On a Hitch jag. Color + 1950s + New York Street Scenes = happiness from the very start. I know I did a freeze-frame analysis of the opening scene previously, perhaps years ago. This:
And I’m quite sure I noticed her.
Searching . . . sure enough: I wrote about it a few years ago, and said:
Hello. She walks in front of Cary Grant and into history. No mention of her on the credits at imdb, unless she’s “Woman” – which she certainly was – in which case she’s Anne Anderson, wife of Bert Convy.
Well, since then, episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents have become available through Hulu – or, since then, I realized they were available – and it turns out she did one in 1959 , with Steve McQueen. (Judging from the description, it’s an overhaul of this episode from X-Minus One, an old radio show.) Well, here’s Anne Anderson on the Alfred Hitchcock show.
Watched “Suspicion” last night. Or was it “Suspected?” Or “Insuspicion?” Or “Indiscreet”? One of those. The Hitchcock one. With Ingrid Bergman and a thin Gregory Peck looking sweaty and tormented. She loves him because – well, because she’s repressed and has never known true love, and thus falls for a twitchy newcomer who snaps and yells at her in front of everyone at lunch within five minutes of meeting her. But he charms her later by going on a walk outside, and after that she’ll throw her career away because he can’t be a murderer! He just can’t. He’s repressing something.
“Yes,” he tells her, in so many words. “A murder. I’m pretty sure I killed someone.”
“You can’t! Oh, I know it’s not so. You’re repressing something from your childhood.”
“No, I think I killed a guy. Look, I showed up at your job pretending I was him. And he’s dead. Two plus two, Doctor Lady.”
“Mathematics have no place in the modern world. We understand the brain now, how you are repressing a childhood event.”
“Only if I killed the guy in grade school.”
“No! We must go visit my old friend, Herr Doktor Stereotype, and he will use all the powers of his charming, Viennese accent to tease the solution from your tormented brain.”
So they go to see the doctor, and I’m reminded what a great old stereotype he was at that. The short, cultured, cheerful intellectual who nevertheless has a wreath of bittersweet rue around his head. He is an Expert! He knows Ze vurkings uff der mind. And so they get Gregory Peck to describe a dream, and it’s the famous Salvador Dali dream sequence. Maybe you dream like that; mine are much more straightforward. Highly complex, intricately plotted, and always quite realistic. No men in suits using enormous scissors to cut a curtain painted with eyes. Nevertheless, they get the symbolism figured out, so they can solve the mystery.
My favorite moment came when they opened the blinds, and Gregory Peck winced and turned away.
“Photophobia!” says Herr Doktor Stereotype.
“No, the whiteness reminds him of something,” said Ingrid.
Maybe it was just too fargin’ bright. Well, Hitch did better once he wasn’t working for Selznik – who himself was in the throes of zzzzzycho-analysees, and bought all that watered-down pseudo-Freud claptrap. But I think that much of Freud was pseudo-Freud, if you know what I mean. If you do, tell me, because I don’t. I’m REPRESSING.
I watched the movie years ago, and had no need to revisit it; I love Hitchcock, but this one just seemed silly. The opening doors sequence in the kiss, though: wow. Simple and perfect – partly thanks to the music. And it’s the music that made me watch it: heard some of the score the other day, and since I love movie music – it’s where the symphonic tradition went to make ends meet after it lost its day job – I wanted more. Turns out the movie has an overture:
To repeat the tweet: it’s the nicest piece Howard Hanson never wrote. Reminds of Hanson’s second, anyway. It’s by Miklo Rozsa. It’s very nice. But compare it to this simple piece the incomparable Bernard Herrmann wrote for “North by Northwest.” It’s called “Conversation Piece.” By comparison, the Rozsa piece sounds like schoolgirl mooning.
About the Hitch cameo in “North By Northwest”:
Public municipal ashtrays.
Oh, and about that book she’s reading in her train compartment when they’re looking for Cary Grant:
I can’t find anything about such a book. It’s possible it doesn’t exist. It’s possible it’s a private joke, or a dummy book picked from the prop department, or a message from Hitch himself.
1959. All things considered . . . an agreeable age.
Last pic: why is this amusing? Spill your theories in the comments – although I’m pretty sure someone will get it right off the bat. You guys are just like that.
Hey! That brings us to this week’s Black and White World, available HERE. Ever heard of Olsen and Johnson? No? HERE.
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