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March 9, 2011 12:57 PM   Subscribe

DEATH / HITCHCOCK (SLYT) (NSFW - brief nudity)
posted by fearfulsymmetry (31 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
When I become a famous director, I'm going to make sure to kill off my characters in groups of perfect squares so that future generations can make aesthetically pleasing video mashups of my work.
posted by phunniemee at 1:03 PM on March 9, 2011


The nudity is the bottom row, second from the right.

Not that I was looking for it or anything...
posted by Joe Beese at 1:13 PM on March 9, 2011


You gotta reanimate the corpse of the Academy aspect ratio (RIP, 1932 - 1952) first.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:15 PM on March 9, 2011


Ii want to tell time on that man's face
so I can have a Hitchclock.
posted by boo_radley at 1:18 PM on March 9, 2011


Okay so help me out, folks. I kept looking for Notorious and it wasn't until after I watched the whole video that I realized I don't think anyone dies on-screen in Notorious. Or do I just not remember?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:30 PM on March 9, 2011


No, you've got it right. Notorious has no on-screen deaths, and only one off-screen murder (unless you count the implied one after the ending, in which case there are two). Which sort of points to the problem with this project: its weird emphasis on the on-screen death itself as the "climax," when Hitch's true artistry is all about the building tension that comes before (or after: think of Rope, for instance). Fewer than half of what anyone would call the best, most intense sequences in early and middle Hitchcock (pre-Vertigo, say) end with an actual death.
posted by RogerB at 1:39 PM on March 9, 2011


Yeah, nobody dies on screen in Notorious. It is strongly implied that Claude Rains is about to die at the end. But we don't see that happen.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:40 PM on March 9, 2011


Come to think of it, no one dies on-screen in Rear Window either.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:43 PM on March 9, 2011


Well, that is disturbing.
posted by -t at 1:45 PM on March 9, 2011


So someone once told me that Hitchcock would always incorporate some type of X on screen right before someone died (such as a chain-link fence). Does anyone know if this is true? I've never seen anything talking about this.
posted by Deflagro at 1:47 PM on March 9, 2011


Come to think of it, no one dies on-screen in Rear Window either.

Dun dun dun!
posted by nola at 1:49 PM on March 9, 2011


So someone once told me that Hitchcock would always incorporate some type of X on screen right before someone died (such as a chain-link fence). Does anyone know if this is true? I've never seen anything talking about this.

I've never heard this before, and I'm a bit skeptical. Also, how far are you willing to stretch the conceptualization of an X? I'm not sure how you'd find an X on the face of Mt. Rushmore, for example.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:51 PM on March 9, 2011


Does anyone know if this is true?

No, it isn't. There are lots of recurrent visual motifs in Hitchcock's films, and X shapes are certainly predominant in some (Strangers on a Train springs to mind), but they're not some kind of secret kabbalistic riddle/Da Vinci code associated only with death. There's a bunch of discussion of the motifs in Hitchcock criticism, of which the most recent but not the most accessible is Tom Cohen's recent book, and no broad consensus about their meaning.
posted by RogerB at 1:54 PM on March 9, 2011


Yeah I figured it was probably not something in every movie if in any. Thanks!
posted by Deflagro at 1:58 PM on March 9, 2011


no one dies on-screen in Rear Window either

You do see the dead dog in the garden.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:02 PM on March 9, 2011


But you don't see it die.

Although, to be fair, this video does have the pecked-out-eyes farmer, and you don't see him die either.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:04 PM on March 9, 2011


Er, the pecked-out-eyes farmer from The Birds.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:05 PM on March 9, 2011


Thank-you for that graphical representation of my internal monologue last election day.
posted by bicyclefish at 2:23 PM on March 9, 2011


The Ultraculture blog post by this piece's creator also mentions what sounds like a far more impressive montage piece, Christian Marclay's The Clock — a 24-hour film composed of moments from other films in which characters interact with clocks at that precise time.
posted by RogerB at 2:27 PM on March 9, 2011


