I’ve been meaning to revisit Network (1976) partly because it celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, another being that it’s an important film that sometimes becomes overlooked with all the 24 hour sensational news we have today, I wanted to see how this prophesying film has come to reality. As I sat down to watch it I realised much I had forgotten on this dialogue heavy film. I had lost practically all of the first hour, waiting for the “Mad as Hell” speech, which I admittedly did again, but was taken aback by the other scenes and build up to what is ultimately a scene that changes the course of the film and the direction all of the characters are going on.
It’s a very human film, going back you could say to Citizen Kane (1941) the need to be loved, the need for attention is at the heart of the film. It’s not human love or attention that most people strive for here. To be embraced, understood, cared for, listened, ultimately to be wanted and loved by another in the world. This is the cut-throat world of ratings, point share and audience percentages. A very cold world where what your station transmits makes the difference of the image you project to the world. The content that for the fictional station of UBS is becoming too much when it comes to news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) who I forgot how incredible a performance he gives. Where he character begins and ends in the film which is central to the stations rise and fall. Beale is a dead man walking when the film begins, he’s just been fired by his old friend and boss Max Schumacher (William Holden), the two men drown their sorrows before he faces his final weeks at the station. Filling him with a sense of uneasy freedom that we all get when we know that what we do will have none or little consequence that a period in our lives is coming to an end. “I just don’t care, I’m going anyway”. First saying on air that he will commit suicide, a surefire boost to the ratings. That’s before the powers that be begin to pay attention. Sadly this comes after the events that are depicted in Christine (2016) of a TV reporter who actually committed suicide on the air. Dark subject matter that Sidney Lumet can’t help but use to satirize the TV news industry. Satire isn’t a word that really sits well with this film though, it’s too dark, shocking and I didn’t laugh once. Instead I was fascinated and drawn into the insidious world of the media. It’s a precursor to a future that has all but happened today.
When the outbursts start to attract attention, numbers start to go in the right direction which means that Beale stays, just for the sake of more promising ratings. Of course it makes sense to keep on the air what grabs an audience’s attention. However it’s the content of the outbursts which is really concerning. He knows there are troubles in the world. Network was made in an era when Watergate shook the country, and the Vietnam war coming to a bloody and very climatic withdrawal. The country is filled with suspicion and disillusionment, ripe for someone to vent on a platform that can reach a massive audience. The news is the perfect position for such an individual, who is fighting for their professional survival.
It’s at out the halfway mark that really marks a striking change in tone. “Mad as Hell” as I learned came more from an spiritual possession of Beale who is no longer himself, more a vessel to express the insecurities of a nation still coming to terms with the greatest country in the world being turned upside down at home and abroad. History is about to repeat itself in some form or another. Trumps Administration is cracking at the seams and the situation in North Korea could easily end very badly for the planet. Lets hope things don’t get that bad though. Back to the fictional 1976 we see behind the scenes at the offices of UBS in fighting for control of the news. An internal war for control both creatively and financially. Mainly between content director Diana Christensen (Faye Dunaway), Frank Hackett (Robert Duvall) and News director Max Schumacher Beale becomes a pawn in a giant game from ratings, as UBS improves financially and in terms of its position – I still get confused with all the media talk. Maybe that’s the point. Its a different world where people don;t really matter, they are disposable if they are not in the best interest of the company.
UBS becomes a network for the lowest common denominator, airing content for shock value alone, which was years ahead of what we have now. Not as extreme but this is a filmic world where anything is possible. Making deals with political extremists for content that is brave and pushing the boundaries, but showing how far they will go, not caring how they influence society politically.
With the introduction of the board of directors and a foreign takeover bid – Arab money. Money that provides Beale with his best material or intervention, preaching to his audience to rally behind him and stop the takeover. Writing to the White House to stop the bid being approved. It’s a prime example of getting carried away with a good thing, it will always bit back. There’s a scene very late on when the chairmen of the board Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty) explains how the world works. To him its not based on a community of countries that try to cooperate and live alongside each other. Which we know is a hard task at the best of times. I was first shown the scene outside of the film in a lecture, it didn’t really make sense outside the context of the film. 3rd time around I now understand the speech and it makes more sense, money is how the world functions, countries are just places to deposit it within.
