Dr. Rich Edwards

8/1/17 Lecture Note Discussion: Remakes, Homages, and Films Inspired by Hitchcock

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Season 12, episode 5 of American Dad, titled "Bahama Mama," features a murder-swapping story line à la Strangers on a Train.

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So, I've been watching a lot of Hitchcock lately, but just tried to catch up on my other DVR favorites and GRANTCHESTER is one that I've come up with that is very Hitchcockian.  I love the POV shots and the high angle shots.  One shot in particular struck me where they had a close-up on a man's mouth as he stated a very snarky response to a woman in the show.

Hmmmm.  I <3 Grantchester.  I hadn't thought about Hitchcock when I watched this show.  But I will definitely keep it in mind for my second viewing!

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This has been a fantastic class and I'm so glad I was able to participate.  Thank you!

 

I'm not sure these films were inspired by Hitchcock but I've always felt they had a Hitchcock feel:

 

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Gaslight

Dark Passage

 

I also absolutely love the film Foul Play and it's spoofing of Hitchcock's films.  I remember watching it as a kid and at the time, I didn't understand the references but thought it was funny.  Now when I watch it as an adult (which is often as I have it on DVD) I love it that much more.

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This has been a fantastic class and I'm so glad I was able to participate.  Thank you!

 

I'm not sure these films were inspired by Hitchcock but I've always felt they had a Hitchcock feel:

 

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Gaslight

Dark Passage

 

I also absolutely love the film Foul Play and it's spoofing of Hitchcock's films.  I remember watching it as a kid and at the time, I didn't understand the references but thought it was funny.  Now when I watch it as an adult (which is often as I have it on DVD) I love it that much more.

 

I assume the staff that made those 3 films (director, producers,  screenwriters, cinematographers)  were influenced by many different directors, producers, etc...     (just like Hitchcock was).  

 

But I would assume Fritz Lang had a bigger influence on the makers of those films than Hitchcock.   (as well as noir films in general).

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1.)  Another film inspired by Hitchcock is the 1994 suspense thriller (American giallo as well) Color of Night starring Bruce Willis and directed by Richard Rush.

 

2.)  Some of Italian filmmaker Dario Argento's films are inspired by Hitchcock most notably 1975's Deep Red and Do You Like Hitchcock ?

 

3.)  There was a science-fiction retelling of Hitchcock's film, Lifeboat.  A 1994 TV movie entitled "Lifepod" was about several people trapped in an escape pod in outer space.

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My list of Hitchcock inspired films not including Brian di Palma are as follows:

 

1. Gaslight(1944)-George Cukor

 

2.Spiral Staircase( 1946)-Robert Siodmak

 

3.Charade(1963)-Stanley Donen

 

4. Mirage(1965)-Edward Dmytryk

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A big "Thank You" to all students of this fantastic class, TCM, and Professor Edwards.  I learned so much more about Hitchcock, and watched most of his films.  There is always something more to understand about the vulnerability, strengths, and fears within human nature, art, society, cinematography, music, sound/visual effects that Hitchcock left as his legacy.  Culturally influential, and timeless.

This was his final cameo.

 

My selection of modern day films similar to "Rear Window":

 

Body Double, 1984

Brian DePalma

 

Blue Velvet, 1986

David Lynch

 

Peeping Tom, 1960

Michael Powell

Good call on Blue Velvet!

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This has been a great course!  I was lucky enough to be raised by two movie-loving parents, so I've been a life-long movie addict, but this is my first experience taking a course on films.  I definitely should have started sooner because I thoroughly enjoyed it!  And I learned a lot!  I've seen a lot of the films previously, but I can't believe how much more I noticed in them after some of the "lessons."  It has really opened my eyes and ears to have a new appreciation of some of these films.  Thank you Dr. Edwards for a great class -- hope there will be more soon!  And I'll register early next time, so I'm not playing "catch up."''

 

I already responded with some Hitchcockian movies, particularly a number of Barbara Stanwyck films, but I thought of some more:

 

​They Won't Believe Me​ with Robert Young and Susan Hayward

The Second Woman​ with Robert Young and Betsy Drake

 

I don't remember if anyone mentioned Gilda with Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, but there is also ​Affair in Trinidad​ with the same pair.

