Film Directors with their Shirts Off: Gadge Bares All


Something for the ladies! A topless action pose from Elia Kazan. Hey, if you want analysis, there’s a very good Kent Jones & Martin Scorsese documentary…

I regret I have failed to uncover a shot of Hitchcock baring his pacemaker scar or his tummy tuck which he claimed to Karen Black robbed him of his navel. Photographic evidence has yet to emerge.

I did however see HITCHCOCK with Anthony Hopkins failing to impersonate the Master. Asides from a well-observed Anthony Perkins by James D’Arcy, and a couple of very nice moments at the end, this struck me as a despicable lie of a film. Fiona was inspired to read the supposed source book by Stephen Rebello, which I read years ago and whose plot I summarized thus: Alfred Hitchcock makes another film. In other words, it lacks all the drama (or let’s face it melodrama) of the movie version (which manages to insult Hitchcock, Welles and Anthony Mann) — but Fiona’s reading has uncovered many nuggets which could have made good scenes and which have all been cast aside in favour of blatant invention and myth-making. The fact that the people making the stories up are so much less skilled at it than Hitchcock is depressing: it seems that the mediocre despise the talented and will bide their time until they can avenge themselves. In the long result of time, the non-talents may seem to get the final say, but if we wait a few years we will find that PSYCHO is still appreciated and this poorly conceived rubbish is quite forgotten.

On a lighter note, two limericks for Christmas, on the festive theme of raving maniacs: 1 and 2.

14 Responses to “Film Directors with their Shirts Off: Gadge Bares All”

  1. If you want to know precisely why Gadge became such a shitheel READ THIS BOOK.

  2. Oh my, now I didn’t enjoy the film very much, but I didn’t dislike it as much as you seemed to…but then, I don’t have that much background info on Hitchcock’s life to draw from. The thing that bugged me most was that as much as everyone is touting Hopkins’ performance, I’d expected much more. The dissimilariities of the look, I didn’t blame him that much, you can’t make a square peg a round one very easily, and Hopkins carries his weight in his chest, Hitch in his gut, so put the two together and the shape will just be wrong. The thing I’m less forgiving about is that Hopkins just couldn’t get the plummy tones out of his voice enough to make it truly Hitch-annoying. The voice aimed at is so identifiable because it is so flat and nasal…guess Tony just couldn’t bear doing it.

    However, I really did ike the nuances of the marriage as portrayed by Hopkins and Mirren, especially by the latter. Her performance was layered and delicate and very very touching. Now, I have no idea if it was factual.

    But I did like the last line, as predictable as it was. Made me smile.

  3. The nuances of the marriage were seriously off, based on everything we know. Mirren is very watchable, but hardly an Alma. Hopkins could have achieved a lot just by projecting his jaw and letting his lower lip hang, and talk-ing slow-er. I suspect his director was hurrying him up, and you can’t have a zippy Hitch.

    His line to Alma at the premier and the last speech to camera are sweet, it’s true.

    David E, what are you implying?

  4. What do you THINK I’m implying? Read the book.Gadge was going to talk about himself and no one else at the HUAC hearings. Then Connolly (Hollywood ‘s own Roy Cohn) told him that unless he named names On the Waterfront (Gadge and Schulberg’s paen to “right to work” laws) would never be made. So Gadge ratted out his friends and the rest is history that no one really wants to deal with.

    Had quite a lively discussion of Gadge with the late great Abraham Polonsky whose Force of Evil is a braver, more resolute and more politically powerful than any Gadge ever made.

  5. david wingrove Says:

    Had no interest in seeing HITCH whatsoever (Anthony Hopkins is creepy, but not in the right way and Helen Mirren is way too glam to play Alma) but now I must because you say it has JAMES D’ARCY as Anthony Hopkins! Brilliant casting…and the man is my current obsession, ever since I saw the TV film MAKING OF A LADY, where he plays a suave and slimy Gothic villain to perfection!!

  6. It’s supposedto be about the making of Psycho and the Hitchcock marriage, yet Pat Hitchcock (who as we all know had an excellent small part in Psycho) doesn’t appear in Hitchcock at all.

    Obviously she didn’t aprove of the project — and for good reason.

  7. David W, alas Mr D’Arcy only has a few scenes. It’s a spot-on impersonation of Perkins in Norman Bates mode, which is the character as written. Kind of cartoony but a lot more credible than the other portrayals.

    If only BBC4 could induce Hopkins to play Tommy Cooper, an impersonation he can actually do…

  8. david wingrove Says:

    Only two performances by Anthony Hopkins have ever worked for me. The first was as Oliver Stone’s NIXON and the second was as Dr Kellogg in Alan Parker’s underrated THE ROAD TO WELLVILLE. Both required him to be creepy and repugnant in a certain hard-to-definc way…but his role in SURVIVING PICASSO was a disaster, as he has simply no sex appeal whatsoever!

  9. I find much to admire in the young Hopkins’ work, before he retreated into mannerism and fancy dress. Juggernaut or The Elephant Man, I can’t see anything objectionable in those performances. In the Stone and Parker films (which makes them sound like South Park) he’s quite disguised. The Nixon one is interesting because it does create a credibility despite him never really looking like his very well known model.

  10. Sex appeal is subjective. I would argue that Hopkins does have sexuality, is not sexless, even if one doesn’t find him appealing. I would not be shocked to find that some people do like him “that way”.

  11. david wingrove Says:

    Honestly, I could be deprived of all five senses simultaneously and there’d STILL be something in Hopkins to put me off. Yuck!

  12. Where *do* they get those people who praise “Hitchcock” on the poster? Arkham?
    How many more of these excremental “biopics” will we have to suffer? The BBC in particular have seriously pissed me of with their NOW!-type biodreckery. For every one like the Hughie Green thing starring Shoestring which is arguably too nice to the subject, there are many more that either get the person almost totally wrong or are purest horseshit as in the case of the Steptoe and Son nonsense. And as with the promotion for “Hitchcock” those involved do tend to harp on about the “truthfulness” of it all.
    Apart from anything else Alfred Hitchcock is so well-known that Hopkins’s version can’t but seem atrocious (well, not to those who think he’s marvellous as him obviously). It may not do to get too excited for as you say “Hitchcock” and The Girl will soon be forgotten but the simple-minded distortions they peddle – at their worse – are dangerous. “Here you are, this was Hitch, that’s everything”. Ugh. They aren’t even good art. Cock without the Hitch, I think.
    I would like to see a serious, sympathetic biopic of Anthony Perkins starring D’Arcy tho’. However, I don’t know who’d be up to that.

  13. Well, you’d think Perkins is still well-enough known for that one iconic role. The shame is he isn’t appreciated enough for the considerable breadth of his career. And that there’s no DVD of Play It As It Lays.

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