Okay, an anonymous someone linked this Martin Scorsese video in my comments at the end of November, but not knowing the anonymous someone (due to the anonymity), I didn’t watch it immediately. Then Cinematical posted it a couple of weeks later, but that was right when I went home, and had restricted internet access, so I didn’t watch it immediately. But I have watched it now, and it is awesome. The premise is that Scorsese has found three and half pages of a script that Alfred Hitchcock intended to film but never did. So Scorsese does it, in Hitchcock’s style. (It’s all made up, by the way; there is no long-lost Key of Reserva script.) And he does it perfectly, down to the camera angles and pacing. I caught references to North by Northwest, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Birds and maybe Saboteur and Notorious. There are probably others. I’d love to see more cinephile directors homage their favorites like this.
So, what is up with all the Hitchcock references on Pushing Daisies lately? Two weeks ago, I thought the dog breeder’s death scene was vaguely reminiscent of Psycho, what with the black and white, the window looking over a nondescript city, the violin music, the shots of a knife NOT going into a body, his hand grabbing the wicker box (like Marion grabbed the shower curtain), and the circle motif as he lay on the ground.
Several minutes later, a VERY obvious Vertigo-esque dream made it clear that I hadn’t imagined the Psycho similarity:
And then tonight’s episode has a nearly exact recreation of the scene in The Birds where Melanie crosses Bodega Bay taking the love birds to Mitch. There are more birds in the Pushing Daisies version, but still. The body of water Molly Shannon is crossing is even called Bodega Bay, for crying out loud.
Obviously, as a huge fan of both Pushing Daisies and Hitchcock, I enjoy the tributes. But what is the point? Are they only doing it just to be doing it? There doesn’t seem to be any solid reason to connect any of the Hitchcock films with the episodes in which they’re referenced. Is there some bigger scheme I’m not seeing yet? Is Hitchcock the only one they’re referencing, or have I missed other references due to unfamiliarity? More importantly, have I missed any Hitchcock references? The Psycho one was relatively subtle, so now I’m wondering if there have been other subtle ones that I didn’t see.
In bad news, no new Pushing Daisies next week. Sadness. :(
Variety keeps dropping little bits about the proposed remake/adaptation of The Birds. I put both terms because I’ve heard they’re planning to stay closer to Daphne du Maurier’s short story than to Hitchcock’s film, but it’s fairly obvious they’re also planning on the name recognition of the earlier film, so it’s sort of both. Here’s a quote from the newest bit of news:
“We think we have a very contemporary take,” Schulman said. “In the original, the birds just showed up, and it was kind of like, why are the birds here? This time, there’s a reason why they’re here and (people) have had something to do with it. There’s an environmental slant to what could create nature fighting back.”
THE WHOLE POINT OF THE BIRDS IS WE DON’T KNOW WHY THEY’RE ATTACKING. Aaaargh. I was just becoming reconciled to the idea of them remaking what I consider to be Hitchcock’s scariest movie and one the top five films he ever made. But this…oh, this changes everything. The very thing that makes The Birds scary is that it’s completely unexplained. We don’t know why the birds attack, neither the characters nor the world at large seem to have done anything to provoke them, the cessation of attacks is just as random as the attacks, and just as unquieting. It’s a brilliant film. If you give the attacks motivation, if you make them vengeful against mankind’s abuses of the environment, you have made just another creature feature with a left-wing moral. If there’s a moral to Hitchcock’s The Birds, it’s don’t be afraid to love other people, and take care of them when you do love them, because the world is a harsh place, and you’re going to need each other.
Of course, given my feelings on directorial authorship and creative licence, the filmmakers have every right to do that if they want. But they think it’s going to be better that way, and I’m saying they’re absolutely wrong about that.
You know, having neither school nor work does wonders for media consumption, as does access to St. Louis libraries. Nineteen movies and six books, including Stranger Than Fiction, Before Sunrise, The Queen, The Wrong Man, Volver, V for Vendetta, We are Marshall, The English Patient, Eragon (book), and Ficciones after the jump.