It seems like Glenn Ford was in quite a few suspense movies with some Hitchcock touches.  They were generally low-budget, but still effective thrillers:

Framed (1947)

Convicted (1950)

Terror on a Train (1953)

Experiment in Terror (1962)

Ransom (1956)  ​with Donna Reed 

 

Ransom​ was remade in 1996 with Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, and Rene Russo and directed by Ron Howard.  I rarely ever like a remake as well as the original, but this is an exception.  This was much more suspenseful with a lot of unexpected twists.

 

Some other more recent movies:

The Big Fix​ with Richard Dreyfuss (combined suspense with humor without being a comedy)

Bloodwork​ with Clint Eastwood

Hostage​ with Bruce Willis

Frantic​  and  Firewall​  both with Harrison Ford

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OOPS!  I forgot to mention in the message I just posted  --  I made a mistake in my earlier post (Aug. 2).  I listed four movies and said they starred Ray Milland, but they actually starred Van Heflin.  The movies were:

 

​Possessed

Act of Violence

​Black Widow

The Prowler

 

Sorry for the mistake!

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While watching the latest episode of Twin Peaks, I was shocked to notice so many similarities between Hitch and David Lynch.  Here are some things I've been thinking about while watching Twin Peaks with my Hitchcock goggles on:

 

- Birds (the owls/owl symbols, the mynah bird that is the "witness" on the night Laura Palmer died)

- Doubles (the constant use of doppelgangers in Twin Peaks and how they are a physical representation of competing sides, good vs evil, etc)

- Staircases (the staircase in the Palmer house shown throughout the series)

- Food (coffee, pie, donuts - the scene in season one when the mynah bird is shot through the window and blood drips all over the donuts - that seemed so Hitchcockian!)

- Bad marriages, and their effect on children

- Silent scenes/long stretches without dialogue or music

- Numbers (13 for Hitchcock, Twin Peaks is full of significant numbers)

- Violence as a mode of interaction between people

- Strong color to convey a character's emotional state and where they are/what they're going through (in Twin Peaks - the red rooms, the scenes at the building on the water that are entirely purple)

- Comedy/absurdity that pokes fun at the intensity of a character's emotions or the seriousness of their jeopardy

- A sort of MacGuffin - though it seems that Lynch usually has an explanation or definition for his MacGuffins, the audience isn't always aware of the explanation, which serves to separate the characters' reactions from their causes - Lynch seems to use the MacGuffin to isolate and draw attention to the actions of the character rather than to further the plot.  (Not to mention that the original intent of the show was to feature Laura Palmer's unsolvable death as a MacGuffin.)

- In Twin Peaks, we're frequently shown a scene without any background information by which to judge the characters or their actions - a sort of suspense-in-reverse.  (This seems to pointedly be the opposite of Hitch's approach of giving the audience the information before the characters get it.)

- The idea of intersecting paths and near misses (which brings to mind the map of Twin Peaks that is covered with symbols and the sense of danger and intrigue the map imparts, which made me think of the overhead shot of Bodega Bay showing us the landscape with a line of fire and the birds in the foreground - both fire and birds are symbols on the Twin Peaks map)

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  1.)  Another Hitchcock inspired thriller is 1987's  "The Bedroom Window". The films is a homage to Rear Window and stars Steve Guttenberg and was directed by Curtis Hanson.

 

 

  2.)  Another Hitchcock remake is 1976's "The Lady Vanishes" starring Elliot Gould.  This was the last film produced by Hammer Studios.

 

 

3.)   Full title of The Birds II is The Birds II: Lands' End and the film was 1994 made for Showtime movies.

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Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer (2010) very much reminds me of a Hitchcock film. It's been a long time since I've seen it. I honestly don't remember the finer points, just that I walked out of the theatre and thought to myself, "Hitch would have made this film if he were alive today."

 

Another is Chris Nolan's debut feature, Following (1998), which has all the moodiness and suspense of a Hitchcock thriller.

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Several people mentioned Ghost Writer, and I absolutely agree, but I think Polanski was influenced by Hitchcock across his body of work. Rosemary's Baby...the much-discussed shot where Ruth Gordon is on the phone in the bedroom and audiences leaned to try to see around the door is very Hitchcock...and The Tenant, with its echoes of Psycho and other Hitchcock doubles, a neglected but very creepy horror film. Body Heat's (Kasdan) Hitchcockian plot has been mentioned, but there are so many Hitchcock images throughout that movie, and music (and the chimes) are extremely important as well. 

