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Everything posted by macha77

  1. Re Torn Curtain, I remember the farmhouse scene because for once it gives the audience a sense of just how hard it is to kill someone (unless you shoot them accurately). It's hard to watch, but that is the point. And I loved the character of Countess Kuchinska - a relatively small part but you come to know her and identify with her plight. Family Plot could certainly have benefited from having at least one character like that, but personally I couldn't have cared less what happened to any of them in that movie. I had never seen Topaz before this, and I liked it. Quite a different feel from most of Hitchcock's movies, more straightforward. But then, I like espionage films so unlike audiences at the time it came out, I enjoyed it.
  2. You are right. Even though I have a DVR TCM should've made all the Hitchcock films available on demand for the duration of the course unless there is a licensing issue (and if so why not make it clear beforehand?). Not sure about the scheduling either, it would be nice to have the films show the day before the relevant lecture or the same day. Showing them in blocks makes finding the time to watch them all a bit difficult.
  3. Lifeboat started me wondering again about the issue of separating the person from their work. On the one hand, short of criminal behavior, I feel public figures only owe us the view of their public life. On the other hand, some private behavior is truly abhorrent. Hitchcock was one of the greatest directors but as a human being he left a lot to be desired. Can we truly keep the two apart or does one color the other when the private life starts to peek out? I was reminded after watching Lifeboat again reading Steinbeck was furious with Hitch because of the way he treated Canada Lee. I remember in the silent films, Hitchcock did have some black characters so he at least acknowledged their existence, and given the tenor of the times I'm prepared to tolerate things like his use of the n word in The Ring. Rich and Strange was harder to swallow with its casual racism that I've commented on before. Joe Spencer in Lifeboat is a familiar trope, "black people are forgiving," everyone turns on Willie but him. Till well into the 1960s with few exceptions, African Americans, esp. men,in film were emasculated, idiotic, demonic or simply nonexistent. And that's not even getting to Hitch's despicable treatment of at least some of his female stars, Tippi Hedren being the prime example. What say you, can we admire the public without acknowledging the private life? People are complicated, aren't they?
  4. With TCM showing "Woman of the Year" on the Essentials, I am reminded of the first time I saw it. It seems to be remembered more now for the Tracy-Hepburn pairing, and admittedly that was historic. But what struck me was the story, and how very modern it is. Especially the ending, where she is given the space to be herself but now in a new (almost hyphenated!) existence as Tess Harding Craig. No routine comedy ending of her turning into a 50s TV sitcom wife, content to be "just a housewife." By acknowledging that not all women fit that bill, the movie was startlingly ahead of its time. Any other films that have more than stood the test of time you can think of?
  5. Focusing on our differences seems to be hardwired in humans. One of Hitchcock's strengths was his ability to show us that we don't know as much about others and what they are capable of, for good or evil, as we think we know.
  6. I was just thinking about this. My nomination would be Witness for the Prosecution. Great ensemble, lots of humor, good plot. About directed by the great Billy Wilder. Been remade but why tamper with perfection?
  7. Rich and Strange certainly was strange. Aside from the beginning, which was a combination of humor and skewering of middle class life, the rest seemed to have a very different flavor to it, very cynical. If it was at all autobiographical as the TCM note indicates, then I feel bad for the Hitchcocks. The casual racism of the move, while reflective of the time it was made, was also offputting. If saying Chinese breed like rabbits was part of the humor, it escaped me. Hitchcock's humor, while dark, is usually more sophisticated than was evident in this one. Hard to believe it was seen as a comedy, and perhaps that is why it wasn't that successful commercially.
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