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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Spider's Web

Prelude to a note on Alfred Hitchcock's film Suspicion (1941)

With the relatively recent releases of both The Girl (2012) and Hitchcock (2012) - two films that deal with the more sensationalist aspects of the director's art - it seems necessary to draw the emphasis back to Hitchcock's craft - his filmmaking - and to ponder the questions: what makes Hitchcock so great, so essential to the development of the motion picture as a legitimate art-form, and so enduring, as a cultural concern?For many, it's his obvious ability to tell a story; to involve an audience in the intrigues of a protagonist, and in the emotional and psychological progression of his characters through the course of a film.For others, it's his talent for creating moments of pure action, drama, mystery and suspense; the way the filmmaker so skilfully manufactures or engineers those iconic moments that seem to capture so well the emotional perspectives of his central characters (and even, …

A Warning...

Notes on a film and its prologue:
A Warning to the Curious (1972)

The title and prologue both play, self-reflexively, to the natural inquisitiveness of the viewing audience; that unstated appetite for the forbidden; the impulse to experience the unknown; to look behind the curtain and see how things work; to go where we're not supposed to; to venture out and explore.In the context of the genre - in this instance, the supernatural - the title becomes more than just a label of identification; it's like a challenge to the individual; acknowledging our curiosity and using it to entice us, to lure us in.The outcome might be nasty, even unpleasant, but already the title is challenging that spirit of adventure and inquisitiveness; that compulsion to open the previously locked door into the great unknown, as a provocation, or as a test of will.
From the very beginning, director Lawrence Gordon Clark establishes the location as a central character and uses the filmmaking to create an atmo…