Looking at spoofs, let's not forget Get Smart...that show offered numerous tips of the hat to Hitchcock, including "Greer Window," where Max has been shot in the rear and observes skullduggery through his window. 

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My favorite homage to Hitchcock is Brian dePalma's Obsession with Cliff Robertson & Genevieve Bujold. Its homage to Vertigo includes a lushly romantic score by Bernard Hermann.

 

3 films not yet mentioned (and unlikely to be named) are:

 

1. THE CHALK GARDEN

Deborah Kerr, John Mills, Dame Edith Evans, Hayley Mills

 

a. British cast & location-----reminiscent of Hitchcock's British period

b. The screenplay, adapted from a British play written by Enid Bagnold in 1951, was written by John Michael Hayes (who also wrote Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, To Catch a Thief & the 2nd Man Who Knew Too Much)

c. Aberrant behavior of pyrhomania caused by child's perception of lack of maternal love (like Marnie's kleptomania & Norma Bate's assumed identity of "Mother")

d. Innocent (possibly) victim of wrongful accusation & conviction of a crime

e. False identity & its suspenseful quest to uncover the true identity by the child protagonist, culminating in a dinner party confrontation with a judge from the past who knows the identity & crime (as Marnie is confronted by Strut at the Hunt Ball)

f. Two lead characters delight in discussions of True British Crime Mysteries (as did two characters in Shadow of a Doubt enjoy with Techniques of Murder)

g. psychological thriller with journey of central characters' potential redemption through relationships of trust

h. the sterility of wealth in nurturing life, with the chalk garden as a metaphor

 

2. THE TAMARIND SEED

Omar Sharif, Julie Andrews, Anthony Quayle, Sylvia Sims

 

a. Set in the world of Cold War espionage, with international locations of Barbados, Paris, London & Moscow (like Torn Curtain & Topaz)

b. Color imagery of red & blue to indicate passion, fire, political affiliation, coolness, fidelity (true-blue), code words and more; but especially their link to the fire & water symbols of change and impermanence

c. The opening credits are pulled from the close-up of a blue eye (Andrew's), like Vertigo & the bathroom death scene in Psycho

d. Andrew's present life is haunted by nightmares & a lost love through violent death (Vertigo)

e. Couple opposites: the love of Sharif & Andrews as counterpoint to the deception & infidelity of top British official & his wife

f. Conflicts of appearance vs reality, particularly as it pertains trust & deception and cynicism vs faith

g. There is an homage to Hitchcock in a scene where a TV is playing Foreign Correspondent

h. Uncertainty of affiliation....who are the good guys & the bad?

i. Beautiful musical score by John Barry is used effectively, as in so many Hitchcock films

j. Relationships are paramount over the nihilistic shenanigans of international intrigue & double-dealing

 

3. THE MOOSPINNERs

Eli Walach, irene Papas, Joan Greenwood, Peter McEnery, Hayley Mills, Pola Negri

 

Can you believe it.....even DISNEY was influenced by Hitchcock!

 

a. Hitchcock themes: an innocent man is falsely accused (in this case, a jewel theft); double chase (here the innocent man chases the villain who stole the jewels, while the villain chases the innocent man to stop him from revealing the true thief), an everyman (in this case an everywoman) becomes embroiled in dangerous intrigue; picaresque journey in various locales, including ghoulish settings in a crypt, a ruined Greek temple, and a hearse.

b. The beautifully photographed setting of Crete is instrumental to the story, as San Francisco is to Vertigo

c. Danger in public places, as here in a MardiGra type festival

d. An elegantly tailored and mannered gentleman of the British Consulate is revealed to be the chief villain of the jewel thieves

e. There is a chase of the hero with a motorboat as the killing device, as there was of the crop-dusting plane in North by Northwest

f. Humor suffuses many scenes

g. The ultimate Hitchcock moment is a cliff-hanger of a rescue from the top of a windmill by riding its sails

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Newly released 2017 film in the Hitchcockian vein- Lady Macbeth written by Alice Birch, directed by William Oldroyd.

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  1. Charade

Wait Until Dark

Memento

Inception

Signs

Blood Simple

The Third Man

Videodrome

Dead Ringers

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