Publisher: Middlebrow Books Release Date: July 01, 2020 A Conversation with Robert Jones “Hitchcock’s California: Vista Visions from the Camera Eye” celebrates (and re-creates) images that evoke scenes from many … Continue reading Book Interview: Hitchcock’s California – Vista Visions from the Camera Eye
Blu-ray Review: Rebecca – The Criterion Collection
Spine #135 Distributor: Criterion Collection (USA) Release Date: September 05, 2017 Region: Region A Length: 02:10:40 Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC) Main Audio: English Mono Linear PCM Audio (48 kHz, 1152 … Continue reading Blu-ray Review: Rebecca – The Criterion Collection
Blu-ray Review: The Lodger – The Criterion Collection
Spine #885 Distributor: Criterion Collection (USA) Release Date: June 27, 2017 Region: Region A Length: The Lodger – 01:30:24 Downhill – 01:50:59 Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC) Main Audio: The Lodger … Continue reading Blu-ray Review: The Lodger – The Criterion Collection
Book Review: Partners in Suspense
Publisher: Manchester University Press
Release Date: January 18, 2017
“This book brings together new work and new perspectives on the relationship between Hitchcock and Herrmann. Featuring chapters by leading scholars of Hitchcock’s work, the volume examines the working relationship between the two and the contribution that Herrmann’s work brings to Hitchcock’s idiom, as well as expanding our understanding of how music fits into that body of work. The goal of these analyses is to explore approaches to sound, music, collaborative authorship, and the distinctive contribution that Herrmann brought to Hitchcock’s films. Consequently, the book examines these key works, with particular focus on what Elisabeth Weis called ‘the extra-subjective films’—Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960), The Birds (1963)—and explores Herrmann’s palpable role in shaping the sonic and musical landscape of Hitchcock’s work, which, the volume argues, has a considerable transformative effect on how we understand Hitchcock’s authorship.
The collection examines the significance, meanings, histories, and enduring legacies of one of film history’s most important partnerships. By engaging with the collaborative work of Hitchcock and Herrmann, the chapters [or essays] in the collection examine the ways in which film directors and composers collaborate, and how this collaboration is experienced in the films themselves. In addition, the collection addresses the continued hierarchization of vision over sound in the conceptualization of cinema and readdresses this balance though the exploration of the work of these two significant figures and their work together during the 1950sand 1960s” –K.J. Donnelly and Steven Rawle (Introduction, Partners in Suspense, January 18, 2017)
As this excerpt from the book’s introduction suggests, “Partners in Suspense” is a collection of fourteen scholarly articles about the creative marriage of Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock. Although their working relationship would eventually end in divorce, their collaboration lasted over a decade and gave audiences eight films (some of which are considered to be amongst the best ever made). This is a subject that has too often been overlooked, and a book on the subject is long overdue.
The essays included cover a range of subjects with varying degrees of success. A list of the titles should help one determine the subjects discussed in its pages:
Bernard Herrmann: Hitchcock’s Secret Sharer – by: Jack Sullivan
Hitchcock, Music and the Mathematics of Editing – by: Charles Barr
The Anatomy of Aural Suspense in Rope and Vertigo – by: Kevin Clifton
The Therapeutic Power of Music in Hitchcock’s Films – by: Sidney Gottlieb
A Lacanian Take on Herrmann/Hitchcock – by: Royal S. Brown
Portentous Arrangements: Bernard Herrmann and The Man Who Knew Too Much – by: Murray Pomerance
On the Road with Hitchcock and Herrmann: Sound, Music, and the Car Journey in Vertigo (1958) and Psycho (1960) – by: Pasquale Iannone
A Dance to the Music of Herrmann: A Figurative Dance Suite – by: David Cooper
The Sound of The Birds – by: Richard Allen
Musical Romanticism v. The Sexual Aberrations of the Criminal Female: Marnie (1964) – by: K. J. Donnelly
The Murder of Gromek: Theme and Variations – by: Tomas Williams
Mending the Torn Curtain: A Rejected Score’s Place in a Discography – by: Gergely Hubai
The Herrmann-Hitchcock Murder Mysteries: Post-Mortem – by: William H. Rosar
How Could You Possibly be a Hitchcocko-Herrmannian? (Digitally Re-Narrativising Collaborative Authorship) – by: Steven Rawle
Perhaps the most immediate surprise when considering the topics discussed in this collection is the lack of information and analysis about Herrmann’s first collaboration with Hitchcock (The Trouble with Harry). It would seem that their first collaboration would be of special interest, and the book does provide some general information about Lyn Murray’s initial suggestion that the director work with Herrmann (including excerpts from Murray’s personal journal), but the score for The Trouble with Harry is largely ignored. What’s more, the book neglects Herrmann’s wonderful score for the The Wrong Man—which is one of their most interesting collaborations.
