Torn Curtain was a spy thriller made in 1966. My paper is analyzes why this film was mediocre in the climax of Hitchcock’s career. His intentions of homosexuality, morbid motifs, and disregard of collaborator’s all made the movie substandard. During this era, audiences were already paranoid about the Cold War and Hitchcock allowed the outlet of movie going to enhance the audiences’ paranoia even further. Also, the Gromek murder scene, supposedly the best scene in the film, was too grotesque for the viewers to watch since it was very realistic. The motifs in the film imply that America is in a dark place and preparing for nuclear war. Moreover this makes the audience feel uncomfortable while watching the film. In addition, the cameo could also instill fear in the audience since it is meant to portray that Gromek, a spy, is watching the American’s, and sending American intelligence back across the Iron Curtain. Lastly, Hitchcock’s failed relationship with collaborators was his main downfall. The score from Bernard Herrmann was spectacular compared to that of John Addison’s and Hitchcock would not accept help from other collaborators who wanted to help him when things were going downhill, like John Michael Hayes. Ultimately, the substandardness of Torn Curtain was the dramatic turning point of Hitchcock’s career because of the hidden messages of homosexuality, motifs, and his use of collaborators.
Palle Torsson’s art was a recration of evil interiors from some of the key horror films in history. For instance, he used scenes from the home in Clockwork Orange, the hotel corridor in the Shining, the empty warehouse in Resevoir Dogs, Hannibal Lecter’s cage from Silence of the Lambs, and Hitchcock’s Pyscho’s motel room. In his earlier works such as Minus Porn, Sam and Pippi Palle Torsson´s interest lies in the scene – constituted here by the viewer and the interior. Whereas Hitchcock interest lies with the viewer and the screen. Torsson feel that, “Examples of scenes are movies, computer games or even a Sunday dinner with your family. A scene is a limited piece of the world, one you have to enter with faith and acceptance, otherwise the theatrical disappears and the scene loses its meaning. Then we will only see boring graphics instead of a game or we will see the violence without the context.”The scene demands the viewer’s submission and in Evil Interiors the viewer´s position is changed through the reduced scene shown through his artwork. Ultimately Torsson’s artwork shows Hitchcock’s legacy, by manipulating the audience to get a specific reaction just as Hitchcock did with his films.
I did not really like the movie and I don’t think it should of been as acclaimed as it was. I don’t particularly care for the film’s symbolism – Saul Bass’s spirograph credits for instance, the nightmare sequence, or about San Francisco or what it means. Furthermore, Laura Mulvey criticizes the film with her Gaze Theory when she say’s, ” starting point the way film reflects, reveals and even plays in the straight, socially established interpretation of sexual difference that controls images, erotic ways of looking and spectacle.” I disagree with Mulvey because I feel I have a different interpretation than a man does, thus I do not feel any pleasure from looking when a male probably would. However, I thought it was interesting how Hitchcock utilized technology in the film. For instance the silent sequence of Scottie tailing Madeleine. The camera floats, when it follows the pale car, when Kim Novak appears like she is a ghost, or when Scottie is just a floating head. Also, the animation in the credits was quite revolutionary for the time. So, I would rate this film somewhere in the middle of the rest of the Hitchcock films I have seen.
Deutelbaum, Marshall. “A Closer Look at Scopophilia:Mulvey, Hitchcock, and Vertigo.” In A Hitchcock Reader. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1986. (P. 234)
In Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, family is a very important dynamic, but disgust is a common motif. For instance, when Charlie and Uncle Charlie are both lying in bed and thinking about each other, this brings the metaphor of incest. Also, Hitchcock’s disgust makes the family into a crime because the women start the problems, making the women the criminals; and the only way to solve this problem is by marriage or death. Moreover, the essay by McLaughlin says, ” Her love for her mother proves stronger than her love of independence and reconciles her to her mother’s position.” Instead, of fleeing from Uncle Charlie, and starting a life away from Santa Rosa; Charlie realizes she holds the family together and cannot leave since her family is more important. Thus, the family dynamics form the plot of the movie, if a different family was used, the movie would not be the same.
McLaughlin, James. ” All in the Family: Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt.” In A Hitchcock Reader, 145-155. 2nd ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
A motif that occurs in both The Lodger and Blackmail is the symbolism of shadows on the characters faces; this motif will eventually be a part of defining Hitchcockian style. In The Lodger, the Lodger had a shadow of a cross across his face, and it didn’t just symbolize the cross in Christianity. This symbolized the possibility of him being two faced or a conflict about to arise. In the latter movie, Crewe has a shadow of a sinister mustache on his face. This shows that he is not the gentleman he appears to be, but a villain.