Hello, everyone, I’m sorry I have not written anything in a while. I’ve been down with a cold–right after nursing my young miss, who’d caught a cold in sweltering, stifling July!–& I’ve been working on something new–a poetry podcast with a Texan friend. Maybe we’ll have guests in the future–we have some friends who like to reflect on poetry. I hope we’ll enjoy the great success than can reasonably be expected of poetry talk… We’re dealing with short modern poems for now. If you have a taste for modern poems (Polish poems, in translation, for now), you might take a listen.
Now, back to movie talk. I’ve been doing two kinds of things. One is, write on Hitchcock movies. If any of you like any of these movies, I’d love to talk them over with you. What attracts my attention these days is what he has to say about social class & how his protagonists deal with their situation. I feel that setting & plot have been neglected. Hitchcock seems to have been interested in America & he arrived at some insights about the post-war changes the country was going through. I’ll come back to this.
The other thing I’ve been doing is also tied to post-war America. I’m curious about what movies had to say about the coming of the social revolution that democratized America. So I’ve been working on some silly comedies starring the star himself, Cary Grant. These are not first-rate movies–they lack first-rate directors, for one–but they are fun to watch–much better than romantic comedies are these days–well, there are almost no romantic comedies anymore. America is poorer for it, but what can you do! Back to these movies–they looked directly at certain problems & yearnings of the heart, so they are useful starting points. I’ll do a post on those things, too.
Now, Hitchcock! You can find my reviews here:
Rear window (Here, a manly man learns to take an interest in his fellow Americans instead of exotic things, & this is the condition for him to marry in some strange way.)
Dial M for murder (Here, the leisured class & the middle class are shown in a strange way, right when the leisured class is disappearing from public life in England, after the war)
To catch a thief (This is about how one gets into the high class & the relation between morality & class)
The man who knew too much (This one is about how Americans do abroad–how strange they become when they have to face strangers)
The birds (This one I don’t get–it’s a love story, but then there is horror; damned psycho-analytical…)
Except for The birds, which is a strange movie–I’ve written something strange about it–which came out in 1963, the others were made in 1954-6. They all have interesting things to say about high class & middle class people & American society in their times–stuff you would not usually see. There is something elegant in Hitchcock–a taste for understatement, when it comes to matters of class. They are there to be seen, in relation to character & setting (class has both meanings–social class & being classy), but they are not obvious.
If you’ve seen any of these movies–let’s talk about them! If not, I recommend them. They’re fine films, with beautiful actors & witty dialogue.