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TCM movies Friday 7/7


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The Man Who Knew Too Much exactly what we expect from Hitchcock, and we knew the second version so well. So many scenes similar to what we saw with Stewart and Day, but done differently or extended. I liked the idea of Jill getting her former skeet competitor with a hip shot from rifle at the end.

 

An interesting commentary on marriage in The 39 Steps, which is so different from the book, (though other adaptations which had the staircase the author did not like as well). When Hannay finally realizes with Miss. Smith's death, he looks for a way to escape from Portland Mansion, and trades with the milk man, he asks the milk man “are you married”, who responds “Yes, but don't rub it in...”. Then when Hannay escapes handcuffed to Pamela. Indication that Hitchcock felt trapped by marriage?

 

In the daily dose it was also mentioned that Hitchcock's only child Pat had been born by then. Betty in the film is nine years older than Patricia, but acts immature enough(which is why Hitchcock did not want her for Rebecca even though Selznick wanted her to be his next discovery and star in the film). An indication of how he saw his young daughter?

 

On the train Hannay, in The 39 Steps, had to listen to the back and forth of the two salesmen in his compartment, discussing women's girdles and brassieres as well as the murder, placing it in London for the movie goers, and discussing that he was obviously guilty. Comic relief on the train.

 

The comic relief like that we see even more in The Lady Vanishes with the discussions between Caldicott and Charters and why they lie about having seen Miss. Froy—not to miss connections to catch the last cricket match (though at Victoria Station they find it was canceled because of flooding). I also enjoyed the little take on Iris describing what Miss. Froy was wearing right down to “oatmeal tweed”, her list is extremely complete and then she states, “that's all I can recall” and Gil responds: “You must not have been paying attention”.

 

The baggage car scene is very funny and cute with all the animals as an audience. Most interesting though is the psychological aspects here. Hitchcock is bringing in the new ideas, but this is based on the old idea. It really only works if you think of Iris as a “hysterical” woman. Hysteria was what Freud was working to deal with. Based on the female reproductive system, and so only affected women, which allowed you to question everything they said and how they responded. That is where the doctor, played by Paul Lukas was so important. It is all in Iris' mind and she should go to hospital when they stop, along with his patient, or he won't be responsible for the consiquences.

 

Jamaica Inn is a interesting film. Definitely not Hitchcock, though he puts some of his ideas in, you can see there isn't much effort. This was done for Mayflower Picture Corporation owned by Charles Laughton and he wanted Hitchcock to do it. After much badgering he agreed, but obviously not happy, and really looking forward to Hollywood.

 

It did though give us Maureen O'Hara in her first film, and O'Hara would also soon be in Hollywood, and become a 'Star”. O'Hara's screen personality comes though though, which would make her a star.

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Yes, the reason I sat through Jamaica Inn was actually because it was Maureen O'Hara's debut and I've always wanted to see it and never caught it on TCM. It was ok but agree that I don't find much Hitchcock in it.

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Didn't stay up for the French language shorts?

Actually, I did, Adventure Malgache, I saw a few of Hitchcock's idea, but overall saw it more like Jamaica Inn.  Bon Voyage was all Hitchcock.  The shadows, the way you knew as the audience, right away that they are looking for verification that someone along the way was a collaborator.  Indicating they won't keep us at the house, then going on to show Stefan killing the girl.  The second one I enjoyed a lot.

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In the daily dose it was also mentioned that Hitchcock's only child Pat had been born by then. Betty in the film is nine years older than Patricia, but acts immature enough(which is why Hitchcock did not want her for Rebecca even though Selznick wanted her to be his next discovery and star in the film). An indication of how he saw his young daughter?

 

I don't see Betty (Nova Pilbeam) as the insufferable brat that Prof. Gehring mentions in the lecture video.  She's actually very good a few years later as a young woman in Young and Innocent (1937).  Kind of reminds me of Emma Watson from the Harry Potter films.  I like Joan Fontaine in Rebecca, but Pilbeam would've been twenty or so by then, and I don't think her 1934 performance should be any indication of her potential for later adult roles.  It would have been interesting to see Pilbeam in Rebecca or some other Selznick feature, but she never became a big movie star.

 

Also, I caught Jamaica Inn on TCM.  It had been ages since I'd seen it, and I didn't remember much about it.  But I enjoyed it more than I expected.  There were twists and turns and sequences of suspense.  A rare period piece from Hitchcock, and the first of three Daphne Du Maurier adaptations (followed by Rebecca and The Birds).  Several Hitchcock veterans show up in the cast (even Mr. Memory from The 39 Steps), and Maureen O'Hara is great in her first major role.  (She was under contract to Charles Laughton, who also brought her to Hollywood for The Hunchback of Notre Dame.)

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