Friday, August 14, 2009

In Celebration of Hitchcock


Hey guys,

Yesterday was Alfred Hitchcock’s 110th birthday. He was born on the east of London at Leytonstone on August 13, 1899.

To celebrate, MTV
posted Faith No More's video of "Last Cup of Sorrow,” a comical yet faithful homage to the master’s canon of great films. Lindsay Goldwert and Emily Christensen Flowers celebrated at ABC. Megan Wedge compiled some quotes for the Examiner. The National had a nice piece on the master of suspense. Psycho recently topped Telegraph’s poll of 10 Greatest Movie Shower Scenes. And I have to mention Bill Martel’s great, thoughtful ongoing series for screenwriters called Fridays with Hitchcock.

The study of Hitchcock is one of the true joys of being a screenwriter or even just a cinephiliac. Of course, reading
Truffaut’s Hitchcock is a must. I personally enjoyed Steven DeRosa’s Writing with Hitchcock, David Freeman’s book, The Last Days of Alfred Hitchcock, and Dan Auiler’s Hitchcock’s Notebooks was quite addictive. Online, there is the Alfred Hitchcock Wiki for enthusiasts.

I thought I might share some of my own articles from over the years with photos of mosaics that were recently installed in the entrance corridors of Leytonstone tube station (via
Xerocomix).


Perhaps one should begin with his philosophy on
Cinema’s Purity:

In many of the films now being made, there is very little cinema: they are mostly what I call ‘photographs of people talking.’ When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialog only when it’s impossible to do otherwise. I always try to tell a story in the cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film in between.

It seems unfortunate, that with the arrival of sound, the motion picture, overnight, assumed a theatrical form. The mobility of the camera doesn’t alter this fact. Even though the camera may move along the sidewalk, it’s still theatre.

One result of this is the loss of cinematic style, and another is the loss of fantasy. In writing a screenplay, it is essential to separate clearly the dialog from the visual elements and, whenever possible, to rely more on the visual than on the dialog. Whichever way you choose to stage the action, your main concern is to hold the audience’s fullest attention.

Summing it up, one might say that the screen rectangle must be charged with emotion.


- from
Hitchcock by François Truffaut


Here’s a taste of a
1939 Alfred Hitchcock Lecture:

Sometimes you cannot get the characters you want to take you into these places, so you say, "All right, I will have the society woman." The next thing is, of course, what to do with her. You might say, "I would like to have her in a ship's stokehole." Your job becomes very hard, indeed! You have to be really inventive to get a society woman into a ship's stokehole, to get a situation that will lead that way, and a character who, by reason of the situation, would find herself in a ship's stokehole.

Of course, I'd bet a lot of you would say, "It is too much trouble. Let's put her in a yacht's stokehole. A society woman is bound to go there." That, of course, is radical and you must not do it, because the moment you do, you are weakening and not being inventive.

If you can summon up enough courage to select your background and your incidents, you will find you really have something to work out. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, I said, "I would like to do a film that starts in the winter sporting season. I would like to come to the East End of London. I would like to go to a chapel and to a symphony concert at the Albert Hall in London."

That is a very interesting thing, you know. You create this terrific problem, and then say, "How the devil am I going to get all those things into it?" So you start off, and eventually you may have to abandon one or two events, as it might be impossible to get some of the characters into a symphony concert, or whatever it is. You say, "Well, can't Stokowski have his hair cut?" or something like that, and you try and blend the characters in the best way you can -- appear to be quite natural that all the events have taken place in those settings because it was necessary for them to do so.


I loved writing this article –
The Exposition of Rear Window:

"First, the studio had a 13-page treatment written by playwright and director Joshua Logan. To brutally simply things, Logan provided a backbone to the film, although the details were kind of weak. Jeff was a sportswriter who enjoyed playing amateur sleuth when he had the time. He broke his leg by, uhh, slipping down stairs. He had a girlfriend by the name of Trink who was struggling as an actress. He didn't think she'd ever make it, which was the source of their conflict, and he couldn't commit to a relationship. In that pivotal scene where she’s caught inside Thorwald's apartment, she 'acts' her way out convincing Jeff she's a great actress and thus, they get married.

