Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

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TMDaines
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#76 Post by TMDaines » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:26 am

This list project has come at a good time. It seems everything from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) onwards is now available in HD, apart from Secret Agent, The Paradine Case and Under Capricorn. Most are on Blu-ray and a couple are available to stream in various places with rips popping up online.
zedz wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:The Trouble with Harry: What a tedious movie. I suppose I can't blame Hitchcock as much as the script, tho' why he'd choose a script so hokey, unfunny, and full of hoary cliches (is there really a whole scene of people happening to wander by one random location in the woods all at the same time while an old man soliloquizes from behind a tree?) is beyond me. It's a narrative of endless scenes of uninteresting people talking archly at each other (sometimes in admittedly beautiful scenery). This vies with Topaz as my least favourite Hitchcock.
I rewatched this recently and still really liked it (the only other time I'd seen it was back in the 80s on 35mm when it was rediscovered and rereleased). I guess the big difference is that I find it amusing. For me, it's a film about core Hitchcock values (eccentric characters, black humour, transferred guilt), but arranged in a unique way, as a comedy - even a farce, with its expertly choreographed opening and closing doors in the climactic scene. Perhaps the sweetest black comedy ever to come out of Hollywood, and boy, does it look gorgeous. This must be Hitchcock's most straightforwardly beautiful film.
Watched this last night and agree with everything you said. The film takes a while to get going and I was questioning whether this was a bad choice to watch the missus after ten minutes, but it soon reveals itself as a macabre, black comedy and clicks. Once you pick up on the farce, you can enjoy the ride and the laughs start to commence. The Blu-ray looks stunning too. The highlight of what I've projected on my new setup so far!

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#77 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:43 pm

Reminder that lists are due two weeks from today! You can submit early, you can submit at the last minute, but do submit!

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#78 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Oct 20, 2016 3:53 pm

Vertigo: is a seductive and traumatic movie. It draws you in and scars you. I think this is why it has such an effect on people. It starts off as a dreamy, slightly otherworldly mystery, with just a hint of mental disturbance, then draws deeper and deeper into obsession and torment. The same plot happens twice, the first time as romance, the second as nightmare. It takes a man from seduced to seducer, and refuses to let a woman drop her erotic identity. It's about fixation, first as curiosity and observance, then as force and intrusion. You have to watch this ordinary man cultivate his own psychic and erotic doom. Most critics read it as a man creating the ideal woman, the ideal erotic object, a reverse Pygmalianism. It is that, but it's also something we see in psychologically-based serial killer movies of the last few decades, and something that would've been treated as explicitly Freudian in the 50's: being compelled to relive a primal scene of trauma by ritualizing it through symbolic action. In those serial killer movies, the monster in the killer is born from some traumatic childhood or other event and spends the movie reenacting that trauma violently, over and over, as a killing ritual weighted with symbolism. It's a compulsion to relive trauma and, by doing so, make trauma into something meaningful (perversely meaningful) through repetition. You see it in Dexter's blood slides, in Jame Gumb's and Francis Dollarhyde's rituals of transformation; you can see it in older movies, in the fetish objects in Deep Red or the manikins in Hatchet for the Honeymoon; you can see it current shows like The Fall. Hell, it's in Psycho. Scottie does the same thing; his 'second chance' is a psychic trap of reliving--and thus hoping to break through, or render meaningful--the trauma; reopening a scar in the hopes it will heal all through. Of course this can't happen, so he simply relives the murder all over, with the same result. Scottie is trapped within a narrative that he's helpless to stop remaking, an arrested development analogous to psychotic killers compelled to ritual murder.

If there's a weakness in the movie it's that, as a narrative, it's too rational. It reduces on a narrative level to a coherent thriller plot. How much more bizarre and unnerving if there were no such plot, if Madeleine were really dead and there was nevertheless this double, somehow, that Scottie puts through everything that he does. The movie would ascend to some grand, horrifying, uncanny fantasy ala E.T.A. Hoffmann. Which is not to say what we have isn't a masterpiece; it just has slightly too much explanation.

