‘Topaz’: Romance in a Violent World

 People fall in love everywhere, all the time. They fall for fellow workers and comrades. They flirt in dirty bomb shelters in much the same way they meet in beautiful marketplaces. Naked, both emotionally and physically, we are all quite similar and circumstances just make us more or less creative about finding ways into one…

‘The Birds’

I grew up hearing about two Hitchcock films: ‘Psycho’ and ‘The Birds’. Where the former lives up to the thrill of a well-turned plot, the latter is more of a bloody mess. In most scary movies there’s a human-like body out to get people. ‘The Birds’ takes someone’s phobia of birds and preserves it for…

‘Marnie’: The Complexities of a ” Sex Mystery”

“One might call ‘Marnie’ a ‘sex mystery’, if one used such words.” – Alfred Hitchcock ‘Marnie’ is by far the most extreme vision of frigidity Hitchcock ever explored. Adapted by Jay Presson Allen from Winston Graham’s novel of the same name, it serves as an oddly seductive screen commentary about the origins of psychosis in…

The Most Classic Horror Film: “Psycho”

All my life I’ve heard people name Hitchcock’s “Psycho” as the scariest movie they’ve ever seen. I heard the music from Janet Leigh’s murder scene played as a spoof on TV and saw clips of Leigh screaming bloody murder in the shower. I understood that this movie was an icon of horror, but couldn’t get…

Rupert Cadell: Psychopathy in Hitchcock Thrillers (“Rope”, 1948)

Character Study: Rupert Cadell (“Rope”, 1948) I recently read an article in which the author questioned whether a psychopath could be a good person. Scientists have studied psychopathic behaviors enough that they’ve come full-circle, considering that psychotic people should be viewed with empathy and even admiration. After all, they are focused, not driven by emotions,…

Private Worlds: Hitchcock’s Penchant for Rule-Breakers (“Rear Window”, 1954)

“Rear Window” is a frustrating story to follow. With unbelievable characters and a seriously Mr. Magoo protagonist, I found it tough to watch. Of course that’s naive, because it isn’t about the character’s development- not how cunning they are or how quick their reflexes…there’s so little traditional ego present in the dialogue. This isn’t a…

Reflection: “The Dinner Party” (2014)

  To walk around “The Dinner Party” is to greet history in a fuller, less inhibited manner. Designed, built and crafted by historian and artist Judy Chicago and dozens of artisans, and funded by the Elizabeth A. Sackler Foundation between 1974 and 1979, it is a tribute to women from the beginning of recorded history…

Period Films: My Love of Other Eras

Romantic period films and longing through my ages It seems to me that there are not many films that portray longing in all its greatness these days. As our overloaded brains tap out under the pressures of keeping “must-do’s” in order, our patience for creative work grows shorter in span. We want what we see…

Analysis of Hitchcock’s “Saboteur”

Hitchcock’s thriller “Saboteur” exemplifies the director’s drive for subverting his audience’s sympathies. There is a daringly clarified critique of systematic injustice in the form of a single misjudged civilian taking on a class of evil that operates somewhere between the powers of government and industry, far above the heads of common workers: the saboteurs, those…

The Beautiful Evil: Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt”

“Shadow of a Doubt” is a beautiful example of the study of Evil. We are constantly confronted with images and descriptions of violence, and in these accounts of atrocious acts we rarely get a chance to consider the criminal from any angle beyond criminality. Where evil meets innocence, and where it wins over good people,…

An excerpt from “Imagining a Cinematic World without Rape”

                          The problem with cinematic gendering is that when it comes in the form of fantasized characters made for the purpose of entertainment, then the foundations are conventions, not innovations. Audiences can connect to the mother figure, but they are not supposed to admire the femme fatale: what happens if they do? Is it because…