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The World of Alfred Hitchcock


MissGoddess
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SPOILERS

 

Alfred Hitchcock put Edgar Allan Poe references throughout this film.

 

Marnie's last name is Edgar. In the novel, Marnie's last name is Elmer. Unlike the film, the novel takes place in England. Like Poe's characters, Marnie Edgar is subject to Psychological terror. The film takes place in New York (Strutt's office), Virginia (Garrod's Stables) and Philadelphia (Rutland Publishing and Wickwind). These are the three places that Edgar Allan Poe lived throughout the better part of his life. The film's climactic scene takes place at Marnie's mother's home in Baltimore, the city where Poe died under mysterious circumstances in 1849. Tippi Hedren played Marnie. Both Tippi Hedren and Edgar Allan Poe were born on January 19. In the novel, Marnie's mother's name is Edith Elmer. In the film, Alfred Hitchcock changed Marnie's mother's name to Bernice Edgar. "Berenice" was a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe.

 

In a 1960 article called "Why I Am Afraid of the Dark", Hitchcock noted this information - "it's because I liked Edgar Allan Poe's stories so much that I began to make suspense films."

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That is fascinating, Konway, really. How very interesting and how clever Hitchcock was. It really raises my admiration for his talents. It's like a detective story, the way you find out all these clues to how he worked out his films. Thank you. *Marnie* is one of my favorites, and now even more so.

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Most Hitch aficianados already know that Hitchcock was considered to direct the first 007 film. A telegram supporting this has been revealed in a new book by Robert Sellars (The Battle for Bond). It was sent in 1959 from the franchise's author, *Ian Fleming*, to novelist and screenwriter (and friend of Hitchcock) *Eric Ambler*.

 

The events outlined below by Fleming would become *Thunderball*, which was intended for the first Bond film with *Cary Grant* in the role of Bond. (Grant would only commit to one film only and since a series was planned, Sean Connery got the part.)

 

Eric Ambler 106420 Taranta Way Los Angeles 24 Cal.

 

Pro-Hitch

 

Have written Bond movie treatment featuring Mafia stolen atomic bomber blackmail of England culminating Nassau with extensive underwater dramatics. This for my friend Ivar Bryce's Xanadu Films Ltd which recently completed Boy and Bridge England's choice for Venice Festival but blasted by critics and flop at Curzon though now doing excellently on pre-release Rank circuit. Producer Kevin McClory. Would Hitchcock be interested in directing this first Bond film in association with Xanadu? Plentiful finance available. This purely old boy enquiry without involvement but think we might all have a winner particularly if you were conceivably interested in scripting.

 

Regardest Ian Fleming

 

------------------------------------------------------------

More here at the Daily Mail:

*http://tinyurl.com/c6yc8kr*

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SPOILERS

 

As you know, Hitchcock considered Shadow of A Doubt as his best film. I wrote vampire references in the film. But I am writing it again for the people who didn't get a chance to write. I found one or two vampire references. But I collected others from several Hitchcock fans.

 

1) When we are first introduced to Uncle Charlie, he is lying on his bed, arms folded across his chest, suggestive of a vampire lying in his coffin.

 

2) As the landlady lowers the blind and the light disappears from his face, Uncle Charlie rises as though waiting to commit his crimes under the cover of darkness. This image is also interesting to note, as the blinds are traditionally drawn where there is a dead man in the room.

 

3) Jack Graham asks Ann to tell Catherine the story of Dracula.

 

4) Uncle Charlie comes from Philadelphia, "Pennsylvania." Dracula comes from "Transylvania."

 

5) Telephathic communication between Young Charlie and Uncle Charlie is connected to the relationship between Mina Harker and Dracula.

 

6) 'The same blood runs through our veins' does have a connection to the 1931 film--Dracula says the exact same line in reference to Mina when he and Van Helsing have their "battle of wills" to prove he now has power over her.

 

7) Women are attracted to Uncle Charlie.

 

8 - The fact that he remains unseen on the train is a lot like Dracula's trip from Transylvania to London.

 

9) Uncle Charlie is also killed on the train RETURNING to the east, much like how Dracula dies returning to the east.

