Interior stairwell
Alexandria Hotel
July 2014 (at The Alexandria)

Interior stairwell
Alexandria Hotel
July 2014 (at The Alexandria)

Alexandria Hotel
July 2014 (at The Alexandria)

Alexandria Hotel
July 2014 (at The Alexandria)

cinephiliabeyond:


There is an old story of how the cathedral of Chartres was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Then thousands of people came from all points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they began to rebuild the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the building was completed—master builders, artists, laborers, clowns, noblemen, priests, and burghers. But they all remained anonymous, and no one knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres. Regardless of my own beliefs and my own doubts, which are unimportant in this connection, it is my opinion that art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life, generating and degenerating itself. In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God. He lived and died without being more or less important than other artisans; “eternal values,” “immortality” and “masterpiece” were terms not applicable in his case. The ability to create was a gift. In such a world flourished invulnerable assurance and natural humility.
Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation. The smallest wound or pain of the ego is examined under a microscope as if it were of eternal importance. The artist considers his isolation, his subjectivity, and his individualism almost holy. Thus we finally gather in one large pen, where we stand and bleat about our loneliness without listening to each other and without realizing that we are smothering each other to death. The individualists stare into each other’s eyes and yet deny the existence of each other. We walk in circles, so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster’s whim and the purest ideal. Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be, I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon’s head, an angel, a devil—or perhaps a saint—out of stone. It does not matter which; it is the sense of satisfaction that counts. Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral. —Ingmar Bergman, Four Screenplays via oldhollywood


In case you somehow missed it: this is just absolutely brilliant and by far the best interview with Ingmar Bergman I’ve ever come across: Ingmar Bergman: a conversation with the students of the American Film Institute. In addition to this, I would also recommend George Stevens Jr.’s marvelous book, Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age: At the American Film Institute.

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:

//

cinephiliabeyond:

There is an old story of how the cathedral of Chartres was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Then thousands of people came from all points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they began to rebuild the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the building was completed—master builders, artists, laborers, clowns, noblemen, priests, and burghers. But they all remained anonymous, and no one knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres. Regardless of my own beliefs and my own doubts, which are unimportant in this connection, it is my opinion that art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life, generating and degenerating itself. In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God. He lived and died without being more or less important than other artisans; “eternal values,” “immortality” and “masterpiece” were terms not applicable in his case. The ability to create was a gift. In such a world flourished invulnerable assurance and natural humility.

Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation. The smallest wound or pain of the ego is examined under a microscope as if it were of eternal importance. The artist considers his isolation, his subjectivity, and his individualism almost holy. Thus we finally gather in one large pen, where we stand and bleat about our loneliness without listening to each other and without realizing that we are smothering each other to death. The individualists stare into each other’s eyes and yet deny the existence of each other. We walk in circles, so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster’s whim and the purest ideal. Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be, I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon’s head, an angel, a devil—or perhaps a saint—out of stone. It does not matter which; it is the sense of satisfaction that counts. Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral. —Ingmar Bergman, Four Screenplays via oldhollywood

In case you somehow missed it: this is just absolutely brilliant and by far the best interview with Ingmar Bergman I’ve ever come across: Ingmar Bergman: a conversation with the students of the American Film Institute. In addition to this, I would also recommend George Stevens Jr.’s marvelous book, Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age: At the American Film Institute.

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:

99 notes

normanbuckley:

Revisiting some of my earlier essays. Considering Hitchcock and the mid-century American male. http://bit.ly/1k3uyhN

normanbuckley:

Revisiting some of my earlier essays. Considering Hitchcock and the mid-century American male. http://bit.ly/1k3uyhN

9 notes

cinephiliabeyond:

Alfred Hitchcock directs Dial M for Murder, 1953.

