Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 13, 2017, 02:08:54 AM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Other/Miscellaneous
| |-+  Off-Topic Discussion (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  The Alfred Hitchcock Discussion Thread
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 34 Go Down Print
Author Topic: The Alfred Hitchcock Discussion Thread  (Read 87484 times)
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #45 on: February 06, 2009, 09:02:33 AM »

Kinda off-topic but where's your signature from? I swear I've seen that movie but I can't place it.

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13703

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #46 on: February 06, 2009, 09:38:52 AM »

Are you talking to me? There's no one else here, so you must . . .

It's from Sirk's Magnificent Obsession, and I used it simply because the CC have recently released it. Jane Wyman is playing blind in the scene.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2009, 09:40:23 AM »

I figured it was a Sirk film but I haven't seen that one. Afro

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13703

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #48 on: February 06, 2009, 03:39:29 PM »

Just got a third version of the Vertigo score on CD. That's right, I now own copies of 3 different performances of a film score. Can anyone else match or beat this? (I'm not talking about owning the same performance on different media: record, tape, CD, whatever; nor am I speaking of multiple performances of a classical piece used in a particular movie; I'm talking about recordings by 3 different groups under different conductors performing a score that was originally written for a particular movie). Maniacs only need respond.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #49 on: February 06, 2009, 10:10:42 PM »

Well, I didn't get to the library today thanks to airens, so I opted to watch Under Capricorn tonight.

This film is pretty darn average. It's a rather straight-forward historical costume drama with a pretty routine plot, cardboard characters, theatrical dialogue (I believe this was based on a play) and lots of vast, sweeping studio sets. Hitch's direction is good but nothing spectacular; the long takes are done well but they're not overly interesting (unlike Rope) and the script and acting aren't good enough to make this more than a filmed play (and not an overly interesting one either). Plus, the casting is odd, to say the least. Hitchcock's idea of Australians is Joseph Cotten and Ingrid Bergman!? That's just wrong. Bergman's pretty good considering what she has to work with, but Cotten seems grossly out of place. The Brit cast is pretty good (nice to see Cecil Parker from The Ladykillers) but there seems to be little in the story dependent on an Australian setting; the studio sets and complete lack of anything Australian bely the fact that this is just a normal costume drama. It's a curious film, interesting in a way but not really engrossing; I can't say I'm disappointed because I didn't have overly high expectations, but it's frustratingly mediocre. 6/10 seems fair.

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
noodles_leone
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5113


Lonesome Billy


View Profile WWW
« Reply #50 on: February 06, 2009, 10:25:26 PM »

I saw it years ago, and i remember having the exact same feeling about that movie...

Logged


New music video: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE https://youtu.be/p968oyMo5B0
www.ThibautOskian.com
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13703

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2009, 02:47:47 AM »

The film grows on you. A single viewing isn't sufficient. It's fun to see the usual cutty Hitchcock adopting the gliding camera approach here and so give Preminger and Ophuls a run for their money. I note, Groggy, that you say nothing of the score (you'd better listen again). And the cinematography! This is not only a Technicolor Hitchcock (a rare thing), but one shot by Jack Cardiff himself (just after doing Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes). If you were not marveling at the colors while you watched that can only be because you were viewing an inferior transfer. Granted, the film on video is not represented well in R1; you have to either see it projected or acquire a DVD from abroad to experience it in its full glory. I'm guessing you haven't really seen the film yet.

Nonetheless, the film's technical merits can't cover the fact that the story isn't all that it should be. Over at the Hitchcock board I pointed to obvious structural flaws and took a crack at how to fix them [ahem, SPOILERS ahoy]:
Quote
Watching the film again last night (on the lovely French DVD), I was struck by how awkwardly constructed the plot is toward the end. In particular, the fact that Hattie confesses to Charles before her confession to the Governor, which, needless to say, makes the second confession anticlimactic. Also, there is not enough for Charles to do after he is shot. He recovers quickly, we are told, but we do not see him back on stage until the very end. What's he doing all that time? And why doesn't he come forward with his evidence more promptly?

