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Daily Dose #6: Knocking 'Em Cold (Opening Scene from The Man Who Knew Too Much)


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Hello Again, Hello -   DD#6   - TMWKTM - version #1

 

1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot?

 

Characters always win out over plot.  A good mix of characters can elevate a story better than having poor characters with a good plot.  In my opinion, a poorly written or casted character can ruin a good plot or story.  For example, many of the TV remakes elevated to films nowadays suffer from both bad casting and bad storylines (in my opinion.  An all-black Honeymooners, really??).

 

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 seems jovial enough, but then he seems to recognize Luis, and Luis him, and his mood changes before the jovial resumes.  This is a layered character, one with a light persona hiding a darker personality.

 

 

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. 

 

The opening of all three films gives us characters and settings.  Hitchcock likes to get this part over with, so to speak, so the story can take over.  Unlike The Lodger and The Pleasure Garden, we are quickly introduced to the antagonist, also missing is a blonde female although we will find out the mother is blonde (another difference is the female is capable with a weapon, which will figure in the climax.).  All three films are silent in the very beginning, in TMWKTM we see, but do not hear the crowd at first watching the ski-jumps, it is not until the tumble into the crowd that sound truly begins.

 

All for now - onto #7!

 

Walt3rd

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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)

 

​Based on the opening; the characters.  There is very little sound and brief action, which in any other movie would be a tragedy, the act of a skier wiping out into the crowd.  In any other movie the skier, Louie would be furious having his chances ruined by a girl running out onto the field.  Here, it's all a game, he's not upset, the girls father isn't upset that his child was nearly killed and the girl isn't sorry at all. 

 

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?   Abbott is shown as a good-humored man, laughing and brushing snow off of himself until he sees the skier, Louie.  Then his expression changes, to a dark one.

 

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.

 

​This opening is very quiet, almost silent.  Not unlike the 2 silent films, The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger.  There is a lot of dialogue, and hardly any action.  The pace isn't as frantic as The Pleasure Garden and is lighter than The Lodger.   

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1. based on this opening clip I would anticipate that the plot will thicken and tensions will rise.

 

2. Abbott appears to be just another good-humored spectator but things aren't always what they appear to be.

 

3. In the daily doses last week and The man who knew too much there gas been the gathering of a crowd for: a chorus line, a murder. and a ski jumping 

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1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot?

 

Based upon the opening scene, I believe that the importance will focus on the characters.

 

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?

 

Based upon the first impression of the character, Abbott seams to be a sinister character.  The introduction of the character makes me question his importance to the film and whether the character is an antagonistic 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.

 

The opening is similar to the other movies because of the close-up of the skier and his almost collision with the girl and her dog. Also, the focus and conversation with the characters and the character of Abbott.  It is different because the scene ends with a delightful conversation among the three characters of the girl, her father and a friend or relative.

 

 

 

 

 

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(1) Based on the fact that five speaking characters are introduced—Abbott and the woman accompanying him, the girl with the dog and her father, and Louis—I think the story will be character driven.  The opening scene does not set up any conflict that leads me to believe the story will be plot driven.

 

(2) Abbott comes across as a congenial guy with an easygoing quality to him.  His introduction makes me think he’ll be a likable villain.  Also, Abbott, like the actor who portrays him (Peter Lorre), is an English language learner, as evidenced by his lack of understanding of the idiomatic phrase “knocking them cold.”

 

(3) Other openings involved spectators, which is also the case for The Man who Knew Too Much.

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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? 

Again the film starts with a public space (this time a movie theater).  It differs from previous openings like the opening of "The Pleasure Garden" (a scene of debauchery) or "The Lodger" in which the opening involves a seedy street. 

 

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?  Yes, I agree. The gentleman being introduced is well-dressed and well-groomed and a handsome man who exhibts good manners and has an upper class accent. 

 

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?  I will go through and identify "checks" listed by Phillips" #1 he seems like a well-to-do man, #3 ordinary setting, and #4 the music hall is the last place one would expect mayhem to occur (unless they had Allstate - a bad joke, I know), 

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The man who knew too much. I would say this opening scene has more of the feel of daily dose one The pleasure garden. In that it is more action lighthearted ( no dancing blonde girls but ) still it has a lighter feel to it. Even as we are introduced to Peter Lorre's character who seems easy going in his laughter of The chaotic ski incident ( christ,me in my long sentences), it is only momentarily stalled by his reaction at looking into the face of the skier. There is a knowing in peters eyes as he continues to wipe off the snow and go back to his lightheartedness. The skier however seems to be confused by peters…( Abbott's )reaction to him.