I don't love it as much as others do; I probably esteem it more than love it; but it is a masterpiece and will obviously be high on my list. It'll probably crown our final list, too. That won't make me unhappy.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#79 Post by TMDaines » Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:16 am

Two weeks today! :shock:

These lists are so fast and furious. I would love another couple of months to slowly weave my way through the rest of his output, but alas.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#80 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:59 am

I still think Torn Curtain would be immeasurably improved by the addition of:

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#81 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:21 pm

My last two rewatches for this project.

I Confess. Not much to fault here. It isn’t the most ambitious or striking narrative-wise of Hitchcock’s films, but it’s bewitching nevertheless, and very well done. No humor, but you don’t miss it. The rare early shooting in still-very-religious-and-traditional 1950s Quebec City (a few authentic French Canadian extras here and there) adds to the appeal.

Image

The Lady Vanishes.
TMDaines wrote:Starting my Hitchcock drive with The Lady Vanishes. Such great fun, although I've come out of it primarily wanting to see more Charters and Caldicott rather than more of the master's work. It's amazing that this film ending with a full blown shoot out works. If you leave this material in the hands of most, you would struggle to strike a balance between all the mystery, romance, action and comedy, without have audiences throwing their hands up in the air and decrying it becoming preposterous.
Well said. I remember being underwhelmed the first time I saw this, owing to the high expectations I had given its status (if I remember correctly, Bruce Eder in his commentary calls it a “perfect” film). Since then I’ve grown quite fond of it. There are a couple of more laborious moments at the beginning in the inn, but the film gets better and better as it goes along. Great script, characters and settings, and especially a lot of charm to the piece. A fun film indeed, and Lockwood and Redgrave make an especially delightful romantic pairing.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#82 Post by Lemmy Caution » Mon Oct 24, 2016 2:28 pm

I thought I Confess had an interesting premise and then goes nowhere.
I also didn't understand why Montgomery Clift as the priest couldn't just tell the police the facts of what happened leaving out the confession. That he saw the caretaker go into the church and found him hiding and in a panic. Especially when the caretaker lies and reverses the roles. Not divulging the confession is not the same as allowing someone to lie about you and withholding pertinent info prior to the confession. It seemed silly to me. But the film becomes rather static and inert. And all the back story about the romance and whatnot was unnecessary and dull. Not a good film. Poor script.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#83 Post by domino harvey » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:30 pm

While admittedly some of my affection is from my time spent as a Cahiersista (this may not have been their favorite but it sure is the one the Young Turks like to reference in their films the most), I think I Confess works well because Hitchcock finds a novel way to explore one of his favorite subjects: being trapped. Here Clift is trapped by his own religion, inextricable from himself, and driven by his own faith and reliance on his beliefs. Not long ago I expressed frustration with several of the films in the Masterpieces of Polish Cinema box for hitting a not dissimilar note over and over, but what sets this apart from those or a more recent example like the Contender (where Joan Allen reveals at the last moment that she could have refuted all of the charges with clear evidence but refused on principle) of characters sticking to a destructive "superior" personal ideal is that Hitchcock doesn’t celebrate or justify the martyrdom but rather explores it with a dubious eye that never goes as far as cheap cynicism. It’s in the lower reaches of my list and I think how Hitchcock handles the material and the romantic backstory shows his mastery of what would be, as Lemmy points out, a lesser work in anyone else’s hands.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#84 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:16 pm