These problems could have all been solved by reversing the order of the confessions. If Hattie confesses to the Governor first, it will merely seem like a stratagem to save her husband, not only to the Governor, but to Charles and the audience as well. Charles would then put all his energy into persuading Hattie to retract her confession. Then Ingrid Bergman could have her emotional speech about the killing of her brother, only this time it would climax with the sudden understanding (by Charles and the audience simultaneously) that Hattie is in fact telling the truth. Realizing this, Charles would then also understand the true nature of the relationship between Hattie and Flusky, and see just how ridiculous his own position is. He would give up all hope of winning Hattie away from her husband, he would immediately go to the Governor and give his evidence, Flusky would be released from jail, and Hattie would retract her confession. The quay-side departure would then proceed as scripted.

I'm certain with this bit of restructuring, the drama would work better, making the whole appear better than "average." Even as it exists now, it stands up better than most Gainsborough films (which is what it most resembles).

« Last Edit: February 07, 2009, 02:48:54 AM by dave jenkins » Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
stanton
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2987



View Profile
« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2009, 06:01:09 AM »


Family Plot 7/10
Frenzy 8/10
Topaz 6/10
Torn Curtain 6/10
Marnie 7/10
The Birds 10/10
Psycho 10/10
North by Northwest 10/10
Vertigo 10/10
The Wrong Man 8/10
The Trouble With Harry 5/10
The Man Who Knew Too Much 8/10
To Catch a Thief 9/10
Rear Window 8/10
Dial M for Murder 6/10
I Confess 6/10
Strangers on a Train 9/10
Stage Fright 6/10
Under Capricorn 5/10
Rope 7/10
The Paradine Case 8/10
Notorious 10/10
Spellbound 7/10
Lifeboat 6/10
Shadow of a Doubt 10/10
Saboteur 8/10
Mr. and Mrs. Smith 6/10
Suspicion 9/10
Foreign Correspondent 8/10
Rebecca 8/10
Jamaica Inn 6/10
The Lady Vanishes 8/10
Young and Innocent 8/10
Secret Agent 6/10
Sabotage 6/10
The 39 Steps 8/10
The Man Who Knew Too Much 10/10
Number 17 5/10
Rich and Strange 8/10
Murder! 6/10
Blackmail 9/10
Downhill 6/10
The Lodger 8/10


Logged

Cusser
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1562


Remember, I always see the job through !


View Profile
« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2009, 07:04:20 AM »

Just got a third version of the Vertigo score on CD. That's right, I now own copies of 3 different performances of a film score. Can anyone else match or beat this? (I'm not talking about owning the same performance on different media: record, tape, CD, whatever; nor am I speaking of multiple performances of a classical piece used in a particular movie; I'm talking about recordings by 3 different groups under different conductors performing a score that was originally written for a particular movie). Maniacs only need respond.

I've got three (or four) versions of "Adventures of Robin Hood", depending on how you count.  First is LP record actually made from the original 78 rpm records that were made and sold about 1938 (first commercial soundtrack recording and radio broadcast).  Second is Korngold's son's version, where he got Utah Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Varujan Kojian) to make a clean recording (I have LP and CD of this).  Third is the Moscow symphony version (CD).  Fourth is that the 2-disc DVD contains a "music-only" soundtrack of the original fim, haven't seen this feature before.

Logged
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13703

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2009, 07:24:10 AM »

I've got three (or four) versions of "Adventures of Robin Hood", depending on how you count.  First is LP record actually made from the original 78 rpm records that were made and sold about 1938 (first commercial soundtrack recording and radio broadcast).  Second is Korngold's son's version, where he got Utah Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Varujan Kojian) to make a clean recording (I have LP and CD of this).  Third is the Moscow symphony version (CD).  Fourth is that the 2-disc DVD contains a "music-only" soundtrack of the original fim, haven't seen this feature before.
Interesting. But if I read you right, your fourth version, although different in many ways from the first, is still the same performance. So I credit you with 3 separate performances. Excellent. I was wondering how common this is (that is, that a score has a career of its own apart from its film and becomes part of the classical repertory). Perhaps there are other many other examples (and now that I think of it, I'm also excluding musicals).

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #55 on: February 08, 2009, 02:11:10 PM »

I decided to be lazy on my blog today and post my IMDB comment of Frenzy, so...