"When Hitch and his new writer,
John Michael Hayes, got onboard, they made a number of significant, yet fascinating changes. They wanted to make Jeff’s occupation more EXCITING and the reason for his broken leg more DRAMATIC. Thus, they made him a photographer who was wounded in the line of duty. They also wanted a more plausible way for these two characters to meet. So he wasn’t just a photographer, but a foreign correspondent who had to do a fashion shoot and that’s how they met. I’ve said that characters come first. But when you have a great concept like Rear Window, I see nothing wrong with designing characters that fit perfectly into that concept..."


I was also fascinated by Hitch’s
Unproduced Projects. This first quote comes from the Derosa Links and a lost project called R.R.R.R.:

“It was about a hotel like the Plaza,” explained Hitchcock. “The manager was Italian, his mother lived in the penthouse, and his relatives held different jobs in the hotel. They were all crooks, but he himself didn’t go in for this crookery so he was blackmailed by the rest of the family. When a woman like Sophia Loren arrives with a collection of coins she wanted to sell and took a room, of course all the family have itchy fingers. So he had to fight against his own family about stealing the coins.” The title was to be R.R.R.R., as Hitchcock explained, “Numismatists mark coins by the letter R. R, RR, RRR, RRRR.” No doubt, the title was to have a double-meaning, grading not only the coins to be stolen, but the leading lady as well.

Here’s another concept from the
Complete List of Unproduced Projects:

The Blind Man (1960)
After the success of
Psycho, Hitchcock re-teamed with Ernest Lehman for this original screenplay idea: A blind pianist, Jimmy Shearing (a role for James Stewart), regains his sight after receiving the eyes of a dead man. Watching a Wild West show at Disneyland with his family, Shearing would have visions of being shot and would come to realize that the dead man was in fact murdered and the image of the murderer is still imprinted on the retina of his new eyes. The story would end with a chase around the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary. Walt Disney purportedly barred Hitchcock from shooting at Disneyland after seeing Psycho. Stewart left the project, Lehman argued with Hitchcock, and the script was never shot.

Hehehe

I also shared a
murder scene actually written by Hitchcock which would have been for his Kaleidoscope project. And over here are two other fabulous, unused ideas by Hitchcock.


I wrote reviews for two unproduced scripts of his. This first quote comes from what would have been
Hitch’s final film, The Short Night:

"The film was to be an adaptation of a book called
The Short Night by Ronald Kirkbride. It’s a very simple setup for a film. A British double agent (working for the communists) by the name of Gavin Brand escapes from prison. An American civilian, Joe Bailey, is persuaded (unofficially, of course) by the CIA to assassinate bad boy Gavin because Gavin had murdered his brother years ago. Joe naturally agrees. They know that Gavin will be meeting up with his wife and two sons to take them back to Russia. Find the wife and sons, and you’ll eventually find Gavin. And Joe does, indeed, find his wife, by the name of Carla Brand, on an island in Savonlinna, Finland. And while they wait for Gavin to arrive, they fall in love…"

And this comes from an article on
Mary Rose based on the J.M. Barrie play, which I also love dearly:

"This was the film Hitch purportedly wanted to make more than any other but the studios always refused. Biographer
Donald Spoto said that Hitch’s failure to make this film was “perhaps the single greatest disappointment of his creative life.” Hitch would say repeatedly in interviews that his contract with Universal allowed him to make any film so long as it cost under $3 million and so long as it wasn't Mary Rose. Of course, this was never verified and probably not true. In truth, the reasons why this didn’t happen are complicated, involving the Tippi Hedren fallout, the failure of Marnie, Hitch’s career crisis, and concerns about audience expectations of Hitch at the time."

And finally, below, are vids from a 1964 Hitchcock interview:



23 comments:

Christian H. said...

Cheers to Hitch.

bob said...

I love those mosaics.

I remember your past articles about rear window and whole concept of presenting backstory in an organic manner without clunky dialogues or extraneous scenes was a great takeaway for me.

great job MM!

Karel said...

Happy Birthday Hitch!

The Hitchcock/Truffaut interview is still my favorite book on the craft of filmmaking. The thoroughness and humility with which Hitch looks back on his oeuvre is unequalled I believe.

Thanks MM. Great stuff.

Mystery Man said...

Thanks, guys. More time than I care to admit went into all of those articles. SO much fun!

-MM

Christian H. said...

Time. More time than anyone would want to admit, right?

I've been thinking about this post for a few days now; especially the part about pure cinema.

I think the big issue Hitch had was and is, trumpets please...