Suspicion: the inverse complement of Shadow of a Doubt. Where that film was about a woman who didn't want to believe what the considerable evidence was saying, this one's about a woman who really wants to believe what the rather scanty evidence was saying. The evidence is so equivocal that, if we the audience believe it, too, it's because we're convicting Johnny on character. It's one of the film's many strengths, and a tribute to Grant's performance, that it makes his character so aggressive and unpleasant amidst the charm and good humour. The best instance is his sexually aggressive courtship, especially that moment on the hill where he tries to force, well, something (a kiss?), and then when she fights back he grabs her wrists, controls her, and chides her while playing the whole thing off, a smirk never leaving his face. It's unpleasant and menacing and suggests early on that, despite outward appearances, this is not a charming Hollywood love story. The movie doesn't quite follow this up consistently, choosing a more benign path for Johnnie's worthlessness (he's a feckless, thieving, self-regarding liar and parasite), but it hangs over the rest of the story and, as I said, helps you convict him on the weakness of his character. It doesn't matter to me that he turns out not to be a murderer; it's an unhappy ending nonetheless considering Lina has little to look forward to (when your husband going to jail is the best outcome, you're in a bad spot). Still an excellent Hitchcock movie and a great look at paranoia and small domestic horrors.

Family Plot: I knew nothing about this Hitchcock beyond it being his last, and it was a decent movie, fun, devious, good humoured, appropriately outlandish, never quite slipping into silliness (opening scene aside, from which the film mercifully recovers). I haven't much to say about it. Of late period Hitchcock, it's far from the depths of Topaz, but doesn't match the heights of The Birds and Frenzy. Overall it's a good, watchable movie, one in no danger of making my list but which I'd happily watch again. The performances were all great (a lot of it being accomplished with the actors' teeth, I noticed). William Devane in particular seemed to be having so much fun.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#85 Post by zedz » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:11 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Suspicion: the inverse complement of Shadow of a Doubt. Where that film was about a woman who didn't want to believe what the considerable evidence was saying, this one's about a woman who really wants to believe what the rather scanty evidence was saying. The evidence is so equivocal that, if we the audience believe it, too, it's because we're convicting Johnny on character. It's one of the film's many strengths, and a tribute to Grant's performance, that it makes his character so aggressive and unpleasant amidst the charm and good humour. The best instance is his sexually aggressive courtship, especially that moment on the hill where he tries to force, well, something (a kiss?), and then when she fights back he grabs her wrists, controls her, and chides her while playing the whole thing off, a smirk never leaving his face. It's unpleasant and menacing and suggests early on that, despite outward appearances, this is not a charming Hollywood love story. The movie doesn't quite follow this up consistently, choosing a more benign path for Johnnie's worthlessness (he's a feckless, thieving, self-regarding liar and parasite), but it hangs over the rest of the story and, as I said, helps you convict him on the weakness of his character. It doesn't matter to me that he turns out not to be a murderer; it's an unhappy ending nonetheless considering Lina has little to look forward to (when your husband going to jail is the best outcome, you're in a bad spot). Still an excellent Hitchcock movie and a great look at paranoia and small domestic horrors.
I haven't got around to rewatching this yet, but my reading of the film has always been a little askew. The studio-imposed ending rings so absolutely false for me that it only makes sense to me as the wishful thinking of a battered wife, who sees no real way out of her nightmarish marriage and bleakly resigns herself to it, and to whatever horrors that might bring. This, for me, makes for an extremely powerful (non-)resolution, and allows the film to work even with its unconvincing ending. There's a similarly last-minute attempt to wash away the bleakness of the ending of The Wrong Man, but that's much easier to dismiss, as it's limited to a closing title. Hitchcock returned to the theme of spousal abuse again and again in his films, even when it's just inserted as an ancillary detail (e.g. The 39 Steps).

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Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#86 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:43 pm

The problem is, there's no good evidence that Grant has murdered or will murder anyone. If the film were more weighted, I'd agree with you about the ending. But it's really all in Lina's head. Because he can't be trusted, maybe he wasn't where he said he was. But then maybe he was--there's no evidence one way or the other. He talks an awful lot about murder methods late in the film, but it's with an author of murder mysteries and the movie had set up his love of those early (plus I imagine those are the conversations Hitchcock himself liked to have). It's all mildly suggestive, requiring a suspicious bent to construe. It's far less than we get in Rear Window, which would indeed have been absurd and required an immense amount of coincidences if it'd all turned out innocently (ala that Simpson's episode).

