Dr. Rich Edwards

8/2/17 Lecture Note Discussion: Who Would be a Hitchcock Collaborator in 2017?

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Hi #Hitchcock50 Students:

 

We continue our final reflections on 50 Years of Hitchcock with a twist today. 

 

I want you to engage in some speculative thinking.

 

Based on what you learned about Hitchcock's collaborators in this class, who do you think Hitchcock would reach out to today to collaborate with him or her, if Hitch were making new films in 2017?

 

In other words, who would be his new Bernard Herrmann? Who would be his new Edith Head? What contemporary writer would Hitchcock have loved to collaborate with?

 

Be creative! Hope you enjoy this assignment!

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As for composers, Hitchcock probably would have been known as the person who discovered John Williams rather than Spielberg. Hitchcock's popularity at the time would have led Williams to more willingly work with him than a 'nobody' like Spielberg. However, the late James Horner or Hans Zimmer might be a better choice as this men have worked with so many collaborators and their work has left a memorable mark on cinema already. Zimmer seems like he would listen to the director's input more than others as he has writtten so many varied pieces and for so many different types of films such as, The Lion King and The Dark Knight. It may be a score but it is a totally different audience.

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My ideal combination would be something like Hitchcock as director, Tarantino as screenwriter, DiCaprio and Liam Neeson starring and Morricone composing the score. That would be a fitting dream team!

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For me it would be John Williams. His career spans from the 60s through today. And he has work not only in the movies but television and was the lead conductor for the Boston Pops for a number of years. A couple of years ago I saw the interview with Williams and Spielberg. They spoke a length about the collaboration between them. It was more than each working in their own world giving each other the special touch. Probably is most famous score was Fiddler On The Roof for score adaptation (he won an Oscar). Other non-Spielberg films include:

The Poseidon Adventure

Tom Sawyer

Cinderella Liberty

Family Plot

Towering Inferno

The Witches of Eastwick

Born on the Fourth of July

JFK

Harry Potter

The Patriot

 

That was just to name a few. He crossed all genres but most people done realize that.

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Who would be Hitchcock's 'Bernard Hermann'? John Williams.

 

Hitch already worked with Williams on his final film, Family Plot. We know Hitch would reuse people. Williams is a masterful composer who can tackle any genre, so we know no matter what Hitch wanted Williams could create.

 

We know the power of Bernard Hermann. Think of Psycho without his score. The same is true of John Williams. Think of Jaws without HIS score.

 

 

Williams had done spy thrillers (his score for The Eiger Sanction is wonderful), Gothic Horror (Dracula) Sci-Fi Thrillers (Minority Report), Political Dramas (Munich), Action Adventure (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Courtroom Dramas, (Presumed Innocent), ans Horror (Jaws). So Williams has shown he can tackle any Genre even remotely near to Hitchcock, and what Hitchcock might have made.

 

 

Much is said of Hitchcock collaborators - editors, Production Designers, costume designers, writers - but one name is often overlooked: Albert Whitlock.An artist and one of the most famous matte artists of all time, Whitlock worked on Hitch's original Man Who Knew Too Much in 1934 right through to Hitch's final film, Family Plot in 1976. That's an over 40 year collaboration!!! Second only to Alma Reville his wife.We know how Hitch loved his matte paintings. And while Whitlock didn't work on EVERY Hitchcock film over those 40 years, he worked on dozens, and many of his Key films from The 39 Steps to Frenzy to The Birds.

 

Because we know Hitch loved matte shots, and made many scenes that could ONLY be done in matte shots (The overhead shot of Scottie leaving the mission after Madeline's 'death', and Thornhill leaving the UN Building after the murder of Townsend), we can assume he would continue to use mattes in later films. I would think he would work with Weta Workshop, a top notch special effect house that did the digital mattes for the Lord of The Rings trilogy.

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Who would be Hitchcock's new Bernard Herrmann? Who would be his Edith Head? What contemporary writer would Hitchcock have loved to collaborate with? 

 

​    There are so many highly talented and creative people in the current movie industry that this is a very difficult assignment. However, I have selected three candidates to be Hitchcock's modern collaborators.