Shot-Reverse Shot. I've read articles where people who weren't used to it didn't even realize that that the two characters were even talking to each other (didn't save as a favorite).

The Golden Ratio is non-existent in such a form. Full frame takes study, but it enhances the experience by not snatching frame ( if you are shooting medium range in a room, the viewer is jerked from background to background rather than the seamless view of full frame where you can use montage in conjunction with CU, but it needs to be based on the beats of the scene and not the desire to give the actor a "moment, Mr. DeMille" - not saying he did that.

By carefully constructing the "mise en scene," you can use angle and encompassment to greater effect.

That is really the province of Welles, but use of the entire frame was what Hitch was great at.

The single face not following the tennis match, the full view afforded by the single set and point of view, the birds flocking behind unbeknownst, etc.

I'm working on a comprehensive Hitchcock post in light of the anniversary.

Wow Gold said...

wow ! what a blog

Wow Gold said...

fantastic blog.

Havza said...

Really nice and has a flowing narrative. Thanks

Pordus | Havza Eymir

caca said...

ankara koltuk yıkama
ankara halı yıkama
sincan halı yıkama
keçiören halı yıkama
çankaya halı yıkama
ısı yalıtım
mankenler
ankara jigolo
yenimahalle halı yıkama
ostim halı yıkama
penis büyütücü

aa said...

live119|live119論壇|
潤滑液|內衣|性感內衣|自慰器|
自慰套|情趣內衣|
G點|性感丁字褲|吊帶襪|
煙火批發|煙火|情趣用品|SM|充氣娃娃|AV|情趣|
衣蝶|丁字褲|無線跳蛋|性感睡衣|
按摩棒|電動按摩棒|飛機杯|自慰套|
角色扮演|跳蛋|情趣跳蛋|

Eric said...

Made since the launch of his ASICS GEL-KINSEI 2 campaign by Japan in 2007, marks Onitsuku Tiger trainer has a series of ASICS GEL-Nimbus 9 shoe sculptures created, each of which Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 different aspects of Japanese culture.True to its tradition, Tansu carpentry, sculpture contains a series of boxes and drawers made of wood Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 carved.

cc22 said...

情趣用品,情趣,
角色扮演,吊帶襪,丁字褲,飛機杯,
按摩棒,跳蛋,G點,
自慰套,
情趣內衣,
情趣,情趣用品,
SM,G點,按摩棒,
飛機杯,充氣娃娃,
自慰套,情趣用具,

日月神教-任我行 said...

,徵信社,尋人,偵探,偵探社,徵才,私家偵探,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,抓猴,出軌,背叛,婚姻,劈腿,感情,第三者,婚外情,一夜情,小老婆,外遇,商標,市場調查,公平交易法,抓姦,債務,債務協商,應收帳款,詐欺,離婚,監護權,法律諮詢,法律常識,離婚諮詢,錄音,找人,追蹤器,徵信,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信社

uwanna said...

ghd glätteisen

christian louboutin shoes

ghd Straightener

christian louboutin

Copper clad aluminum busbar
Copper clad stell
Copper clad aluminum

fitness shoe
fitness shoes
mbt shoes
fitness shoe
fitness shoes
mbt shoes

timberland boot
timberland shoes
timberland boots
timberland

timberland boot
timberland shoes
timberland boots
timberland

ghd hair straighteners
hair straighteners
straighteners hair
ghd straighteners
straightener hair
ghd hair

ghd hair straighteners
hair straighteners
straighteners hair
ghd straighteners
straightener hair
ghd hair

ray ban sunglasses
sunglasses oakley
oakley sunglasses
sunglass

ray ban sunglasses
sunglasses oakley
oakley sunglasses
sunglass

ally said...

moncler jacketsmonclermoncler coatsmoncler t-shirtmoncler vestmoncler outletugg bootscheap ugg bootsdiscount ugg bootsugg classic tall bootsclassic ugg bootsmoncler jacketsmoncler
new moncler coatsmoncler vestmoncler outletmoncler polo t-shirtcoach outletcoach handbagscoach bagscoach totescoach outletlouis vuitton handbagsLV handbags 2010Louis Vuitton bags
Louis Vuitton totesrain bootsrainweardiesel jeansTure Religion Jeanslevis jeansabercrombie and fitch outlet
ed hardy wholesaleed hardy outletcheap ed hardy wholesalediscount ed hardy wholesalewholesale ed hardyGHDGHD straightenersCheap GHDDiscount GHDGHD OutletGHD New Pink

ally said...

