...film moments I grew up on, eerie Hitchcockian mise-en-scenes whose hypnotic power can still grab me today, even after a lifetime of multiple viewings, [have been] reimagined into something rich and strange, a Mashup for the ReMix Generation, a sort of race-record cover version, with very pretty, very clean personnel — and no soul.Though Calendo’s love for Hitchcock’s cinema comes across in the piece, I can’t really agree with his central thesis that from the mid-1950s onwards, Hitch’s heroines were (intentionally) vacuous, “soulless” characters – and in particular, with his description of Janet Leigh’s intelligent performance as Marion in Psycho as “numb starey”. If Marion were indeed an "automaton", it would seriously compromise the effect of the film, which depends on the viewer sympathising with (or at least getting deeply involved with) her predicament at the outset. There is also at least one major factual error here: Calendo claims that we don’t learn about Leigh’s motivation for stealing the money until late in the movie, when in fact it is made obvious almost from the first scene, where Marion and her married boyfriend discuss their financial problems.
I liked Calendo’s eccentric theory about the bird attacks in The Birds, though – it’s just the kind of personal, passionate over-analysis I enjoy – and he’s also right about the Strangers on a Train recreation being dreadful: James McAvoy looks like a 10-year-old school bully trying to imitate Robert Walker and being unable to conceal his merriment about doing it.
At any rate, the piece was useful for giving me a pretext to look at the VF spread in its entirety again: here it is. Don't miss Robert Downey Jr trying to be Cary Grant!