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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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