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asphaltcowboy

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  1. I personally think Stephen Spielberg would be an excellent collaborator with Hitchcock, especially if he resorted to directing Science Fiction from the 80's to today. John Williams would be Hitchcock's Bernard Herrman, providing the soundtrack. I truly feel those collaborations would work
  2. This is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most powerful, deep, and stunningly beautiful films (in widescreen 70 mm VistaVision) - it is a film noir that functions on multiple levels. At the time of the film's release, it was not a box-office hit, but has since been regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. The work is a mesmerizing romantic suspense/thriller about a macabre, doomed romance - a desperate love for an illusion. It is an intense psychological study of a desperate, insecure man's twisted psyche (****) and loss of equilibrium. It follows the troubled man's obsessive search to end his vertigo (and deaths that result from his 'falling in love' affliction). Hitchcock's work was a masterful study of romantic longing, identity, voyeurism, treachery and death. It also told about female victimization and degrading manipulation, the feminine "ideal," and the protagonist's fatal sexual obsession for a cool-blonde heroine. Hitchcock was noted for films with voyeuristic themes, and this one could be construed as part of a 'trilogy' of films with that preoccupation:
  3. It appears that Alfred Hitchcock is fascinated with the Svengali theme, as well as with his own dexterity in performing macabre tricks. His last picture, "Rope," will be remembered as a stunt (which didn't succeed) involving a psychopathic murderer who induced another young man to kill for thrills. Now, in his latest effort, called "Strangers on a Train," which served to reopen the Strand Theatre last night under its new name, the Warner, Mr. Hitchcock again is tossing a crazy murder story in the air and trying to con us into thinking that it will stand up without support. And again his instigator of evil is a weirdly unbalanced young man who almost succeeds in enmeshing a young tennis star in a murder plot. This time the two individuals meet by seeming chance on a train, making what appears a devious journey from Washington to New York. And before the trip is over, the Svengali has hatched a scheme whereby he will do a murder for the athlete if the athlete will do one for him. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even wait for the tennis star to agree to the scheme—or even to show an interest in it. He just goes out and murders the athlete's wife. And then he fast-talks the poor, scared fellow into thinking that he is somehow involved and keeping him in a state of terror and grave anxiety until the end of the film. Perhaps there will be those in the audience who will likewise be terrified by the villain's darkly menacing warnings and by Mr. Hitchcock's sleekly melodramatic tricks. Certainly, Mr. Hitchcock is the fellow who can pour on the pictorial stuff and toss what are known as "touches" until they're flying all over the screen. From the slow, stalking murder of a loose girl in a tawdry amusement park to a "chase" and eventual calamity aboard a runaway merry-go-round, the nimble director keeps piling "touch" and stunt upon "touch." Indeed, his desire to produce them appears his main impulse in this film. But, for all that, his basic premise of fear fired by menace is so thin and so utterly unconvincing that the story just does not stand. And the actors, as much as they labor, do not convey any belief—at least, not to this observer, who will give a Hitchcock character plenty of rope. Robert Walker as the diabolic villain is a caricature of silken suavity and Farley Granger plays the terrified catspaw (as he did in "Rope") as though he were contantly swallowing his tongue. Ruth Roman holds herself in solemn tension as, the latter's hopeful fiancée and Patricia Hitchcock, the daughter of the director, bounces about like a bespectacled tennis ball as the sister of Miss Roman and a convenience to the paternal "touch." Leo G. Carroll and Laura Elliott are others who jump and jig according to how Mr. Hitchcock arbitrarily yanks on the strings. Also, it might be mentioned that there are a few inaccuracies in this film that may cause some knowing observers considerable skeptical pause—such as the evidence that you get to the Washington Union Station by going into Virginia over the Memorial Bridge. Also a purist might question how a tennis star could race around Washington half the night and then win three grueling sets of tennis in a Forest Hills tourney the next day. Frankly, we feel that Mr. Hitchcock is "touching" us just a bit too much and without returning sufficient recompense in the sensation line.