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#87 Post by zedz » Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:58 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:The problem is, there's no good evidence that Grant has murdered or will murder anyone. If the film were more weighted, I'd agree with you about the ending. But it's really all in Lina's head. Because he can't be trusted, maybe he wasn't where he said he was. But then maybe he was--there's no evidence one way or the other. He talks an awful lot about murder methods late in the film, but it's with an author of murder mysteries and the movie had set up his love of those early (plus I imagine those are the conversations Hitchcock himself liked to have). It's all mildly suggestive, requiring a suspicious bent to construe. It's far less than we get in Rear Window, which would indeed have been absurd and required an immense amount of coincidences if it'd all turned out innocently (ala that Simpson's episode).
Oh, I don't think it's particularly relevant to my reading whether or not he's actually a murderer. The film has established beyond any reasonable doubt that he's a horrible person and an abusive husband, and yet still pretends that just because he might not be a murderer, everything is rosy, when clearly it's not. Fontaine is submitting to a ghastly future whatever he's done or not done, and I simply can't believe that her view of her husband is completely transformed because one component of it might not be true.

It's a bit like Trump's defence of his comments: "yeah, I brag about sexually assaulting woman in private, but I don't actually do it, so I'm a good person."

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#88 Post by knives » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:33 pm

I guess Trump is now the new Goodwin's law. It also says a lot that he's most comparable to a might be murderer. Also I just want to quietly say that when I watched them back to back a few years ago I thought that with its almost Amicus sense of fun and delightfully morbid ending that Family Plot was far more enjoyable than Frenzy which came across as a bit stiff and unsure with how to handle changing tastes at least comparatively.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#89 Post by Feego » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:01 pm

I haven't watched Family Plot in probably close to 15 years, but the scene in which Karen Black and William Devane kidnap a priest in front of an entire congregation that just stands by and watches reverently might be one of the funniest things Hitchcock ever filmed.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#90 Post by Mr Sausage » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:07 pm

zedz wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:The problem is, there's no good evidence that Grant has murdered or will murder anyone. If the film were more weighted, I'd agree with you about the ending. But it's really all in Lina's head. Because he can't be trusted, maybe he wasn't where he said he was. But then maybe he was--there's no evidence one way or the other. He talks an awful lot about murder methods late in the film, but it's with an author of murder mysteries and the movie had set up his love of those early (plus I imagine those are the conversations Hitchcock himself liked to have). It's all mildly suggestive, requiring a suspicious bent to construe. It's far less than we get in Rear Window, which would indeed have been absurd and required an immense amount of coincidences if it'd all turned out innocently (ala that Simpson's episode).
Oh, I don't think it's particularly relevant to my reading whether or not he's actually a murderer. The film has established beyond any reasonable doubt that he's a horrible person and an abusive husband, and yet still pretends that just because he might not be a murderer, everything is rosy, when clearly it's not. Fontaine is submitting to a ghastly future whatever he's done or not done, and I simply can't believe that her view of her husband is completely transformed because one component of it might not be true.

It's a bit like Trump's defence of his comments: "yeah, I brag about sexually assaulting woman in private, but I don't actually do it, so I'm a good person."
Oh, yeah, no doubt. Weird stockholm syndrome at the end, I guess, although to be fair he's not so abusive after the wedding, just a lying scoundrel who takes advantage of people.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#91 Post by Black Hat » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:02 am

