My name is Alfred Hitchcock
And the book club timetable
On Thursday 7th September, I am running an InterIntellect salon. It is the first in a series of three salons, called ‘How to Read a Poem’.
Paid subscribers will get an essay about The Lady of Shalott in the next couple of days. It will cover how Tennyson’s poem related to Keats’ writing, and how The Lady of Shalott became the archetypal image of a woman for the patriarchs of the nineteenth century.
The timings for upcoming book club sessions are at the bottom.
My name is Alfred Hitchcock
Meh. This was too long. It takes escapism seriously, which is good, and it focusses on the techniques Hitchcock used, also worthwhile. But it’s quite repetitive. And it keeps making needless comparisons to modern times with a lot of flapdoodle about mirror neurons and smartphones. In those sections, the film seems more interested in proselytising a general dislike of modern tech culture than in actually saying anything about Alfred Hitchcock. The modern shots belong to a genre best described as “self-indulgent art-house imitation”. The South Bank shot on a strange angle is no replacement for a clip of Grace Kelly or Jimmy Stewart.
While it was interesting to focus so much on Hitchcock’s less well known films for the examples, and thereby show how his techniques changed and developed over time,—and how he really enjoyed certain ways of filming,—I was surprised that Dial M for Murder didn’t get more screen time. If you want to examine Hitchcock’s use of lighting and camera angles, that’s one hell of a movie to sideline.
This is showing as part of a Hitchcock season at The Garden. I wish I’d known they were showing so many of the early films in June. I would have been there every day. To think, I missed The Lady Vanishes on the big screen! Oh tell me where all past times are. The Garden is currently showing Hitchcock’s masterpieces 1954-1963—but again, not including Dial M for Murder. Seriously, don’t they all understand that it’s top shelf?
My name is Alfred Hitchcock is worthwhile for Hitchcock fans. I left thinking that it should have been twenty minutes shorter, at least. But also wanting to re-watch Hitchcock’s movies. A better movie in this genre was The Real Charlie Chaplin.
Book club timings
Here is the timetable for the rest of our nineteenth century reading. After each one I’ll provide my essays about the topics. If you cannot make these but want to attend, email me and tell me what sorts of times are good for you. No promises, but I might run some catch-up sessions for people who miss out. The nineteenth century reading list, for those who want to explore more widely, is here.
21st September, 19.00 UK time. Christine Rossetti. A Birthday. And ‘Goblin Market.’ And anything else you want to read: she’s the top.
22nd October, 19.00 UK time. J.S. Mill, Autobiography. I’ll be writing about Mill and Harriet Taylor, Mill and bildungsroman, and Mill and his family around this session.
23rd November, 19.00 UK time. Darwin. Letters and Origin.
We haven’t covered nineteenth century America yet, but after this the plan is to move to Shakespeare and English poetry from, roughly, Spenser to Milton. We’ll be pairing As You Like it with Hamlet, Twelfth Night with The Tempest, and Henry IV (I and II) with Anthony and Cleopatra. We’ll also read Donne, Herrick and so on. Probably we’ll work from an anthology. I’ll set out the details closer to the time. Since Shakespeare will be starting in December, Twelfth Night and The Tempest will be our first pairing.