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Dr. Rich Edwards

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

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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 and their moods – after all, the film begins with a coincidence caused by a dachshund!

 

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? 

We actually think he is a man in a very nice mood, and he doesn’t get upset with the accident – although the woman near him does. And through a glance we can see that he knows the skier, but says nothing because they have private affairs to solve.

Also, The Man Who Knew Too Much uses Lorre’s persona to perfection: the guy who can be at the same time nice and sinister.

 

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?

Besides the applause and a few gasps, there is only silence in the first thirty seconds. Similarly, it happens in a crowded place, with strangers interacting. The action unfolds quickly, just like in the other two movies. As in The Lodger, we have many people being observed and interacting – the opening of Pleasure Garden and other later Hitchcock movies focuses in fewer, and even only one, characters. 

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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 and their 'front stage/back stage' performances after they are thrust together by disruptive events such as the skiing accident.  As has been observed in accompanying lecture notes, Hitchcock is beginning to explore how situations and people aren't always how they seem or initially appear.

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? The character comes across as amusing and likable, with the facial expressions and broken English.  But is his broken English authentic or an act?  Behind this veneer, perhaps, may lurk evil intentions later.

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 verticality of the ski jump with a significant character coming down onto a 'stage' before a crowd has similarities to Pleasure Garden.  The quick cuts and fast pace differ somewhat from the more dark and foreboding intro to Lodger.  

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I've seen this film years ago, and unfortunately don't remember much. Based on this opening scene--and what I know about Hitchcock's preferences--I'll assume that the film will be more character based than plot based. In these short two minutes, we're already introduced to some key characters, yet plot details are scarce. One of the more interesting characters is Abbott, who is easy-going and fun-loving, as depicted in his brief appearance in this scene. Based on his few lines, we know that he's new to the English language, but don't know much more. Upon seeing the skier, he takes a quick beat, leading the audience to believe that something is off. I expect the two characters to meet again--perhaps in a less humorous scenario.

 

A similarity between this scene and the opening scenes of The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger is that in all three, females are either victimized or placed in harm's way in another way--either by being robbed (The Pleasure Garden), murdered (The Lodger), or nearly struck by a speeding skier (The Man Who Knew Too Much). (Interestingly, all three films feature curly-haired blondes.) However, the three scenes are distinct in their locales and tone. Whereas The Pleasure Garden includes moments of fun and sinister activity, The Lodger is frightful and The Man Who Knew Too Much is light hearted.

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1. Character.  We are introduced to many different characters in this scene.  What should I observe about each character?

 

2. I immediately felt that he was not just another casual observer.  When he met the skiers gaze, why did his facial expression change momentarily?  That creates suspicion

 

3. My answer to the similarity and difference between the Pleasure Garden and The Man Who Knew To Much is the same.  POV.  In the both films, the scene is full of action.  We view the audience from the POV of a character on stage in the Pleasure Garden and the POV in the film The Man Who Knew To Much the POV is from the audience viewing the skier.  

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This film along with The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger bring the audience immediately in with action and characterization.  

 

The sky jumper presents movement/action.  So far all the films I've seen being with movements whether it is a train moving or spinning records or ticking clocks.  Hitchcock does not waste a scene; he wants his audience to move all with the characters on their rollercoaster ride.  The little girl is going to get in the way of whatever is going to happen.  She does not think before she acts; she wants the dog, so if skier falls down, oh well.  The skier takes it well but I would have told that little girl off.  Lorrie too dusts off the incident.  Her dad is affable!   

 

The Lorrie look at the skier makes me think they have seen each other before and Lorrie wants to get out there before the skier figures out where they have met but he does not create suspicion as he leaves, hence the smile and wave before he goes.  

 

The main difference in this opening and the other two is it begins with a light-hearted touch.  We don't where we are going but we're glad to be along for the ride.

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We meet Abbott as he picks himself up from a brush with calamity. He has a lighthearted reaction to being knocked off his feet. He could be upset, but instead he laughs. Is he sick man, we wonder, since he's attended by a nurse. He also manages to poke fun at his English, as we also learn it's new to him. When he meets the ski-jumper there's an awkward air. Maybe they know each other?

