Two— Algebraic Figures: Recalculating the Hitchcock Formula
1. A good study of Hitchcock's reputation can be found in Robert E. Kapsis, Hitchcock: The Making of a Reputation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992). [BACK]
2. It was the French who first indulged in the allusive act in the late fifties; it was also the French who first gave serious critical attention to Hitchcock. André continue
Bazin published an essay in 1950, and he visited Hitchcock on the set of To Catch a Thief in 1955. Cahiers du Cinéma devoted an issue to Hitchcock in 1954; Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer published a book on Hitchcock in 1957; François Truffaut published his famous interview in the mid-sixties. Chabrol and Truffaut both exercised some Hitchcockian options in their filmmaking. [BACK]
3. Another weakness lies in the construction of the sequence. After the initial pleasure at the design of the set—the strange-looking cottage on the high school stage—in which the characters play out their game, one's attention lapses. The sequence is too long; there are too many repetitious one-shots of each of the characters. The intensity of their interaction would have been better expressed by composing them both in the frame and refraining from cutting. When Scorsese uses a lot of one-shots or over-the-shoulder shots in expository sequences, it can indicate his lack of full commitment to the film. There was much of this in Cape Fear and The Color of Money . [BACK]
4. Another unexpected appearance of Bruno occurs when Guy and his fiancée visit the National Gallery in Washington. There is no real menace here: just an interruption of strained domesticity. [BACK]
5. In the original Cape Fear , Sam's wife also has bad dreams and when she awakes thinks she sees Cady: it's only a clothes rack. Similarly, the man who the Bowdens' daughter thinks is pursuing her in the high school is only the janitor. Scorsese abjures these peekaboo conventions of the horror-thriller.
Another take (or remake) of this essay, with full-motion images, is available in the September 1994 issue of the online, subscription journal, Postmodern Culture . The URL is http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/postmodern_culture/ [BACK]