 

      For music I have selected Howard Shore. He is a two time Academy Award winner. He created the music for The Hobbit​ series and all three of the Lord of the Rings​ films. He also created the music for ​Silence of the Lambs and The Aviator​. He has also tackled several comedic films to include the ​Saturday Night Live Christmas​! I think he would have the versatility and range to meet Hitchcock's needs. Being able to collaborate with Peter Jackson gives him great credibility.

 

 

 

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       For costume designer I have selected Lindy Hemming​. She is an award winning costume designer. She won the 2000  Academy Award for the film Topsy-Turvy​. She has been nominated for eleven other awards. These include such films as ​Dark Knight, Batman Begins,  and Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets. She has also done two James Bond films.

 

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       For writer I would recommend Michael Connelly​. He is known for Lincoln Lawyer, Bloodwork and Bosch.​ I think his style would suit Hitchcock.

 

                               masthead-background.jpg

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I might be going out on a limb here, but in my view, one of the best creative teams these days is in TV (not film).  I'm referring to everyone involved in bringing Breaking Bad (and Better Call Saul) to the small screen.  

 

I can see Hitchcock collaborating with Vince Gilligan b/c he shares his interest in dark characters, his ability to beautifully showcase landscapes (New Mexico) and his ability to create truly believable anti-heros (Walter White).

 

I would argue that Norman Bates is something of an anti-hero.  Wes Gehring (sp?) touched on this when, in discussing Psycho, he pointed out that we actually *want* the car to sink fully into the swamp; we somehow want to protect Norman from getting caught.   Why is that? Walter White is similar in that he's a meth-making murderer yet somehow we like him, he makes us laugh (pizza on the roof), he is a fully flushed out character with depth. It's confounding, and it works.  It's masterful story telling.

 

I cheated and googled "Academy Awards Best Costume Design" to look at this list of winners and nominations over the years.  Edith Head has far and away the most nominations!  I don't think there is another Edith Head; she's in a league of her own.  That said, BEFORE googling this, the first movie that came to mind was "Gangs of New York" - for having some of the most memorable and historically accurate costumes.  They were designed by Sandy Powell. Given her connection to Martin Scorsese, and his reverence for Hitchcock, this seems a logical suggestion. 

 

 

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Screenwriter - Lawrence Kasdan, Paul Schrader

 

Costume Design - open

 

Director - Sofia Coppola, David Lynch, Lawrence Kasdan, Adrian Lyne

 

Editor - Fred Raskin

 

Cinematographer - Robert Richardson, Emmanuel Lubezki

 

Actors - Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Sharon Stone, Harvey Kietel, Mandy Patinkin, Tom Hanks,

Paul Giammatti, Nicole Kidman

 

Music - Ennio Morricone, John Williams, John Barry, Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman, Hans Zimmer

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Ramin Djawadi --- German composer hands down, what Hitchcock could do with this talent. He now does a lot of HBO scores Westworld score is amazing.

 

Sandy Powell - English Costume Design--- Caravaggio, The Crying Game to most recent Wonderstruck. Everything in between.

 

Never really payed attention to editors until this class.

 

Jane Goldman, James Franco, Tom Hanks and Ron Howard for collaboration, also Larry David, Wes Anderson, and Alexander Philippe(insight). These folks have a variety of talent with a splash of quirky if desired.

 

As for Actors and Actresses he was no longer mainstream, an occasional Reese Witherspoon, Uma Thurman, Helen Mirren, and John Turturro, Geoffrey Rush, Christoph Waltz and Rutger Hauer to name a few would keep audiences coming back. I think he would bring new faces to the screen as Hollywood stars are time crunched and he preferred to take the time he needed to prefect his film with his Hitchcock Touch. It seems odd to think of actors/collaborators today in his films of yesterday.

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After my post on the Hitchcock style - I would start by saying David Mamet - but too many directors! LOL -

 

The writer of The Usual Suspects - Christopher McQuarrie -

 

Maybe David Lynch - but again too many directors

 

Actor - Tim Robbins

 

Actor - The return of Sharon Stone - there are excellent blondes for the cool role - but maybe he would discover the Red Head - my personal choice.