Since I saw the whole film before repeatedly watching this scene ( and thinking about the introduction to Abbott), I know he's a key character. Lorre shows us an antagonist with a light touch, who doesn't appear to take himself too seriously. Yet he's responsible for the ensuing mayhem. In this scene Abbott comes off as personable, and perhaps complex. I missed most of these details when I watched the whole film. Lorre's likeable villian would have fooled me.

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1. I did not get to see the whole movie yet, so just based on this scene, I thought the characters seemed like the bigger deal than the plot due to all the talk by the characters present about other characters in the storyline, people such as the wife/mother (Jill?) and some other man (was he the competitor in the clay pigeon shoot?) that the daughter apparently does not care for. We also begin to get acquainted with characters like Peter Lorre's Abbott and the two men, the girl's father and the ski jumper, Louie.

2. What we learn about Abbott in the scene - he seems very affable, overall; however, we see his very sober reaction to Louie when he seems to suddenly recognize him. Because of that reaction, it casts him in a different light, like he might not be such a good character, after all, unless the person to whom he is reacting in that way turns out to not be a good guy either. This affects my view of him later in the film because it makes me feel we need to "watch-out" for him. He may not be as affable as he seems.

3. How is this opening both similar & different from the openings of "The Pleasure Garden" & "The Lodger"? All three start with crowd settings, groups of people like those viewing a show in the first movie, viewing the aftermath of a crime/murder in "The Lodger" and spectators at a sporting event in this one. One difference is we had crimes committed in both of the earlier films, the pickpocket in the Pleasure Garden and murder in the next one, but today's film does not seem to show a crime committed in the opening.

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1. The characters, no question. Once the picture begins, we are immediately introduced to the protagonists and the antagonist.

 

2. Peter Lorre is often portrayed as a bad guy in most of the pictures that he's been in. I can only name a few where he isn't one (i.e. Richard Fleischer's 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea). For this picture, he appears as someone who has met the jumper beforehand (we see this clearly as they confront one another) and has something to hide, yet blends in with the rest of the crowd.

 

3. That would be a sudden incident that gets the crowd riled up, in this case, a skiing accident, and we see fast jump cuts as the crowd tries to help the skier.

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1) I watched this movie for the first time but, I studied this scene twice. As a new viewer, I would anticipate that the characters will be more important than the plot.Hitchcock gave us interesting bits of information on five or more characters in that brief scene. Genius.There had to be a reason for this. Now I know why.

 

2) Abbott appears to be a person with a sense of humor and an amiable fellow. You expect him to be a positive character in the movie except for that  strange rapid exchange with the skier. Was I ever wrong! Hitchcock at his best. Lorre was a perfect choice for the balance of sardonic humor and terror.

 

3)All three films begin with action and a crowd of spectators.There are many different types of people and characters in the crowd. This film is different from "The Lodger " in it's tone, it is contemporary and visually challenging. The earlier movies had a crime committed in the opening scene but this one doesn't show it yet.

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. 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)

 

Both the characters and 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? 

When Abbott looks at the snow skier he stops and looks at him then starts to talk again. Like they both knew each other or had met each other prior to this to plan any details out

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. 

Its setting up the story for whats to come

 

 

 

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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 very friendly and light hearted

 

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

 

In all the films the opening is fast paced. In this film, the characters are center stage. Also there isn't anything really sinister in this opening scene. In The Pleasure Garden, it's the leering men and in The Lodger it's the murder scene.

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1. Based on these opening scene, I might anticipate that the characters are going to be more important than the plot. (I haven't watched the film yet.) You have the charismatic and mysterious Peter Lorre and the set-up of a possible love triangle because of the mention that Mummy adores "Uncle" Louie and will cry her eyes out when he leaves. There may be nothing there but I am interested to see Mummy and Uncle Louie interact because of this set-up. 


2. From this brief scene we can tell that Abbott seems good-humored. He is foreign, doesn't speak English well. He recognized the skier's face and it startled him for a moment before he recovered. If you caught it, you may be slightly suspicious of him because of how quickly he was able to turn the charm back on after what seemed like an honest reaction. He seems to be hiding something.


