Author Archives: Emily

Lifeboat (1944)

Poster

Lifeboat is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s few limited-setting films. The film took place during World War II and was based on true events at the time, in this case the German U-boat sinkings of American civilian ships. Hitchcock “noticed that the Nazi blitzkrieg affected all areas”[1] and used this time period to engage the American audience. By using limited-setting, Hitchcock was able to provoke increased interpersonal and situational tension, humor, and suspense in the audience. The aspect of the movie that Hitchcock found most comical was that the “characters lose their class status.”[2] The boat acts as an equalizer and the passengers no longer have their previous class. His idea of humor affected his relationship with the author of the novel the film was based off of, John Steinbeck, and with the producer, David O. Selznick. Although Steinbeck was nominated for an award he still “requested his name be removed from Lifeboat.”[3] The relationships between Hitchcock and Selznick also was affected when Hitchcock refused to listen to his views on budgeting and the movie ended up being a failure in terms of cost.

 [1] Hark, Ina Rae. “We Might Even Get in the Newsreels’: The Press and Democracy in Hitchcock’s World War II Anti-Fascist Films,” in Alfred Hitchcock: Centenary Essays. London: British Film Institute, 1999, 333-347.
[2] Smith, Susan. Hitchcock Suspense, Humour and Tone. London: British Film Institute, 2000.
[3] Schultz, Jeffrey. Critical Companion to John Steinbeck: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Checkmark Books, 2003

 

 

David Reed

David Reed is an abstract artist who was born in California. He is known for creating long, narrow abstract paintings on canvas. His is involved in the film, electronic media, and everyday culture. He created the “Vertigo Project” (1994) inspired by Hitchcock’s film Vertigo.

Judy's Room

Judy’s RoomScottie's RoomScottie’s Room

He titled his artwork “Two Bedrooms in San Francisco”, there is “Scottie’s Room” and “Judy’s Room”. He was inspired to do this because he noticed that a lot of people that bought his paintings would hang them up in their room.

To create “Two Bedrooms in San Francisco” he recreated the bedrooms of Scottie and Judy in to real life replica’s and on a television screen next to the bed he played Vertigo. He also replaced the the original art above the bed with a painting of his own.

Original on the left, Reed's painting on the right.

Original on the left, Reed’s painting on the right.

This artist drew inspiration from Hitchcock to comment on film history. This is because he combined different media, in this case canvas, video, and his installations. He was also “interested in the way we are affected by movies”, the imprints they leave on us, and how they become part of our cultural and personal memory.

He also made the real life scenario so people could experience the movie in a different way. By making a real life replica people are able to physically inhabit these places which is different than just seeing it.

I think this could also be inspired by Hitchcock’s object as fetish and the “possessive ” spectator. I feel this because Hitchcock did have an obsession with filming in bedroom’s. By entering into Judy and Scottie’s rooms it gives that intimacy that Hitchcock was obsessed with in filming. It also gives a voyeur feeling as we are looking into an area that is somewhat forbidden. Overall, I think Reed’s creation expresses Hitchcock’s technological innovation and insertion into rooms that give off a voyeuristic feeling.

“Rear Window” qualities in “Disturbia”

After viewing Rear Window, I noticed it was very similar to the movie Disturbia. Disturbia takes almost the same story plot, except that this time the main character, Shia LaBeouf, is on house arrest. Like in Rear Window, LaBeouf starts looking into his neighbors houses watching them do all sorts of things, and, like the character played by James Stewart in Rear Window, will see something he did not expect to see.

Shia LaBeouf with his binoculars spying on his neighbors in Disturbia

Shia LaBeouf with his binoculars spying on his neighbors in Disturbia

James Stewart using his camera to spy on his neighbors.

James Stewart using his camera to spy on his neighbors.

There is also, of course, the beautiful woman. Grace Kelly seems to be more under appreciated in Rear Window, the relationship is more typical of teenage relationships these days in Disturbia.

