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Friday, February 27, 2009

Vertigo last night - a dreamy, surreal movie with surprisingly modern touches, including the swirling vortex used to denote mental collapse in poor old Scottie. James Stewart plays another broken man - this time with a terrible obsession for a woman who never really existed. Although it is a great film in many ways, it's a disturbing one to watch and hard not to cringe (and feel implicated) at the humiliation of both Midge and Judy as they are subjected to an unforgiving male gaze. The Midge type characters in Hitchcock never get their man - but on the other hand, they are unlikely to end up dead. I was thinking about this film when I wrote this poem:

Hitchcock Blonde

Ice cool.
A frosted Barbie
hard and cold to the touch
her hour glass figure
infinitely breakable.

Examine her carefully.
The painted blue eyes
with built in tears
(press button A)
the immaculate underwear
uneasily prised
from her brittle carapace.

Shoe her in black
lay a tailored suit
on a firm foundation
restrain the breasts
(remove nipples first)
contain the ample derriere.

But still she will run
shackled for our entertainment
hobble to the nearest lake
the highest tower
fling herself in
or off.

Drama queen.

Torture her
against a backdrop of nuns
an op art chorus line.
She will raise a tiny hand
gloved in pearl grey.
“Scotty,” she will murmur.
“Don’t let me go.”

( from Weeping for the Lovely Phantoms 2007)

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6:20 AM   0 comments

The Lady Vanishes
Friday, February 13, 2009

Last night's class was The Lady Vanishes - a movie I've never seen before and which I enjoyed very much, but more in the way you would enjoy a Marx Brothers movie than a typical Hitch. The opening sequence in the Tyrolean style hotel is very funny and saucy - lots of girls getting dressed and undressed, the Morecambe and Wise duo of Caldicott and Charters (they sound like a pair of dodgy accountants), the lovely Iris (Margaret Lockwood) getting ready to return to England for her wedding and Gilbert the musicologist (played by the deliciously louche Michael Redgrave) getting hotel staff to perform (very badly) local folk dances. It's frankly daft. Peter Ustinov should have been in this part. Most of the action takes place on the train itself with lots of claustrophobic squeezings past people in the corridor and several people vanishing. There's a very untypical shoot out with krypto nazis and everything comes right in the end - if you ignore quite a high random body count. The class divided along gender lines - the women mostly enjoyed it very much - the men were in doubt as to its true Hitchcockian nature (the heroine is a brunette for God's sake!). Sometimes I think I couldn't be happier than I am on Thursday nights at the Tyneside. Check out this video made by a real fan.


1:24 AM   0 comments

Young and Innocent
Friday, February 06, 2009

I'm having a wonderful time attending a class about the films of Hitchcock, held at the Tyneside Cinema. Last night we watched Young and Innocent, which, although not the best film ever, introduced me to a young actress called Nova Pilbeam. Helluva moniker for a film star. But ah she was lovely! Only 17 when she made the movie. All luminous and big eyed with a very slim figure in typical Hitch tailoring. Her character is the only woman in a family of men - the five brothers and the police chief father - she is like a rural English Snow White surrounded by public school dwarves. She is very practical and can start her old Morris with a handle and a piece of string. Why she would want to get mixed up with such a boring hero is beyond me, even though he has some of the right credentials - wrongly accused of murder, floppy hair, the knack of stealing clothes. This movie is like a Famous Five adventure, although with great moments like the car chase and crane shot at the Grand Hotel at the end (but the blacked up band - outrageous!) It's lovely talking about movies.


5:22 AM   0 comments