On the other hand, I watched Vertigo (based on d'Entre les
Morts by Boileau and Narcejac) with my kids and we laughed in
all the wrong places. The scene where the carousel operator
crawls underneath on his belly to turn off the out-of-control
ride, but stops to wipe his brow just before getting to the
controls, had them howling in disbelief. Poor Hitchcock's
reputation is not holding up among my younger generation. But
we keep going back for another try.
It's been a while since I saw Vertigo, but I'm pretty sure
there's no runaway carousel in it. There is one in Strangers
on a Train. I think Hitchcock (or perhaps Chandler) was being
playful with that brow mop and sort of expected a giggle or
two at other moments of suspense in Strangers. There's not a
lot to laugh at in Vertigo as I recall. It may be in color
but, with that ending, it's arguably the director's most noir
On the subject of what I'm reading, I just finished Stephen
Hunter's new novel The 47th Samurai, with Bob Lee Swagger
battling yakuza in Tokyo. It may not be art, but it keeps the
blood pumping. I'm in the middle of Hammett's Moral Vision, a
fascinating (so-far) study of the five novels, by George J.
"Rhino" Thompson. Worth picking up.
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