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March 2003, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 23 Mar 2003 15:31:51 +1100
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As the original poster of the item by the the above name, let me add two

First, apropos 'it all goes back to Kant' and how 'Schopenhauer got in
first in reckoning the FUNDAMENTAL significance of Kant's findings', I
would invoke what Dr Johnson said about why no subsequent authors
rivalled Homer and Virgil: 'Because, sir, they came first.'  (Quoted in
Robert E. Kapsis, 'Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation' [1992], p.

Second, here's what I just posted on a Hitchcock forum, responding to a
lesbian member's disagreement that Mrs Danvers in REBECCA (Hitchcock,
1940) is 'sad'.  (I start by quoting the member in question.)

>>Hitchcock's queers (and I use that word for it's true meaning) are
mulitfaceted and fascinating. I think it's closer to real life for say
Claude Rains in Notorious to be in love with Ingrid Bergman, but still
have strong homosexual overtones. It's why those characters aren't
stereotypes. And Hitchcock never puts deviants down, or pities them. In
a way, he's too cruel and honest for that. I think he was very daring.
He's suggestive, in so many places. That's what I really like about
those films.

>What a great observation, and absolutely spot-on, I think.  There is a
gay subtext in nearly every Hitchcock movie.  Certainly 3 of the 4 roles
that James Stewart played for Hitchcock have it.

>To me, it is all traceable to Hitchcock's interest in creating 'pure
film' and in portraying the life-force (which is also a death-force).
At a certain point 'pure film' IS a direct analogue of the life-force.
The philosophical equivalent would be Wagner's creating of the musical
Kunstwerk to depict what his favourite philosopher Schopenhauer called
the world's Will.  (Hitchcock's favourite composer was Wagner.)

>That Hitchcock thought in these terms is shown by a famous remark he
made to the editors of 'Movie' magazine (UK): 'Everything's perverted in
a different way, isn't it?'  That is, everything is a variant
('perversion') of the life-force.

FUNDAMENTAL indeed, I maintain.

- Ken Mogg (Ed., 'The MacGuffin').

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