 

A Hitchcock admirer named CabmanGray wrote this "The film is mainly about the loss of innocence, but it's deliberately loaded with vampire references. Uncle Charlie is often seen in his bed/coffin during the day, but when young Charlie finds out who/what he really is at the library, then SHE sleeps through the next day until nightfall. This suggests that she has become a little more like Uncle Charlie now that her innocence has been torn away. In other words, she is becoming a little more like the waitress (Louise) in the bar scene who has clearly lost her innocence about the world long ago. I've always considered the waitresss as an "undead" victim. Some viewers have asked "why does the waitress talk like that?" Well, she's supposed to sound like that. She's no longer an innocent or naive about the world as young Charlie is. They say the waitress is talking like a zombie (no emotions). That, of course, is the whole point! "for a ring like that I'd just about die" she states. Well, she is somewhat dead, at least on the inside. Hitchcock, Thornton Wilder and Alma Reville are basically saying that when you lose your innocence, then you lose a little bit of your soul as well. Uncle Charlie is seen as a kind of plague on the small town, but he doesn't invade their homes to drain their blood, instead he corrupts the minds of the young by taking their innocence from them."

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Gosh, Konway, that is all fascinating stuff. I remember you writing about this before but thank you for re-posting. It makes me want to see it again. How many, I wonder, who first saw it in theaters ever picked up on these allusions? Did Thornton Wilder come up with the parallels or Hitch? I imagine it must have been Hitch. The very idea of such a Gothic horror story being imbedded, as it were, in this story of a kindly American town like Santa Rosa is so perverse and so Hitchcock! It's also very Poe-like to do that with "Americana".

 

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I doubt either Hitch or Wilder came up with the connections, since

they are rather simplistic and general and even gimmicky. Hitch

enjoyed working with Wilder, and he brought him in because he admired

Our Town and to work on a picture that would have some similar themes.

When Wilder was done, Sir Alfred then brought in someone else to add some

comedic elements to the script. I doubt either one was hired to draw parallels

with Dracula. I'd guess they came after the fact when some viewers noticed a

few tenuous iconographic links to vampires and then it was off to the races

with the comparisons becoming rather far-fetched and even downright silly

(Pennsylvania/Transylvania?). In his book length interview with Truffaut,

Hitchcock makes no mention of any allusions to Dracula or vampires in Shadow

of a Doubt. In the entire series of interviews neither Dracula (or Poe for that

matter) is referenced. It's really more of a parlor game than anything else. One

can also "find" similarities to Dracula in Marnie if one is so inclined.

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow of a Doubt stands on its own, and is much more interesting as a

study of certain kinds of human nature and how they interact in a particular

setting than as a rehash of a vampire flick.

 

 

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That's your opinion. Its also very easy to say that they are downright silly and far fetched.

 

There are lots of people who believe it was done intentionally. I collected these infos from at least 10 Hitchcock fans.

 

 

Alfred Hitchcock didn't mention too much about his films, because analyzing is upto the audience.

 

 

But he was a man who loved little details. This was revealed in Truffuat Interview and also interview with Dick Cavett. For Example, Alfred Hitchcock was a man who hated seeing vine coming out of the wrong bottle.

 

 

For Example, Alfred Hitchcock mentioned about him putting little details when he and truffaut were discussing "I confess." Hitchcock revealed to Truffaut that he deliberately put the woman eating the apple in the scene close to the ending.

 

 

When Truffaut asks him about putting these details in the film, Hitchcock replied this.

 

 

"Well, we have to do those things; we fill the whole tapestry, and that's why people often feel they have to see the picture several times to take in all of these details. Even if some of them appear to be a waste of effort, they strenghten a picture. That's why, when these films are reissued several years later, they stand up so well; they are never out of date."

 

 

I don't have to write any of these, because there are people who believe what I wrote. But I am writing just to let you know that when you judge by making statements like "downright silly and far fetched", you can become like a fool in the eyes of several members of this forum. But I don't want you to be a fool. That's why I wrote this.

 

 

Since we know that Hitchcock was a man who loved little details, this only increases the possibility that he deliberately put these vampire references in Shadow of A Doubt and other symbolic details in his other films.