Looking back I can see how much Network correctly predicted, the war of the ratings will never end, pandering to the lowest common denominator will not go away until tastes change. I see a man whose used for the sake of grabbing attention, By the end of the film, he’s no more than a disaster, toxic to them and had to literally be killed off. The scene where the murder is arranged is always shocking, cold and organised so that they all get away with it. The room is filled with people who are soulless, no life outside of the industry, I’m relieved that Schumacher was fired allowing these amoral characters to carry on. I didn’t forget the weird affair between Schumacher and Christensen which was built on drive and passion that turned into a one-sided empty relationship where nothing can survive. Taking the affair on it’s own it shows how two very different people working in the same world are so far apart. One driven by quality, heart and warmth, the other driven by stats, ratings and positions. A montage sums up how little passion there is between them. Network holds up pretty much if you ignore the political extremism, there will always be infighting, pandering to the masses not to the intelligent audience that is craving to learn, not just be herded. The power of media manipulation is rife, we have to choose carefully what is not “Fake News” today. Instead of quality news coverage which I think we’ll never really have from one source. The film has allowed for a whole sub-genre of New room drama’s which mock the media so successfully today.
I’ve been watching a few of Orson Welles‘s later films (with cameo’s) and I thought it was time to take a look at one of his own films, one that on the surface doesn’t appear to have been butchered in the editing room. You could say that The Stranger (1946) has come out practically unscathed after what happened with The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) which is only half as good as it really could be. If only the footage that was cut could be found and pieced back together again. Still that’s another discussion for another review. Looking at this film-noir that on the surface appears more main-stream, has more in common with the genre that accidentally grew around that time and Welles’s breakthrough film Citizen Kane (1941) where he was left to his own devices. OK here we have less of that style which he uses more subtly to get the feelings of fear, shock and innocence across to an audience who at the time had just come out of war with Germany and Japan that finished that year. They were being exposed to newsreels of harrowing images of concentration camps that had been discovered. The full extent of Nazi crimes was being made public. Even for an audience today seeing footage from the camps is unsettling, traumatic, a hard watch to say the least in the face of incredible human suffering and loss. Orson Welles has taken a gamble playing with the images that have been burned into the short-term memory of America.
Taking that context into a film that is today very much forgotten among more memorable films he directed. This is very much a product of its time. You could dare I say remake it today with an Islamic State focus rather than a Nazi that has gone into hiding. Typically played by Welles himself you see less of him and more of the investigating detective Mr. Wilson (Edward G. Robinson) who takes a chance by releasing another Nazi onto the streets. Hoping that he will lead him to the bigger prize, that of Professor Charles Rankin otherwise known as the notoriously media shy Franz Kindler who played a major role in the gas chambers, a high-ranking Nazi that got away. Thankfully a fictional Nazi that made this film slightly safer, instead of a true account that never happen thankfully. However it’s the thought that even in the safety of a state of rich, prosperous and middle class Connecticut, it makes you think how this could happen in small town America.
Welles even takes a lower billing, it’s all about the search for the truth, seeking to restore safety and security in America. A brave choice by the director who really has a lot of fun in the role. Robinson’s seen to be settling into roles of a maturer man which really suits him, he’s no longer the gangster of the 1930’s. He brings really weight to the role, you feel he believes the lines he is delivering. He’s Americas conscience still fighting and reeling from the trauma of war. Whilst Loretta Young is more side dressing between these two men. She’s weak and indecisive, trapped in a marriage of convienence to a man hiding. Shes America that is still in denial, needing that jolt of reality to wake up to the horrors of the previous half decade or more.
