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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:32 am 
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"Vertigo". Let's just say this is not a film that will ever make it onto my Top 1000 list.

Agreed. I'll take Hitch's Marnie over this any day. Not that it's any more believable - just a lot more fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:33 am 
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Michael I'm totally on board with you. While I've enjoyed his films, I never have an urge to go back and watch a second time. I tried watching Rebecca a few weeks ago and was totally turned off by it. His British work definitely seems to have a funner and crazier atmosphere. And I actually love Vertigo, it's really the only one of his films I adore. But overall, the man's work hasn't really resonated with me at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:51 am 
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I also agree (though I find that I am softening to Vertigo during this recent spate of arthouse films that feature cameras following men following women!), as I have at least five or six Hitchcock films that I prefer to Vertigo. Yet even if a cinephile actively dislikes the film, this is one of those films that it is kind of necessary to watch because its influence crops up over and over in many films that have followed.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:04 am 
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Wow. I'm almost speechless myself. To be fair, when I first saw Vertigo as a sophomore in high school, I was kind of cool to it myself, but in a decade since it's grown exponentially. I honestly think it's his richest, most complex film, not just on an intellectual level, but on a personal level - I don't mean the parallels with a filmmaker known for control, but for what these characters do to themselves out of love for the other. It seems to resonate more with each viewing, one of those bottomless films that always has more to reveal. (Maybe so much that it actually demands multiple viewings - it may have been the nuances of its most important themes as much as immaturity that kept me from getting into the film as a teenager. On first viewing, the melodramatic elements and the twist really stand out, but as those fade with time, so much else comes to the surface.)

And the 25-year-old Kim Novak is astounding. It never occurred to me that she was so young in this film until her recent Oscar appearance - 25 seems so immature these days, but what she brings to that role seems so beyond that age.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:17 am 

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As part of BBC 2's current Hitchcock season, the BBC's own one-hour documentary about him from the 2002 Living Famously series is being repeated on Sunday at 12.30pm. There are much better Hitch documentaries, but I don't recall this or any others in the series being shown since the original broadcasts. Moreover, back in 2002 the BBC seemed to use those transmissions to experiment with some kind of copy-protection bug which prevented me transferring any of my VHS recordings to disc!


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:51 pm 
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Shadow of a Doubt was my aunt's favorite Hitchcock film -- and I liked it "well enough" -- which is pretty much my reaction to most Hitchcock films I've seen. Not a hater, but not a "fan". I suspect Hitchcock's sensibilities and my own simply are not very compatible.

I'll keep exploring a bit more Hitchcock each year, but not going to go on a crusade to find stuff. I must say re-visiting (and exploring more) Ford and Walsh has been vastly more rewarding to me. ;~}


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:01 pm 
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Knowing a bit of your taste from other threads I'm kind of surprised that you can't appreciate the visual/technical aspects of Hitchcock's work quite aside from his plotting (which really doesn't seem especially outrageous compared to the writing in, I don't know, pick a Rivette film). Nobody else shoots the sort of very basic and seemingly simple stuff the way Hitch does. I'm talking about characters walking/driving around just looking at things, shots that are really the bread and butter building blocks of narrative cinema. Is there a better detective/cop in a car following somebody scene than the one in Vertigo? A better navigating a big party with a big secret scene than the one in Notorious? There's a single shot in The Birds, just Tippi Hedren in a doorway looking at the bay, that might well be the best POV shot I've ever seen. More than anything it's this kind of craftsmanship that Hitch consistently raises to the level of art that allows me to appreciate all of his work, even films that aren't my favorites, and to see why he was such a huge inspiration and influence on the broadest range of other directors, everyone from Spielberg and Scorsese to Truffaut and Godard. By the way, speaking of Rivette and the simple act of looking/spying/decoding a mystery in the house across the way: What do you think of Rear Window?


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:11 pm 
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warren -- I've enjoyed Rear Window (modestly) over multiple viewings.

Films either make you fall in love with them -- or they don't. For whatever reason, some big name directors don't make films I fall in love with. Hitchcock is one who doesn't.

Hitchcock does do some things technically which I affirmatively dislike (such as his over-reliance on projected backgrounds -- especially annoying in Birds). This wasn't much of a problems in Strangers, so far as I could tell.

As to filming characters just walking about, Naruse is MY gold standard.

Directors can be undeniably "important" -- yet that does not mean I _have_ to love what they do. In any event, my lack of a strong positive response to Hitchcock does NOT suggest I doubt the taste (or sanity) of those who DO love his work. ;-}


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:03 pm 

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Michael Kerpan wrote:
warren -- I've enjoyed Rear Window (modestly) over multiple viewings.
There are many things to enjoy in the film, including the sound design which incorporates ambient noise and found music into a 112 minute total film-length "score."