  4. Though Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious was produced by David O. Selznick's Vanguard Films, Selznick himself had little to do with the production, which undoubtedly pleased the highly independent Hitchcock. Ingrid Bergman plays Alicia Huberman, who goes to hell in a handbasket after her father, an accused WWII traitor, commits suicide. American secret agent Devlin (Cary Grant) is ordered to enlist the libidinous Alicia's aid in trapping Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains), the head of a Brazilian neo-Nazi group. Openly contemptuous of Alicia despite her loyalty to the American cause, Devlin calmly instructs her to woo and wed Sebastian, so that that good guys will have an "inside woman" to monitor the Nazi chieftain's activities. It is only after Alicia and Sebastian are married that Devlin admits to himself that he's fallen in love with her. The "MacGuffin" in this case is a cache of uranium ore, hidden somewhere on Sebastian's estate. Upon discovering that his wife is a spy, Sebastian balks at eliminating her until ordered to do so by his virago of a mother (Madame Konstantin). Tension mounts to a fever pitch as Devlin, a day late and several dollars short, strives to rescue Alicia from Sebastian's homicidal designs. Of the several standout sequences, the film's highlight is an extended love scene between Alicia and Devlin, which manages to ignite the screen while still remaining scrupulously within the edicts of the Production Code. In later years, Hitchcock never tired of relating the story of how he and screenwriter Ben Hecht (who was nominated for an Oscar) fell under the scrutiny of the FBI after electing to use uranium as a plot device -- this before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A huge moneymaker for everyone concerned, Notorious is considered one of Hitchcock's best espionage melodramas.
  5. In Hitchcock's rare foray into comedy (courtesy of a wittily risque script by Norman Krasna), Mr. Smith (Robert Montgomery) makes the mistake of telling Mrs. Smith (Carole Lombard) that if he had it to do all over again, he might not have married her. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Smith discovers that his marriage is invalid. Rather than say goodbye, the newly aroused Mr. Smith attempts to entice Mrs. Smith into the bedroom, thrilled at the prospect of an "illicit" romance. But Mrs. Smith has also been apprised that her marriage is no more--and, remembering Mr. Smith's "second thoughts", she kicks him out of the house. This comedy of misunderstanding rolls merrily along from this point onward, accommodating an uproarious scene at a fancy restaurant, a near-liaison between Mrs. Smith and new beau Gene Raymond on the World's Fair parachute jump, and a farcical denouement at a ski lodge, with Mrs. Smith's conjugally crossed skis symbolizing the carnal pleasures ahead for both Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
  6. Teresa Wright plays Charlie, a small-town high-schooler who enjoys a symbiotic relationship with her favorite uncle, also named Charlie (Joseph Cotten). When young Charlie "wills" that old Charlie pay a visit to her family, her wish comes true. Uncle Charlie is his usual charming self, but he seems a bit secretive and reserved at times. Too, his manner of speaking is curiously unsettling, especially when he brings up the subject of rich widows, whom he characterizes as "swine." When a pair of detectives (MacDonald Carey and Wallace Ford), posing as magazine writers, arrive in town and begin asking questions about Uncle Charlie, young Charlie's curiosity is aroused. Why, for example, has Uncle Charlie torn an article out of the evening newspaper? Rushing to the library, Young Charlie locates the missing item: the headline screams WHO IS THE MERRY WIDOW MURDERER? As the horrified Charlie reads on, the conclusion is inescapable: her beloved Uncle Charlie is a mass murderer, preying upon wealthy old women. And what happens next? Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma Reville (Mrs. Hitchcock) based their screenplay on a story by Gordon McDowell, who in turn was inspired by real-life "Merry Widow Murderer" Earle Leonard Nelson. The casting, from stars to bit players, is impeccable; the best of the batch is Hume Cronyn, making his film debut as a wimpy murder-mystery aficionado. Lensed on location in Santa Rosa, California, Shadow of a doubt was Alfred Hitchcock's favorite film.
  7. Maxim de Winter, who is in Monte Carlo to forget the drowning death of his wife Rebecca, meets the demure paid companion of matronly socialite Edythe Van Hopper and begins to court her. The girl falls in love with Maxim and happily accepts when he asks her to be his wife. The bride's happiness comes to an abrupt end when Maxim takes her to his grand seaside estate, Manderley. There she is tormented by the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who continually reminds the young bride of the great beauty and elegance of the first Mrs. de Winter and undermines her attempts to assert herself in the household. One night shortly after her arrival, a boat is wrecked off shore, and during the rescue attempt, another submerged boat is found in which the body of Rebecca is trapped. Maxim then confesses to his insecure wife the true story of his miserable marriage to Rebecca: After only four days of marriage, Rebecca began flaunting her infidelities. For the family's honor, Maxim continued his marriage, with Rebecca playing the great lady, until she informed her husband that she was to become a mother and he was not the father. Angered, Maxim struck Rebecca and she fell, hitting her head on a ship's tackle. He then placed her body in a boat and sunk it. When a new inquest is held into Rebecca's death, things look dim for Maxim until Rebecca's London doctor testifies to the authorities that she was dying of cancer and was contemplating suicide. Maxim is then free to begin life anew with his now blossoming bride. However, Mrs. Danvers is unable to relinquish her beloved Manderley to the new Mrs. de Winter and sets fire to the house and perishes.
