Alfred Hitchcock

Frenzy 9 October 04

Section: hitchcock

Categories: Film / dvd

I can watch most of Hitchcock’s films again and again. They are as solid as if they were cut into Carrera marble, but painted in rich colors or grays, with evidence of his brilliance, his thorough preparation, coming to bear on the final work. The timing and incisiveness of the dialogue and editing are the planes, curves and angles of the marble, cut in the filmic space of projected light and sound.

As an aside, really unrelated to Alfred Hitchcock (though this film portrays the rape and murder of women, and though he did have his… sensual preoccupations which come through in his films): I have often thought about the portrayal of the submissiveness, or rather the forced submission, of women as a theme in mainstream cinema… more explicitly: rape, and the domination and abuse of women. The culture industry does reflect relations that exist in culture, but it also exploits and reinforces them in most cases. (There is only one prominent U.S. filmmaker who is different, and he is for me really the only interesting mainstream U.S. filmmaker I know of nowadays.)

I think of dreams and feelings I have had—not only in childhood—of being pursued by a lion or a bear and running but not getting away, as if running on sand. The feeling of helplessness.

Of course I don’t presume to truly know what sexual persecution feels like for women—yet I was a child and at the mercy of at least one abusive parent, and this is also a commonality among many people, both men and women.

In so many scenes of violence against women in cinema these feelings of forced submission to, of being at the mercy of, a “superior” power are tapped into, portrayed as normal, and exploited. It can happen with men of course, but it is ultimately different, and they are usually “allowed” different options in reacting and defending themselves. Women and children are generally not supposed to defend themselves, it creates a dissonance which is antithetical to the mainstream movie experience.

A woman being strangled (in films) almost always grasps futilely with her fingertips at the overwhelming grip of her attacker. Futilely is the key word here. This is a cultural reaction, not necessarily a natural one. It is how the system wants women to react, and its portrayal reinforces feelings of helplessness and futility. In fact it is natural and justified to effectively attack your attacker, not his grip on you.

Thrust your thumbs directly in his eyes with all your strength—you really have a lot of it and you can do it.

Title: Frenzy

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay: Anthony Shaffer

Based on a novel by: Arthur La Bern

Starring: Jon Finch, Alec McCowen, Barry Foster, Billie Whitelaw, Anna Massey, Barbara Leich-Hunt, Michael Bates, and more…

Year: 1972

  • Title: Frenzy

I Confess 31 March 02

Section: hitchcock

Categories: Film / vhs

A beauty of a film.

Title: I Confess

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Year: 1952

Starring: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden and Brian Aherne

Screenplay by: George Tabori & William Archibald, based on a play by Paul Anthelme

Music composed and conducted by: Dimitri Tiomkin

  • Title: I Confess

Dial M for Murder 6 February 02

Section: hitchcock

Categories: Film / vhs

Title: Dial M for Murder

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings

Year: 1955

Screenplay by: Dimitri Tiomkin

Music by: Frederick Knott

  • Title: Dial M for Murder

Sabotage 30 December 01

Section: hitchcock

Categories: Film / vhs


Title: Sabotage

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Oscar Homolka, Syvia Sidney, John Loder

Year: 1936

  • Title: Sabotage