 

Actor - Tom Hanks - of course

 

Aug 2 in NYC screening of Soul Bass Creates

 

There are several Hich related articles on the the Oscar.com site including Hollywood’s Golden Age in The Perfect Match: Hollywood Costume Collaborations - Just found this great site.

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​I think Hitchcock and composer Stephen Sondheim could have produced a major collaboration. There are several reasons why I say this:

​1. Sondheim's love of movies. He's on record saying he's never been a reader, but he's a great lover of movies and has been all his life.

​2. Sondheim loves puzzles. This would seem to be a perfect match for Hitchcock's love of the same: working out the "puzzle" of a  character's psychology, etc.

​3. With "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," Sondheim has said that he wrote the score as if he were scoring a motion picture--a horror picture at that.

​4.  "Sweeney Todd" contains many of the themes present in many Hitchcock films:
   
​     a. romance: young lovers trying to get together:
​       "Johanna" and "Anthony" in "Sweeney" cf. "Marion" and "Sam" in PSYCHO

 

​     b. grisly murder: "Mrs. Lovett" turning "Sweeney's" murder victims into meat pies;
​         "Marion's" brutal slaughter in PSYCHO
 

​     c. shock value: "Sweeney" singing beautiful ballads while drawing his razor across his

         patrons' throats;
        "Marion's" cleansing, "baptismal" shower suddenly turning into a gruesome blood bath
 

​     d. musical dissonance: high-pitched factory whistle slicing through the score of "Sweeney Todd";
​         Bernard Herrmann's high-pitched staccato scrapings on violins and other strings during PSYCHO's

         infamous shower scene.

 

​     e. touches of humor: comic relief, ditziness of

​         1. "Johanna" who is trapped like a bird (!) by "Judge Turpin" in Sweeney Todd" and her ironic song

             questioning whether caged birds are "singing or...screaming."

​           
         2. "Mrs. Cunningham" (Norma Varden)
​              allowing "Bruno" to demonstrate strangulation on her throat in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN
 

​         3.  "Mrs. Anthony" (Marion Lorne) as "Bruno's" mother. Unable to acknowledge she has raised a

               psychopath, she escapes into her "soothing" painting.
​               The only painting we see looks like Dorian Gray's horrific portrait that he hides in the attic.

      f. Treatment of the psycho-sexual

          1. In "Sweeney", "Judge Turpin satisfying his lust, flagellating himself while watching his ward
​             Johanna
(Sweeney's daughter) through a keyhole;

​             
In PSYCHO, Norman watching Marion through peephole while she undresses before showering
​   
         
2. In VERTIGO, Scottie's love/lust for Madeleine, a woman who doesn't actually exist, or is dead.
​              P
sychologically, a form of necro******; obsession to remake "Judy" into "Madeleine"
​  
           3.
In "Sweeney," Mrs. Lovett's lust for Sweeney, who's merely using her to dispose of his victims

 

 

 

5.  Commentaries on marriage:  Sondheim's "Company" and "Follies"; "Chief Inspector Oxford" and "Mrs.

     Oxford" in FRENZY

​6.  Love of theater/show business:

 

     --Hitchcock's THE PLEASURE GARDEN; THE 39 STEPS; STAGEFRIGHT

 

     --Sondheim's "Follies"

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First and foremost, the collaborator that comes to my mind would be Tim Burton. I think his dark sense of whimsy would very much appeal to Hitchcock. I feel the two have much in common and would enjoy each others company as well as input. it is said that much of Burton's story lines are autobiographical- and haven't we seen Hitchcock in all of his own films?

 

and as long as we we're talking Tim Burton, we must of course include the composer Danny Elfman. I think Hitchcock would approve his attention to detail, the way his compositions fill in the story line by taking you through a journey all their own, then bring you right back on point. Hitchcock would also have appreciated the use of a full symphonic orchestra combined with the latest electronic sound equipment as well.

 

to round out this collaboration, we must add Burton's costume designer Colleen Atwood who among other things, has noticed that shoulders are peculiar to peregrines.