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My opinion is that they were "discovered" by film fans ex post facto and that

they were not put in deliberately and purposefully by Hitchcock and Wilder.

I find no evidence that Hitchcock ever spoke about putting parallels to

Dracula in Shadow of a Doubt. If he could mention his concern about the right

bottle of wine, he might surely mention the supposedly numerous comparisons

with Dracula, but as far as I know he never did. Of course some are more

plausible than others. Things like the Pennsylvania and Transylvania "connection"

and the fact that women liked Uncle Charlie just as they were supposedly drawn

to Dracula I find too general and silly.

 

One of the main details in Shadow of a Doubt that Hitchcock and Wilder were

interested in was finding just the right house for someone who made a salary

similar to Mr. Newton's. I think that shows where their interests lay in regard to

the movie, with the details of that small city environment and not in trying to

draw comparisons to Dracula.

 

Speaking of details, in the opening shot Uncle Charlie is lying on the bed and

holding a cigar in his folded hands. What does that have to do with Dracula

napping in his coffin in Transylvania? I don't mind if people find what they consider

connections to the Dracula story in Shadow of a Doubt or any other Hitchcock film,

which could be done almost as easily. But when they attribute these parallels to

Hitchcock without any real evidence, they are taking an additional step that is

unwarranted.

 

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I can explain them. But I am only going to point out few major points.

 

Dracula is mentioned in Shadow of A Doubt (1943). Jack Graham telling Ann to tell Catherine the story of Dracula. That itself gives a room of possibility for vampire references. The same blood runs through the veins of Young Charlie and Uncle Charlie is a possible reason why there is telepathic communication between Young Charlie and Uncle Charlie. The same blood runs through our veins is a line that is used in Dracula (1931). This only increases the possibility of vampire references. The fact that Uncle Charlie comes to the west from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Dracula comes to the west from Transylvania increases the possibility even more.

 

I can say more and more. But I am not going to, because I have given the room of possibility that Vampire references was deliberately used in Shadow of A Doubt (1943).

 

 

 

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"Well, we have to do those things; we fill the whole tapestry, and that's why people often feel they have to see the picture several times to take in all of these details. Even if some of them appear to be a waste of effort, they strenghten a picture. That's why, when these films are reissued several years later, they stand up so well; they are never out of date."

 

As good an explanation of what separates great directors from good ones as I've ever come across. Thank you for pointing out these parallels, knowing Hitchcock's slyness, skill and deliberate avoidance of too much explanation of his methods all points to his films being, mostly, "more than meets the eye". The very idea that what you (or the character) are seeing may not be what is really there would be one he'd play with his whole career.

 

I think like Ford used the western, Hitch used suspense tale genre to express his ideas and curiosity about a variety of things.

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Hello MissG,

I want to post another interesting information. This time, the film is Stage Fright (1950).

 

I found Stage Fright to be one of most Hitchcock's interesting films. After the failure of Hitchcock's previous films (The Paradine Case, Rope, and Under Capricorn), Hitchcock was given a small budget for Stage Fright. In audio interview with Truffaut, Hitchcock called Stage Fright "A Small Picture." But even in this small Hitchcock picture, I found several things interesting.

 

I don't know if anyone noticed this. if you rewatch this film, then you will see that the characters are telling one lie after another from the beginning of the movie. And the story builds up based on lies- one after another. But we see exactly the opposite on the last part of the film. The last part builds up by revealing the truths - one after another. And when we enter into the last portion of the film, we reach to a point where we never expected the film to reach.

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A few years ago, in Mr. Osborne's introduction to Stage Fright, he said that Hitchcock later said that he felt guilty about putting the false flashbacks in the beginning of the film. That is cheating the public, who were used to trusting what they saw in a film. Having a character tell a lie is one thing, but when the director lies too and photographs the lie, in an attempt to mislead the public, then that is cheating. And I agree.

 

What Hitchcock did at the beginning of Stage Fright was different from what we saw in Rashomon, since we knew in that film we were seeing four different versions of what happened, and no one was sure which one was accurate, not even the characters in the film.