Fashion trends change on daily basis, like Gold GHD. Following the latest in designer shades has become a passion of everyone, now Burberry Sunglasses. If you are the type of a woman who loves to explore in fashion, our ED Hardy Sunglasses will definitely satisfy your taste. Cheap Ed Hardy Sunglasses is also OK. Ed hardy streak of clothing is expanded into its wholesale ED Hardy T-shirt chain so that a large number of fans and users can enjoy the cheap ED Hardy Clothing range easily with the help of numerous secured websites, actually, our ED Hardy Outlet. As we all know, in fact discount ED Hardy, is based on the creations of the world renowned tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy. Well, this question is bound to strike the minds of all individuals. Many people may say Prada shoes is a joke, but we can give you Prada Sunglasses, because we have Prada handbags. Almost everyone will agree that Prada Purses are some of the most beautiful designer handbags marketed today. Now we have one new product: Prada totes. The reason is simple: fashion prohibited by ugg boots, in other words, we can say it as Cheap ugg boots. Would you like to wear Discount ugg boots. We have two kinds of fashionable boots: classic ugg boots and ugg classic tall boots. Ankh Royalty--the Cultural Revolution. Straightens out the collar, the epaulette epaulet, the Ankh Royalty Clothing two-row buckle. Now welcome to our Ankh Royalty Outlet. And these are different products that bear the most famous names in the world of fashion, like Ankh Royalty T shirt by the way -Prada, Spyder, Moncler(Moncler jackets,or you can say Moncler coats, Moncler T-shirt, Moncler vest,and you can buy them from our discount Moncler outlet), GHD, ED Hardy, Ankh Royalty, Twisted Heart.

air shoes said...

These guys were all over the place with ideas and there's nothing wrong with that air sport shoes. I think so .

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. Thank you. They are really great .
Some new style Puma Cat shoes is in fashion this year.
The Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .
Nike Air Rift is good and

Cheap Nike Shoes
.
If you are a fans of Puma basket,we would offer the good

and Cheap Puma Shoes for you .the cheap ugg bootsis best christmas gift now.
The information age is really convenient .

Anonymous said...

I like your blog. Thank you. They are really great .
Some new style Puma Cat shoes is in fashion this year.
The Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .
Nike Air Rift is good and

Cheap Nike Shoes
.
If you are a fans of Puma basket,we would offer the good

and Cheap Puma Shoes for you .the cheap ugg bootsis best christmas gift now.
The information age is really convenient .

jiaoliang said...

Teenagers in a track adidas shoes can go through shoes rate adidas outlet teenage runner well knows that adidas sneakers to wear the right shoes air jordan 2010 any cross country among world jordan shoes especially important to the sportsman discount jordan shoes a young person growing up Pure GHD Not only do they want to bourke dooney handbags grow out of their shoes dooney bourke bags but shape of their feet changes which means every time we dooney bourke outlet the time comes to get dooney bourke totes a new pair of shoes eveyone NIKE SHOX a good choice to get NIKE SHOX SHOES it with a high material SHOX SHOES that breathes easily on random moncler They should be extended runs moncler jackets give enough support to athlets moncler coats especially around the ankles area moncler vest to avoid injury your ankles discount moncler outlet when you make your trip discount moncler t-shirt something in store possible fit cheap ugg boots his is also the way to discount ugg boots that don't fit properly only ugg boots it focuses on your convenience classic ugg boots but they are not returnable ugg classic tall boots to move forward with quality discount ugg boots in the minds of the people classic ugg boots consumers all over the world ugg classic tall boots among public and new styles vibram five finger modern technology and best quality Five finger shoes all these efforts is consumers vibram 5 fingers for game and daily life vibram kso your daily life as well as vibram running shoes suitable for all category people

iyinet webmaster forumu 2008 seo yarışması said...

Sikiş, sikiş izle, sikiş pornosu, sikiş seyret, sikiş videoları
En güzel videoları facebookta paylaş

iyinet webmaster forumu 2008 seo yarışması said...

Sikiş izle
En güzel videoları facebookta paylaş

ahmet said...

Interesting Article. Hoping that you will continue posting an article having a useful information. Thanks a lot!
porno izle
gizli çekim sikiş
porno izle
porno izle
sikis
adult hikaye