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First and foremost, the collaborator that comes to my mind would be Tim Burton. I think his dark sense of whimsy would very much appeal to Hitchcock. I feel the two have much in common and would enjoy each others company as well as input. it is said that much of Burton's story lines are autobiographical- and haven't we seen Hitchcock in all of his own films?

 

and as long as we we're talking Tim Burton, we must of course include the composer Danny Elfman. I think Hitchcock would approve his attention to detail, the way his compositions fill in the story line by taking you through a journey all their own, then bring you right back on point. Hitchcock would also have appreciated the use of a full symphonic orchestra combined with the latest electronic sound equipment as well.

 

to round out this collaboration, we must add Burton's costume designer Colleen Atwood who among other things, has noticed that shoulders are peculiar to peregrines.

You just read my mind. I love Tim Burton. And the rest of your list.

I will add a titles designer category: Pablo Ferro. He worked with Kubrick quite often and my friend Douetta (Douy) Swofford. You can google both if you are interested.

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In response to this question, I could go with an "obvious" answer, such as Stephen King as a writing collaborator.  At least then one of King's novels would finally translate well into film in the hands of a master such as Hitchcock.  I realize King's texts are hard to convey on screen, given the nature of his ideas.  However, if anyone could make it work, it would be Hitchcock.  Not to say that all films based on King's novels are bad, it's just that so many fall so short of the mark.  I could also be very self-centered and say that a dream come true for me would be for any director, let alone the masterful Hitchcock, to translate one of my original dark and unpublished stories into a film.  Alas, that will remain on my bucket list forever.  Instead, I think I would love to see what Hitchcock would do with the novel White Noise by the author Don Delillo.  For me, this was a novel that was difficult to confine to only one genre.  However, it does contain a very dark and bleak view on society with apocalyptic overtones and commentary on the overall futility and despair of society, being somewhat existential in that regard.  I think this would have fit well with Hitchcock's later years, especially when he made The Birds and Frenzy, both of which left me a little unsettled, just as I felt after reading White Noise.

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His new Bernard Herrmann would be: Alexandre Desplat.

 

His new Edith Head would be: Lindy Hemming.

 

His new writer would be: Mark Boal.

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I think that Stephen King would make a GREAT collaborator for Hitch! The works of Stephen King are a PERFECT FIT with Hitchcock you can literally see the headlines...THE MASTER OF MACABRE MEETS THE MASTER OF SUSPENSE!!! Who wouldn't want to plunk down their last dollar to buy that movie ticket.

 

Imagine Hitch's "touch" to Carrie?!  :o Hitch would have finally gotten his much deserved Oscar! Every Stephen King movie that was made would have a different twist to it once Hitch got his hands on them. And imagine the books that were NEVER MADE into movies...

 

These two great minds would have worked well together. Both had vivid imaginations when it came to their work. Each artist held you in suspense when they 'told' their tales. You are transported into their stories and you became their characters, you suffered right along with them. You rooted for the 'hero' and wanted to see the 'villain' get what they deserved in the end (especially Pennywise). 

 

One can get any of Stephen's books and just imagine Hitch directing that book...the possibilities are endless and THRILLING!!!!!!!!

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This course has opened m eyes to many things I have neglected related to the movies I enjoy and or admire.  I love watching movies old and new but only lately have I explored more closely the elements and or collaborators that make the movies a success or failure.  So the basis for my answer or discussion is purely a deeper look at my favorite movie last year, Arrival.  I suppose you would characterize it as science fiction but it was so much more.  A character study, a suspence thriller that used an innovative approach to the sci fi genre that I think would have intrigued Alfred Hitchcock.  The movie was intelligent and even combined humor and tragedy very effectively.  It presented a new concept related to communication, time and the way in which we react to strangers and used the element of surprise and emotion to captivate our attention.  Denis Villeneuve director, Joe Walker, editor, screenplay Eric Heisserer and music Johann Johannsson all created a work of art as far as I.m concerned.  I think it would have been interesting to see how this team along with Hitchcock might have explored new territory in the art of film. 

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I think Stephen King would be excellent as a Collaborator because of his work with the macabre.