  8. The Lady Vanishes, Alfred Hitchcock's comedy-thriller, came at the end of his British period; this film's success brought Hitchcock to the attention of Hollywood. He would complete only one other British production, Jamaica Inn, before crossing the Atlantic to working for David O. Selznick on Rebecca. The film concerns the young Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood), heading home on a train after spending the holidays in the Balkans. Iris becomes friends with a kindly old lady, Miss Froy (Dame May Whitty) after Iris gets hit in the head with a flowerpot meant for Miss Froy. On the train, recovering from the blow, Iris falls asleep. When she awakens, Miss Froy has vanished, replaced by someone else in Miss Froy's clothing. Iris talks to the other passengers, a bizarre collection of eccentrics who think that Iris is crazy for insisting on there even being a Miss Froy -- everyone denies having ever seen the old woman. Finally, Iris finds a young musician, Gilbert (Michael Redgrave), who believes her and the two proceed to search the train for clues to Miss Froy's disappearance.
  9. A signature occurrence in most of Hitchcock's films. About 6 minutes and 33 seconds toward the beginning of the film, both Hitchcock and the screenwriter Charles Bennett can be seen walking past a bus that Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim board outside the music hall. The bus is on London Transport's number 25 route, which runs from Oxford through the East End and on to Leytonstone. As Glancy points out, this was familiar ground to Hitchcock, who lived in Leytonstone and then in Stepney (in the East End) as a youth. The director's appearance can thus be seen as an assertion of his connection with the area, but he was by no means romanticising it. As the bus pulls up he litters by throwing a cigarette packet on the ground. Hitchcock is also seen briefly as a member of the audience scrambling to leave the music hall after the shot is fired in the opening scene. As far as Rothman's contention about "the 39 steps", I do agree with it
  10. 1) In the opening scene, I feel the characters are more important. 2)I feel the character of Abbott, although seemingly jovial about the near miss, is a bit deceitful as well. 3) It is somewhat similar to the opening scene in the pleasure garden because they both give the audience some light and dark moments and point to something more yet to come
  11. Alice White is the daughter of a shopkeeper in 1920's London. Her boyfriend, Frank Webber is a Scotland Yard detective who seems more interested in police work than in her. Frank takes Alice out one night, but she has secretly arranged to meet another man. Later that night Alice agrees to go back to his flat to see his studio. The man has other ideas and as he tries to rape Alice, she defends herself and kills him with a bread knife. When the body is discovered, Frank is assigned to the case, he quickly determines that Alice is the killer, but so has someone else and blackmail is threatened.
  12. Hitchcock’s taste for point-of-view sequences reveals itself on reflection to be based on a broader interest in a visual exploration of the film universe. The word “visual” in its broad meaning is of course worthless here, since in some sense it is rather difficult for a filmmaker not to visually explore the film universe. What Hitchcock wishes to evoke is the sense of a pair of eyes within the film universe, in some way subject to the laws of the film universe as opposed to the laws of the film.
  13. This was the first time I have seen this film, and his "point of view" shots are evident with his subjects. The suspense of a black and white movie seems to be a Hitchcock trademark. No dialogue but you still remain transfixed.
  14. Unfortunately, due to the set up in which I had, I was not able to view this film. I will have to go to another video source to watch the part I missed
  15. 1. Do you see the beginnings of the "Hitchcock touch" in this sequence? Please provide specific examples. Yes, I do see elements of the "Hitchcock touch" in this film. He always uses "point of view" shots in his movies and this one was no exception. Also, his "panning" with the camera was evident. 2. Do you agree or disagree with Strauss, Yacowar, and Spoto assessments that this sequence contains elements, themes, or approaches that we will see throughout Hitchcock's 50-year career? Yes, I do agree with them 3. Since this is a silent film, do you feel there were any limitations on these opening scenes due to the lack of synchronous spoken dialogue? I do not feel there were any limitations. It makes the film viewer pay closer attention to Hitchcock's camera shots
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