Stylistically this film is very much Welles, the cinematography never stays still for long. Un-nerving us with heavy and high tracking shots, mixed with cuts that leave you on the edge of your seat. It really is not a film-noir of the standard we are used to in the city, I wouldn’t even call it a noir on these terms Welles simply uses the devices he pioneered and pushes them further. It’s not quite as dark as The Lady from Shanghai (1947) or Touch of Evil (1958), he’s still fine tuning. We are outside in the sunshine of Eastern America where trouble never really happens. We are taken into an unsettled world that is yet to full understand what is happening either at home or in Europe. This isn’t even a war-film, it falls more into straight thriller with over-powering sense of fear that has loosened a little with time. We no longer have this enemy around us, a few are being found into their old age.
I guess to really feel the power of this film you have seen it on first release. You do wonder if the truth will out itself and that is what remains. An enemy that has long been put to bed can still stir up your deepest fears, which shows the power of the film over the course of time. The context maybe more historical, its the fear of the unknown and distant being closer than you think which stays with you. I could watch this film on mute and still it would have a power over me which is all down to the strong visuals that stay with you which is what you want from a film of this age.
I finally gave in and watched one of the famous foreign films that I have heard so much about and not really understand or wanting to. Seeing such films as Breathless/À bout de souffle (1960) as purely arty-farty for the intellectuals who really understand cinema on another level. Maybe tonight I have taken another step in the direction of joining them. Or is this like Citizen Kane (1941) one of those greats that you sometimes just don’t get? I don’t think it falls into that category, it does have an elitism to it, that’s probably the language barrier that would prevent the average film watcher from even seeking it out. I’ve took my time as I thought it would be just going over my head until I took the plunge and bought a copy on DVD the other month. I have decided as a result to try more foreign films, learn more of the film language to inform my practice and my understanding of the medium. There are some films I want to see but know that it could be ages before I will encounter them. And now I have seen one of the great masters of cinema Jean-Luc Godard who will be forever remembered for the likes of Breathless. I may go back for more.
My first viewing of Breathless I was expecting very little, trying to be as open-minded as possible, in order to have a clear and fair perception of the film, reading none of the reviews etc that praise the hell out of this film. My review wont be doing that on this first viewing of the film, I will be seeing what was on the screen and trying to make sense of actually fairly straight-forward plot. I was expecting something plot-less and open-ended leaving you either alienated or embracing the film like a breath of fresh-air like you’ve never had before. It was quite the opposite or should I say somewhere in between. I’ve not been left in either state really, more intrigued by the editing of the film, the pacing and the dialogue.
We’re introduced to a wild young man who is already on the run from the law for whatever reason or another we don’t really know. What we do know is that he Michel Poiccard (Jean-Paul Belmondo) like life in the fast lane. He’s a modern man who is ready for action on and off the road. We find him talking to himself or the audience, his thoughts in either monologue or direct to camera, engaging the audience in a conversation. Driving towards Paris where the action will ultimately take place.
I noticed early on that the action is almost none-stop, if there’s nothing much going on the camera is constantly moving, as if its itching to get going. The editing also shares this feeling, cutting sharply to speed thing up, reducing the breaks in motion, the boredom and monotony is cut out, we don’t need to see, so why show it. We are left instead with these abrupt cuts that jolt you slightly as we’re engaged in conversations that are really are of two lovers who are teasing each other.
Throw into the film the beautiful and unusual for her time Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini coming from the Hollywood system to French New Wave where you can see her thrive, free from the standard roles of her home country to simply be a woman and all that goes with her sex. And sex is definitely part of the conversation in the film. Her body is the desire of Michel as he wants to sleep with her again. Doing anything short of begging for her to give in to his desire. Do you really for him though, it’s all he can think about when he’s not after money that he’s owed.
