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Week 9 Lecture: Music and Art in Hitchcock


Week 9 Lecture: Music and Art in Hitchcock s films Screening: Vertigo (1957) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Week 9 Lecture: Music and Art in Hitchcock

Week 9Lecture Music and Art in Hitchcocks
films Screening Vertigo (1957)
  • Readings Cohen, T. Volume 2 Cohen Volume 2 Part
    III Jump Cuts Time machine pp 107 - 137 Matrixide
    pp 138-168
  • Recommended Readings Sloan, J., Hitchcock The
    Definitive Bibliography (pp. 289-295)
  • White, S. "Vertigo and Problems of Knowledge in
    Feminist Film Theory" (Allen pp279-307)
  • Hitchcock "On Music in Films" (1934) (Reader)

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Origins Genre
  • A psychological thriller Film noir/Drama
  • The film is an adaptation of the French novel
    Sueurs froids dentre les morts (Cold Sweat
    From Among the Dead) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas
    Narcejac ScreenplayAlec Coppel and Samuel A.

  • James Stewart - Scottie" Ferguson
  • Kim Novak - Madeleine Elster Judy Barton
  • Barbara Bel Geddes - Marjorie "Midge" Wood
  • Tom Helmore - Gavin Elster

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Jimmie Stewart (1908-1997)
  • James Maitland Stewart popularly known as Jimmy
    Stewart. Parents of Scottish origin, Alexander
    M. Stewart and Elizabeth Ruth Jackson, in Indiana
    Penn. He was the eldest of three children (two
    younger sisters, Virginia and Mary) and father a
    prosperous hardware store owner. Also military
    career in USAF rose to rank of Brigadier General

Jimmy Stewart
  • Jimmy Stewart was named by the AFI the third
    greatest male star of all time . He is one of the
    most represented stars with five films on the
    list of the top 100 films and is one of the most
    represented stars with ten films on the list of
    400 nominees. Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo 9
    Frank Capra's Its a Wonderful life 20 Capras
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 26 George Cukor The
    Philadelphia Story 44 and Hitchcocks Rear
    Window 48

AFI Top ten Actors
  1. Humphrey Bogart Katharine Hepburn
  2. Cary Grant Bette Davis
  3. James Stewart Audrey Hepburn
  4. Marlon Brando Ingrid Bergman
  5. Fred Astaire Greta Garbo
  6. Henry Fonda Marilyn Monroe
  7. Clark Gable Elizabeth Taylor
  8. James Cagney Judy Garland
  9. Spencer Tracy Marlene Dietrich
  10. Charles Chaplin Joan Crawford

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Kim Novak (1933-
  • Kim Novak (Feb 13 1933) was born Marilyn Pauline
    Novak in Chicago Illinois a Roman Catholic of
    Czech extraction (cw. Annie Ondra in Hs
    Blackmail). Her father was a railroad clerk and
    former teacher her mother also was a former
    teacher, and Novak has a sister.

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Some Locations
  • Madeleine jumps into the sea at Fort Point
    underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Coit Tower appears in many background shots
    Hitchcock once said that he included it as a
    phallic symbol

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  • The Mission San Juan Bautista where Madeleine
    falls from the tower, is a real place, but the
    tower had to be matted in with a painting using
    studio effects.
  • The gallery where Carlotta's painting appears is
    the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in
    San Francisco. The Carlotta Valdes portrait was
    lost after being removed from the gallery, but
    many of the other paintings in the background of
    the portrait scenes are still on view
  • showing its age is a replica of one that can
    still be found at Muir Woods.

  • Muir Woods National Monument is in fact
    represented by Big Basin Redwoods State Park
    however, the cutaway of the redwood tree
  • At Mission Dolores for many years tourists could
    see the actual Carlotta Valdes headstone featured
    in the film (created by the props department).
    Eventually, the headstone was removed as the
    mission considered it disrespectful to the dead
    to house a tourist attraction grave for a
    fictional person.

  • The McKittrick Hotel was a privately-owned
    Victorian mansion from the 1880s at Gough and
    Eddy Streets. It was torn down in 1959 and is now
    an athletic practice field for Sacred Heart
    Cathedral Preparatory School.
  • The sanatorium is 351 Buena Vista East, formerly
    St. Joseph's Hospital, now Park Hill
    condominiums. It looks much the same from the
    outside the best view is from the Corona Heights
    neighborhood park.
  • The Empire Hotel is a real place but is now
    called the York Hotel at 940 Sutter Street.
    Judy's room was created but the flashing green
    neon of the "Hotel Empire" sign outside is based
    on the actual hotel's sign (it was replaced when
    the Hotel was re-named).
  • Ernie's Restaurant (847 Montgomery St.) was a
    real place in Chinatown, not far from Scottie's
    apartment. It is no longer operating.