An archetypal reading of the film produces interesting results. The ring trick (the identification of the loved one through a special token) goes back at least as far as Menander. Thus Lisa is the woman of dubious background who is suddenly recognized by the hero as his one true love. But Lisa is also the suitor in the piece, the one (usually male) who pursues the object of desire in spite of obstacles. Here Jeff is both love object and the "old one", the figure who makes it difficult for the couple to come together. Success is assured, however, not only for Lisa: her efforts produce fertility throughout the community and make it possible for all the potential couples to come together. The results are even cosmic: at the beginning of the film everyone is suffering from the summer-like temperatures; at film's end, cooler, spring-like weather has returned.

But there is more than a Greek-comedy template overlaying the movie. Jeff is the very picture of a modern-day Fisher King, and Lisa makes an appealing Parsifal. She undertakes the quest-romance that all such heroes/heroines must assay--no matter that it is, in this case, one requiring her only to cross the courtyard. Still, she must climb the tower into the wizard's lair/dragon's den, risking death to seek treasure. Her success in this venture makes her fortune.

So Lisa is both a hero/heroine in the tradition of Greek comedies, but also a quester in the mold fashioned by Chretien de Troyes. No wonder the minstrel in the picture, the songwriter, spends the film composing the lay "Lisa," which we finally hear in completed form at the end.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:19 pm 
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Jack -- awesome. simply awesome. Whoever would have guessed! ;~}


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:39 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:02 am
New resto of Jamaica Inn (Cohen Film Collection) for Cannes 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 5:44 pm 
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So I've had a Mill Creek issued Alfred Hitchcock collection for a few years, it contains mostly his early films, sometimes said to all be the public domain (I'm a bit dubious of that point), and I'm finally going through some of those early films I've never seen.

The through line of the five I've watched so far is that the performances are all strong and their are occasional flashes of visual brilliance. But Hitchcock's skill with actors is evident even when the pictures are not your typical Hitchcock plots.

Easy Virtue, absent a profoundly terrible and overdone final line/title "Shoot me! There's nothing left to kill!" is a fairly decent film, although there is nothing particularly special. Hitchcock has some fun with the transitions in and out of the testimony story in the opening of the film, but it's a fairly dull story.

Champagne lacks some of editorial pop of Easy Virtue, and the picture doesn't seem to go anywhere because everything's tied up with a neat and dramatically unsatisfying, forgiveness resolution where the father unexpectedly drops all his objections to the marriage. The whole thing is a little frothy, and at times the girl's central performance is all over the place.

Farmer's Daughter is an entertaining comedy that is strongest when it isn't dialog heavy and mainly focuses on the scene stealing farmhand and the various elegantly staged and devised sight gags. The centerpiece of the film is an epic afternoon tea/dinner party and takes up about half the running time and it is littered with nicely pulled off silent comedy. I'm a little surprised I've not heard more about this picture, because it has a lot of strengths, I know it's somewhat of an outlier, being a comedy, but Hitch proved he had as deft a hand at timing the laughs as he later did with the thrills.

I couldn't get the wretchedly encoded DVD to play the Manxman, so I'm skipping it until I can get MPEG streamclip to extract the file so I can burn a backup to DVD. The only part that would play was the first five seconds of the opening credits, the first second of which was a Janus films presents title card.

Juno and the Paycock has an outstanding script that balances realism, humor, and tragedy in an extremely effective manner. It feels like a play still, but the dialogue is crackling and Sara Allgood gives a fierce and fine performance, dominating the film throughout. There are some deft visual touches, but Hitch mainly lets the outstanding actors just go to town with the great script.

The Skin Game is as weak as the first two silents I mentioned, it's got a plot pitting an industrialist against old money, and the old money, particularly the matriarchical battleaxe, is pretty vicious and effective because the old woman deliberately wrecks the marriage of the industrialist's eldest son to get her way in their petty squabble over land. It's sort of a classic NIMBY battle, literally in their back yard. It's a shame the film and script aren't any better, but Hitch does a fantastic little number in the middle of the film with superb camera work and editing. He takes an auction and milks every possible ounce of tension out of the bidding--and then he milks some more tension out of it--the sequence is egregiously, indulgently long, but it's a little breathtaking for just how virtuoso a feat of filmmaking it is. Late in the film, there's an excellent Z-axis deep space composition, with a fight-in silhouette taking place in the far background house window, with a tragic discovery happening in the foreground, and characters moving from foreground to background, it's a beautiful little shot.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:46 pm 
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Ashirg wrote:

The BFI has picked up the rights to Night Will Fall, André Singer's documentary about the aborted Holocaust documentary, and will be handling both theatrical and video releases in Britain.

There's a dedicated thread in the BFI forums.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:40 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Turns out there is a fate for PD movies worse than colorization


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:07 pm 
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BAM is screening an IB Tech print of Vertigo at 7pm on April 16.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 5:09 pm 

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Jonathan S wrote:
As part of BBC 2's current Hitchcock season, the BBC's own one-hour documentary about him from the 2002 Living Famously series is being repeated on Sunday at 12.30pm. There are much better Hitch documentaries, but I don't recall this or any others in the series being shown since the original broadcasts. Moreover, back in 2002 the BBC seemed to use those transmissions to experiment with some kind of copy-protection bug which prevented me transferring any of my VHS recordings to disc!