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I have watched TCM from its beginning days, and was frankly worried that the tenor of the network would change with the passing of Robert Osborne. This course on Hitchcock reminded me that I am far from alone in adoring old films. Your video lectures, Drs. Richards and Gehrig , have been so interesting and informative. They were worth taking the entire program. I am a technological dinosaur and have never engaged in social media. However, the videos and daily doses have taught me what to like and look for in film, and for that I am grateful. I was able to enter posts on them except for week 4, during which I was far too busy. I have learned how to view cinema and get the most out of it because of this enriching series. Thanks to all those whose posts I sincerely enjoyed. I have a long way to go to catch up with all of you.

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Hitchcock collaborators in 2017 - interesting question! I agree with many who have already mentioned Sharon Stone would be certainly be inducted into the Hitchcock Blonde club. Also Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts. Tom Hanks and George Clooney are this generation's Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, respectively. But I sincerely hope that he would take interest in new talent rather than recasting the same archetypes over and over.

 

Composers - Hans ZImmer, Howard Shore, Danny Elfman

 

Editors - Thelma Schoonmaker, Michael Kahn

 

 

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Of directors, Tim Burton immediately came to my mind because of the quirky, often dark and humorous approach to his films. I caught a quick glimpse of many others that share this thought too.

His films are visual like Hitch's.

For the cool blonde it would have to be Nicole Kidman - intelligent, classy and sometimes mysterious. Now, if your "everyman" could be an "everywoman" I would vote for the clever Emma Thompson. Wouldn't she be delightful as the mistaken identity person running from the villains but seeking the MacGuffin! Helen Mirren would make a superb Hitchcock villainess.

For the leading man: Hanks is today's Jimmy Stewart for sure. Mark Wahlberg could also be that perfect everyman caught in something dangerous purely by chance. Johnny Depp could be your Bruno-esque villain. And how about Daniel Craig as today's Cary Grant. Clooney would be good as well but love the accent. Oh - and I heard he retired - but Daniel Day-Lewis as a villain. he could be evil with a smile on his face very easily.

Don't know enough about editors - I'll try and pay more attention now - so I'll let that be.

Composer - I'm going to through out a wacky suggestion: Paul McCartney. He's done a few. He's touched on many types of music, some haunting (Yesterday and Blackbird) and definitely memorable (too many to mention). Especially if the movie was set in the UK - that's his home and his peeps and he would know how to turn that into an orchestral piece. Also - very commercially successful.

Costume designer - how about Anna Robbins (Downton Abbey) or Michele Clapton (Game of Thrones and The Crown) - attention to detail that brings your further into a drama.

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Writers - Ethan and Joel Coen, Quentin Tarantino, Dennis Lehane

Actress - Charlize Theron

Actors - Leo Dicaprio, Cristof Waltz, Tom Hardy

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I don't wish to even try and place my finger on the Edith Head or Bernard Hermann's of today, but I liked some of what I read from others including Sharon Stone as a blond femme fatale or otherwise.

 

Also liked someone saying David Lynch. It doesn't limit the selection in terms of just direction which obviously would fall on Hitch himself, but Lynch is a highly skilled and inventive sound designer. In my opinion his integration of sounds and music is top of the heap.

 

I'd also be interested to see how Hitch would adapt to the CG of today but it's allot of speculation to throw good crafts people in such places unless you are simply looking at the highest paid crafts folk already working in the biz. It's pretty much a grab the best like Spielberg has successfully done for decades now.

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I think that Stephen King would make a GREAT collaborator for Hitch! The works of Stephen King are a PERFECT FIT with Hitchcock you can literally see the headlines...THE MASTER OF MACABRE MEETS THE MASTER OF SUSPENSE!!! Who wouldn't want to plunk down their last dollar to buy that movie ticket.

Much as I enjoy reading Stephen King--I agree, the idea sounds delicious--I don't think such a fantasy would have worked.  Hitchcock had very little interest in making faithful adaptations of novels.  King has been very vocal in his unhappiness when directors stray from the original work when adapting his novels (i.e. Kubrick's version of The Shining). Oh well. <sigh>

 

How about Thomas Harris?

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