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  • Robin Woods Hitchcock's Films (1968), which
    calls the film Hitchcock's masterpiece to date
    and one of the four or five most profound and
    beautiful films the cinema has yet given us.
  • Release in 1996 of a restored print to great

Vertigo Rankings
  • 2005, Vertigo came in second (to Goodfellas) in
    British magazine Total Films book of the top 100
    films of all time and 2nd in Sight and Sound
    list.Vertigo is 9 on the AFI list. The film has
    been deemed culturally significant by the
    United States Library of Congress and selected
    for preservation in the National Film Registry

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  • Vertigo has been described as an intense
    psychological study of a desperate, insecure
    man's twisted psyche (necrophilia) and loss of
    equilibrium. It follows the troubled man's
    obsessive search to end his vertigo (and deaths
    that result from his 'falling in love'
    affliction) and becomes a masterful study of
    romantic longing, identity, voyeurism, treachery
    and death, female victimization and degrading
    manipulation, the feminine ideal, and fatal
    sexual obsession for a cool-blonde heroine.
    Hitchcock was noted for films with voyeuristic
    themes, and this one could be construed as part
    of a trilogy of films with that
    preoccupationRear Window (1954)Vertigo (1958)
  • Psycho (1960)

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Cinematic techniques
  • Hitchcock used two simultaneous devices to
    achieve the effect and create an approximation of
    the disoriented psychological state of the Jimmy
    Stewart character - the camera both tracks away
    from the subject while also zooming towards it.
    The simultaneous, opposing movements - a forward
    zoom and a reverse tracking shot - also represent
    the attraction and repulsion that the main
    protagonists experience in their relationships.
    The camera effect is used in this scene, and in
    the first mission stairwell sequence.

Week 10
  • Lecture Surveillance through two Rear Windows
  • Screenings Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
    Ross Bleckner Rear Window (clips) (1999)
  • Readings Cohen Vol 2 Part IV The Black Sun 8
    Prosthesis of the Visible pp169-190

Recommended readings
  • Readings Cohen Vol 2 Part IV The Black Sun 8
    Prosthesis of the Visible pp169-190
  • Modleski, T. "The Master's Dollhouse" Rear
  • Stam, R and Pearson, R., "Hitchcock's Rear
    Window Reflexivity and the Critique of
    Voyeurism" (Reader)
  • Belton, J. The Space of Rear Window" (reader)

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  • Rear Window Origins
  • Cornell Woolrichs short story It Had to be
    MurderJohn Michael Hayes (screenplay)

  • James Stewart...L. B. Jefferies Grace Kelly...
    Lisa Carol Fremont
  • Wendell Corey... Detective Lt. Thomas J. Doyle
    Thelma Ritter...Stella , Insurance company nurse
  • Raymond Burr... Lars Thorwald
  • Judith Evelyn..Miss Lonelyheart
  • Ross Bagdasarian... Songwriter
  • Georgine Darcy... Miss Torso
  • Sara Berner... Wife living above Thorwald

Cast continued
  • Frank Cady... Husband living above Thorwald
  • Jesslyn Fax...Sculpting neighbor with hearing aid
  • Rand Harper...Newlywed man
  • Irene Winston..Mrs. Anna Thorwald
  • Havis Davenport...Newlywed woman
  • Marla English.. Girl at songwriter's party

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Heat wave
  • During a heat wave, normally itinerant news
    photographer L.B. Jefferies (James Stewart) finds
    himself confined by a broken leg to a wheelchair
    in his Greenwich Village apartment.  Each day,
    and often into the night, he has little to do but
    gaze out his rear window at the activities of his
    neighbours in the surrounding apartments. 

  • Jeffs main visitors are his fiancée Lisa
    Fremont (Grace Kelly), a high-fashion model and
    Stella (Thelma Ritter), an insurance company
    nurse who provides him with therapeutic massages. 

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Heat Wave Plot device
  • More than a plot device explaining why everyone
    has their windows open, the heat wave intensifies
    a crisis for which it also serves as a metaphor
    for vulnerability.
  • windows open, the heat intensifies a crisis for
    which it also serves as a metaphor

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Jeff I wonder if it's ethical to watch a man
with binoculars and a long focus lens. Do you, do
you suppose it's ethical even if you prove that
he didn't commit a crime?Lisa I'm not much on
rear window ethics.Jeff Of course, they can do
the same thing to me, watch me like a bug under a
glass if they want to.
  • Lisa Jeff, you know, if someone came in here,
    they wouldn't believe what they'd see.Jeff
    What?Lisa You and me with long faces, plunged
    into despair because we find out a man didn't
    kill his wife. We're two of the most frightening
    ghouls I've ever known. You'd think we could be a
    little bit happy that the poor woman is alive and

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Character Parallelism
  • Hitchcock scholars (Mulvey, Modleski, Woods et.
    al.), have discussed the way the relationship
    between Jeff and Lisa parallels the lives of the
    neighbours they are spying upon. Many of these
    points are considered in Tania Modleskis The
    Women Who Knew Too Much.

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  • Almost the entire film is shot from inside
    Jeff's bedroom, and most of the point of view
    (POV) shots are his. However, at key points in
    the movie this rule is broken usually as a dual
    or triple POV shot, but also with single POV
    shots of detective Doyle, Stella, and Lisa.

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Hs Cameo
  • Alfred Hitchcock appears in one of his most
    inventive cameo appearances as the man winding
    the clock in the songwriter's apartment as he is
    playing the composition that he is working on
    during the course of the film.

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Art references
  • Seven lively arts
  • Painting, sculpture, dance, music, theatre,
    opera, literature, photography and, of course,
  • Pets The dog who knew too much.

  • Surveillance, ocular ethics, doubling, uncanny.
  • Everyone needs to lovesomeone.
  • The fine art of murder
  • Symbolic relationship between spectator and
  • The wrong man becomes the right man
  • Suspicion suspense
  • The violability of the fourth wall

literary influences Source Kenn Mogg,
  • E.T.A. Hoffmanns classic tale of the uncanny
    The Sandman (Hitchcock owned several editions
    of Hoffmann), H.G. Wellss 1894 short story
    Through a Window (Hitchcock owned a set of
    Wellss complete works), and Aldous Huxleys
    famous 1922 short story loosely based on the
    then-current Armstrong murder case, The Gioconda

Hoffmans Sandman
  • The relevance of Hoffmanns tale may be seen
    from even a partial synopsis.  The student
    Nathanael becomes fixated on a house opposite his
    own occupied by Professor Spallanzani and his
    beautiful daughter called Olympia.  Watching
    the house through binoculars, the student quite
    loses interest in his regular girlfriend, Klara. 
    One day, he goes to the house and at last
    encounters Olympia - who turns out to be just a
    life-size doll.

Freuds The Uncanny
  • Also the basis of the ballet 'Coppélia' (1870). 
    The tale is also the main subject of Freuds
    famous essay The Uncanny unheimlich , in which
    he alludes to Spallanzani as a potentially
    castrating father-figure.

In Jeff's rear window world, each story is
resolved. Miss Torso is reunited with her
military boyfriend. Miss Lonelyhearts hooks up
with the songwriter, whose music prevents her
from committing suicide. The Thorwalds apartment
is being repainted. The childless couple gets a
new dog. The sculptress finishes her work,
Hunger. The newly-weds are beginning to have
marital strife. Life goes on..
  • Principal photography was completed by January
    1954, having taken approximately eight weeks. 
    The overall budget scarcely exceeded 1,000,000. 
    Following its world premiere at New Yorks Rivoli
    Theater on 4 August 1954, the film and its
    performances were hailed by critics and public
    alike.  'Time' thought it possibly the second
    most entertaining picture (after The 39 Steps)
    ever made by ... Hitchcock.  By May 1956, it had
    grossed 10,000,000.

Homage to Rear Window
  • In 1998, Christopher Reeve (Superman) as the
    paraplegic architect Jason Kemp appeared in a
    remake of Rear Window that retained the original
    title, but had the main character completely
    paralyzed instead of just having a recently
    broken leg (due to Reeve's real life condition).
    The Lars Thorwald character is replaced by an
    English sculptor thus racking up the art/murder

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Other homages to Rear Window
  • Brian De Palma paid homage to Rear Window with
    his movie Body Double (which also added touches
    of Hitchcock's Vertigo). The 2001 film Head Over
    Heels starring Freddie Prinze Jr., in which a
    young woman falls for a man she believes she saw
    commit a murder, closely follows the plot of Rear
    Window, as well as the 2007 film Disturbia -
    although in this film, there is no accident, and
    the suspect has no wife. Marcos Bernstein's The
    Other Side of The Street (2004 also makes a
    reference to Rear Window.

Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery, in which
Allen and his wife suspect an elderly neighbor of
murdering his wife and are forced to investigate
for themselves when no one else takes their
concerns seriously, could also be said to owe a
debt to Rear Window.
  • Many animated series, including Tiny Toon
    Adventures, Rocket Power and The Simpsons, Bart
    of Darkness" is heavily influenced by the movie,
    with Bart breaking his leg and coming to the
    belief that he witnesses Ned Flanders killing his
  • Rocko's Modern Life Home Movies, and The Venture
    Bros. Pay homage to Rear Window in different
    ways. Robert Zemeckis' What Lies Beneath is
    another film that pays tribute to this film and
    other Hitchcock features.

And most recently
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