Quote
A serial killer is on the loose in London - a sex maniac who rapes his victims and then strangles them with his tie. This couldn't matter less to Richard Blaney (Jon Finch), a bitter, washed-up veteran who loses his job at a pub and is generally mad at the world. But Blaney soon becomes the prime suspect after his ex-wife (Barbara Leigh-Hunt) becomes a victim of the killer - and the circumstantial evidence implicating him becomes overwhelming. With the help of co-worker/lover Babs (Anna Massey) and the reluctant help of an old RAF buddy and his wife (Clive Swift and Billie Whitelaw), he goes on the lam, further implicating him. After Babs is found strangled, Blaney is arrested - but Chief Inspector Oxford (Alec McCowan) of Scotland Yard begins to doubt his guilt. Soon, he realizes that the wrong man is in jail - and that the murderer is actually Blaney's buddy Bob Rusk (Barry Foster), a seemingly cheerful Covent Garden grocer. However, Blaney has escaped from jail, and Oxford must get to Rusk before Blaney does in order to sure that the right man is caught.

On the surface, "Frenzy" is a rather typical Alfred Hitchcock film, exploring the familiar ground of a man implicated in a crime he didn't commit, but against whom the evidence is overwhelming. But Hitchcock is able to add some new twists, and a great deal of darkness which make the film stand out in his canon. While not held in terribly high regard by most Hitch enthusiasts, I would name Frenzy as being one of his two or three best films.

After years of self-imposed exile from his homeland, Hitchcock makes a triumphant return to London, and the early sections of the movie show a director sending a big coming-home Valentine to his native land. But the movie is more than that; the attitude quickly becomes dark, sour and sardonic. A British official (John Boxer) giving a speech on pollution is interrupted by the discovery of a body in the river beneath him. Two Englishmen have a rather dark discussion about serial killers and their "appropriateness" in London; indeed, London is the home of Jack the Ripper, so a serial killer on the prowl is business as usual for most. Unlike Americans, the British are rather blasé about the prospect of a murderer in their midst. This essentially British attitude pervades the film, as Hitchcock employs his trademark dark humor to accentuate the violence going on around him.

The movie has several striking images and scenes which make it stand out. The most obvious is the murder of Barbara Leigh-Hunt, an uncomfortably long and graphic scene of rape and violence, where Hitchcock takes full advantage of the increasingly lax censorship. The shot of Leigh-Hunt's corpse with its tongue dangling out is extremely chilling. Even more effective is the murder of Babs, as Hitchcock sets us up, then pans back through the apartment and out into the bustling street - a bravura piece of film making that says more than another, equally graphic strangulation could have. The scene where Rusk rides a potato truck to recover a bit of evidence from one of his victims (another typical Hitchcock device - making us sympathize with the killer) is effectively suspenseful. The scenes of comedy, particularly the Inspector's gourmet dinners with his wife (Vivien Merchant), go along with rather than provide relief from the violent goings-on in the main plot. And the denouement is classic Hitch.

Another ingenious twist is the character of Dick Blaney. Blaney is another Hitchcockian "wrong man" who, seemingly trapped by circumstantial evidence and afraid of the police, goes on the run, seemingly implicating himself. But unlike previous such characters - Henry Fonda in The Wrong Man, Grace Kelly in Dial M For Murder, Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief and North By Northwest - Blaney is a completely surly, unlikeable character who nags his ex-wife, carries on in public, and is a complete an utter jerk (as evidenced by a surprisingly affective shot where he tramples a box of grapes on the street). Bob Rusk, by contrast, is cheerful, friendly and helpful - when he's not strangling women, of course. It's very hard to work up much sympathy for Blaney; while some consider this a drawback, I'd actually consider it a benefit, and it's an intriguing twist on a hoary old idea that Hitchcock pulls of brilliantly.

The cast is uniformly excellent. Hitchcock probably benefits from the lack of established stars; the B- and C-list actors here are probably better for not having the baggage of a screen persona with them. Jon Finch pulls off his rather difficult character well, avoiding the temptation to make Blaney likable. Barry Foster turns in a chillingly effective performance as Rusk, making him one of Hitchcock's greatest villains. Anna Massey and Barbara Leigh-Hunt are both charming, while Jean Marsh is effective as the cold-hearted, man-hating secretary who is key in convicting Blaney. Alex McCowan and Vivien Merchant provide several scenes of hysterical black humor as the Investigator and his wife. Clive Swift, Billie Whitelaw, Elsie Randolph and Michael Bates round out the cast nicely.