When discussing the film (officially his 45th) in François Truffaut’s A Definitive Study of Alfred Hitchcock — a book-length transcription of 50 hours of conversation between the directors — Hitchcock said the picture was an example of him “coasting, playing it safe.” In the book they’re done with the film within three pages: “There isn’t very much we can say about that one, is there?” I disagree. Dial M for Murder has a romping plot, a gloriously slimy villain and — thanks to the fact that (as in Rope before and Rear Window after) the action is mostly constrained to one room — some of the weirdest, tricksiest camera work of Hitchcock’s career. —My favourite Hitchcock: Dial M for Murder by Henry Barnes

François Truffaut: Now, we come to 1953, the year in which you made Dial M for Murder.
Alfred Hitchcock: There isn’t very much we can say about that one, is there?
FT: I’m not so sure about that. Would you say this picture was made because it happened to be convenient?
AH: I was running for cover again. I had a contract with Warner’s at the time and was working on a scenario called The Bramble Bush. It was the story of a man who stole another man’s passport without knowing that the pass­port owner was wanted for murder. I worked on that for a while, but it wasn’t any good. Just then I found out that Warner’s had bought the rights to the Broadway stage hit Dial M for Murder. I immediately said I’d take it because that was coasting, playing it safe.
FT: It was filmed very quickly, wasn’t it?
AH: In thirty-six days.
FT: An interesting aspect is that the picture was shot in 3-D. In France, unfortunately, we only saw the flat version because the theater managers were too lazy to make the necessary arrangements for the distribution of Polaroid spectacles to the audiences.
AH: The impression of relief was especially in the low-angle shots. I had them make a pit so that the camera could be at floor level. Aside from that there were very few effects directly in relief.
FT: Among the objects projected in depthwere a lamp, a flower vase, and particularly the scissors.
AH: Yes, when Grace Kelly is looking for a weapon to defend herself. There was another shot of the keyhole and that’s all.
FT: Was the picture very faithful to the play?
AH: Yes. I’ve got a theory on the way they make pictures based on stage plays; they did it with silent pictures, too. Many filmmakers would take a stage play and say, ”I’m going to make this into a film.” Then they would begin to “open it up.” In other words, on the stage it was all confined to one set, and the idea was to do something that would take it away from the confined stage setting.
FT: In France we call that “ventilating the play.”
AH: Well, that whole operation boils down to very little. Let’s say that in the play one of the characters arrives in a cab. In the film they will show the arrival of the cab, the person getting out and paying the driver, coming up the stairs, knocking at the door and then coming into the room, and this serves to introduce the long scene that takes place in the room. Sometimes, if a stage character has mentioned something about a trip, the film will show the journey in a flashback. This technique overlooks the fact that the basic quality of any play is precisely its confinement within the proscenium.

FT: As a matter of fact, that concentration is the most difficult thing to work out in a stage dramatization. And more often than not in the process of being transposed to the screen, the dramatic effectiveness of a play will be dissi­pated.
AH: Well, this is where the filmmakers often go wrong, and what they get is simply some dull footage that’s been added to the play artificially. Whereas in Dial M for Murder, I did my best to avoid going outside. It happened only two or three times, when the inspector had to verify something, and then, very briefly. I even had the floor made of real tiles so as to get the sound of the footsteps. In other words, what I did was to emphasize the theatrical aspects.
FT: The effort at stage realism was even apparent in the soundtrack, which was far superior to Juno and the Paycock  and to Rope.
AH: Definitely.
FT: And this would also explain vvhy the trial was shown simply through a series of close­ups on Grace Kelly’s face against a natural back­ground and with color light revolving behind her, rather than to show the whole courtroom.
AH: This way was more intimate, you see, so that the unity of emotion was maintained. If I’d had a courtroom built, people would have started to cough restlessly, thinking, “they’re starting a second picture.” We did an interesting color experiment with Grace Kelly’s clothing. I dressed her in very gay and bright colors at the beginning of the picture, and as the plot thickened, her clothes be­ came gradually more somber.
FT: Before dropping Dial M for Murder, and particularly since we’ve discussed it as a minor effort, I should mention that this is one of the pictures I see over and over again. I enjoy it more every time I see it. Basically, it’s a dialogue picture, but the cutting, the rhythm, and the direction of the players are so polished that one listens to each sentence religiously. It isn’t all that easy to command the audience’s undivided attention for a continuous dialogue. I suspect that here again the real achievement is that something very difficult has been carried out in a way that makes it seem quite easy. And speaking of facility, I’m aware that it’s eas­ier to reply to criticism than to praise, but just the same, I would appreciate your comments.
AH: I just did my job, using cinematic means to narrate a story taken from a stage play. All of the action in Dial M for Murder  takes place in a living room, but that doesn’t matter. I could just as well have shot the whole film in a telephone booth. Let’s imagine there’s a couple in that booth. Their hands are touching, their lips meet, and accidentally one of them leans against the receiver, knocking it off the hook. Now, while they’re unaware of it, the phone operator can listen in on their intimate conver­sation. The drama has taken a step forward. For the audience, looking at the images, it should be the same as reaqing the opening paragraphs of a novel or hearing the expositional dialogue of the stage play. You might say that a film­maker can use a telephone booth pretty much in the same way a novelist uses a blank piece of paper.

