SCREEN-L Archives

October 2010, Week 5


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Ken Mogg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 1 Nov 2010 02:56:52 +1100
text/plain (63 lines)
Hi Peter -

A seminal, but nonetheless slanted, 'anti-Hitchcock' article was 
Australian poet and critic Charles Higham's "Hitchcock's World" in 'Film 
Quarterly' many years ago.

For a recent critique of Hitchcock's attitude to women in his films, see 
a piece in 'The Guardian' by 'Bidisha':

(I have to say that it is seriously mis-guided, and that far more 
perspective comes from Bidisha's readers in the Comments section, so be 
sure to read that too!)

The same article prints, alongside, a link to another, 2008 'Guardian' 
piece on Hitchcock's sadism that is marginally better.

But you are treading dangerous ground, mate!  Robin Wood's observation 
long ago, 'Hitchcock was too sophisticated for the sophisticated', still 

When the other day I sent the URL for the Bidisha article to an English 
friend who writes for 'Sight and Sound', he responded that Hitchcock 
sometimes set himself up for criticism by some of his - joking - 
comments in interviews, such as his 'torture the heroine' remark (from 
the French playwright Sardou).  Actually, it's still not bad advice for 
a working screenwriter, etc.!  But, quite seriously,  you must not miss 
what I call the (at least) 'dual vision' of Hitchcock.

To my English friend, I noted the gist of my recent chapter on 
"Hitchcock's literary sources" forthcoming in 'Companion to Hitchcock' 

> My chapter (on Dickens, o.c., and Flaubert, and the literary 
> Symbolists, and Chesterton, and a score of others) made much of the 
> notion of 'Romantic irony' and 'dualistic vision' and dealing in 
> paradox as Chesterton did - Chesterton, who inherited from countless 
> 19C writers a pessimistic outlook but which he soon stood firmly 
> against, with what he called his '/anti/-pessimism'.  Being both 
> pessimistic and anti-pessimistic (and dualistic in other ways) - 
> /that's/ Hitchcock for you, I think!

I agree with George Robinson's post to you that Raymond Durgnat 'has 
some interesting and quirky things to say about the director' -  though 
not just in his PSYCHO book but also his earlier 'The Strange Case of 
Alfred Hitchcock'.  But even Durgnat could, at times, be not 
sophisticated enough!

I am reading Norman Holland's piece on VERTIGO that he posted here for 
you, Peter.  It looks very interesting although - as Norm said - it 
isn't negative!

Metta - KM

To sign off Screen-L, e-mail [log in to unmask] and put SIGNOFF Screen-L
in the message.  Problems?  Contact [log in to unmask]