Strangulation motif in Hitchcock's films
Strangulation in Hitchcock films
The Lodger, 1926/1927
Number Seventeen, 1931/1932
The bum is "strangled" in the bathroom by Sheldrake
Secret Agent, 1935/1936
The organ player in Langenthal is strangled.
The film the boy soon to be bombed is carrying is "Bartholomew the Strangler"
Young and Innocent, 1937/1938
Christine (Pamela Carme) is strangled with a rain coat belt.
The Lady Vanishes, 1937/1938
Jamaica Inn, 1938/1939
The thiefs try to hang Jem suspecting him of stealing from the goods
Shadow of a Doubt, 1942/1943
David is killed with a rope.
Stage Fright, 1949/1950
The murderer (Jonathan) almost succeeds in strangling Eve Gill in the theatre.
Strangers on a Train, 1950/1951
Marion is strangled by Bruno.
Dial M for Murder, 1953/1954
Margo is almost strangled during the murder attempt.
Rear Window 1953/1954
Thorwald tries to strangle Jeff when they meet.
The Man Who Knew Too Much 1956
Torn Curtain, 1965-66/1966
The rapist serial killer uses a necktie.
Phillip Morgan: I never strangled a chicken in my life! (Rope)
Brandon: Nobody commits a murder just for the experiment of committing it. Nobody except us. (Rope)
The Murder of Miriam in Strangers on a Train
Robert Walker (Bruno Antony) killing Miriam Joyce Haines. The murder is seen reflected in Miriam's glasses.
Brandon: "Nobody commits a murder just for the experiment of committing it. Nobody except us."
Rope was produced and released in 1948. It is an experimental film with long takes (cuts camouflaged). Adapted by Hume Cronyn from the play by Patrick Hamilton. Screenplay by Arthur Laurents.
- "When you translated the English dialogue, it became very homosexual – unintentionally."
(Screenplay writer Arthur Laurents)
- "What was curious to me was that Rope was obviously about homosexuals. The word was never mentioned. Not by Hitch, not by anyone at Warners. It was referred to as "it". They were going to do a picture about "it" and the actors were "it"."
(Screenplay writer Arthur Laurents in a documentary about making Rope)
Brandon: "Good and evil, right and wrong were invented for the ordinary average man, the inferior man, because he needs them."
James Stewart... Rupert Cadell
Joan Chandler... Janet Walker
John Dall... Brandon Shaw
Farley Granger... Phillip Morgan
Cedric Hardwicke... Mr. Henry Kentley (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Constance Collier... Mrs. Anita Atwater
Douglas Dick... Kenneth Lawrence
Edith Evanson... Mrs. Wilson
Dick Hogan... David Kentley
Did you know that Constance Collier who plays the delightful Mrs. Anita "something-of-the-something" Atwater wrote a play with Ivor Novello which Hitchcock based his film Downhill on?
Alfred Hitchcock to Francois Truffaut on the problems of using a mobile camera when shooting Rope
"The technique of the camera movements was worked out, in its slightest details, well beforehand. We used a dolly and we mapped out our course through tiny numbers all over the floor, which served as guide marks. All the dollyman had to do was to get his camera on position Number One or Number Two at a given cue of the dialogue, then dolly over to the next number. When we went from one room into another, the wall of the hallway or of the living room would swing back on silent rails. And the furniture was mounted on rollers so that we could push it aside as the camera passed. It was an amazing thing to see a shot taken."
Francois Truffaut: Hitchcock
Brandon: "I've always wished for more artistic talent. Well, murder can be an art, too. The power to kill can be just as satisfying as the power to create."
The Killing of David Kentley (Dick Hogan) in Rope
Rope (1948) titles
Important themes and motifs
- Concept of superior humans.
"Murder is, or should be, an art, and the privilege to committing it should be reserved for those few who are really superior individuals." Rupert Cadell (played by James Stewart)
- The artist as villain
Hitchcock to Truffaut on the long takes in Rope and Under Capricorn
No doubt about it; films must be cut. As an experiment, Rope may be forgiven, but it was definitely a mistake when I insisted on applying the same techniques to Under Capricorn.
Homosexuality, homophobia and deviant sexuality in Hitchcock's Films
Homosexuality was never explicitly mentioned in any of Hitchcock's films, but we see the theme indirectly treated in several of his films, actually more as homophobia. Deviant sexuality, combined with misogyny often characterizes Hitchcock's villains.
According to The Motion Picture Production Code depiction or direct reference to homosexuality was forbidden. The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home should be upheld. Pictures should not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.
As far as homosexuality is presented in Hitchcock's films, it is presented negatively. Until 1974 homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder.
The Pleasure Garden
The costume designer working for the theatre manager is extravagantly effeminate.
The Detective to his girlfriend and her mother: «Anyway, I’m glad he’s not keen on the girls!» (a comment also alluding to Ivor Novello's homosexuality)
The murderer Handell Fane is a transvestite (an emblem of homosexuality) and this is linked with racial impurity (Handell Fane is a a "halfcast"), an outdated viewpoint which is rather disturbing today.
Madeleine Carrol to the American man in the horse wagon: "He's fond of you! – I was afraid of that!"
The Lady Vanishes
The cricket obsessed English couple sleeping in the same bed.
Philip and Brandon.
Bruno and Guy
North by Northwest
The friendship between the villain VanDamm and his jealous friend Leonard has associations towards homosexuality.
Norman's feminine walk and mother fixation.
Excerpt of The Motion Picture Production Code
No picture shall be produced which will lower the moral standards of those who see it.
The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.
Mrs. Atwater: Do you know when I was a girl I used to read quite a bit.
Brandon: We all do strange things in our childhood.
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