Frenzy is arguably the best of Hitchcock's later efforts, and it stands up very well even next to his best work. By adding a few neat twists and a welcome edge of darkness, the Master of Suspense creates another masterful thriller. 9/10

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2009/02/frenzy.html

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13703

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2009, 11:26:53 AM »

"groggybruno"? That's the best you could do?

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
Groggy
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 11458


This post gets Agnew's stamp of approval!


View Profile WWW
« Reply #57 on: February 09, 2009, 11:31:28 AM »

Stalking me again, huh? Cheesy

Logged


Saturday nights with Groggy
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13703

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2009, 01:49:32 PM »

No. Where's the sport in stalking the most predictable guy on the planet?

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13703

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #59 on: February 16, 2009, 10:30:38 PM »

I just spent $4.95 so you all could read this. Hope you appreciate it.
Quote
The Trouble With Alfred Hitchcock
Terry Teachout

February 2009


In November of last year, Cahiers du Cinéma, the influential French film magazine, asked 78 French-speaking critics and scholars to choose the greatest film directors of all time. Alfred Hitchcock received the second-highest number of votes, just behind Jean Renoir but ahead of Fritz Lang, Charlie Chaplin, John Ford, Orson Welles, Ingmar Bergman, Luis Buñuel, F.W. Murnau, and Howard Hawks. The same group gave Hitchcock’s Vertigo the number-eight spot on a list of the 100 best films.1

No eyebrows were raised by the inclusion of a director of thrillers on so stellar a list of what the French refer to as cinéastes. Nor is anyone known to have expressed surprise in 2002 when Sight & Sound, the British film magazine, published the results of the latest in a series of top-10 polls that it has been conducting at decade-long intervals since 1952. On that occasion, an international panel of film critics ranked Vertigo at #2 on their list of great films, just behind Citizen Kane, while a similar group of film directors placed it at #6.

What is most noteworthy about Hitchcock’s inclusion on these lists, however, is that it is a comparatively recent development. It was not until 1982, for instance, that Vertigo first made Sight & Sound’s top ten. By then it had become commonplace to speak of Hitchcock as a great artist, though such talk had been rare in his own lifetime. To be sure, James Agee, the much-admired film critic of Time and the Nation, had gone so far as to suggest that his films were comparable in quality to the work of “all but the few best writers of his time.” But Agee’s was a minority opinion. More common was the view of Dwight Macdonald, who wrote in 1960 that while Hitchcock’s early films had been full of “humor and romance,” these qualities had been “leached out by his years in Hollywood, and there now remains only the ingenuity and the meanness.”

What made the critics change their mind about Hitchcock? The first step in his elevation to the pantheon came with the publication in 1967 of Hitchcock/Truffaut, a book in which the French director François Truffaut, a central figure in the “new wave” of postwar European cinema, interviewed his older colleague at length about the making of Hitchcock’s 50-odd feature films. Not coincidentally, Truffaut’s book appeared at the moment when the long-accepted distinction between “commercial” and “art” films was breaking down. Throughout the first half-century of filmmaking, it had been generally assumed that Europe was the center of artistically serious cinema. As early as the 50’s, though, a new generation of critics was starting to pay closer attention to the work of such Hollywood directors as Ford, Hawks, and Hitchcock, and before long their films were being taken as seriously as the rock critics of the day took the music of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. In the same way that the pop culture of the 60’s attained critical respectability, so did the maker of Psycho and To Catch a Thief come to be viewed not as a purveyor of well-crafted entertainment but as an artist of the first rank.

But does Hitchcock’s body of work merit such praise? Or is its current critical standing a reflection of the postmodern tendency to treat pop culture as though it were comparable in significance to high art?

_____________

 

The first step in disentangling Hitchcock’s achievement from his reputation is to recognize that his output was extremely variable in quality. While the best of the movies that he made in England between 1925 and 1939 are more than just (in his own dismissive phrase) “the work of a talented amateur,” such early efforts as The 39 Steps (1935) and The Lady Vanishes (1938) are for the most part little more than polished entertainments in which Hitchcock’s characteristic style and thematic preoccupations were still taking shape.

