Stop, thief!

Hitchcock steals from Lang –

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SPELLBOUND and METROPOLIS, but which is which?

Now here’s THE RING  and METROPOLIS–

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Now two Hitchcocks, THE RING and ROPE ~

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It’s like a mirror-reverse, with the piano on the left instead of the right. The towers of Manhattan are admittedly a different style from the city blocks of London, but blinking neon signs feature in both. The nicest touch in ROPE is the curving window, I think.

“It’s perfectly acceptable to steal from each other, what we must never do is steal from ourselves.” — John Huston in Welles’ THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND. Hitchcock, who remade one of his own movies, and was constantly refining and redeploying his tropes, would disagree.

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10 Responses to “Stop, thief!”

  1. Arthur S. Says:

    Well Hitchcock would say “Steal from the best” and where first he stole from Lang later he stole from himself. Besides Frank Borzage as we discovered late last year did that thing all the time as did Ford and of course Hawks whose entire filmography is quite organic with many interrelations between his films.

    Despite it not being publicized, Hitchcock was a huge cinephile and saw almost as much as Jean-Pierre Melville but it wasn’t the custom in that period to rhapsodize about shots in Lumiere and Melies or Griffith as it later was with the N-V. As Godard said they were the first generation that was aware of cinema as history. Hitchcock was fascinated with the European films of the 60s, he loved Resnais, Godard’s Masculin-Feminin and was very much into Antonioni and Bunuel.

    That dream sequence in SPELLBOUND was by Dali so I doubt it’s a reference to METROPOLIS on his part. Dali of course may have seen it. There’s also a brief reference to UN CHIEN ANDALOU, where a cardboard eye is cut with a pair of scissors. But then the Lang of Metropolis isn’t close to Hitchcock. DESTINY and SPIONE are closer.

  2. Another Hitchcock echo: Dietrich’s last scene in “A Foreign Affair,” as echoed in “Stage Fright.”

  3. Dali’s involvement with Spellbound is sort of blurred by the interference of Selznick and Hitchcock — it’s not pure Dali. And while it’s designed by Dali, it’s still directed by Hitch.

    Hitchcock’s passion seems to have been for keeping up with current trends in cinema. He also had a vast memory of all the films he’d seen in the past, which he could draw upon. I don’t know whether he looked at films again after they were no longer current, but he certainly tried to see all the latest stuff.

    Whereas Melville was certainly devoted to old movies.

    Agree that Metropolis isn’t noticeably Hitchcockian, but I think effects like the screen full of eyes ARE, and show up in the subjective SFX Hitch tries throughout his silent period and again in sound movies like Vertigo.

  4. Nice one, Chris. Wilder repays the compliment by making Witness for the Prosecution, which he called his “Hitchcock film”.

  5. I love the Rope room–I’ve always thought a late-night talk show host ought to operate out of a replica of it

  6. That’s a smashing idea. If I ever get a movie show, I’m going to do that.

  7. Guests could enter by climbing out of the chest.

  8. Yes! And I could play them on at the piano (not that I can play). That set has everything a talk show could want.

  9. it would really be something special–especially if you make sure that every episode is recorded without a cut

  10. [...] Ivor Novello of the play Downhill, which Hitch filmed with Novello in the lead role… I have previously remarked on the striking similarity of the set in ROPE to the one in THE RING) and Joan Chandler is perky [...]

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