My only real criticism of the film could be the length, it could have been longer, maybe that was due to the editing. It moves so fast at times, the delivery of dialogue sometimes had me re-winding the film to just read the subtitles. Still these are only little niggles really. I did enjoy the film it was never really serious, there was a death of a policeman but you hardly think about with this couple on-screen as they play this game of will they-wont they which is the main dynamic of the film. They both ooze style that reflects the time which gives this film a timeless quality that only the French can really do. A battle of the sexes is played out in on the road and streets of Paris which happens today and all over the world.
When reality comes back to bite we see a terrible twist come, the police are back on Michel’s tail and the love that has been shared turns sour. The dream is gone, reality is here to stay and it hurts badly as justice and honesty come into the film. There is nowhere to hide captured in a few shots that stay with you, going for strong imagery that stays with you long after the film is over. This could the beginning of a new path that my viewing takes, more European films, the barrier is coming down..slowly.
- Fluidity within Chaos: The Enduring Long Take in Breathless (1960) (cinematicgloom.blogspot.co.uk)
- Breathless (1960) as an exemplar of French New Wave Cinema (tacomafilmclubannex.wordpress.com)
- Sight & Sound Sunday: Breathless (1960) (imthecautionarywhale.blogspot.co.uk)
- Breathless Analytical Paper (limmelissa.blogspot.co.uk)
- Breathless (1960) – #408 (criterionreflections.blogspot.co.uk)
If I’m honest this is not the best film in the world for me, I know and realise it is has a massive cult following and is much loved. I can see all of that and understand it too. It’s like my first encounter with Citizen Kane (1941) but does have that alienating quality of being high-brow. Labyrinth (1986) it does, however have more of a charm and universal appeal that engages with a larger audience, For me I think I wasn’t buying into beginning which I wasn’t expecting. Which I think was because I was expecting something different, but what was I really expecting going in blind.
For me what redeems this is the lack of C.G.I. there are splashes and sequences of the stuff in places, the opening titles make use of it, however, it’s minimal throughout. The charm lies in the puppets, provided by Jim Henson who was and will always be remembered for the muppets, taking the puppet to a new level in entertainment. Here we have a film free of that world, even the standard muppet for something more sophisticated yet defiantly still in the Henson style which I respect. There’s no absence of characters to act against, or the suggestion there ever was during production (minus one sequence), it’s all there, all the magic in front of the camera. It’s the physicality of the characters that are brought to life as we see them in full frame and no strings from above or rods from below. And if there was I would still forgive it all.
Ok moving onto the film itself which is David Bowie left right and centre, although his time on-screen is just under half, his presence is felt throughout as teenage fantasy-dreaming Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is given the task to rescue her half baby brother Toby before he is turned into a goblin. Which is all started after she reads a spell out from a book titled Labyrinth is magically brought to life as she quotes from the book, venting her anger at the baby who she has to babysit. It’s the classic frustrated teenage daughter really escaping to a fantasy world that she understand and can enjoy.
I can draw comparisons to Alice in Wonderland ok she’s not falling asleep as she goes after a white rabbit, there is still that initial desire to escape reality and all its trappings to something they both understand. Before entering into one that really makes less sense. For Sarah she has a lot of growing up to do in the Labyrinth as she makes here way through the maze, complete with its own traps and tricks. Even the characters she meets along the way that are more complex than most puppets we usually meet, from the goblin Hoggle (Brian Henson) to the guard of bridge Ambrosius (Percy Edwards) they all make the world authentic and richer for all their flaws as individuals.
Turning back to Sarah who completes the whole journey with all setbacks she has she holds her own, with adolescent and strokes of adult logic to get her half-brother back in one piece. All from the minds of three men, one of which really sticks out for me, Terry Jones one of the Pythons adds another layer of eccentricity to the world, much like how Terry Gillham creates truly unique worlds. You can see the British sensibility to the film in most of the characters and dialogue, adding class to an otherwise American fantasy movie otherwise, raising it to be a richer film.