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> I don't know if anyone noticed this. if you rewatch this film, then you will see that the characters are telling one lie after another from the beginning of the movie. And the story builds up based on lies- one after another. But we see exactly the opposite on the last part of the film. The last part builds up by revealing the truths - one after another. And when we enter into the last portion of the film, we reach to a point where we never expected the film to reach.

 

*Stage Fright* has never been one of my favorites but now I have to sit down and watch it again for this. What you describe reminds me of the points of view in *The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance*.

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SPOILERS

 

I know Hitchcock felt guilty, because many critics told that lying flashback was a mistake. But I found it very interesting, because of several reasons.

 

I believe "the audience" is a character in Hitchcock films. The function of the audience is to watch and wait while Hitchcock intensifies their role by using suspense in the film. Let me give an example. A Suspense Scene from the film "Rope." Its the suspense scene where Mrs. Wilson clears the things on the chest to put the books inside the chest. If we take a closer look, then we will realize that the audience will be the "only one" who will be "heavily" concerned about opening the chest in that suspense scene. Unlike Mrs. Wilson, all the other characters in the film aren't focusing on both Mrs. Wilson and the chest, because they are busy talking about David. But the audience is concerned about it, because of the suspense Hitchcock uses.

 

 

When Jonathan is telling the flashback story (which he created) to Eve (Jane Wyman), he is not only giving a visual idea of the story to Eve, but also to the audience through his "viewpoint." We are not the only one who ended up believing his story. Eve believed his story too. So he ended up convincing both Eve and the audience. By traveling through Eve and her father (Alastair Sim), we watch and wait throughout the movie to find the solution. By the end, the audience feels cheated when they find out the truth. But to me, what the audience doesn't realize is that they were able to share a true moment of feeling with a character in the film. We are not the only ones who were cheated. Eve was also cheated too. Its one moment where a fictional character (Eve) and the audience share the same feeling - "They were deceived by Jonathan Cooper (Richard Todd)." But the moment we see the horrifying side of Jonathan Cooper, we can completely feel the horror that is going through Eve. Both the audience and Eve feel the true feeling of danger, because both audience and Eve shared the same experience throughout the movie which is the desperation to find the solution. But when both the audience and Eve finds the truth, they both feel and share true moments of horror. Its not just Eve who wants to get out of that horrifying situation, but the audience also wants her to get out of there.

 

 

The story of the book "Outrun the Constable" also known as Man Running (the book Stage fright is based on) was very different. In the book, Freddie Williams is the killer. Jonathan Cooper in the book is innocent. But Hitchcock always liked to make his own adaptation. Alfred Hitchcock entirely created this lying flashback for the film. From what I know of, One "main" reason why Hitchcock created this flashback was because of the main character's name "Eve." In the Bible, Eve was deceived by the serpent in the "beginning" days of mankind. In the film, Eve was deceived by Jonathan Cooper in the "beginning" of the film by telling the false story to her. Hitchcock always made Biblical references in his films.

 

 

For Example, the line in Foreign Correspondent - "You cry peace, Fisher. Peace. And there was no peace." This line was borrowed from the book of Jeremiah.

 

 

The another example is The Man Who Knew too Much (1956) - The gunman at Albert Hall (Reggie Nalder) looks at the main villain (Bernard Miles), because he is wearing the uniform of priest. The gunman says at the villain "What does the old proverb says? A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing." A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing was borrowed from Gospel of Matthew in New Testament Bible.

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Does a guy lying on a bed in a rundown room in Jersey City have

some similarity to a vampire napping in a coffin in Transylvania?

Maybe a slight one, at least visually, but I don't think that's a taking

off point for the theory that Hitch and Wilder were purposefully putting

allusions to Dracula or vampires in this film. The main problem is most

of these references are rather circumstantial and not very specific.

Charlie travels from east to west, Dracula travels from east to west?

Yeah, so what? A lot of movie characters do. The Pennsylvania/Transyl-

vania coincidence is among the silliest. Hitch and Wilder put Uncle Charlie

in Philly just so there would be a connection with Dracula? Sounds rather

juvenile. If these so-called allusions were stronger, they might make a

difference in how the film is viewed, but they're mostly the commonplaces

one can find in lots of movies. Even when they're added all together, they

aren't very convincing to me.

