photograph the same piece of film twice by holding down the advance cam button & double expose it. Now it is easy in 2017 to do these. I have no idea how it is done on video film then or now.

 

Hitchcock uses blurred lens for intoxicated characters & blurred effects for crying...for example, The

Man Who Knew Too Much Jill cries for her kidnapped daughter & it is shown as blurred imagery through her eyes.

 

There is also a big picture window in this film in the apartment that reminds me of the big window in Rope...could it be the same set? Looks like the same room & the same window.

 

 

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 

Most, if not all tracking shots including this example, helps to create a sense of locomotion as well as demonstrating that two or more objects are attracting or **** towards (or away from) each other.

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

This is a way to build a sense of anticipation as well as place the viewer in “the shoes” of the character whose POV is being demonstrated.

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 

Themes in “The Ring” and this example are supportive of sexual tensions and the male - female relationships that drive desires and motivations.

I see the straight on tracking shot here for the first time as the previous films are limited to pan moves.

The subjects in this film and previous films seem to be chosen from an upper middle class demographic.

The love triangle is a Hitchcock staple in this film and “The Ring”.

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 


It helps you to get into the mind of the characters.  Additionally you feel like you are a part of the story, moving thru the same space as the rest of the characters.


 


2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 


He tends to like to give the viewers a look inside the characters' minds.  It also breaks up the monotony of viewing everything as an outside onlooker.


 


3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 


The tensions/struggles of male/female relationships.  


 


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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 

​the effect makes me feel as if I am an intruder on the scene. There is this sense of being immersed in the action of this highly charged emotional situation.

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

​I think Hichcock uses the POV technique because he wants the audience to feel they are apart of the story. IE in Dial M for Murder there were scenes were you literally felt as if you were standing or sitting in the living room with the characters as they discuss the previous nights events.  I think the POV visually makes his films more immersive. as a member of the audience you feel you are more emotionally involve with what is happening on the screen.

 

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

 

​I noticed there is a sense of dread in all the movies. There is theme of who is really innocent and whose not.

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Watching POV shots intensifies the feeling of the action in movement. Both dolly and tracking shots brings you closer to the characters's objectives.

 

You can see connections between The Pleasure Garden, The Lodger and The Ring from the use of montage to show the character's description of recollections of what has happened or what would happen as explanation or motive to move forward with the picture without the use of the title cards.

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I found this movie confusing and didn't know what was going on half the time. When Roddy goes to work for that musical theater after he leaves home and falls for that actress, is she having an affair with her co-star or are they just working together to steal Roddy's money? And later, when he's lying delirious in that room and those people are talking about taking him to London, where is he? How did he get there? And what happens to the girl who accused him of impregnating her? And what happened to Tim?

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The effect of the POV camera work during the opening of the scene is both powerful and engaging. The viewer visualizes the thoughts both men had during that long walk to the schoolmaster's office. The dean's menacing look was so telling.The camera view continues to build suspense and tension when distraught Roddy turns to see Mabel and when she walks toward them to accuse. It is riveting to watch her look back and forth at each "victim' and the look of terror for each man. Hitchcock used his camera to relate the story and to give us insight on all the character's thoughts at the same moment in the same scene.The sepia coloring gave the scene a interesting dimension of old world, new times. Hitchcock continues to focus on the past themes of sexual tension between men and women, the wrong man accused (Ivor Novello owns this) and themes about social class and the unavoidable problems inherent for the rich as well as the poor.

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1.  The word I keep seeing used to describe the effect of the POV dolly shot in Downhill is "dread" and I completely agree. It adds drama to have the boys slowly approaching the headmaster. His face is so intimidating and unforgiving that you can't help but feel the same apprehension that the characters are feeling. 


2.  If I try to imagine the scene shot with just the boys walking towards the desk -- without the dolly/tracking shot -- it would be neutral. You wouldn't understand that this was something serious unless you had title cards. The choices he makes in filming convey so much emotion ( and information) without having to rely on title cards.


3.  In terms of images, I noticed the waitress's legs featured prominently and that reminded me of The Pleasure Garden. The use of tight close-ups reminded me of the Lodger. The super-imposed images when the waitress is telling her story reminded me of the super-imposed images Hitchcock later used in The Ring. The theme of a love triangle was similar to the plot of The Ring. In Downhill, I think Hitchcock gets you immediately emotionally involved. You have a sense of dread, of injustice ... the wrongly accused man motif is present.


