Archive for January 19, 2009

The Hate Club

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on January 19, 2009 by dcairns

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After the success of THE LODGER guaranteed Hitchcock a future at Gainsborough Pictures, the company reacted in a way that seems somewhat typical of the British film industry. Since Hitch had selected the story of THE LODGER himself, for his next project, a story was imposed upon him (“a bad play,” he recalled). Never try to recreate the conditions favourable to success, at least if it involves giving creative freedom to a director!

At the same time, Hitch, now married to Alma, had joined an informal society called The Hate Club, devoted to gossiping, grumbling and debating the issues of the day, cinematic and otherwise. THE LODGER’s saviour, Ivor Montagu was a fellow member. In discussing the key to filmic success — who does one aim to please? Oneself? The public? The producer? — Hitch put forward a shocking theory.

“One should aim to please the press.”

Hitch’s theory was that, if you had the press on your side, the public would come, and the producers would have to listen. It took a while for him to prove this, but he made it work for him. Hitch’s eagerness to please makes him a slightly untrustworthy interviewee. He’s generally very reliable on facts, unlike most in his profession, although he does tend to take credit for everything, to the dismay of some of his writers. But when he offers up explanations of his thinking, like so many filmmakers, Hitch tailors his comments to his audience.

Anyhow, I was just thinking, we have a nice little hate club going here. What would Shadowplayers recommend to improve the standing of the British film industry?

My phone just buzzed to tell me that Kathleen Byron has died. A brilliant talent neglected by this business even when it was on its feet. What chance have we now?

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Noblesse Oblige

Posted in FILM with tags , , on January 19, 2009 by dcairns

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“And now, those headlines again, in meat form.”

NO BLADE OF GRASS, is the latest film profiled by me over at BritMovie — head on over, but leave comments here if you have any. Was Cornel Wilde a great primitive, or just not very good?