You are right on the copy protection thing - but not all of them. I was able to copy the Hitchcock one but not the Bing Crosby, for example. Very odd. It was an excellent series and I was very sad that they never repeated them. I am just missing one in my collection but still ...


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 9:04 am 
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Is there a Juno and the Paycock dvd version with subtitles? I did see it in Alfred Hitchcock: The Legend Begins - 20 Movie Classics, but no subs (or cc).


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 3:31 am 
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ando wrote:
Quote:
"Vertigo". Let's just say this is not a film that will ever make it onto my Top 1000 list.

Agreed. I'll take Hitch's Marnie over this any day. Not that it's any more believable - just a lot more fun.


Vertigo is my favourite Hitchcock (sorry for being so unoriginal), but Marnie comes a close second. After Vertigo it has proven to be the film of his which I find most rewarding to re-watch. Thematically it feels like a love-is-colder-than-death/Pygmalion companion piece to Vertigo while it also makes a great "frigid" double feature with Tourneur's Cat People.

What I love about Marnie is exactly what its detractors hate so much, the utter artificiality of its mise en scene. I don't care or would want to mount an argument for whether Hitchcock did it on purpose or whether it was laziness or both. It doesn't matter, it works. All those fake looking back projections and matte paintings make it the most daringly expressionist Hollywood film since The Night of the Hunter. Its heroine is trapped in a claustrophobic, hermetically sealed nightmare universe. It's a film which has come into its own since its release and what used to look old fashioned then now looks radical. It's like what Cindy Sherman gets at about deconstructing female identity. To request that a Hitchcock film is "believable" as in being naturalistic or in following a rational daytime logic, strikes me as rather missing the point.

The riding accident is one of Hitchcock's most exiting moments of montage, in the way it artificially extends time despite not using any obvious slow motion. There is slow motion but its not used in the way it now gets in action scenes, its used to fragment the action into a series of stills. For me its up there with the shower scene in Psycho.

Despite all the nightmarishness, there is plenty of dark comedy in the deconstruction of a disastrous marriage, which many people don't seem to get is there on purpose. There is dialogue which would do any screwball comedy proud. The end carries a bitter sting, when Marnie agrees stay married not because she's in love but to avoid prison.

I saw Marnie at the BFI a few years ago and it was pretty much ruined for me by constant, demonstrative hipster laughter. Hysterical guffaws at the stylisation, the dialogue and the sight gags and it made me want to kill ! They didn't get that as always it's more rewarding to laugh (or ideally smile) with Hitchcock, rather than at him.

As Robin Wood said, if you don't love Marnie, you don't really love cinema.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 7:05 am 

Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
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Lost Highway wrote:
I saw Marnie at the BFI a few years ago and it was pretty much ruined for me by constant, demonstrative hipster laughter. Hysterical guffaws at the stylisation, the dialogue and the sight gags and it made me want to kill !

That was my experience with the last few films I saw at the NFT (mainly silents) so I stopped going completely. If I wanted to watch, say, The Golem like that, I'd create my own laugh track.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 4:59 am 
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Jonathan S wrote:
Lost Highway wrote:
I saw Marnie at the BFI a few years ago and it was pretty much ruined for me by constant, demonstrative hipster laughter. Hysterical guffaws at the stylisation, the dialogue and the sight gags and it made me want to kill !

That was my experience with the last few films I saw at the NFT (mainly silents) so I stopped going completely. If I wanted to watch, say, The Golem like that, I'd create my own laugh track.


I'm sorry to hear that and for me Marnie also wasn't the only film ruined by this type of behaviour at the BFI/NFT. I have been generally safe with foreign language art house films there but Hollywood genre classics and silent films often provoke this type of forced sounding, demonstrative mirth. It seems only to be there to let others know how they are enjoying a film "ironically" and how they really are above this.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:58 pm 
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Also, when are we going to see those restorations of Hitchcock's silent films (namely The Ring and Blackmail) on Blu-Ray/DVD? It's been several years now - they've got to get back their investment somehow, what's taking so long?


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:56 am 
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It's completely out of the BFI's hands, I'm afraid - Network and StudioCanal own the rights.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:50 am 
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I'd be surprised if Network weren't wanting to release them. They do a wonderful job with British cinema and release more than the BFI even!


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:54 am 
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I hope they do it soon. The Ring and the original silent version of Blackmail are both neglected masterpieces, possibly Hitchcock's best silent work and even better than the more celebrated The Lodger IMHO (and I believe The Lodger's new restoration has been issued on BD, at least overseas). I was lucky enough to see both but very nearly missed my favorite, Blackmail - only managed to catch it because Film Forum brought it back months later.


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 Post subject: Re: Alfred Hitchcock
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:24 am 
Dot Com Dom
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We are holding a vote for the best of Hitchcock's films in the inaugural Auteur List project. FYI for lurkers: you must sign-in to see this thread and subforum. I believe you must also have made five approved posts elsewhere on the forum to be able to see this thread and the sub it is located in... but if you want to participate without making posts elsewhere first, PM me and I'll work with Chris to figure something out


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