3. This opening scene is similar to The Pleasure Garden because of the lighthearted nature. It doesn't have any of the darkness of The Lodger. But I think it sets up the story efficiently and quickly, similar to how it is set up in The Lodger. The Pleasure Garden opening was a little confusing for me. I wasn't certain which characters were significant to the plot. In this opening from The Man Who Knew Too Much, it seems like we already have met most of the prominent characters and have been drawn into their lives a bit.


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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)

 

Even if you think the plot is more important, you can see that the character set up is much stronger.

 

2. What do you learn about Abbott (Peter Lorre) in his brief scene? How might this introduction affect your view of the character Abbott later in the film? 

 

Abbot is clearly an easygoing character, even though you see that he is slightly affected by a chance encounter.

 

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

 

All three movies have a fast passed opening, but in the case of The Man Who Knew Too Much, information doesn't come fast enough. You can also see that The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger uses more plot to give away the characters.

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Based on the clip I would say the characters are going to be stronger.  There just isn't enough information given in the clip to seem like much of a plot but you are introduced to many of the players.

 

I haven't seen the movie yet but it is obvious that Peter Lorre is hiding something based on his reaction to the man who walks up.  I also think that the way he waves back at everyone is like a psychopath that is a genius at appearing normal and friendly.

 

I think that this film is different first because it is a talkie but it also seems more upper society. It also shows in one look the darkness that is coming. 

 

I find it interesting that in the talkie we learn less than in the silent clips. They just seemed  full and really drew me in. The Man who knew to much didn't do that. There just wasn't enough information to make me what to continue.  However I know that in reality it is very worthwhile.

This one did have a different atmosphere about it as well with the normal conversations and a sense of just out playing fun games.

 

I didn't find alot that I thought was similar in the clips except the close up to emphasize the moment.

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The characters are going to be more important in the film. The character Abbott seems like a charming, easy going guy, but he is definitely hiding something. This film wasn't as fast moving as ​The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger​. You still see the characters in the opening scene though.

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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?      The characters are.

 

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 friendly and engaging.

 

 

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 open with a crowd  and multiple characters with action sequences with more plot revealed in the two silents.  No plot has been revealed in this scene, just a look of recognition by Abbott and some trepidation by the skiier.

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The opening of this film introduces the players in the film and their persona. Abbotts intention is not to be revealed hence his awkwardness when introduced you can feel he is out of place with his general demeanor, dress and tone not wanting the attention. You know he might be up to something in his expression and knowledge of his acting career.

 

In comparison of daily doses, the films openings are during some social event involving a crowd of onlookers and very busy people on their given normal day/evening. This is true for the Lodger as well in duties of the news reporters, detectives etc. I also see an element of surprise in all openings. The dancing girl being targeted, the murder scene scream, the skiers face during accident. Excitement/shock is immediate in some fashion. In contrast, the characters are presented in the first weeks daily doses with the plot immediately. This opening, characters are developing before revealing the plot of the film. I see Hitchcoks advancement in character study and it is definitely delightful.

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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)


My gut tells me the plot will be more important., based on Peter Lorre's character recognizes the skiier, but not letting on to anyone else.  And the girl's reaction to her mother's clay pigeon competitor.  She instinctually knows there is something wrong there.


 


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 has a sense of humor.  He seems easy going, happy, and forgiving.  From this first scene, he is very likeable.  You feel a connection with him.  You won't want to dislike him later on.


 


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


Similarly, in this clip you see the perspectives of both you as an onlooker, and the characters.  It doesn't move as quickly as the others seemed to tho.


 


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1. It's a brief scene, and I haven't seen this version in some time, but it seems to be character driven, we're introduced to a happy-go-lucky Peter Lorre, the bratty daughter, and some other more level headed characters, which may or may not be the point of the scene, so plot is still at least a background element, to which these characters we've just met, will be put in.