- Labyrinths and Coming-of-Age: “Labyrinth” (1986) and “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006) (femmefilms.wordpress.com)
- Cult-Movie Review: Labyrinth (1986) (reflectionsonfilmandtelevision.blogspot.co.uk)
My dad has the idea that Marilyn Monroe was no good as an actress which is true…to a point as I have found with her last film The Misfits (1961). I believe she unfairly earned this title due the directors she worked with, taking advantage of her, the film industry creating an image she couldn’t live up to and the pressure of public live being labelled a sex-symbol. And this is before the days of the internet when she would have surely suffered far worse under the gaze of the media. You have to look at earlier roles such as her small bit part in All About Eve (1950) where she was more a character role with a few lines, playing the blonde for a scene. Playing up that persona before it really took root a few years later. Another stronger example in Niagara (1953) where she’s paired against Joseph Cotten, yes the very same who found fame thanks to Citizen Kane (1941) and a strong of thrillers, a credible actor from the theatre who made the transition to Hollywood. It seems a very strange pairing on the face of it today. Yet it’s not really, take a pretty young thing who knows no better to bring in the audience and an established actor and there you have on-screen couple for a film. It happens sadly to this day, Hollywood really hasn’t broken that mould. Hopefully as more actresses speak out about the sexism in the industry we may finally get change,
As much as Monroe plays more to the classic femme-fetale this time, the blonde who can really drop a few knocks along the course of the film, getting her husband George Loomis (Cotten) all tied up, Not long out of a psychiatric hospital the couple are taking a break at the iconic resort of Niagara Falls, it’s not really what the doctor ordered for the Loomis’s who are further apart than ever before, just about able to stand each other in their cabin. On the face of this all American location dark secrets are beneath surface ready to seep out in the blazing Technicolor film-noir. George’s troubled by feelings of jealousy which consume him, unable to move on, which is pushing the couple apart. As Rose (Monroe) has gone to the arms of another man already whilst on holiday.
We discover the Loomis couple have out-stayed their welcome when The Cutler’s arrive on their “honeymoon” something that is never really explained. Promised that cabin the Lomis’s are still occupying, the two couples an uneasy friendship, the Cutlers aware of the Rose’s overt sexuality towards the other guests staying at the resort, playing music that stirs up George to the brink. I found the Cutlers to be underdeveloped as a couple, first meeting them at the border, before we learn they are not really newlyweds, so what are they, just a couple taking a holiday. Ray (Max Showalter) is hoping to meet his boss Mr. J.C. Kettering (Don Wilson) and his wife, hoping to take advantage of the situation. However it’s Polly (Jean Peters) who has the most excitement, discovering more than she expected whilst enjoying the attractions.
Polly’s caught up in the mess between George and Rose as things get messy, the disappearance of George before turning up dead a few days later. The all American holiday destination’s tinged with death, lies and alteria-motives that Polly is tangled up in unable to her herself free unlike her husband Ray who is harder to persuade. You could say its a classic Hitchcock where all this dark activity is going on, and only one person really knows the truth. Both of the Loomis’s are very different people, the very definition of opposites when it comes to a couple, the honeymoon period’s indeed well and truly over.
Henry Hathaway has taken the film-noir genre and brought it into the light of day, the all-American couple is no longer going on a happy holiday where you lie on the beach and get-drunk, a place where you can forget your troubles, they come with you and never leave. He has cleverly cast Monroe as the femme-fetale, using her beauty to distract us from what is going on inside her. Whilst Cotten is sometimes out of place, probably too old to really be her husband (like I said earlier a symptom of Hollywood) he’s possessed with jealousy and anger, not to the same level of darkness of Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt (1943), the anger within him has come from a different place as they couple tear shreds out of each other. Hathaway also makes great use of the bells throughout really adds a sense of dread. On first hearing them they are to taunt us, as they ring out a previous song. Before acting as a foundation for more powerful scene that is both brave and daring in full colour, relying on the audiences memory to complete the scene as we’re distracted by the murder below.