 

 

 

I see two separate theories. Hitch and Wilder put in references to Dracula/

vampires, for some unknown reason, on purpose or they didn't, but subsequently

some folks have noticed what they think are allusions to Dracula/vampires.

I see no evidence of any kind that the first thing happened. If people want to

think they see it that's fine. It can be done with almost any movie and it's

an interesting parlor game, but not much more. Shadow of a Doubt is wonderful

as it is in its own self-contained world. Bringing in Dracula comparisons really

adds nothing to the film as it already exists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For me, anything is worth discussing when there is a possibility. To me, It doesn't matter if the information is stupid and juvenile to you. You write based on the way you see things. But when you write them by saying words like stupid and juvenile, your words in those posts become a representation of yourself.

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From my perspective, most of these similarities are of the party

game type, sort of how many links can you find between the two,

and feel free to go overboard. Just like that old saying To a hammer

everything looks like a nail, whether it is or not. For folks inclined to

this type of thing, they will find them no matter what. Some are

interesting, but others are pretty juvenile. It's almost insulting to two

old pros like Sir Alfred and Thornton Wilder to think they couldn't come

up with anything better than the two Vanias and East to West. It's an

amusing sideshow to the actual film, which in this case, does just fine

on its own.

 

 

Getting back to a semblance of reality, I was always intrigued by the

carelessness with which Uncle Charlie handled money. In that first scene

it's spread all around the place and he obviously doesn't give a hoot.

He's certainly not in the widow killing business for the cash. Then when

he visits the bank in Santa Rosa where his brother-in-law works, he tells

the bank president that he has little interest in money. The banker looks

at him as if he really were a vampire or something even worse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Konway,

 

I realize now that *Stage Fright* really does have so much more in it, more complexity than I ever realized. Tying in nicely with the whole theme of lying was when Jane Wyman arrived at her father's place with Richard Todd, Alistair Sim says he hates lying and insincerity more than anything. And yet he's about to go down the same path of deceit they all do.

 

And there again were all the multitude of camera set-ups and point-of-views that I wanted to absorb but I never would have finished the movie if I kept stopping to rewind and play each scene over again! Evidently, great care and planning, as always, went into this film.

 

I think Stage Fright has one of the best opening credits ever, with the "Safety Curtain" rising over London (the same curtain that would later come down to rather permanent effect at the end).

 

This was the first time I paid more attention to Marlene's character at the end. I'm a little confused, I had previously thought she was innocent of any crime, but now I think Todd may have been telling the truth when he said she had intended to use him to kill her husband. But why? Did the movie ever explain why she wanted him dead? So she could be with that stage door Freddie? Hmmm. What happened to divorce? "Instant Divorce", I suppose.

 

Unlike some and maybe even Hitch himself, I have no problem with the "false flashback", maybe because I've seen movies since then that used it, including most effectively, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I do think Hitch probably regretted it publicly because he may have gotten hammered over it, critically. Perhaps one other reason I don't feel cheated is that, like Richard Schickel pointed out, Richard Todd from the very start suggests something off-kilter about his character. I never quite feel loyal to him as to a real hero of the story. He's like an Anthony Perkins, someone with whom there is always this distance between me and them, no matter how well I may come to understand them.

 

*Stage Fright* seems a logical progression for Hitch. He did so many films before then that played with our impressions of villainy, or kept us somewhat sympathetic toward the villain or unsure "did he really do it." This movie just takes it a step further, albeit with a tricky set-up.

 

Thanks for giving me something more to think about with this film. The only reason it remains less than perfect for me is purely personal preference. The love story never really comes to life for me, the one between Wyman and Wilding. And I like both performers, and their characters, but I didn't find them as romantic as the music in their scenes together suggested. It's like *Strangers on a Train* or even *Psycho*, the movies are not essentially about the lovers.

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SPOILERS

 

I want to point out another scene that is very unique and another scene that is a scene of sincerity. Its the scene where Eve leaves her father's house in the morning. You see Eve's love towards her father and we see her father's concern over his daughter through the note on the car.

 

Like Shadow of A Doubt, Stage Fright is a small picture with intense elements. I think it will only get better and better in time.

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