The feel of this beginning scene stresses the characters only a small question of where the plug will take us. Oh and it will take us!

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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)

 

The characters.

 

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 seems like a good natured person who doesn't let things bother him, but he does pause when he looks up and recognizes Louie, so there is something going on between the two of them, but we don't have enough info to determine what that is yet. The pause makes me suspicious of Abbott.

 

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?

 

Similar to the Pleasure Garden in that the openings are people being entertained in some way, and there is humor in both openings. Different from the Lodger because the Lodger starts off with something tragic.

Similar to both films with the pacing and close ups.

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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)

 

Definitely the characters. 

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 charming, easy going and good-natured. He is set up to be someone we trust so that later in the film, we do not question or suspect him of anything.

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. 

Aside from the obvious differences such as sound, this opening scene focused more on character development rather than action. Similarities include a close up on a character to inform us of important emotion Hitchcock wanted us to see. 

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If compared with The Lodger and The pleasure Garden, the beginning of this film, seems a more realistic scene, without subjectivity, or Visual effects that call attention.  Looks like a normal situation between friendly people, and thus seems to show the character of Lorre. The only element that could indicate something different is the brief change of expression of Lorre to see the skier.

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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)

 

The opening scene seems to focus so much on the characters and their banter so I would assume the characters would be the focus.  I have seen the movie and while the plot led the movie (to me) the way the characters were portrayed they certainly were important.  

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? 

While he seemed jovial there was something sinister about him.  His responses seemed snippy and he almost seemed irritable.  I got a little nervous!  It made me want to keep my eyes on him!

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.

​This movie seems to start more like The Pleasure Garden - an entertainment venue with a lot of action.  The Lodger opened with a screaming woman and people in the street.  This movie was like Downhill in that it started with a sporting event and crowds of people.  

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At first I thought that it was mostly about character but watching this scene again, I realized that we are getting lots of information on the characters that I am assuming will become important in the film that follows, so this is probably more about plot that seems in the beginning.

 

Peter Lorre seems like a lovable, fun character at first, with his laughing and smiling.  But that quick look he gives to the other man shows that there is something dangerous underneath the smile.

 

I find the first minute of the scene to resemble a silent film, with the shot of the crowd, the dog running out and the POV of the skier.  After that, all the dialog and more natural acting was different from the silent films.

 

 

 

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Hello All,

 1. I think it will be about the characters with the plot as a backdrop so to speak.

2.Abbott comes across as very jovial  and happy go lucky...there is one point when he sees the skier who knocked him down, where his facial expression changes briefly, as if he's surprised and scared at the same time, then he reverts back to his happy self.

3. Difference: the sound of their voices and the clapping and gasps of the crowd; the similarlities: like the Pleasure Garden it starts with an event, and in both the Lodger and Pleasure Garden their are crowd scenes reacting to what is going on , i.e. the men in the audience watching the dancers, the people crowding to see the dead woman, then buying the newspaper and then in Downhill, the crowd watching the skier and then being crashed into by the skier and everyone's reaction. 

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1)  Based on the opening, I would say that the characters will be more important than the plot as we were introduced to many of them right from the start.

 

2)  Abbott seems jovial enough until he sees the skier.  It is almost as if he recognizes him, and not in a good way, then his facial expression returns to the jovial mask.

 

3)  The opening seems more similar to the Pleasure Garden in that the tone and feel is one of gaiety and includes spectators, a panning shot of the crowd, and a touch of humor.  There is a close up shot which is similar to the Lodger but with the addition of sound, Hitchcock does not have to rely quite so much of close ups and facial expressions.

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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)

 

I haven't seen the original but did see the remake (though I do not remember it well), but based on the opening I initially felt it was more character driven due to the more stationary camera and interaction displayed.

 

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's laughing at the incident and has a curt reaction initially when the skier arrives, but we don't see very much of him. He's very well covered in darkness, but he has the strongest reaction in the scene in a way. He's laughing amidst a potentially dangerous incident, so I can away with a more villainous opinion of him (that, and he was mentioned in the lecture as the villain).

 

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.

 

There's still that watching the watcher component, but what's interesting is the watchers (the dog) interact with what they're watching (the skier), which kind of gets us into the excitement more. It's a larger scale than the other openers, so I do feel like we are in for a larger story here.

