How

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How much more distinguished the other Madeleine had been! Flavieres had the impression he was looking at  a badly dubbed film, with some nonentity speaking the part of a star.

~ D’entre les Mortes, by Boileau and Narcejac.

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24 Responses to “How”

  1. Green is the Colour of Death

  2. I was excited to discover that the green comes directly from the source novel, only there it’s the green sparks from the tram cables, caught reflected in Madeleine’s eyes. But the authors are very insistent about it, and it’s clearly Hitch’s inspiration.

    The green nights in To Catch a Thief look similar, but clearly mean something different. And the big love scene in that film has a whole spectrum of colour, from the fireworks, which means it’s healthy.

  3. During the initial chase scene, Hitch shot Kim Novak with a green fog filter. Then there’s the scene in the redwood forest amidst the giant sequoias…here I was born and there I died and it was only a moment to you(ergo the screen treatment of LA JETEE).

    Green is associated with poison, ivy and moss and lichen. Snakes and lizards which contain many poisons are represented as green as well despite many non-green sub-species. Green is a symbol of a seductive death which fits VERTIGO well.

    “And this is why I sojourn here.
    Alone and palely loitering,
    Though the sedge has withered from the lake,
    And no birds sing.”
    – John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci

  4. It’s a colour much associated with decay, also. Hitch seems to have a general fondness for it (Tippi’s costume in The Birds), so he kept finding new motivations to exploit it.

    Nearly all the Hitchcock’s from this period have a kind of cinematic afterlife — the duplicate sequence from The Wrong Man in The Skull is a minor example. Via La Jetee, Vertigo (already recoded multiple times by DePalma and Mel Brooks and even Jonathan Demme), winds up in 12 Monkeys, where Gilliam quotes the score (and belatedly discovered he’d unconsciously swiped the whole hotel room love scene, necessitating a re-edit to make it more subtle).

  5. Marty’s favoirte scary movies.

  6. Interesting that they’re all supernatural spookshows, save Psycho. And Isle of the Dead, which is all about the supernatural but doesn’t overtly feature anything unearthly. Very little violence generally.

  7. Stephen King uses green a lot to convey not just decay but evil, as well.

  8. Green is the traditional color of the supernatural. I was once startled to note the same shade of special effects green used in THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (associated with God) and THIS ISLAND EARTH (associated with aliens).

  9. As far as “Vertigo” and the color green are concerned …

    My favorite *apercu* is how the green from the Empire Hotel sign, which is my primary association for that color, resembles the green of the cover of Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours” album:

    http://mussiqa.net/frank-sinatra-wee-small-hours/

    Here’s the title cut of that album:

    The album came out in 1955, “Vertigo” came out in May of 1958. The sentiments of the song (written by Dave Mann and Bob Hillard) fit those of Scottie without *too* much adjustment.

  10. Christopher Says:

    Mario Bava like to mix green AND purple.only He could get away with such a disaster combo..

  11. Randy Byers Says:

    There’s green and purple in the Vertigo still in this post.

  12. Uma Thurman wears green and purple as Poison Ivy in Batman and Robin. And it’s hideous.

    Bava had astonishing taste in colour, and could mix amazingly. And Hitchcock shared at least some of that. Burks was a great interpreter of Hitch’s visual ideas — Vertigo is one great image after another, every shot could be framed. There’s certainly nothing else as consistently beautiful in his oeuvre.

  13. Christopher Says:

    I just noticed the green and purple in the Vertigo pic..its quite striking..I think the color combo is fine really..as long as you don’t WEAR it!
    I think Bava’s Blood and Black Lace may take the cake for the most variety in CoLoR set pieces!..Its truely amazing The color schemes in his earlier films are a show all in themself..Think of all the money studios would save if they had a handfull of directors this creative budget sense..

  14. Bava famously completed Danger: Diabolik with half the money allotted. The turned down a sequel, saying he didn’t really enjoy big budget films…

  15. Christopher Says:

    .THe perfect Director for comic book to film!

    One of my fave later Bava’s is often even neglected by his fans,Lisa and the Devil-1972..A return to the old style!!..

  16. My favourite horror films include BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING, THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, NOSFERATU, EYES WITHOUT A FACE, THE BLACK CAT, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, THE SEVENTH VICTIM.

    It may not be horror, but I’m suprised Scorsese left out one of his favourites Thorold Dickinson’s THE QUEEN OF SPADES.

    I saw Ulmer’s BLUEBEARD yesterday which I expected to be scary and the atmosphere is very operatic – Wagner, Gounod(and also PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) but aside from some scenes and moments it’s not as scary but moody.

  17. david wingrove Says:

    The most brilliant Bava for me is THE WHIP AND THE BODY. A riot of lushly operatic colour, with emotions to match, and one of the all-time great perverse love stories! Both Christopher Lee and Daliah Lavi are exquisite…and the film itself is like a highly aromatic triple-distilled liqueur. ‘Essence of Dark Romance.’ Phenomonal!

  18. Ulmer’s other horrors are not as weird and interesting as The Black Cat, but at least he had a decent budget on Bluebeard. Bava seemed to flourish the more impoverished his productions got, with Kill Baby Kill! made for $65,000 on a bet, a stand-out triumph of baroque stylisation.

  19. david wingrove Says:

    Oh, and thanks for those clips from LISA AND THE DEVIL! I’d forgotten just what a dazzling movie that is…The lovely Alessio Orano looks suitably bewildered by it all.

  20. david wingrove Says:

    And KILL BABY KILL was plundered by none other than Fellini in his episode for SPIRITS OF THE DEAD!

    I’d agree totally about Bava and his low budgets. The problem with DIABOLIK (fun movie though it is) is that Bava seemingly didn’t know what to do with the physical resources at his disposal. He was clearly uncomfortable working on that scale, and the film comes across as tentative and half-hearted.

  21. Considering the wealth of possibilities apparently offered by the character, I was always puzzled by the slow pace and lack of incident. But then I like how Bava lingers on D’s lair, so maybe that’s the point. A comic book caper that actually takes its time — radical!

  22. Christopher Says:

    The time I watched Hostel,I thought of Ulmer’s The Black Cat(one of my fave movies of all time)They both capture that uncertainty of just what may happen to you when you cross the line from Western to Eastern Europe..and as William K Everson once put it,theres the sense of a Kafkaesque entrapment..
    of course on Lisa and the Devil,The top Brass didn’t like Bava making an old style gothic thriller in ’72,those days were gone,so they added those silly scenes of Exorcism(that have nothing to do with the film)to cash in on the current Exorcist craze in 1973,and they re-released it as House of Exorcism…I’ve only seen parts of it.I refuse to see more..

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