This really was a surprising, a rare colour film-noir, with the addition of Monroe before the mid-fifties when her fame was cemented for very different reasons. We see what she could have become in this beautiful location that is synonymous with what is great with America. It’s very classic in it’s form, tinged with darkness. You’ll never go on holiday and feel the same again.
- NIAGARA (1953) (hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com)
- Niagara (1953) (colemancornerincinema.blogspot.co.uk)
- NIAGARA (1953) (theordinaryreview.blogspot.co.uk)
- Friday’s Old Fashioned: Niagara (1953) (cinemaromantico.blogspot.co.uk)
- Classic Films in Focus: NIAGARA (1953) (virtualvirago.blogspot.co.uk)
- The O Canada Blogathon: Niagara (1953)(thrillingdaysofyesteryear.blogspot.co.uk)
- Still waters fall deep… Niagara (1953) (ithankyouarthur.blogspot.co.uk)
- NIAGARA (1953): The Technicolor Film Noir (loveletterstooldhollywood.blogspot.co.uk)
This is one review I never thought I’d be ever writing up. Theres a few reasons really behind why i had to get around my dislike for Citizen Kane (1941) which was recently overtaken by Vertigo (1958) in the BFI’s latest Sight and Sound greatest films of all time poll, made by a whole host of directors, critics and other esteemed film folk. After 50/60 years of being on-top Orson Welles‘s masterpiece was overthrown by Alfred Hitchcock voyeuristic private detective thriller. At the end of the day all these polls are incredibly subjective, the IMDB Top 250 poll is changes constantly, we have The Shawshank Redemption (1994) currently in the top-spot, the only definitive classic from the “golden age” in the top ten is 12 Angry Men (1957) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Of course we do have The Godfather Parts 1 and 2 completing the top 3. It’s always varying. Probably influenced this time if year by the awards season.
Putting all that aside to focus on why I wasn’t really enamoured by the “greatest film of all time” I found it at the time of first viewing to be self-indulgent. I could easily see its technical achievements which lead to film noir in the following decade. I was watching it to see what all the fuss was about, not looking into what was going on in terms of story telling and the technical combined, Something I have since rectified, understanding it to be both innovative in terms of both aspects. Welles coming from radio stardom on the other side of the country with his realistic telling of War of the Worlds, he had a natural flair for story telling which Hollywood had to have. On strict conditions set down by the man himself, no outside interference from the studio, his choice of actors and production team, very much a crafted piece of work that pushed the boundaries. With a little help from Stagecoach (1939) which he referenced, I think I now need to watch that to see the connections.
History lesson over and onto the opening shot which was a number of transitions that leads the audience into the Xanadu home of tycoon Charles Foster Kane (Welles) who we see in his final moments of life, his last words begin a journey back through his life, a journalist investigates the importance of that last word, something we all begin to want to know. A new way of storytelling is born, retrospectively looking at the life of a fictional characters who was larger than life, even larger than the man Kane was “based upon” William Randolph Hearst turning him into caricature, a man who wanted to loved by all he knew, without loving anyone really himself. The story of a sad man who made it big before losing his media empire.
All this is made even more real with a fictional news reel that pardon the pun reels you into this world that is entirely constructed for the film. This is where you could say its self indulgent, to bathe in the glory of what this man was, before realising that the great man in the news reel was a fallible man who appeared more successful. We no longer see the powerful figures in films as these great indestructible people. They are now full of faults like everyone else.
On the technical side there is also a lot going on, from the dissolves that take us into his life, intruding into his own life. To the set design which is more elaborate than many films of the previous decade to this. Welles creates world that is so grand in scale that you are taken, losing yourself to the high angles and stretched out pieces that go on endlessly. Incredibly theatrical in design allowing for a grand figure to be explored, pulled apart and put back together again. Leaving a reporter still none the wiser as to what Rosebud means. Only the audience is allowed to know that secret as the evidence as the life of Kane is burnt.