The screenplay and the stage play on which it was based were both written by English playwright Frederick Knott, whose work often focused on women who innocently become the potential victims of sinister plots. The play premiered in 1952 on BBC television, before being performed on the stage in the same year in London’s West End in June, and then New York’s Broadway in October. [x]

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:

104 notes

chiseler:

image

“In Hollywood’s most glittering days, he glittered the most,” wrote screenwriter Ben Hecht of John Gilbert. “He received ten thousand dollars a week and could keep most of it. He lived in a castle on top of a hill. Thousands of letters poured in daily telling him how wonderful he was…He was…

5 notes

downtowncamera:

The photograph above is of studio mogul, producer, director, writer, actor and all around bad ass Thomas H. Ince, born in 1882.  Known as the “Father of the Western,” Ince was born in humble Newport, Rhode Island into a family of stage actors and comedians.  Ince started his career as an actor, but was routinely under employed, and jumped from job to job frequently.  Luck would grace him with a job in directing in 1910 for Independent Motion Pictures Co. and during a chance meeting with CEO Carl Laemmie, Ince stated that he should work full time as a director.  Impressed by his work ethic and iron clad guts, Laemmie hired him on the spot, sending him off to Cuba away from the MPPC, which at the time was a large trust attempting to patent and corner the film market and crush the independent film industry.  Ince started to make small films but yearned to make spectacular westerns and civil war dramas, which he felt could only be done in Hollywood, California.  After borrowing a business suit from a tailor and a diamond ring from a nearby jeweler, Ince strolled into the New York Motion Picture Co. offices and pretended to be a successful director, triumphantly getting an offer to head to Los Angeles to make Western films for the company for $100 per week.  Keeping his cool at the shocking success of his scheme, Ince stated they should up their ante if they want a director of his caliber working for them, and so they increased his pay to $150 a week.  In November 1911, Ince, his wife, his camera operator, property man and his leading lady arrived in Los Angeles.  Immediately, Ince revolutionized the industry with pioneering achievements like shooting scripts, scene plots (which listed exteriors and interiors), cost control plans, shooting schedules and implemented the use of assistant directors so that several scenes could be shot simultaneously.  Ince then created Inceville, the world’s first modern studio featuring buildings, stages, sets, Japanese townships, puritan settlements, Swiss village inspired strips, cowboys, cow herds with horse stables, prop houses, mansions, housing for actors and crew, editing houses, dressing rooms and offices all in one location.  Ince implemented the importance of the producer, and put him in charge of production from inception to finished product, and through the use of streamlining was able to make films that were written, shot, cut, assembled and delivered for screening within a weeks time.  By 1913, Ince had made over 150 films approximately two reels long, but also began to make films composed of five reels giving rise to the popularity of the feature film.  Ince went on to form an alliance with D.W. Griffith and Mark Sennet, creating the Triangle Motion Picture Company.  They created a new studio on the site of the current Sony Motion Picture studios which focused on making feature films and quality dramas, attracting some of the greatest actors and stars of the day.  Ince would continue to work at Triangle studios until he sold his shares in 1918 and went to create a new studio of his own: Thomas H. Ince Studios, which featured labs, generating plants, wardrobe departments, 40 buildings and a large administrative building based off of George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon.  It was at this point that Ince’s studio system had become his own personal Frankenstein, causing him to lose power in Hollywood and leading him to be unable to work successfully as an independent producer.  On November 15, 1924, Ince and a group of the most famous celebrities of the time celebrated his belated 42nd birthday aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht, the Oneida.  The following night, Ince suffered a supposed bout of indigestion and was ferried from the yacht to San Diego, during which time his condition worsened.  Ince died in Hollywood the next day from a heart ailment, with his personal physician signing his death certificate with heart failure as the cause of death.  In a strange turn of events, the Los Angeles Times’ Wednesday headline said “Movie Producer Shot Dead on Yacht,” a headline which was retracted by the evening edition’s publication.  Suspiciously, Ince was quickly cremated and his widow Nell left for Europe.  The celebrities celebrating aboard the yacht presented conflicting statements of what had happened aboard the yacht, leading to rampant rumors in Hollywood of Hearst killing Ince, in some cases accidentally, in others purposefully as a result of jealousy.  Due to the circumstances surrounding Ince’s death, friend and associate D.W. Griffith was quoted as saying, "All you have to do to make Hearst turn white as a ghost is mention Ince’s name. There’s plenty wrong there, but Hearst is too big."  Ince is seldom remembered for his achievements today, but remains a pioneer in the film industry, creating innovations, techniques and the assembly line studio model that persists to this day with little more than a vision, passion and a strong will.

