Monday, August 01, 2005

A couple of links: Hitchcock, Dan Clowes

Senses of Cinema has finally included a Hitchcock profile in its Great Directors database. Given that Hitch has been heading the director votes on the site for years now (and that Vertigo recently displaced Citizen Kane on the aggregate of reader’s favourite-movie lists), it’s puzzling that it has taken this long for an essay on the Master to be included. One explanation could be that so much has already been written about Hitchcock (to the point of over-analysis - though being a devotee of the man’s work I personally lap it all up) that they couldn’t find a contributor brave enough to take on the task.

The essay itself is long but interesting if you’re Hitch-crazy. Mercifully, it doesn’t attempt to be all-inclusive: it focuses largely on the influence of Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray on Hitchcock’s career, and has a separate section on The Trouble With Harry, one of his most overlooked films.

Also, here’s a profile by the Guardian of Daniel Clowes, reticent creator of the Ghost World comic book (which was made into a wonderful film by Terry Zwigoff a few years ago).


  1. Loved Ghost World, the comic book and the film. I still have the DVD lying around somewhere I think. Isn't he doing a new film called Art School Confidential with his old pal Zwigoff?

  2. my favourite Hitchcock movie - The Trouble with Harry; the fall foliage in this movie is so breathtaking and i was quite diappointed to read that the movie was shot mostly in Hollywood, before a screen in the studio on which the outdoor shots were projected from the rear!

    apparently, hitchcock was very keen on shooting the autumn landscape in fully glory and proceeded to Vermount but the weather Gods did not co-operate and had to go back to the studio with plastic trees stuck with colourful leaves.

  3. Hi
    Thought Ghost World was an excellent film - especially loved the tampon in a tea cup scene. I always look forward to Zwigoff's work, even Bad Santa I thought was quite funny (never seen a film about christmas with so much swearing). However if you liked Ghost World, I would recommend Rushmore (or anything by Wes Andersen). If you've seen it, what did you think? Still can't believe Owen Wilson co wrote it.

  4. Great blog! At first, I thought it was very egoistic of you (what kind of person says 'Jai' to himself?) but now I know better. :)

    I haven't seen many of Hitchcock's movies. Loved Psycho, thought Vertigo was a bit overrated, but I really liked Rear Window.

  5. His pre-Rebecca work (set and shot in Britain with Brit crews) is under-researched and nder-available. Mostly if not all was B&W and very 30s in flavour.

    Check out whether the Brit Council has DVDs of stuff like the " The 39 steps", "The Lady Vanishes" and "The Lodger".

    He only came back there with the movie version of "Goodbye Piccadilly" (think it was called Frenzy if my memory isn't failing) after many, many moons.


  6. I am suddenly very inspired to go back and watch a lot of Hitchcock films that I saw years ago -- and many that I haven't. Thank you

  7. DD: Hitchcock is the one subject I can be confident of knowing more about than you do, muha! Yes, the pre-1940 stuff is under-researched and even underappreciated. And while The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes are considered classics of their time and place, there seems a critical consensus that Hitch’s true masterpieces began only in the 1950s. I’m not too comfortable with that idea myself. (Even if you don’t consider the Brit films, which are very different in mood from the American ones, this snobbery towards his pre-1950 work fails to account for the staggeringly high quality of movies like Notorious and Shadow of a Doubt - and even Rope, in my view.)

  8. Jai,
    You certainly know more about film in general than I do and probably more about Hitchcock as well.

    (I've probably read more of the source novels though :) and he was an alternate in my mastermind set of subjects)

    It isn't an area of interest as such. Many years ago (circa 1985) I was holed up somewhere when they had a B&W Hitch festival.

    That's the only time I've got to watch the Lodger though BCL did screen several of the others.

    Just that I find the B&W Brit stuff of that period roughly 1930-1950 (Rank and Ealing Studios) quite charming and very few people look at the stuff. It featured a lot of decent actors (like most plebian movie watchers I'm more likely to recall an actor than a director).

    Wouldn't care to comment on the critical value of the man's work at all. Just enjoy some of it.