Those looking for a biographical account of the Hitchcock/Herrmann relationship will likely be disappointed. What these pages offer is scholarly examination of Herrmann’s music and how his scores affect the finished film. Anecdotal information is only given as a means to contextualize the theoretical analysis or to provide support to the arguments being made. The result is useful (especially to other scholars), but average cinephiles will be less enthusiastic—especially if they do not already have a rudimentary knowledge of music.
Review by: Devon Powell
Blu-ray Review: Lifeboat
Distributor: Kino Lorber Release Date: March 21, 2017 Region: Region A Length: 01:36:58 Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC) Main Audio: 2.0 English DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz, 16-bit) Subtitles: English (SDH) … Continue reading Blu-ray Review: Lifeboat
Blu-ray Review: Jamaica Inn – 75th Anniversary Edition
Distributor: Cohen Film Collection Release Date: May 12, 2015 Region: Region A Length: 1:39:39 Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC) Main Audio: 2.0 English Mono LPCM (48 kHz / 2304 kbps / … Continue reading Blu-ray Review: Jamaica Inn – 75th Anniversary Edition
Book Review: Hitchcock and Adaptation: On the Page and Screen
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Release Date: March 14, 2014
“Hitchcock and Adaptation: On the Page and Screen” is a collection of scholarly essays about Hitchcock’s film adaptations (compiled and edited by Mark Osteen). In many ways, the book can be seen as a sequel to a previous collection of essays entitled, “Hitchcock at the Source” (which was edited by R. Barton Palmer and David Boyd). It seems to cover films that were not covered in this previous publication (though there is some slight overlap).
Osteen’s collection should certainly interest the Hitchcock scholar (and anyone else that enjoys scholarly essays on film). Casual fans will also find a lot of interesting information, but some of these essays are bound to hold their interest better than others. The book is broken into four units (Hitchcock and Authorship, Hitchcock Adapting, Hitching a Ride: The Collaborations, and Adapting Hitchcock). The last of these four units will likely be of less interest to a lot of casual Hitchcock fans, because it tends to focus on various film and literary works that were inspired by (or adapted from) Hitchcock’s films. The exception here might be an essay entitled, Dark Adaptations: Robert Bloch and Hitchcock on the Small Screen. This essay by Dennis R. Perry and Carl H Sederholm focuses on episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour that were written by Robert Bloch or adapted from one of his stories. None of these episodes were actually directed by Alfred Hitchcock, but the essay should interest fans of the director’s television series.
A large percentage of the essays focus on Hitchcock’s film work, and it is here that the book blossoms into life. The essays offer many factual details to support (or try to support) the scholarly analysis, which makes the sometimes overreaching conclusions more digestible to the average reader. These factual details are what will interest many of the director’s fans. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of fascination information in the book’s lengthy introduction. Here Osteen offers detailed information about an un-produced project entitled No Bail for the Judge that any Hitchcock fan should find fascinating. A few pages later, there are details about the adaptation of The Wrong Man (which was based on true events). This was a pleasant surprise because The Wrong Man is an extremely interesting film that is often ignored by scholars. My only complaint is that there isn’t an essay devoted entirely to this film. If any of this sounds appealing, this book should be worth picking up.