downtowncamera:

The photograph above is of studio mogul, producer, director, writer, actor and all around bad ass Thomas H. Ince, born in 1882.  Known as the “Father of the Western,” Ince was born in humble Newport, Rhode Island into a family of stage actors and comedians.  Ince started his career as an actor, but was routinely under employed, and jumped from job to job frequently.  Luck would grace him with a job in directing in 1910 for Independent Motion Pictures Co. and during a chance meeting with CEO Carl Laemmie, Ince stated that he should work full time as a director.  Impressed by his work ethic and iron clad guts, Laemmie hired him on the spot, sending him off to Cuba away from the MPPC, which at the time was a large trust attempting to patent and corner the film market and crush the independent film industry.  Ince started to make small films but yearned to make spectacular westerns and civil war dramas, which he felt could only be done in Hollywood, California.  After borrowing a business suit from a tailor and a diamond ring from a nearby jeweler, Ince strolled into the New York Motion Picture Co. offices and pretended to be a successful director, triumphantly getting an offer to head to Los Angeles to make Western films for the company for $100 per week.  Keeping his cool at the shocking success of his scheme, Ince stated they should up their ante if they want a director of his caliber working for them, and so they increased his pay to $150 a week. 

In November 1911, Ince, his wife, his camera operator, property man and his leading lady arrived in Los Angeles.  Immediately, Ince revolutionized the industry with pioneering achievements like shooting scripts, scene plots (which listed exteriors and interiors), cost control plans, shooting schedules and implemented the use of assistant directors so that several scenes could be shot simultaneously.  Ince then created Inceville, the world’s first modern studio featuring buildings, stages, sets, Japanese townships, puritan settlements, Swiss village inspired strips, cowboys, cow herds with horse stables, prop houses, mansions, housing for actors and crew, editing houses, dressing rooms and offices all in one location.  Ince implemented the importance of the producer, and put him in charge of production from inception to finished product, and through the use of streamlining was able to make films that were written, shot, cut, assembled and delivered for screening within a weeks time.  By 1913, Ince had made over 150 films approximately two reels long, but also began to make films composed of five reels giving rise to the popularity of the feature film.  Ince went on to form an alliance with D.W. Griffith and Mark Sennet, creating the Triangle Motion Picture Company.  They created a new studio on the site of the current Sony Motion Picture studios which focused on making feature films and quality dramas, attracting some of the greatest actors and stars of the day.  Ince would continue to work at Triangle studios until he sold his shares in 1918 and went to create a new studio of his own: Thomas H. Ince Studios, which featured labs, generating plants, wardrobe departments, 40 buildings and a large administrative building based off of George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon. 

It was at this point that Ince’s studio system had become his own personal Frankenstein, causing him to lose power in Hollywood and leading him to be unable to work successfully as an independent producer.  On November 15, 1924, Ince and a group of the most famous celebrities of the time celebrated his belated 42nd birthday aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht, the Oneida.  The following night, Ince suffered a supposed bout of indigestion and was ferried from the yacht to San Diego, during which time his condition worsened.  Ince died in Hollywood the next day from a heart ailment, with his personal physician signing his death certificate with heart failure as the cause of death.  In a strange turn of events, the Los Angeles Times’ Wednesday headline said “Movie Producer Shot Dead on Yacht,” a headline which was retracted by the evening edition’s publication.  Suspiciously, Ince was quickly cremated and his widow Nell left for Europe.  The celebrities celebrating aboard the yacht presented conflicting statements of what had happened aboard the yacht, leading to rampant rumors in Hollywood of Hearst killing Ince, in some cases accidentally, in others purposefully as a result of jealousy.  Due to the circumstances surrounding Ince’s death, friend and associate D.W. Griffith was quoted as saying, "All you have to do to make Hearst turn white as a ghost is mention Ince’s name. There’s plenty wrong there, but Hearst is too big."  Ince is seldom remembered for his achievements today, but remains a pioneer in the film industry, creating innovations, techniques and the assembly line studio model that persists to this day with little more than a vision, passion and a strong will.