Row 1: Blackmail, Murder!, Rich and Strange, Number 17 (?), The Man Who Knew Too Much, Waltzes from Vienna (?)
Row 2: The 39 Steps, Sabotage, The Secret Agent, Young and Innocent (?), The Lady Vanishes, Jamaica Inn
Row 3: Foreign Correspondent, Rebecca, Suspicion, Shadow of a Doubt, Lifeboat, Spellbound
Row 4: Rope, Under Capricorn, Stage Fright, Strangers on a Train, I Confess, Dial M for Murder
Row 5: To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Psycho
Row 6: The Birds, Marnie, Torn Curtain, Topaz, Frenzy, Family Plot
posted by Iridic at 2:34 PM on March 9, 2011


Iridic, the titles are shown in the last three seconds of the video.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:44 PM on March 9, 2011


Well, I feel less clever.
posted by Iridic at 2:48 PM on March 9, 2011


If it makes you feel better, you did pretty well. FOR AN ASSHOLE
posted by shakespeherian at 2:48 PM on March 9, 2011


Torn Curtain is a decent movie with an AWESOME death scene. Just sayin'.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:55 PM on March 9, 2011


Once again, Metafilter shows me something disturbing and strange that will never be unseen. Can I request a pony that is the tag #stuffthatwillscarLipstickThespianforever?

Thanks ever so. *shivers*
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:50 PM on March 9, 2011


I watched Frenzy last summer, for the first time in 20+ years, and found the scene shown here so much more disturbing than I remembered. Which is odd - usually, I find that shocking scenes in books and movies become less shocking with the passage of time.

I think Frenzy is the only Hitchcock movie with explicit nudity and profanity. (Psycho doesn't count, because you don't really see anything in the shower scene, right?)
posted by JeffL at 6:40 PM on March 9, 2011


So someone once told me that Hitchcock would always incorporate some type of X on screen right before someone died (such as a chain-link fence). Does anyone know if this is true? I've never seen anything talking about this.

Maybe they were thinking about Scarface, the original, Howard Hawks version. I think there's an X-motif before the deaths in that one. But I'm basing that on my hazy recollection of a book about Hawks I read probably 25 years ago.
posted by Man-Thing at 7:23 PM on March 9, 2011


Maybe they were thinking about Scarface, the original, Howard Hawks version. I think there's an X-motif before the deaths in that one.

Martin Scorsese also did this in The Departed , supposedly as an homage to Hawks.
posted by TwoToneRow at 7:39 PM on March 9, 2011




> the most recent but not the most accessible is Tom Cohen's recent book

LULZ you mean the TWO PARTER?

Which I read both of. Incoherent and charming! In the film academy these days, books about Hitch are something of a joke, like "Can't finish your diss? Make it about Hitch!"

Something something nunderwear.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:12 AM on March 10, 2011


LULZ you mean the TWO PARTER? [...] Incoherent and charming!

I'm impressed you made it through both volumes — I surely didn't! But I'm not sure "incoherent" is really accurate. While the book is far too long and Cohen's baroquely jargontastic writing style does no one any favors, I actually think his most basic central argument is fairly simple, and both interesting and novel —  that those visual motifs in Hitchcock are best seen as working something like the "cryptonomies" of Abraham and Torok's form of psychoanalysis, as formally encrypted signatures of the Hitchcockian unconscious.

something of a joke, like "Can't finish your diss? Make it about Hitch!"

That seems like kind of a weird joke to me, though maybe it's just a restatement of the general truth that it's hard to be a cinephile without being into Hitchcock (and secondarily how much bad critical writing about him there therefore is). There are several obvious reasons why Hitch is so compelling for film people: the monomaniacal control he exerted on the films and the long history of auteurist criticism that entailed; the way the films combine high and low appeal, artistic ambition and Hollywood pop, formal rigor and star glamor; and then there's the tension between directorial control and the studio system. Hitchcock is really almost a uniquely attractive object of study for film geeks — so that this reads to me something like saying to a literature student "Can't finish your diss? Make it about Shakespeare!" Which would actually be very bad advice in both cases for the same reason: they're such canonical figures that the diss-writer would then suddenly have to grapple with an unmanageably large body of existing criticism.
posted by RogerB at 10:55 AM on March 10, 2011


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