The relationship in Disturbia

Rear Window - James Stewart and Grace Kelly

The relationship in Rear Window

In both of the movies, a murder was seen through this secretive creeping into neighbors windows. This was the main plot point in both of the movies and also what created the suspense.

Murderer in Disturbia

Murderer in Disturbia

Murderer in Rear Window

Murderer in Rear Window

Disturbia was obviously inspired by Rear Window. This to me is important because it shows how HItchcock’s original ideas were genius and how we can change his ideas to better fit the likes of people today. Rear Window is my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie, but Disturbia was definitely more interesting of a movie to watch mainly because of the modern technology.

 

Is Vertigo the Greatest Film?

Vertigo topped the list of the “50 Greatest Films of All Times” with flying colors. I would personally disagree with this statement, but I can see how this movie was very dynamic for this time period.

In 1958, Bosley Crowther wrote for The New York Times raving about the film and how the “secret is so clever, even though it is devilishly far-fetched” and how that is what was most intriguing about the film. This is something I would have to agree with. This  really kept me on edge throughout the film, wondering if Scottie would find out who Judy really was and what she had done.

Another thing I would completely agree with that Crowther brings up is the amazing casting. “Mr. Stewart, as usual, manages to act awfully tense in a casual way, and Miss Novak is really quite amazing in—well, here is a bit of a hint—dual roles” as Crowther put it. In my opinion, James Stewart and Kim Novak were the perfect actors to play these roles. With Novak’s inexperience, she was able to be more of a reserved character as Madeleine and then was able to shock us as Judy. James Stewart is extremely attractive and always is great at playing a role with secretive watching.

Scottie watching Madeleine

Do I think this is the best movie of Hitchcock’s I have ever seen? No. If I had to choose a film of his that I thought would top this list, of the one’s I’ve seen, it would have to be Psycho. I think Psycho really set the standards for films today. There was non-stop suspense and something that I really enjoyed was the fact that the audience did not know much. In other films, the audience knows things that the characters in the movies do not know. In Psycho we almost feel as if we are part of that film because that difference does not exist.

Norman Bates at the ending of Psycho

References from http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9905EEDD1031E73BBC4151DFB3668383649EDE 

Women Changing for Men

Throughout many Hitchcock movies it is evident that the relationships between men and women are imperfect. In Vertigo and Rear Window it is evident that the relationships are carried on under the man’s conditions and what he wants.

In Rear Window, Jeffries (James Stewart) is obsessed with secretly looking into his neighbors rooms and being a voyeur. He seems uninterested in his relationship with Lisa (Grace Kelly). Lisa is a beautiful woman who is willing to do anything for him, but he is more interested in what is going on in the rooms he peeps into.

Lisa in Thorwald's room helping to solve the case. From http://movieimage4.tripod.com/rearwindow/

Lisa in Thorwald’s room helping to solve the case.
From http://movieimage4.tripod.com/rearwindow/

When Lisa complies with Jeffries wishes and goes across into a neighbors room to help solve the case, he then appreciates her and loves her as she has become part of his voyeuristic obsession. This shows the woman in the relationships altering herself to fit the conditions of the man.

A similar phenomenon is experienced in Vertigo. Scottie (James Stewart) fell in love with Madeleine (Kim Novak) and became depressed after her “suicide” which was actually her participating in a plot for a man to kill his wife. She then became Judy. Scottie then met Judy (also Kim Novak), who oddly resembled Madeleine.

Scottie holding Judy. Represents his aggressive need to change her to be like Madeleine.  From http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4084307968/ch0028517

Scottie holding Judy. Represents his aggressive need to change her to be like Madeleine.
From http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4084307968/ch0028517

He decided to change everything about Judy, like her clothes and her hair, to further resemble Madeleine, his lost love. Judy complied since she is Madeleine and is in love with Scottie. Here is another example of the woman changing who she is for the love of a man.