Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Hitchcock and his Heroines


I have recently discovered myself a huge fan of Hitchcock films, and their cunning heroines. I am working my way through the whole series {67 odd films} and, so far, I have loved each and every of them. 

Suspense is the intrepid anticipation that something potentially dreadful is about to happen. Past, on the other hand, also plays a key role: it’s the source of mystery, psychological issues, madness. In H. films, this anticipation is created by a slow and self-indulgent pace that doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the moment. When the viewpoint is shifted to the murderer {as it often happens in his films}, the viewer experiences an uncomfortable feeling of anxiety as he/she starts emphasising with the villain. This anxiety is the achieved effect of suspense. 

His settings are simultaneously eye-catching and preposterous for the contemporary eye. External scenes can be vibrant and exotic as in The Man who Knew too Much, glamorous and mundane as in To Catch a Thief, vivid and compelling as in Vertigo, realistic and picturesque as in The Man who Knew too Much, oppressing and implausible as in Marnie - visibly shot in a film set where backgrounds and natural sceneries are gawky eye-illusions. But no matter how clumsy or dated some cinematic devices appear, his films so well reflect their era and retain a timeless quality. 

Top: Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly
Middle: Doris Day, Vera Miles, Kim Novak
Bottom: Eva Marie Saint, Janet Leigh, Tippi Hedren

 Jane Wyman 

Steve believes that H. betrays a misogynist view, but I tend to disagree with him. Even when his heroines are scrupulousness and merciless, they retain humour, grace, warmth, sophistication, passion and, of course, an outwardly beauty. Aside the most iconic H. femmes fatales, I was charmed by the co-protagonist of Stage Fright: Jane Wyman aka Eve Gill aka Doris Tinsdale. Her beauty might not be as striking as Grace Kelly's or Marlene Dietrich's {who in Stage Fright tries to no avail to outcast her}, but I found Jane a bundle of sweetness, quirkiness, cuteness and fun, exactly as we like it! Their timeless style has inspired tons of designers. Net-a-Porter online magazine  recently posted an article on retro style and its futurist development.

Let's dream for a moment. If I were one of Hitchcock's divas, for this Xmas I would wear a Reiss outfit {high waisted tailored trousers and silk blouse} for the day  and  a Reiss fur gilet coupled up with the most adorable butterfly dress {by Temperley} for the night.

Reiss collection is particularly sumptuous this year. I visited their shop yesterday and loved almost every item. I set my eyes on this cardi, which, luckily, is not yet available.

I was so jubilant when I read that Rope, one of the best H.'s movies (if there is a best), was staged at the Almeida Theatre in London. The Almeida is a contemporary little gem in east London. Possibly, one of the best modern theatres in town. I shall make sure not to miss it!

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