Thursday, February 09, 2006


A double bill of Hitchcock these last two nights: North by Northwest and The Man Who Knew Too Much. North is flat out one of my favorite movies, inexhaustibly entertaining, the prototype of the modern action movie. I'd never seen The Man Who Knew Too Much before, one of those I'd missed somehow. Maybe I just wasn't on the right frequency, but it seems a lesser effort by Hitchcock, often narratively inert, maddeningly slow at times, taking forty five minutes to set up what could have been done in ten. I kept pausing it, going off to check email, work on poems, anything. But, really, it's not a bad movie, it's even good in its way, but not particularly engaging at all, which disappoints me. I'm a huge Hitchcock fan, obviously, despite his aversion to shooting on location, which often lends his films a weird staginess. So, kind of bummed about this one.


Working on two blurbs today. It's hard writing them but humbling. Who am I?

Nobody, nobody.


Working on a poem about cooking. Cooking!

By mentioning it here, it'll become something else, entirely.

Damn it.


Diane K. Martin said...

Hitchcock *did* shoot on location, of course, very famously: Vertigo, The Birds, Shadow of a Doubt were all (I think!) filmed in Northern California.

Cooking poems: read "Onions" by William Matthews.

Paul said...

Yes, Vertigo being my favorite film, probably, makes grand use of San Francisco. But so often in films like The Man Who Knew Too Much there are wonderful scenes shot in a Marakesh bazaar, followed by scenes shot in front of back projected footage of the same bazaar, with the actors obviously walking in place. Still, a film like Rear Window was shot entirely on set and masterfully so. I'm not complaining, really, about this; it's just interesting.

Paul said...

Oh, and "Onions" is a great poem. Matthews is a favorite poet.

LKD said...

When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother what will I be. Will I be pretty, will I be rich? Here's what she said to me. Que sera sera! What ever will be will be! The future's not ours to see. Que sera sera!

Oh, I love that song.

Interesting that you should mention North by Northwest. It was on the other night, on a local PBS station. I happened upon it while clicking randomly through stations. I always seem to happen upon this movie during that most famous scene with the crop duster and I did so the other night. I was struck while watching the scene unfold at how utterly rapt I was despite having seen this scene countless times before. Too, I noticed that there was no interuptive or distracting orchestration as the scene played out. Silence, or even moments in a movie which are not mucked up with needless orchestration or soundtrack music is so rare these days in movies. I recall being extremely disappointed when I saw the first Harry Potter movie because I felt that the opening scene was ruined by the background orchestration. That scene would've been magical if it had played out with no music.

But I digress.

The other thing that struck me as I watched Cary standing out there in the middle of nowhere was that the whole scene looked real to me. Meaning, it was shot in the middle of actual nowhere. No backdrops. No computerization. I can't really relax and watch a modern movie, really allow myself to get sucked into it because in the back of my mind, I catch myself wondering how much of any given scene has been shot in front of a blue screen.

As I continue to ramble (grin), I saw that incredible scene of Cleopatra's entrance into Rome the other night....and my god, the mind boggles when one stops and realizes that all of those hundreds of extras were real live people, not computer-generated people filling the screen.

Have you seen Heathers? Whenever I hear Que Sera Sera, I think of that movie.

Honestly, I'm shutting up now. Really. (grin)