9 notes

"When I make a film, it is a sleep in which I am dreaming."

Jean Cocteau
July 5, 1889 — October 11, 1963

(Source: strangewood)

490 notes

cinephiliabeyond:

A 26-year-old Alfred Hitchcock shooting The Lodger  (1927) with script supervisor and assistant director Alma Reville, soon to be his wife. Open Culture just recently added Hitchcock’s third feature film in their collection of 23 free Hitchcock movies online.

For a film that came out decades before Vertigo and Rear Window, The Lodger has just about all of Hitchcock’s cinematic ticks. A fetishistic obsession with blondes? Check. An unsettling mingling of sex and death? Check. A man wrongly accused? Check. The only thing it really lacks is a national landmark as the backdrop of a showy action set piece. On the other hand, The Lodger feels decidedly German. The claustrophobic lighting, the grotesque shadows and the generally morbid storyline all would be perfectly at home at Universum Film AG. In fact, The Lodger, in terms of story, tone and looks, feels like a cinematic cousin to Fritz Lang’s 1931 early sound masterpiece M. Of course, Hitchcock was just a young director in 1927. And like many young filmmakers, he had a hard time with his producers. While the book leaves it ambiguous whether or not the lodger is the killer, the handlers of the movie’s star Ivor Novello couldn’t possibly have the actor play a villain and demanded a change to the ending. When Hitch turned in the final movie, Michael Balcon, the movie’s main producer, was unimpressed and almost shelved the flick, and, with it, Hitchcock’s career. But after a little bit of tinkering, the movie was finally released. And when The Lodger became a huge box office hit, Hitchcock’s career was assured. —Jonathan Crow, Alfred Hitchcock’s first truly ‘Hitchcockian’ movie


The following documentary was broadcast in two parts in 1999: Alfred, the Great  and Alfred, the Auteur, and focuses on the important parts of Hitchcock’s career. It starts off with his early life and work experience at the German studio UFA, which moves into his first features such as The Lodger, Sabotage, and The 39 Steps. It then moves into his initial Hollywood work, with classics such as Rebecca  and Rope. There’s also a look into his failed production company Transatlantic Pictures, who made Rope  and Under Capricorn.

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:

//

cinephiliabeyond:

A 26-year-old Alfred Hitchcock shooting The Lodger  (1927) with script supervisor and assistant director Alma Reville, soon to be his wife. Open Culture just recently added Hitchcock’s third feature film in their collection of 23 free Hitchcock movies online.

For a film that came out decades before Vertigo and Rear Window, The Lodger has just about all of Hitchcock’s cinematic ticks. A fetishistic obsession with blondes? Check. An unsettling mingling of sex and death? Check. A man wrongly accused? Check. The only thing it really lacks is a national landmark as the backdrop of a showy action set piece. On the other hand, The Lodger feels decidedly German. The claustrophobic lighting, the grotesque shadows and the generally morbid storyline all would be perfectly at home at Universum Film AG. In fact, The Lodger, in terms of story, tone and looks, feels like a cinematic cousin to Fritz Lang’s 1931 early sound masterpiece M. Of course, Hitchcock was just a young director in 1927. And like many young filmmakers, he had a hard time with his producers. While the book leaves it ambiguous whether or not the lodger is the killer, the handlers of the movie’s star Ivor Novello couldn’t possibly have the actor play a villain and demanded a change to the ending. When Hitch turned in the final movie, Michael Balcon, the movie’s main producer, was unimpressed and almost shelved the flick, and, with it, Hitchcock’s career. But after a little bit of tinkering, the movie was finally released. And when The Lodger became a huge box office hit, Hitchcock’s career was assured. —Jonathan Crow, Alfred Hitchcock’s first truly ‘Hitchcockian’ movie

The following documentary was broadcast in two parts in 1999: Alfred, the Great  and Alfred, the Auteur, and focuses on the important parts of Hitchcock’s career. It starts off with his early life and work experience at the German studio UFA, which moves into his first features such as The Lodger, Sabotage, and The 39 Steps. It then moves into his initial Hollywood work, with classics such as Rebecca  and Rope. There’s also a look into his failed production company Transatlantic Pictures, who made Rope  and Under Capricorn.

