Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Hitchcock Documentary that Changed My Life

If you haven't figured this out about me, I think that Alfred Hitchcock was the greatest practioner of "pure film;" that is, film, not merely as a medium, but as a language unto itself. This subject fascinates me now as much as it did when I first ran across such ideas during my teens in the feathered-hair era of the early 1980s. And this 1972 documentary, which, as circumstances would have it, frequently ran on local Public Broadcasting System affililiate KOAP at that time taught me about it. If you're new to Hitchcock studies, this one-hour documentary will get you up to speed. You'll get a quick study of his definition of suspense, the MacGuffin, the concept of pure film and more. Hitchcock himself leads the discussion with his usual wit, engaging personality and disparaging remarks about actors and actresses. This special, produced by the American Film Institute, written and directed by Richard Schickel and narrated by Cliff Robertson, is indispensable -- and pleasurable -- viewing. I recently discovered it online, so I'm feeling rather nostalgic right now. Tell you what. While you're watching this video, I'm going to surf YouTube for TV commercials from my childhood and mourn the loss of my youth.

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1 comment:

Juliette said...

Shame couldn't get the video. I know what you mean about TV ads from childhood - with me it was the ad for 'Smash'!