To Catch A Thief: Never been keen on it, but hadn't seen it in years and thought lets give it another whirl. Well I'm stunned at how much I enjoyed it this time around. On prior viewings I couldn't get past Grant's ridiculous tan, never bought into the romance, the suspense and somehow I failed to notice the film's visual beauty - it's stunning, Hitchcock's most gorgeous film. I've also gone from an embarrassing cynicism towards Grant & Kelly to feeling this is Hitch's most romantic film. In fact it's unique to his work in that it's entirely driven by romance, the suspense/conflict is secondary and you never get the sense the protagonist is in real danger - it's no accident his biggest threat is from a bouquet of flowers. What makes this all the more remarkable is Grace Kelly doesn't appear until a half hour into the film. The romance resonates because Hitchcock smartly changed his usual formula. In TCAF it's not a random circumstance of high stakes throwing the two romantic leads together and off they go, it's the male lead's job to meet her. Kelly in contrast to his other films is largely ahead of the male character and when she isn't she's more hurt from the heart than anything else. John Williams is great as always, I'm even more fond of him here than in Dial M. About the only thing that didn't work for me was the French girl, but even then the exchange she has with Grant and Kelly in the water is fantastic and the ending is shot with such lusciousness reminiscent of the color tones used in old silents that she doesn't matter. I also think the costume ball at the end was Hitchcock's way of redoing a bit of Under Capricorn using Grace Kelly. I'm not sure where it's going to end up on my list yet, but before I watched it again I doubt it would have cracked it now it's probably in my top 10 maybe even higher.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#92 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:37 pm

Black Hat wrote:To Catch A Thief: Never been keen on it, but hadn't seen it in years and thought lets give it another whirl. Well I'm stunned at how much I enjoyed it this time around. On prior viewings I couldn't get past Grant's ridiculous tan, never bought into the romance, the suspense and somehow I failed to notice the film's visual beauty - it's stunning, Hitchcock's most gorgeous film. I've also gone from an embarrassing cynicism towards Grant & Kelly to feeling this is Hitch's most romantic film. In fact it's unique to his work in that it's entirely driven by romance, the suspense/conflict is secondary and you never get the sense the protagonist is in real danger - it's no accident his biggest threat is from a bouquet of flowers. What makes this all the more remarkable is Grace Kelly doesn't appear until a half hour into the film. The romance resonates because Hitchcock smartly changed his usual formula. In TCAF it's not a random circumstance of high stakes throwing the two romantic leads together and off they go, it's the male lead's job to meet her. Kelly in contrast to his other films is largely ahead of the male character and when she isn't she's more hurt from the heart than anything else. John Williams is great as always, I'm even more fond of him here than in Dial M. About the only thing that didn't work for me was the French girl, but even then the exchange she has with Grant and Kelly in the water is fantastic and the ending is shot with such lusciousness reminiscent of the color tones used in old silents that she doesn't matter. I also think the costume ball at the end was Hitchcock's way of redoing a bit of Under Capricorn using Grace Kelly. I'm not sure where it's going to end up on my list yet, but before I watched it again I doubt it would have cracked it now it's probably in my top 10 maybe even higher.
It's going in my top ten. I've somewhat jokingly referred to it as first-rate second-rate Hitchcock. If it's not quite comparable to the acknowledged masterpieces, it's more purely enjoyable to me than many of them, and one I return to more eagerly and with more excitement. It's such a winning, deftly orchestrated bit of fun.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#93 Post by domino harvey » Wed Oct 26, 2016 1:45 pm

It used to be my favorite. I've demoted it to number two for this list, but it's still a clear representation of Hitchcock's total mastery of film that he could make such an amazing movie out of nothing at all

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#94 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:56 pm

Shadow of a Doubt: this one finally clicked. I had always admired, but been cold towards, this movie. But that was a long time ago, and I think I've discovered why. It doesn't have the set-pieces and the devilish fun, the twists, of the Hitchcocks I loved. What it relies on instead is the dramatic irony and the continuous, often subtle reminders of the canker eating away at the inside of this family. It is wonderful to watch all the little details accrue and eat away at Charlie's calm, unworried life, as well as to imagine what those details suggest about ugly Uncle Charlie (I had forgotten his exact crimes). There's a lot going on here, especially in a crucial scene where Uncle Charlie drags Charlie into a bar and their waitress turns out to be an old school mate of Charlie's. I don't feel like unpacking it now, but it says a lot about the position the characters are in and what this all means for them. This was not originally on my list, but it's going on now. It's a terrific film. I'm not usually a fan of movies that want you to be shocked by the idea that the nuclear family hides ugly secrets (you don't say!), but it works here, especially with how Hitchcock takes for granted that most of the family members are morbid weirdos.