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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 

 

What makes dolly shots so effective is the fact that is makes us feel a deeper connection with the characters on the screen. If the camera had been still, we would not feel as much of an emotional connection to the scene. When the camera follows these boys on the track, we feel like we are experiencing the feelings of anxiety and sympathy for our characters not knowing what is going to happen through the door. What makes a POV dolly shot so effective is that we are not simply outside viewers anymore. We are actually there with the characters experiencing the irrefutable fate. We are not watching a movie anymore; we are IN the movie. 

 

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

 

Hitchcock always tried to experiment with his directing and visual techniques, always trying to find an innovative or unique way to tell his story. By using the POV tracking shot, he is doing what he would later do in a lot of his later films. The film is not simply just a screenplay. The visuals create the atmosphere and the psyche of the film itself. I think by using this POV shot he adds to the storytelling by pulling us deeper and deeper into the film as we see their point of view of what is happening in the story.

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples.

 

A similarity I noticed was between Downhill and The Ring. Both of the films have moments where a character is thinking, with the help of visuals. In Downhill it was Mabel thinking about the night she got impregnated. The other was of Jack as he was imagining his wife flirting with the Champ. In both it was a montage, fading in and out between the actual event and the person. I think this editing technique helps us know the character better, as we are able to see exactly what they are feeling and thinking. 

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Getting slowly caught up on the course - Yay!!  The scenes that we've been asked to view this week have all been very strong.  They truly make me want to binge watch all of Hitchcock's silent films.

 

1.  In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene?  Watching the POV dolly/tracking shots in this scene from Downhill, did not induce vertigo, a strange physical feeling of falling, but it did make me almost sick to my stomach worried about what was going to happen.  It put me into the boys' shoes and made me feel their dread at facing the headmaster.  They really narrow the focus without having to resort to a close up.  (On a side note, I see what what Prof. Edwards meant in the lecture notes about Novello, at the ripe old age of 35, can't quite pull off the teenager look in this scene).

 

2.  Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling?  My feeling is, Hitchcock uses this technique to bring emotion and movement to the story, that would, otherwise, be static.  Without the spoken words to create emotional tension, Hitchcock uses the camera movement, and also the montage, to amp up the action - without any action actually taking place.  I feel Roddy's panic at the wrongful accusation as the montage plays out in his mind.

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples.   One recurring theme I see, is the interplay between lovers/husbands/wives/women.  Women, especially, seem to get a bad rap.  In The Pleasure Garden, the dancer is a flirt, but she may also be a prostitute (haven't seen the entire film yet) - willing to go with the highest bidder.  In The Lodger, the women being killed are also dancers/performers, of a lower class.  Likewise, in The Ring, the "Girl" is in love with Jack, and marries him, but causes her husband to break down by flirting with the Champ, who has money to spend and runs with a fast crowd.  The Girl is also from a 'show business', working class, background.  The rich men give the lower class women jewelry or money to take advantage of them, but the women are also shown as using their 'beauty' to get something.  It's a not uncommon theme, certainly not specific to Hitchcock, but he does carry on with it in other, later films (North by Northwest).  

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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 


It certainly adds to the tension and the sense of anticipation about the boys mounting dread of accusation. This applies Equally for Mabel, as she decides as to which boy should burden her accusation.


2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 


The use of the POV tracking shot adds an intimate, and claustrophobic dimension to what could have been a fairly dry "that's the man who did it, mister" scene. By dragging it out, and relying on POV shots for the young adults, the audience is engaging with their own personal anxiety, thus becoming much more invested.


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. 


 Using double exposure montages to signify speech/ideas is certainly a novel one that Hitchcock seems fond of. We also have this strong tie to German expressionism, the hopeless hero/heroine doomed to what seems their fate. Hitchcock seems rather fond of the "innocent accused" plot, and the interview in this module cements it as one that will continue throughout his career.


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1. In your own words, please describe the effect of watching the POV dolly shots / POV tracking shots in this scene? 

The effect was mesmerizing, the audience is compelled to watch. If you were in that situation, you would not look away for fear something horrible will happen. Predator/prey situation.

 

2. Why do you think Hitchcock uses the technique of a POV tracking shot? What does it add to his visual storytelling? 

This technique created feelings in the audience of dread, anticipation and forboding as the waitress approached the two men in The Ring. It was a way of conveying an inescapable situation.

 

3. What connections (visual techniques, images, motifs, themes) do you notice between films that came before this (The Pleasure GardenThe Lodger) and a film that came after it (The Ring)? Please cite specific examples. 

Definitely the visual technique of montage, as thoughts swirl through the minds of the characters. Also, in The Ring, Hitchcock's shot of the flirting couple in the mirror creates a feeling of unreality, as if the husband is thinking "Is this really happening with my wife?"

 

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