2. He's jovial, but there is a reaction scene when he sees the skier, there's definitely more to this relationship...

3. There seems to be a setting up of the story to come, especially in The Lodger, the story is front and center, but with TMWKTM we're more focused on meeting the players, it could have been anywhere, anytime, but these are the characters we will be following throughout the film. The Pleasure Garden seems like a mix of the two.

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1. This seem to be a character driven. We get a good look at all the possible people that will be involved.

 

2. Peter Lorre seems to be light hearted, jovial and a good sport at first glance. When he looks at the skier, there seems to be something sinister afoot.

 

3. All three of the movies start out with an action scene. Although they share some sort of action they are all different. You have the dancing ladies descending the staircase while the men lear at them. Then you have the screaming woman leading to the discovery of the dead body. The last one showing the downhill ski competition leading to the dog running into his path causing the skier to fall and ultimately losing the competition.

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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)

 

 

It is very much a character piece e in that we fare spending a lot of time being introduced to them. Almost like an Agatha Christie book or Britishmystery serials in that they always develop the characters before going straightway into the whodunnit.

 

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? 

We get a sense that he is charming and easy going with a hint that something is different under the surface. he seems kind of silly but is far from it.

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. 

They both use motion and sound to set up the openings. But here the motion and sound are more fluid and tightened up aesthetically.

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I'd say it's going to be character driven. Instead of the first scene being important to the plot, like in The Lodger, in this one we meet the characters and learn a little about them. Peter Lorre's character seems humorous but you can tell there's something off with the way he looks at the skier.

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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.  Hitchcock is taking his time with introductions.  We know that the relationships but it seems he wants the characters to evolve.

 

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 has a sense of humor, as talked about in lecture video.  But there is a darkness as well.  He knows the skier.  Or at least recognizes him.  But slightly off topic, certain actors have a quality about them.  Jimmy Steward down to earth trustworthy.  Morgan Freeman, elder wise man.  Lorre always seems creepy to me.  Like he always has ulterior motives.  I am embarrassed to admit I have never seen this movie.  I have seen other Hitchcock movies of this era like The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes.  But looking forward to finally watching this movie and seeing if my preconception of Lorre is challenged.

 

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. 

 

In this opening, as opposed to The Pleasure Garden, Hitchcock is letting the introductions slowly develop.  In the The Pleasure Garden we knew very quickly the character of the people, the girl that had a independent streak.  Hamilton.  The old men.  In this movie, we are learning more slowly.  But is Hitchcock laying some foreshadowing clues.   The skier says the last chance, the last day here, the last day on earth, the last train, last night.  And the most obvious difference, dialogue.  I know it we went from silent movies so of course.  But where Hitchcock was constrained by lack of sound, he is now able to establish exposition with dialogue rather than visual cues.  So the expressionism, use of signs and montage is gone and we have more realism.  The length of each shot is much longer.  No superimposed images.

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I think the opening of The Man Who Knew Too Much leads us to believe that the characters may be a bit more important than the actual plot at this time.  It looks like Hitchcock has gone to great lengths to establish who's who in this scene.  In this scene, it also appears as though Abbott is light-hearted and able to laugh things off easily.  He seems to recognize the skier, but doesn't make a specific acknowledgement...leading the viewer to think there is something more to this guy that appears to be taking everything in stride.  This opening is a bit like the opening of movies we viewed last week, The Pleasure Garden and The Lodger.  All three of these movies open with an attention-grabbing introduction.... something the English teachers would love!  The Pleasure Garden had the lovely girls coming down the steps, The Lodger had the infamous scream, and with this Daily Dose, we have a skier nearly plowing over a dog, but ending up in the crowd instead.  The difference, we get a lot more front-loaded information in this opening scene with the introduction of the characters early.

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I'd say it's going to be character driven. Instead of the first scene being important to the plot, like in The Lodger, in this one we meet the characters and learn a little about them. Peter Lorre's character seems humorous but you can tell there's something off with the way he looks at the skier.

This is what I love about Hitchcock!  He doesn't directly tell you there is something up with Lorre's character....he does something very subtle to make you feel like something just isn't right.  You have to keep watching to find out what it is!

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