It was not until Hitchcock emigrated to America in 1939 that he evolved into a mature artist, and even then the process was a protracted one. It would be four years before he made the first film, Shadow of a Doubt, in which the elements of his style came into focus for the first time. And of the two dozen feature films that followed it, only Notorious (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959), and Psycho (1960) are worthy of close critical scrutiny. Several of the other films that Hitchcock made during the two-decade-long period of his creative ascendancy, Rebecca (1940) and To Catch a Thief (1955) in particular, are hugely diverting in their glossy way, but the others are less interesting, and after Psycho he lost his creative touch. In the end, then, it is on these seven films alone that Hitchcock’s claim to artistic seriousness ultimately rests.

What do these films have in common? To begin with, they are thrillers whose protagonists unexpectedly find themselves entangled in situations that put their lives at risk. One or more of the protagonists is morally equivocal, on occasion to the point of outright villainy. At the same time, most of these films also contain comic scenes, and two, Rear Window and North by Northwest, are in essence romantic comedies with suspenseful plots. Above all, Hitchcock’s key films deal more in images than in words. He had started out as a silent filmmaker, and even after the introduction of sound in 1928, his movies continued to be visually oriented to a degree unusual among directors of his generation.

This is not to say that the dialogue in a Hitchcock film is incidental. All seven of his key movies are well written, and on one of them, Shadow of a Doubt, he collaborated with a noted playwright, Thornton Wilder.2 But Hitchcock’s main interest as a filmmaker was not in plot or dialogue but in dramatic situations, and in most cases he chose to articulate them pictorially rather than verbally. Indeed, many of the best-remembered episodes from his key films, such as the scene in North by Northwest in which Cary Grant is chased across a cornfield by a renegade cropduster, are self-contained vignettes that contain little or no dialogue.

_____________

 

Hitchcock’s visual orientation was so strong as to approach the abstract. This made his films seem illogical to older critics whose expectations had been shaped by the conventions of the novel and the stage. Graham Greene, for example, found Hitchcock’s early films to be dramatically shallow, mainly because they lacked the armature of plot-based psychological development that Greene thought essential to storytelling:

    His films consist of a series of small “amusing” melodramatic situations. . . . Very perfunctorily he builds up to these tricky situations (paying no attention on the way to inconsistencies, loose ends, psychological absurdities) and then drops them; they mean nothing: they lead to nothing.

But Hitchcock did not care to make plot-driven films. To be sure, all of his films have plots, but in most cases their scripts pivot around a tiny plot twist, trivial in itself, that is used to set the characters in motion. Most film critics of the 30’s and 40’s, by contrast, seem to have thought of the medium as an offshoot of live theater, not an independent art form with its own rules, and they underrated Hitchcock precisely because he chose to structure his films in a way that had little in common with the iron logic of the “well-made” stage play.

Conversely, it was this same preference that led the new-wave filmmakers of the 50’s and 60’s to embrace Hitchcock’s work. Only then did he come to be viewed as a major figure in American film. But while François Truffaut and his European contemporaries all deemphasized plot in favor of character and atmosphere, Hitchcock had something quite different in mind. As he explained to Ernest Lehman, who wrote the screenplay for North by Northwest:

    The audience is like a great organ that you and I are playing. At one moment we play this note on them and get this reaction, and then we play that chord and they react that way. And someday we won’t even have to make a movie —there’ll be electrodes implanted in their brains, and we’ll just press different buttons and they’ll go “ooooh” and “aaaah” and we’ll frighten them, and make them laugh.

That Hitchcock should have used a musical metaphor to describe his artistic ambitions was no accident. George Bernard Shaw once remarked of Verdi’s Il Trovatore that “it is absolutely void of intellectual interest: the appeal is to the instincts and the senses all through.” Much the same thing can be said of Vertigo, whose plot borders on the nonsensical and whose characters, in the memorable phrase of the film critic Charles Thomas Samuels, are “mere containers of stress.” Such a film can only be properly appreciated if it is approached as an exercise in non-naturalistic theater, the cinematic equivalent of a piece of dramatic music or a plotless ballet whose “subject matter” is pure emotion.3

CONTINUED
 

 


Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for being such an annoying Melville fanboy.
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 34 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Visit FISTFUL-OF-LEONE.COM

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.045 seconds with 18 queries.