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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)

​ ---The characters are more important.  By keeping the camera in a medium shot through most of the sequence, Hitchcock forces us to pay attention to who these people are and what they are saying to one another.  We learn a great deal of information about many of them just in this short scene--a father and daughter whose mother is competing in another location nearby, an English-challenged man with a nurse, a ski jumper who is planning on leaving soon.  These characters are going to be the focus throughout.

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 certainly seems to know the ski jumper when he looks up and says that they shared an "awkward moment."  This recognition makes me suspicious of what these men might be up to.  He is learning English, and he is traveling with a nurse.  Why?  Is he ill?  Injured?  By making him appear somewhat suspicious early on, we will either look forward to his comeuppance or be surprised by his actions if they turn out to be good. 

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.

​ ---This scene gives us a great deal of expository information, just like the other opening scenes, but this one uses spoken dialogue to relay much of that information.  We learn through the conversation between the father and the ski jumper much of the information that comes out in the scene.  We are also given visual clues about where and when the film is taking place.  The mountain setting and crowded venue adds a layer of intrigue to the proceedings.

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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)


Since I have seen neither version of this film, I would say that it will be character driven; and that the characters' interaction with each other will essentially advance the plot.


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? 


Despite Abbott's good natured and somewhat jovail demeanor following the encounter with the skier, the manner in which the two men exchanged glances when meeting face to face suggested that something sinister could be afoot - and yet to be revealed later in the film. I think Abbott bears watching.


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. 


The primary similarity is that all the opening scenes involved action, some type of dramatic occurrence that grabbed my attention (or raised my curiosity) immediately. I couldn't wait to learn what would happen next. The difference - possibly and perhaps primarily due to the fact that sound was now being used - is the profusion of dialog in The Man Who Knew Too Much, in contrast to the comparative dearth of speech in The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger


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Which is more important - the characters or the plot?  It seems like the characters because in the opening scene the camera really focuses solely on the characters by zooming in on the skier, the dog, the girl, and the awkward meeting between the skier and Peter Lorre.

 

What do I learn about Peter Lorre and the character Abbott in this brief scene and how might it affect my view of him later in the film?  Well he seems to be a likable man.  I liked the way he laughed it off when he was knocked down by the skier.  But when he looked at the skier there was an eerie moment and it made me feel that something isn't exactly level with Abbot.  It's almost like foreshadowing that he will be the antagonist and the other guy is the protagonist.  

 

Comparing the opening scenes of The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger with the opening scene here:

I think in the silent films there was a collection of shots put together in a fast pace.  We had to get the major elements of where and when and who at the very beginning without much dialogue and sound. We relied only on the visual. In this opening scene there is action at the beginning but we can put things together through the characters' dialogue and interaction with each other.  I think the setting, plot, characters, and a hint of a climax coming up are given to us by what we learn from the opening scene.

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1.  Based on the opening scene I think the characters are going to be more important.

2.  What I learn about Peter Lorre in this brief scene is that he will have a deliberate humorous character trait, making light of what he knows is not light at all.  

This introduction might affect my view of the character Abbott later because as he tries to unveil whatever truth it appears he will do so with this his humoristic side to him.

3.  The  opening scene of this film is similar to THE PLEASURE GARDEN and THE LODGER to me in the way Hitchcock uses his CLOSEUP faces and then the crowds clamoring,

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1. Based on these opening scene, what do you anticipate is going to be more important in this film--the characters or the plot?

I believe the film will focus on the characters more than the plot but I am not sure what is going to happen,it seemed like Lorre's character recognized the skier which leans toward the plot.

 

 

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? 

I have not seen the film yet but I can only assume he's from another country and doesn't get the slang terms the other character's are saying. He might be wealthy in his fur coat or pretends to be.

 

 

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.

There always seems to be a confrontation in the openings of the three films. In "The man who knew too much" after the incident with the skier we are introduced to Abbott who seems to be unfazed by being knocked down but also has a reaction to seeing the skier, maybe recognizing him from somewhere. This conflict is more jovial, the other opening scenes from "The Pleasure Garden" and "The Lodger" are more violent and serious.

 

 

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I'm coming late to the party, so I won't repeat what others have so wonderfully said about the questions.  Yes, Lorre is definitely an imp who is up to something with that look he gives the skiier.  I thought the crowd noise was rather subdued given the situation of a skiier falling all that way into the crowd.  I expected more high pitched response, even a little shriek or screaming....  So it seems very understated to me.

