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October 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 19 Oct 1994 10:10:44 -0600
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Gerald Forshey recommends the pacing of Hitchcock's SHADOW OF A DOUBT:
"In the opening
sequences, he lets us go past a bridge, a junkyard, and into a seedy
neighborhood before giving us an angle shot of Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten)
lying on a bed as the camera pans toward him, shoes on, tie in place, money
on the floor.  When in a few moments we meet Little Charlie (Teresa Wright)
she has the same shot and is talking in the same voice, while her father is
carrying around a magazine called "Unsolved Crimes."  The economy of film
making in that short strip is marvelous "pacing"  it seems to me."
Hitch is especially good at that kind of thing.  Look at the escape of
Robert Donat and discovery of the body in THE 39 STEPS or the marvelously
economical opening of REAR WINDOW, where everything you need to know about
Jeff (Jimmy Stewart) and the setting is revealed in two sets of panning
shots and two bits of dialogue.
I have often thought that that kind of attention to the visual is a
distinctive mark of directors who began their careers in the silent era.
John Ford and Joseph von Sternberg are two more examples that come to mind.
Then there are those later directors (like Welles) who learned from the
earlier ones.  (Consider Welles' claim that Ford is *the* great American
director, and that he had watched STAGECOACH numerous times before making
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN