clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Hitchcock Storytelling

I went to see this movie on a new print in all its glory at my local art house movie palace tonight.

The big screen is actually a big screen here. Very big.

There are so many things you miss in the chopped and reduced formats. Hitchcock's storytelling is a bit ham fisted to me but then, I've seen the movie before. The movie plays well to an innocent eye.

There's a great scene in the early part of the movie where Tippi drives to Bodega Bay with a pair of lovebirds. Tippi drives very fast and on the corners, the lovebirds in their cage lean as the car rounds a corner.

This sort of thing is amplified by the screeching tire sound track and the sped up footage. If you never saw an exterior shot of the car, the lean of the birds would be enough to convey the speed. Why did Hitchcock add the redundant effects? His audience was not attunded to subtly.

I'm thinking about that now with my intended readership. I always despise the ham fisted actions of an author to portray an emotional state of a character then cast that same emotion in reaction from some continuing conversation between two characters about it.

You know the drill.

"Wow, Bob was really steamed about Heidi and Tom," said Billy.

"You know, I didn't think he'd take it like that."

"No accounting for taste, Mike. No accounting for taste."

"I guess you're right," Mike agreed.

And so it goes. There is a passage like this in a Hemingway short story I like and I can't stomach it.

Now, off to have some words of my own take flight. I don't think I can count on Tippi showing up to stay the weekend. I don't go to the barn in an ascot and sweater much these days. Rod Taylor does in the movie, though.

Write something. Don't search the Nordstrom site for an ascot. You don't need one either.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've seen "The Birds" quite a few times but never on the big screen. I've thought about the dressiness of the characters, too. I wasn't sure if that was Real Life Early 60s (in which case, am fervently grateful I didn't make my debut until Early 70s) or if Hitchcock just wanted everyone to look really preppy for some reason.

I like the movie, but never liked the ending, which somehow seemed anticlimactic to me.

I don't like fake dialogue and your example is one way dialogue seems fake to me.

jack welling said...

I love the scene where Tippi is brought to the top of a sand dune above the farmhouse for the "emotional revelation" scene and she's walked up the dune hill in heels. In the big screen version, her feet are going all twisty in the sand as Hitch didn't bother to bury a platform under the surface and her heels are all akimbo.

The big screen was amazing. The editing? Perhaps less so.

Agree with you on the ending.