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August 1996, Week 4


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Murray Pomerance <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 07:16:28 -0400
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David Desser is, sadly, right in his deploring the vapidity of NICK OF
TIME, which should have been something to watch.  Johnny is always
something to watch, but in this film he is the *only* thing to watch.
But I'm very surprised to see David commenting on the general
improbability of a good film representing real time.  Perhaps he's right
if we take the entire film into account (as with NICK), but in
Hitchcock's 1956 THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH there is an extended passage,
running roughly 12:08, where we get a master class on the use of cinema
to represent time.  This is the "Storm Clouds" Cantata sequence, an
elaborate disassembly of which I have provided elsewhere.  My point here
is only that Hitch shows this *can* be done, and done summatively.
Pip Chodorov has commented that there are theatrical ellipses in ROPE.  I
don't think so.  Technical ones, yes.  (I don't mean to be picky about
words, and I may be misunderstanding what Chodorov means by
"theatrical.")  The 10-minute master reels had to be changed, and so
there had to be breaks in filming, but there are no diegetic breaks in
the narrative.  This film is in part about the possibilities for
discursive and philosophical re-orientation in relatively short
conversations; or, what flexibilities language possesses.  We have, in
effect, a single fluid social conversation passing from one state of
affairs to another in a defined time.
For precise narrative reasons, the murder sequence in DIAL M FOR MURDER
is also in real time, as I recall.
Murray Pomerance
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