Anyone find Notorious commentary 'stretches' a bit?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave_M, May 11, 2002.

  1. Dave_M

    Dave_M Agent

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    Just got done listening to Marian Keane's commentary on the Criterion version of Notorious and have to say Ms. Keane is a little too over the top on the sexual metaphors. I found myself cracking up with each new "discovery" of phallic clocks and keys, sexual doors opening, flower bouquets, wet drains, wine bottles, even uranium ore spilt on the floor. Please, Ms. Keane, sometimes uranium ore is just uranium ore!

    Dave
     
  2. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    We need people like her to keep our minds filthy.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There is a very funny story that Pat Hitchcock tells about one of her daughters coming home after taking a film class in school.

    Apparently the "professor" was expounding on Hitch's use of color in a certain film -- not necessarily knowing who was in his class.

    Pat send her daughter to her grandfather with the query, who laughed about the things people "find" in his films. He explained that the selection of color was the job of the art director and costume designer. He had very little to do with it.

    Sometimes a wine bottle is just a wine bottle.

    RAH
     
  4. Scott_MacD

    Scott_MacD Supporting Actor

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  5. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    And, IMO, no one is better than Marian Keane at teasing out the tangled Freudian coils that animate much of Hitchcock's art!
     
  6. Jussi Tarvainen

    Jussi Tarvainen Second Unit

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    Yes, a year ago I read an interesting article about similarities between a Finnish painter called Helene Schjerfbeck's paintings and Hitchcock films. Apparently Hitchcock was an intellectual, very aware of some less-known painters. The article I read showed side-by-side comparisons of Schjerfbeck's paintings and stills from Hitchcock's films. The similarities were striking.
    I also read that Hitch often spent hours on set to get an actress to stand just right or to get the background just the way he wanted it. He never spoke of these things, of course, to retain control of his films and be able to continue working in Hollywood. [​IMG]
     
  7. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    This is one reason why I've never been too fond of those in literary/film criticism who overobsess on looking for subliminal messages. I think one of my favorite stories debunking this line of thinking was in John Frankenheimer's "Manchurian Candidate" commentary regarding the scene where Frank Sinatra reprograms Laurence Harvey. It shows Sinatra slightly out of focus the whole time and Frankenheimer recalled how some critic said this was a brilliant depiction of the brainwashed haze Harvey would be seeing Sinatra in. But as Frankenheimer said, the reason why Sinatra was blurry was the camera was accidentally out of focus but because Sinatra was notorious for giving his best performance on the first take, Frankenheimer decided he had no choice but to use it blurs and all since Sinatra got progressively worse on each take.
     
  8. Randy_M

    Randy_M Supporting Actor

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    Personally, I think Keane's Notorious commentary is pretty much of a snooze...I'd much rather hear interesting facts about the players and humorous productions tales...Like the one on The Lady Vanishes (Criterion).

    Never liked psychology classes, either.
     
  9. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

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    Agreed. Keane's commentary is one of the worst I've ever heard for any film. Thank goodness for the Behlmer.
     
  10. Jonathan W

    Jonathan W Agent

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    I am surprised that there are as many people out there who don't care for Marian Keane as there are on this thread (a small number, but disconcerting nonetheless). I think she's GREAT. Perhaps the best film commentator of them all. I am excited to buy Criterion disks for her commentaries. Great movies like THE 39 STEPS, THE LADY EVE and NOTORIOUS are fortunate to have the lavish attention that Keane gives them. Her voice is one of the gentlest intellectual resources in understanding a director who is often accused of brutalizing women in his films. Keane brings a generous warmth to her commentaries that illuminates the immediacy of the material, transforming the critiquing process into something far more expansive and interesting than a dusty, scholastic lecture.

    As for her NOTORIOUS commentary, she obviously indicates that the fabric of the film is drenched in sexual imagery, and I agree. NOTORIOUS is a film about sex and fear of sex, impotence and hidden desires. For a serious thinker, the film will yield symbols that, at times, may be a stretch - but, with respect to Keane, I laugh those off without necessarily dismissing their academic accuracy. Hitchcock was very thorough about the details of his films, so an historian like Keane is given excellent reason to read deliberateness into the director's shots. Therefore, while I find it funny to hear such an elegant person delve frequently into frank references to innuendo, I cannot honestly say that she is wrong. On the other hand, her analysis is so fresh and modern and grand and considerately organized(you never hear her say "um" or pause in search of a word) that I am truly amazed that anyone would have a problem with her. I say this not to criticize others here, but in the hopes that many more out there truly appreciate what this woman brings to our understanding of GREAT films.
     
  11. Randy_M

    Randy_M Supporting Actor

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    Actually, I find it refreshing that we can have views that are polar opposites and still respect each other's opinions. That's the greatest thing about the HTF!

    Cheers
     
  12. Dave_M

    Dave_M Agent

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    I couldn't agree more Randy! (even though you do live on the west side of the river)

    Dave
     
  13. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    One of my favorite moments in any commentary is on the Criterion "Hard Boiled" laserdisc and/or DVD. Critic Dave Kehr talks quite a bit about the significance of the origami birds decorating Tony Leung's houseboat and their symbolic meaning, and Woo comes on afterwards and more or less says that he just thought they looked cool. Whoever edited that track together deserves some kind of an award. [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  14. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    I found the commentary on Criterion's Seven Samurai to be of a similar vain. Oh, don't get me wrong it is definitely interesting & well informed, but there are true moments of overzealous "Fan Boy" boasting, "See how he filmed that blade of grass? NO ONE IN FILM HISTORY EVER FILMED GRASS LIKE THAT BEFORE OR SINCE!! KUROSAWA IS A GENIUS"
    That is of course a exaggeration and I agree that Kurosawa was a genius but often when I hear overzealous commentaries like this I just want to shake the commentator a little and say "Hey, it's okay.....it's going to be...okay".
     
  15. Enrique B Chamorro

    Enrique B Chamorro Supporting Actor

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    You must read Camille Paglia's booklet

    for the BFI on "Birds" and listen to

    her commentary on Basic Instinct.

    What she says at times must be profound

    or completely from left field, but always

    very entertaining.
     
  16. Jonathan Perregaux

    Jonathan Perregaux Screenwriter

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    If you look for anything hard enough, you're likely to find it.
     
  17. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  18. Dave_M

    Dave_M Agent

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    This thread(as many do) seems to be similar to passing a secret around the room in elementary school and by the time it gets to the last person, the secret isn't much like the original. The original statement was not meant to demean the art and talent of Mr. Hitchcock, yet there is a definite vibe in some of the replies that he needs to be defended from attack.

    Just because I and some others found a commentary to be far-fetched does not mean we feel that the director of the film made it for the "common man" and didn't put a lot of thought and effort into it.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Hitchcock can't tell us whether Ms. Keane is on or off the mark with her interpretation of symbols in the film which makes everybody's opinion of the commentary equal. Just as long as we are talking about the commentary.

    There is always room for a new thread to give opinions on why Mr. Hitchcock is one of the greatest directors and personalities in cinema history.

    Dave
     
  19. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Hmm, The Birds as a response to L'avventura? I'll have to think on that one.
    And I assume you mean that Hitchcock's response was more than just making a much, much, MUCH better film. [​IMG]
     

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