It’s easy to say it’s just a comment on the media, how it has the power in influence world events, or even local ones. It’s so much more really, a new form of narrative is born, techniques are crafted. I would now say it’s an important film to say the least, but not the most important film, I guess that will always evade me, they are all so different, with their own strengths and weaknesses. Kane indulges on Kane, a look into the life of a man who wants what we all want love in the form of a fictional biography.
- Money Can’t Buy You Love: ‘Citizen Kane’ (Orson Welles – 1941) (behindtheseens.wordpress.com)
- CITIZEN KANE (1941) (entertainmentguidefilmtv.blogspot.co.uk)
- EW #1: Citizen Kane (1941) (filmreviewfeast.blogspot.co.uk)
- CITIZEN KANE (1941) (classic–movies.blogspot.co.uk)
- Citizen Kane (1941) (residuefilmreviews.blogspot.co.uk)
The news that Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Vertigo (1958) has been voted the greatest film of all time, the first time in 50 years, knocking the “impressive” Citizen Kane (1941) off the top spot for the first time. I’m guessing it hasn’t fallen far from its top spot. This is the first time the fall has occurred in the 50 years since the poll was first run, starting in 1952 and ran every ten years. Times have changed since the last vote in 2002.
I have never really seen the appeal to Citizen Kane, I can see the technical sophistication of the film, how it has influence the visual style. Orson Welles himself is noted for referring to another of my favourite directors John Ford, watching Stagecoach (1939) over and over, learning from another master of cinema. The narrative is retrospective melodrama of a newspaper mogul that leans of the self-indulgence of the director, that translates into the main character.
However it’s thought today that style is no longer more important than substance, something that is lacking in film today. Audiences today want more introspective films that explore the inner workings of the mind. Our drives and desires. Hitchcock maybe been unable to garner the praise he deserved in his lifetime, that just how it is for great works, and those who produce them, Their value increases with the passing of time. We can revisit and start to understand and unpick the films. Vertigo was his most personal film, knowing exactly what he wanted in front of the camera.
With the BFI‘s current retrospective of the auteurs work has allowed for film fans who appreciate Hitchcock’s back catalogue with a sense of respect and awe. Around 50 classics that stand the test of time. And that’s the very definition of a classic, having a conscious or unconscious effect on culture, and the work that follows that is in turn influenced work of others.
This news is an indication as the direction as to where films must now go, the internal struggles of the individuals coupled with spectacular in the next ten years. Films such as the recent Batman trilogy and Inception (2010) both by Christopher Nolan. At the other end of the scale we have work by the unpredictable but highly entertaining Coen Brothers. Whilst at the other end of the spectrum we have the likes of the highly imaginative and controversial David Lynch and Cronenberg who push the boundaries of the form and fabric of film. Whilst directors like Steven Speilberg produce the blockbusters that entertain the soul with emotion and spectacle, that doesn’t mean he is the best director, none of his films feature in the top 50.
I noticed also that a number of silent films are featured in the top 50, that could be influence by the success of The Artist (2011). We cannot deny the increasing access to DVDs that are bringing silent films and those not so old come back into our awareness. DVD sales have definitely boosted since they arrived at the turn of the century. DVDs are more accessible that its predecessor the VHS which degrades with time. The falling prices of classics and the content they contain on as little as once disc is more than any tape could hold.
I wonder whether Vertigo will still be at the top of the table come 2022 when the list is re-evaluated, or will another film that could supercede this psychological thriller. Right Now I can’t think of one. Will Orson Welles sophistication be more relevant as it was 20 years ago, or has the increasing sophistication audience keep Vertigo’s Scottie and Judy/Madeline in the belfry?
- Five Biggest Snubs in Oscar History (illinois.uloop.com)
- Kim Novak Back in Hollywood (foxnews.com)
- Pre-1960s Bracket: Sunset Blvd. vs. Vertigo (themercyrule3.wordpress.com)
- Guest Blog: Celebrate Alfred Hitchcock Day with Stephen Rebello on 6 Great Reasons Why Hitchcock Is Still the Master of Suspense (dreadcentral.com)