Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hollywood Is Not All Leftist. "Hitchcock" Shines With Great Messages

The AMC show Breaking Bad has spawned an entire minor industry of writers great and small commenting on its greatness.  It is a great opportunity for the educated to show their knowledge of the history of Western culture, indirectly putting the show in context.  Breaking Bad does resemble a multi-year running of a Shakespeare tragedy.  Family underlies the entire series.  The not perfect Hank Schrader relies on the love and faithfulness of his family while the evil of Walter White embraces manipulating the love, support, sympathy, and faithfulness of his own.

In the wake of the national attention bestowed on television's golden age, the motion picture industry has taken a lot of heat.  Its creativity and storytelling has declined in relative, if not absolute, terms.

But it does still have the ability to tell a story.

The movie Hitchcock, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, has hit cable television.  This interpretation relies on two important themes, risk and marriage.

The film begins with Alfred Hitchcock finishing up North By Northwest and looking for something to do.  Its storyline hints at some vices, such as his fascination with his blonde stars, and his overindulgence in food and alcohol.    He also has noted the gradual drifting apart of his marriage with wife Alma.

Hitchcock finds his new project very quickly.  As studios seek to pigeonhole him as a spy thriller director (he is offered what could have been the first James Bond picture), the director searches for a project very different from his previous success.

Then the recently published novel Psycho crosses his desk.  Hitchcock immediately jumps on it and ignores the work of a man trying to wriggle into the life of his wife Alma.  The trouble comes when the studios reject funding what they assume will be a flop.  They do agree to distribute the film if Hitchcock can raise the money himself.

Which he does by taking a heavy mortgage on his home.  If Psycho's film version flopped, he faced financial ruin.  And therein lies the heroism of capitalism.  Believing in a product against the advice of others.  Risking security to make it happen.  Pouring hard work into a project to make it work.  The audience gets to see Hitchcock's pain, his fear, his uncertainty as the film runs into typical problems.

They also see a marriage under strain.  Attention given to Alma pays off when she spends more and more time with her friend Whit helping with his book.

In the movie, Psycho is saved when Alma sees what Whit actually is, a cad, and puts more effort into her usual collaboration with her husband.  While the film fell flat with Hitchcock alone, the partners and spouses together make it one of the all time greats.

Rarely do the two great themes of modern conservatism, the value of family and capitalism, get intertwined as they do in this film.

As for Hopkins, he once again shows why he is one of the great actors of his time.  I had to actually click info to prove to my teenage son that he was seeing Hopkins.   As a special treat, on another channel, Silence of the Lambs came on directly after we finished watching Hitchcock.  Seeing one after the other shows the range of this great man.

As for Hitchcock the movie, definitely see it.  No beautiful young people in sexual situations or explosions, but it is an honestly good story that is pretty well told.

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