For more film related items throughout the day, follow Cinephilia & Beyond on Twitter. Get Cinephilia & Beyond in your inbox by signing in. You can also follow our RSS feed. Please use our Google Custom Search for better results. If you enjoy Cinephilia & Beyond, please consider making a small donation to keep it going:

77 notes

foxesinbreeches:


In Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail, released in silent and talkie versions in 1929, Alice White (Anny Ondra) kills an artist who has attempted to rape her. She is protected by her boyfriend, a London detective, but blackmailed by a petty thief who had witnessed her leaving the scene of the crime. In the original ending, the thief dies being pursued by police when he becomes the prime suspect for the murder. Here, Hitchcock outlines how he would have preferred the film to end:
"The blackmailer was really a subsidiary theme. I wanted him to go through and expose the girl. That was my idea of how the story ought to end. I wanted the pursuit to be after the girl, not after the blackmailer. That would have brought the conflict on to a climax, with the young detective, ahead of the others, trying to push the girl out through a window to get her away, and the girl turning round and saying: “You can’t do that – I must give myself up.” Then the rest of the police arrive, misinterpret what he is doing, and say, “Good man, you’ve got her,” not knowing the relationship between them. Now the reason for the opening comes to light. You repeat every shot used first to illustrate the duty theme, only now it is the girl who is the criminal. The young man is there ostensibly as a detective, but of course the audience know he is in love with the girl. The girl is locked up in her cell and the two detectives walk away, and the older one says, “Going out with your girl to-night?” The younger one shakes his head. “No. Not to-night.”
That was the ending I wanted for Blackmail, but I had to change it for commercial reasons. The girl couldn’t be left to face her fate. And that shows you how the films suffer from their own power of appealing to millions. They could often be subtler than they are, but their own popularity won’t let them.”

— Alfred Hitchcock, “Direction” in Charles Davy (ed.) Footnotes to the Film. London: Lovat Dickson Ltd, 1938.
(Image and words via Spectacular Attractions)

foxesinbreeches:

In Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail, released in silent and talkie versions in 1929, Alice White (Anny Ondra) kills an artist who has attempted to rape her. She is protected by her boyfriend, a London detective, but blackmailed by a petty thief who had witnessed her leaving the scene of the crime. In the original ending, the thief dies being pursued by police when he becomes the prime suspect for the murder. Here, Hitchcock outlines how he would have preferred the film to end:

"The blackmailer was really a subsidiary theme. I wanted him to go through and expose the girl. That was my idea of how the story ought to end. I wanted the pursuit to be after the girl, not after the blackmailer. That would have brought the conflict on to a climax, with the young detective, ahead of the others, trying to push the girl out through a window to get her away, and the girl turning round and saying: “You can’t do that – I must give myself up.” Then the rest of the police arrive, misinterpret what he is doing, and say, “Good man, you’ve got her,” not knowing the relationship between them. Now the reason for the opening comes to light. You repeat every shot used first to illustrate the duty theme, only now it is the girl who is the criminal. The young man is there ostensibly as a detective, but of course the audience know he is in love with the girl. The girl is locked up in her cell and the two detectives walk away, and the older one says, “Going out with your girl to-night?” The younger one shakes his head. “No. Not to-night.”

That was the ending I wanted for Blackmail, but I had to change it for commercial reasons. The girl couldn’t be left to face her fate. And that shows you how the films suffer from their own power of appealing to millions. They could often be subtler than they are, but their own popularity won’t let them.”

— Alfred Hitchcock, “Direction” in Charles Davy (ed.) Footnotes to the Film. London: Lovat Dickson Ltd, 1938.

(Image and words via Spectacular Attractions)

13 notes