This paper highlights some of the inadequacies of the film, foremost, its unoriginality. It features a plot structure that is featured in many of Hitchcock’s films, that of an falsely-accused man seeking to prove his innocence, and more specifically, the film bears more similarity to The 39 Steps (1935) of all the films that exhibit that plot structure. The police are as harshly depicted as in any other Hitchcock film despite the argued purpose of the film, to boost morale, and facilitate the ousting of criminal agents that threaten national security. In this regard, a major theme of the film is deceptive appearances. Because the promotion of patriotic ideals takes precedence over plot and character development, Saboteur can be classified as a propaganda film. Various motivations for producing a propaganda film are suggested. The film’s characters are analyzed in the context of representing artificially conceived ideas. This includes the central character, Barry Kane (Robert Cummings), who occupies the unique position of serving as a model citizen. The depth of his character suffers as a result, as he faces virtually no moral conflict as a result of his unyielding confidence. The main point is that Barry Kane is simply a representation of the ideal.
Pierre Huyghe is a French artist. As the title implies, Remake is a remake of Rear Window. Unlike most remakes, Remake was not intended to in any way improve upon the original, and was screened at exhibitions rather than theaters. The film was a minimalist, low-budget shot-by-shot reconstruction of Rear Window, shot in a Paris suburb over two weekends. Amateur actors were instructed to mimic the behavior of those in Rear Window. It was Huyghe’s intention to merge cinema and contemporary art and compare them.
American Psycho is a film that is upfront about its inspiration. There are the obvious references in the title as well as the name of the name of the central character, Patrick Bateman, and the the thematic similarities confirm a degree of similarity. Psychological instability due to an erosion of identity is a key theme common to both films. However, being a comparatively new film, American Psycho had a much different feel to it. Bateman’s detached personality numbs the viewer to an abundance of shocking scenes that would not have survived 1960s censorship.
The automobile appears frequently in film, as it should, given how pervasive and popular it is within our culture, but what use has Hitchcock for cars in his film? They are generally unnecessary as a device for changing setting, for it rarely requires detailed explanation when a character appears in a different place. Usually, automobiles serve to further the plot, add action, and develop character relationships. This utilitarian approach is evident in the way these scenes are filmed. Most of the time, the characters are filmed full front, through the windshield, so that we can watch their expressions as they speak, and a nice piece of scenic motion footage rolls in the background. This set up provides a great opportunity for dialogue, as the characters have little else to do but speak to one another, but is visually underwhelming. In his later films, Hitchcock seemed to be more aware of the practical and aesthetic value of establishing shots.
Additional commentary can be made on the disproportionate frequency of cases in which the female protagonist acts as the driver as a reversal of stereotypical gender roles. This grants the women more depth of character and audience respect, due to recognition of the independence and responsibility that the position symbolizes. In the example of Barry Kane and Pat Martin in Saboteur, the sense of female control is heightened to domination when Pat uses handcuffs to immobilize Barry.
All else aside, who doesn’t like a good car chase?
Poor Cary Grant. CLICK FOR MOTION ^^
Jimmy Stewart, alone in his car. Scopophiliacs don’t like company.