Dial M For Murder: Is it weird I wanted Ray Milland to get away with it all? Anyway, the latter section is such a high-wire act, with Milland improvising his way through, just barely managing it. It's that ability to interpret moves and react on the fly and that grace under pressure that comes from being a professional tennis player, I guess. Such a gripping, delicious movie. I had remembered the major bits, but forgotten all the twisty details, and how fun they were. I think I'll be moving it up on my list.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#95 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:16 pm

Cool to hear there are so many Thief fans!

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#96 Post by Black Hat » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:25 pm

DH after my rewatch I had a wait, this may be my # 2 moment.

Mr. S., 'first rate second rate Hitchcock' is a perfect description for as DH said there is nothing going on.


Saboteur: A less charming, not as exciting remake of The 39 Steps, but still fun thanks to the fantastic Otto Kruger & Norman Lloyd. The duo, a precursor to Hitch’s best two villains James Mason & Martin Landau in NxNW, share the same ability where you want to hear one talk because he sounds smarter than you and thus convincing, where as the other consistently makes your skin crawl. As mentioned earlier there’s more talking than usual, not just propaganda either as Priscilla Lane & Robert Cummings do their fair share without lighting the world on fire, but they’re kind of irrelevant aren’t they?

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#97 Post by TMDaines » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:48 am

Looks like I need to prioritise To Catch A Thief next.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#98 Post by domino harvey » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:20 am

Seven lists in so far and four films have appeared on every list

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#99 Post by ianthemovie » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:48 pm

Slightly off-topic anecdote about Camille Paglia's book on The Birds: I attended a lecture and book signing she did a couple of years ago here in Cambridge, and I brought my copy of The Birds for her to sign. As she did so I mentioned how much I like it, to which she replied, "I love when people bring this book to my signings. You are a man of consummate taste." I found it hilarious that she saw fit to compliment me for my "good taste" in appreciating her own work!

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#100 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:04 am

It's strange to think that both Body Double and Basic Instinct make the sexual ideas behind Vertigo so explicit, yet neither are quite as downright perverse as the Hitchcock film, itself full of voyeurism in plain view and dangerously obsessional fetish outfits.

I'm growing to like the Judy section of the film more and more. Those scenes of the couple out on the town, dancing and walking in the park and doing what couples are supposed to do, but both distant and detached from the other, trapped inside their private worlds of guilt. Its so sad and jaded, like a faded romance between two people only able to think of previous better times, both hoping to recapture a past that was already entirely fabricated. Maybe the Judy and Scottie romance could have worked - after all they were the only people who really could understand what the other was going through. They come so close, but the truth is lost all over again (the confessional letters ripped up, the flashbacks trapped within a single character's head) and the characters are left behind trapped (doomed?) to forever live within the fantastical lies constructed around them. Its perhaps as much about people inhabiting a virtual world as any cyberspace sci-fi fantasy.

And of course the character of Midge literally disappears from the film at the point of Scottie's mental break down - the real-woman potential love interest going ignored in favour of the malleable, yet insubstantial, dream-woman, much like Annie in The Birds or Lil in Marnie would be later on. Actually, thinking about Midge's disappearence and virtual worlds and people created out of previously visited locations and fetish objects, could there be a possibility that everything from Scottie going into the mental hospital is just his tormented fantasy of improbably running into and then losing his dream-woman all over again? (Something like Brazil's big final act fantasy wish fulfilment sequence. Maybe Scottie's trying to deal with the suicide by constructing an elaborate consipracy theory that answers all his questions, and cures his vertigo at the same time!) Of course we never go back to seeing Scottie sitting catatonic in his chair, still in the hospital, but I wonder if that could be another valid interpretation of the final act of the film!

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