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The Death of the Author: The Impact of Off-Screen Behaviour on On-Screen Antics…

The rather convolutedly-titled Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho will be arriving soon, the director’s Vertigo was recently named by Sight & Sound as the best film of all time and the British Film Institute is running a season of the director’s films. (There’s even a nice blu ray box set being released in October.) However, this focus on Alfred Hitchcock has, naturally, brought some focus on to the less pleasant aspects of his character. October, for example, will also see HBO airing The Girl, a documentary exploring his relationship with Tippi Hedren. She has some choice words on his character.

“I think he was an extremely sad character,” she said during a panel discussion of HBO’s upcoming The Girl, which recounts her troubled relationship with the director. “We are dealing with a brain here that was an unusual genius, and evil, and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of the effect that he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting.”

Of course, such accusations and allegations are by no means new, but it does raise an interesting question about those masters of cinema. Even for those of us who resist the supermarket tabloid gossip about engagements and break-ups and cute-sounding-couple-nicknames, is it ever possible to divorce filmmaking from the person either in front or behind the camera?

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The Best of the “Best of” Lists: The Troubling “Top Ten” Triffle…

So, Sight & Sound has conducted their “top fifty films of all time” poll, held once a decade since 1952. With two polls, one for directors and one for critics, it’s certainly an interesting way to measure the pulse of the cinematic establishment. This year, for example, Citizen Kane was vanquished from the top spot, replace by the critics with Vertigo and by the directors with Tokyo Story. The publication of such a list is always a great spark for cinematic debate and discussion – with some commentators describing the lists as conservative or humourless and some directors using it as an opportunity to publish their own lists. Personally, I always find such list-making fun, if ultimately a little pointless.

Raising Kane…

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