Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here's an odd little book

I read David Thompson's The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock taught America To Love Murder today. It's a decent read, done quickly and well written, but that subtitle is a killer. This short is mostly a close analysis of the scenes of the movie. The teaching part, and hell, even the Moment part don't really fit the book. Instead you will get pages about that opening scene, where the two lovers sit in sordid post-coital bliss in a squalid hotel room in a run down city. Then you go on to the theft, the running, the murder and so on. All quite interesting and a good analysis that film fans will enjoy.

Thompson spins some theories about how the movie made it OK for people to watch murder on screen. He argues, with less analysis than is deserved, that Hitchcock showed us his own voyeurism and made it OK for us to do the same. Hitchcock apparently had a twisted relationship with his actresses that made him and Thompson's thoughts on how later movies owe much to Hitchcock.

None of the ideas of the book is really developed, as this is an essay length book. If you want some interesting thoughts on how a particular movie was made, by all means check this out. Don't go looking for big ideas about movies.

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