 

One other comment: I don't experience the girl as "bratty," as Dr. Gehring did.  Maybe I haven't seen enough of her yet yet (I've only seen the remake the of the film).  But I thought she was cute and charming.  So I will care when she gets kidnapped (unless she really turns into a brat later on....).   :lol:

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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)


Based on the opening scene, I feel the characters are going to be more important in the film. There is a lot of focus on developing the backstory of the main characters.


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 seems to be an easy-going type of fellow. He has just been knocked down into the snow, but instead of being angry or upset, he is laughing. However, there is a definite sense of "otherness" about him. The fact that every other character speaks perfect English highlights his inability. There's just something odd about him (though I feel that way in every picture I've seen with him in it), and you can see Louis thinks so too from the way he watches Abbott as he leaves. Based on this introduction, there is a definite feeling that something is just not right with him (he isn't your average Joe).


3. We saw two opening scenes from Hitchcock's silent films in the Daily Doses last week (The Pleasure Garden andThe Lodger). How is this opening both similar and different from those two films' opening scenes. 


The first thing I notice is a similarity to The Pleasure Garden. In both films, there is a focal feature at the direct center of the screen which draws in your attention--the staircase in The Pleasure Garden and the ski slope in The Man Who Knew Too Much. A similarity to The Lodger is the use of the crowd. In both films, the crowd is used to amplify the situation at hand. A difference between The Man Who Knew Too Much and the silent films is the lack of frenetic energy in the opening. While the action is more or less fast-paced, it lacks the kind of heart-thumping energy I felt watching the silent openers. This may be due to the lack of music to ramp up the action.


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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)


I would say more character driven - there is something brewing with the characters that we see briefly with Peter Lorre's glance at the skier.  Having seen the one with Doris Day, I'm assuming the girl is the kidnapped child.  (She, by the way, doesn't seem too bratty just yet - only wanting to please her father.  Perhaps the bit where she didn't seem to care that her dog caused a huge accident that could have caused many injuries, that could be considered bratty.)


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 rather silly.  I like him already!  I may be swayed to continue to like him and to side with him in later in the film.


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 does enjoy his very energetic opening scenes and likes the downward movement.  The spiral staircase; the frenetic energy of the townspeople.  It is different too in that there is a bit of lightness and humor.


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1.       By looking at the opening scene of Hitchcock’s 1934 version of “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” I feel that the characters are the strongest part of the film (in addition the plot, with Peter Lorre’s “Abbott,” Nova Pilbeam’s “Betty,” Pierre Fresny’s “Luis” and Leslie Banks’ “Bob”).  This is a clever way to introduce the audience to the film with the characters in place. 

 

2.       Peter Lorre’s characterization of Abbott in “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1934) has a jovial touch in the opening skiing scene, but might an overall “mischievous” manner (for the latter part of Hitchcock’s film).

 

3.       What is similar between the opening scenes Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1934) and “The Lodger”(1927) is that both opening scenes take place outdoors, yet the difference between the two is that opening setting for “The Man Who Knew Too Much” took place in St. Moritz in Switzerland, while the opening of “The Lodger” took place in the streets of London, England.  The difference between the two aforementioned Hitchcock films and “The Pleasure Garden” (1925) was that the majority of the opening of Hitch’s 1925 silent took place indoors.  Another key similarity factor (throughout all three aforementioned Hitchcock features) would be the use of crowds.     

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The Man Who Knew Too Much and The Pleasure Garden open upon an ongoing event, (the ski jump /the dancers  going onstage,) and, within the same locale, the action moves smoothly to an introduction of  the main characters  and the establishment of some of their attributes.  The main plot situation is not presented during the first minutes of the film.  In The Lodger, the film opens with a montage that introduces the locale and the situation that underlies the plot; the main characters are not introduced in the first minutes.  The three films open directly onto some aspect of the plot and lack any type of general introduction to prepare or warm up the audience to the type of film they are to see.

 

PeterLorre's character is first seen as he is helped up after the sliding skier upsets him along with a group of other people. He has a grin and is amused by the incident, and he thanks Leslie Banks for helping him. His look changes completely and instantly when he recognizes the skier, but immediately changes back to a friendly, smiling face. His character is presented as amused and self satisfied, perhaps not taking himself too seriously, although the woman with him seems to be very serious. 

 

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