DIRECTORS UNDER THE MINK
Heavens to Murgatroid...I’m no scholar. No aficionado. I have a passing knowledge of one...and am a groupie of the other. John Ford
and Alfred Hitchcock
are two of the most famous directors in the history of movies. ( Psst! I CONFESS: The reason I even put Ford’s name first is to curry favor from his fans so they won’t roast me on the luau pit. Besides, I’m in his thread. ) Two young men from different backgrounds, countries, telling stories through images and whose work span the decades.
Perhaps this is a Rorschach test. Perhaps it’ll spur more learned posters to contribute their thoughts to the similarities of these two men. I know I know...I haven’t even scratched the surface.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *A DIRECTOR BY ANY OTHER NAME
Fans in both camps have affectionate nick names for these two directors.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *ICONIC MOMENTS
I was struck by these moments in both directors’ films for a variety of reasons.
I like the similarity of the doorway shots of Wayne and Stewart. Are both men at the end of their rope here? One doesn’t seem to be able to get through the door to join The Family. The other has lost the dream...the illusion. “North by Northwest” here just represents the Impossible. They are hanging by a thread. And Hitch pushes that envelope by having Martin Landau step on Cary Grant’s hand. The tension is impossible. It’s nothing similar to Roddy McDowall here, but I just love the shot. This little boy is becoming a man waay before his time...seeing things a boy should not see. One grows up too quick, fast and in a hurry in Wales. Roddy and James Stewart share the utter stunning loss that leaves them motionless. Frozen in time; not seeing. Am I reaching? Am I stretching. I dunno. You tell me.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION
Sometimes we fight attraction; sometimes we give in to it.
I finally saw “The Quiet Man”
at the TCMFF this April and was really taken with it. It was love at first sight for them both; but Wayne has to really fight for O’Hara’s love in a way that she would understand and feel it. Oh yes, the kiss in the graveyard when it rains. Yeeeup! I haven’t seen “They Were Expendable” yet, but I want to. How to make love normal, under the conditions of war; in spite of war. Besides, Isn’t the Duke and Donna Reed so cute together. I have a germ of an idea of exploring 'John Wayne In Love' in the movies. He’s adorable and heart-felt
. Cary Grant & Grace Kelly. << Sigh! >> Hitchcock’s creme de la creme of gla'mour and l'amour. Fireworks? Hah! What a great metaphor Hitch. “Vertigo” - my favorite as you know. Love built on deception, delusion, illusion, obsession. That doesn’t mean it’s not love, does it? Perhaps it’s the love that burns the hottest. Hey, I’m just asking questions.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *AMERICA, THE BEAUTIFUL
Instantly recognizable, right?
I think both Hitchcock and Ford took two American landscapes and turned them into their own personal avatars. I need to see both up close and personal. You can't think of one without the other. They've made them their own
. I mean, who does that?* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *RESCUE ME...or LOVE, PAIN & THE WHOLE DAMNED THING
C’mon. You know you breathed a sigh of relief when both Wayne and Grant take these ladies into their arms.
Both men come to terms with the journey they take to rescue someone they really love. They stop fighting themselves and their pre-conceived notions and get to rescuing. Admitted “fat-head” Cary Grant scooping Ingrid Bergman outta that bed is the stuff of dreams, right girls? A den of Nazis, he’s whispering in your ear, he'll protect you. ( Awwwright... awwwright. So you’ll need a stomach pump later, but you’re missing the point...it’s Cary Grant’s coming to rescue you. ) John Wayne as Ethan. Hell bent on destruction until Debbie’s in his arms. All his hate is released. After all, she IS
Family.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *STATE OF MIND
The mind is a terrible thing to waste.
But a great set-piece is a wonderful metaphor to use. Each director expresses our hero’s state of mind in a different way. That crazy staircase that is James Stewart’s source of guilt and triumph. He’s cured of vertigo though he loses his girl. ( The operation’s a success but... ) “...Liberty Valance.” You all know the movie better’n than me. I just know seeing Wayne go loco with pain over not having Vera Miles broke me down. The MacGuffins of both movies hide the lovesick pain in plain sight.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *TEACHERS’ PET
Andy Hardy never had such a man-to-man talk.
Collaboration at its best. I think Wayne and Grant might be Ford and Hitchcock’s favorite leading men. What director wouldn’t want to live vicariously through the suaveness and virility of each man. Big, strong, handsome men of action ( when Grant needed to be. ) Alter egos of each director.