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 Hitchcock - the man and the movies

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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:32 pm

Control wrote:
Something had gone seriously wrong at the end of his career.

Hitchcock was a tragic case. One of the 20th century's greatest and most successful artists, brought down by pop music and the short attention spans of teenage theater goers.

I don't disagree that the final stage of his career was less rewarding, but Hitchcock wasn't a tragic case. No downturn can take away from his earlier achievements.

Also I think Hitchcoock's late decline may have been precipitated by Nouvelle Vague and counter culture as much as Lou Wasserman. There was a brief critical reprieve some years after his death, but then feminism took over film studies and made his personal life more important that his art. I can't say how much I despise most of those so-called academics - Camille Paglia is about the only one I have time for.
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:12 pm

The Savage id - Camille Paglia on Hitchcock

The Savage id is one of the best conversations about Hitchcock. I read it many years ago when so many ostensibly intelligent women were turning into fascist feminist sheep. The interview gave me false hope.

Quote :
From the moment feminism began to solidify its ideology in the early ’70s,
Hitchcock became a whipping boy for feminist theory. I’ve been very vocal
about my opposition to the simplistic theory of “the male gaze” that is
associated with Laura Mulvey (and that she herself has moved somewhat away
from) and that has taken over feminist film studies to a vampiric degree in
the last 25 years. The idea that a man looking at or a director filming a
beautiful woman makes her an object, makes her passive beneath the male gaze
which seeks control over woman by turning her into mere matter, into “meat”
– I think this was utter nonsense from the start. It was formulated by
people who knew nothing about the history of painting or sculpture, the
history of the fine arts. It was an a priori theory: First there was
feminist ideology, asserting that history is nothing but male oppression and
female victimization, and then came this theory — the “victim” model of
feminism applied wholesale to works of culture.

http://www.salon.com/1999/08/13/hitchcock_paglia/

Read it and compare to this Guardian piece 10 years later:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/oct/21/alfred-hitchcock-women-psycho-the-birds-bidisha

That's where we're at right now.
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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:06 pm

There is very little (if anything at all) wrong in terms of the depiction of women in Hitchs actual movies.

Having said that, Tippi Hedren's account of his behavior towards her is at the very least, problematic.

I am of course aware that this behavior was hardly unique for directors, and continues to be so to this day (it's not like Hollywood Hacks à la Brett Ratner and Michael Bay even try to deny their extensive use of the casting couch).

Side-note: it is somewhat amusing that De Palma ended up casting her daughter.

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Harmsway
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:04 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
There was a brief critical reprieve some years after his death, but then feminism took over film studies and made his personal life more important that his art. I can't say how much I despise most of those so-called academics - Camille Paglia is about the only one I have time for.
I've spent a lot of time with academic treatments of Hitchcock. Feminist criticism is only a small portion of the vast sea of academic work written about Hitch's work. Even so, feminist criticism doesn't speak with any level of uniformity regarding Hitch's achievements.

At any rate, I think Hitch's decline was mostly the result of ego. He tossed aside his best collaborators and his work suffered.
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: hitch   Mon Jan 19, 2015 3:42 am

Feminist hysteria (it's hardly theory) has completely permeated academic film studies. Show me a study of Hitchcock that doesn't accept the male gaze bullshit.

As for Hitch's decline, there were many reasons. I'd say the enormous commercial success of Psycho, his rights swap with MCA, ill-health and changing public morals were more to blame than the changes in his collaborative team. After all, Hitchcock survived the falling out with John Michael Hayes and it needs to be faced that Herrmann's score to Marnie is part of why it seems such an old-fashioned film; Like anyone else, Benny did bad work as well as good.

A shame that these discussions always take place in the Last Movie rather than the Hitchcock thread.
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:19 pm

Just been going through the Telegraph's archived gallery of the best and worst Hitchcock films.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9443826/From-Topaz-to-Psycho-top-52-Hitchcock-films.html

A very idiosyncratic selection with Topaz in last place, which is crazy. Nevertheless, there are some interesting choices along the way. For instance, I've not seen Hitch's The Ring, but might seek it out after seeing it so high in these rankings. In fact, Hitch's British-made films generally fare well in the list though they are perhaps the least seen of his output.
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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Wed Apr 29, 2015 10:50 pm

Interesting list. I would have expected a few of them to be listed higher: "Secret Agent", "Rope", "Shadow of a doubt". Though I was pleasantly surprised that "Saboteur" made the top 15.
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:34 am

Normally I avoid opera  - an artform revered by continentals desperate to believe Germany is the bastion of civilisation rather than the home of Zyklon B - but this adaptation of Marnie looks worth a visit. Some interesting observations on Hitch in the comments BTL as well, such as this one:

Quote :
I've watched Marnie many times since childhood, including in a university seminar on Hitch run by Peter Wollen (who has had only passing influence on what I'm about to say). I've felt for a long time that Marnie is close to unique in the Hitch canon, as there's nearly no character to root for. Both Marnie and Mark Rutland are some distance from the flawed Hitch hero (or heroine, as in Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho - a series which may represent a progression toward Marnie in Hitch's treatment of women). Only Rutland's determination to "rescue" Marnie, and Marnie's victimhood, give the characters anything redemptive. It's the suspense situations - Will Marnie be caught as a thief? Will Marnie "surrender" to love? - that inspire audience involvement. So far, this is to Hitch's credit as a filmmaker, and to the credit of the source novel and the screenwriter. However, is the underlying message of Marnie that women deserve rape (albeit, as in the film, under the sanctifying circumstance of marriage) because they are morally flawed beneath a flawless social surface? One wonders if Marion Crane in Psycho also "deserves death" under these circumstances. Both Psycho and Marnie are Rich in ponderables on the condition of women in society, and Hitch's preoccupations with it. I observe this all without endorsement.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/nov/10/moving-marnie-why-hitchcock-troubled-heroine-is-made-for-opera

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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:49 am

Erica Ambler wrote:
an artform revered by continentals desperate to believe Germany is the bastion of civilisation rather than the home of Zyklon B

Say what? ROTFLMAO
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:54 am

wink
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CJB
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:18 pm

All this Hun-bashing is gonna get Ambler into trouble after the EUrth Reich successfully launches #operationsealion.
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:24 pm

CJB wrote:
All this Hun-bashing is gonna get Ambler into trouble after the EUrth Reich successfully launches #operationsealion.

Hey, that's unfair - how could I dislike the culture that invented schadenfreude and industrialised murder? Truly, the EU aka Germania is a beacon of hope in an otherwise dark and savage world.

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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:19 pm

But Hitch was heavily influenced by German cinema, surely you must give them a tiny bit of love for that?
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:28 pm

There are many things I love about Germany, particularly its contibution to science and the arts. That's partly why its crimes against humanity are so hard to understand or forgive.

Watching the people on the continent pretend these things never happened is simply inexplicable. Won't you ever learn?
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Salomé
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PostSubject: Re: Hitchcock - the man and the movies   Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:05 pm

Erica Ambler wrote:
Watching the people on the continent pretend these things never happened is simply inexplicable. Won't you ever learn?

I don't think that is what is going on.

I do think that it was a historical error of giving so many of the WWII war criminals a free pass and some of the post-war problems can certainly be attributed to that.
On the other hand, the mistake came from an understandable place: after years of bloody and costly war, the desire to have a lengthy and possibly bloody and calamitous repression movement was limited in all but a small minority of people. Not coincidentally, the same people who had been part of the active resistance, mostly.

Harry Mulisch's book "The Assault" deals with this frustration to a certain extent.
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