Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Films of Joseph Cornell

"The Children's Jury", 1938.

Best know for his remarkable boxes, Joseph Cornell was a pioneer of the found-footage cinema.  His 1936 film, "Rose Hobart", is arguably the first collage film.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Love That Dare Not Show It's Face

From Alfred Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes", 1938.

Caldicott and Charters (Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford) are traveling together from the fictional resort town Mandrika to Manchester, their sole apparent concern to get back in time for a cricket match.  Clearly intended to be a gay couple, Hitchcock nevertheless must disguise their sexuality, if only marginally.

In the above images the pair have been sequestered in a single room ostensibly because the hotel is full and and can't spare two.  However, Caldicott is shirtless and Charters' pants are momentarily visible hanging behind the conspiritorially grinning maid.  Charters shields Caldicott's bare chest with a protective arm.

Searching for Miss Froy, Iris knocks on all the cabin doors.  Here she interrupts a man using the bathroom, an understandable mistake as the door looks no different from the others.  This man is never seen again.

Charters sees Iris coming and knocks on the door.

Caldicott appears with a towel.  This is the bathroom door.

Charters suggests they hide in the bathroom.

After Iris passes they sneak out only to be discovered.  Caldicott looks sheepish after being found exiting their water closet tryst.

Here Caldicott and Charters appear to be walking arm in arm.

Friday, December 26, 2008

"The Lady Vanishes"

Alfred Hitchcock, 1938.

Iris wakes from a nap to find her friend Miss Froy has disappeared.  No one seems to remember seeing Froy.  While this idea is potentially eerie, we see many of the characters admitting to one another that they'd seen the woman but wish to avoid trouble and so remain silent, thus voiding any possible tension over Iris's sanity.  This is an unfortunate choice that has been remedied in remakes such as the failed Jodi Foster vehicle "Flight Plan" or Hitchcock's own "Into Thin Air" .  While I recently enjoyed "The 39 Steps" and "Shadow Of A Doubt", this film had little to recommend itself.  Other features include silly plotting,  an abundance of medium range head-and-shoulders shots and a hackneyed ending.  I did enjoy the model towns and watching the scenery pass by through the train windows.