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ALFRED HITCHCOCK: SOME THOUGHTS

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RonPrice View Drop Down
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Joined: 31 May 2014
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    Posted: 25 Jan 2015 at 8:11pm
Note: to read my post you will have to highlight the words. I tried to do the highlighting for you, but was unable to do so.-Ron Price, Australia
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 Preamble:

I put the following pieces of prose and prose-poetry together as a single literary package after watching Hitchcock, a 2012 American biographical dramafilm based on Stephen Rebello's non-fiction book Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. The film was released on 23 November 2012; I saw this dramafilm two years and two months later, yesterday evening 17/1/'151 on TV, in Tasmania Australia. In 2015 was entering the last decade of late adulthood, the years from 60 to 80 according to one model of human development used by psychologists.

 

Psycho was a 1960 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Janet Leigh. The film was released in the same week I began grade 11 at high school in the then small town of Burlington in Ontario's golden horseshoe.  I had just finished one of my most successful summer seasons on the mound and at bat in Burlington's midget league, as well as in the Halton County baseball association. Readers with the interest can access all the details they require about the film at several websites.

 

Psycho's screenplay was by Joseph Stefano, and it was based on the 1959 novel by the same name.  In 1959 I joined the Baha'i Faith and knew nothing of the novel, although I had heard of Alfred Hitchcock on TV several years before; I also saw the film several years later at some time from 1961 to 1963, my last years of high school.

 

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock(1899-1980) was an English film director and producer.  Often nicknamed "The Master of Suspense", he pioneered many techniques in the suspense and  psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films & early talkies, renowned as England's best director, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood in 1939; he became a US citizen in 1955. Wikipedia has an excellent overview of his life and I commend it to readers with the interest. The magazine   MovieMaker has described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema's most significant artists.2-Ron Price with thanks to 1ONE TV, 17/1/'15, 8:30-10:30, and 2Wikipedia.

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MYSTERIOUS DISPENSATIONS OF PROVIDENCE

 

Part 1:

 

I first came to see Alfred Hitchcock on TV in October 1955 in my family’s lounge-room in Burlington Ontario, although I might have seen his classic movie Dial “M” for Murder in 1954. After more than sixty years I can’t recall with any exactitude when I saw any of Hitchcock's films.  Hitchcock’s ten year long series of what are now ‘classic’ TV programs had just begun in 1955 when I was in grade 6, age 11, and the home-run king in local Little League baseball. I watched, perhaps, two years of Hitchcock's programs before my parents sold our TV thinking it to be a bad influence, especially on my school-work. I would not come to have a TV in my home for the next 20 years when I was in my early 30s, married with kids and living in Australia.

 

Originally 25 minutes per episode, the series was expanded to 50 minutes in 1962 and retitled The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  In 1962 I had just begun my travelling-and-pioneering for the Canadian Baha'i community, and working on my matriculation, the notorious grade 13, as it was called in Ontario. Alfred Hitchcock's programs had, by then, been long-gone from my life.

 

Hitchcock directed less than 20 of the 268 filmed episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The last new episode aired on 26 June 1965. Mystery, crime, horror and the supernatural, invariably with a twist in the tale, came on TV week after week for a decade, and the world has now had 60 years of reruns. I may watch some of those 268 episodes, now syndicated and on DVD, as I go through my late adulthood and old age in the years 2014 to 2044, if I last that long. Time will tell.

 

Part 2:

 

I was working for the Canadian Peace Research Institute as an abstractor at the time of that last episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It was a summer job in the little town of Dundas. My father had died, and I had completed the second year of an honours program in history and philosophy at McMaster University in Ontario, both the month before. One month later I turned 21 and had a new job working as an electrician's assistant with the Steel Company of Canada, Stelco, in the lunch-pail city of Hamilton.

 

On Tuesday 29 April 1980, three days before I went into the psychiatric clinic of the Launceston General Hospital, Alfred Hitchcock died.1  He was 80 years old.  I was about to experience, at least for about the next ten days, the last occurrence of real terror in my life.  I would have fear many times in life again, but terror was part of my bi-polar illness and, on that Tuesday 29 April 1980, I was on the edge of the throes of my life's last major hypomanic episode.

 

Terror inflicted on the unknowing was one of the themes in Hitchcock movies.  Fear was also part of his recipe for movie success. In October 1955 a premeditated campaign of terror was in process in Iran against the Baha’i community. My mother had just joined the Canadian Baha'i community. The then leader of the Bahá'í community, Shoghi Effendi, characterized that campaign as an ordeal “in pursuance of the mysterious dispensations of Providence.2 -Ron Price with thanks to 1Wikipedia, and 2Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, Wilmette, 1965, p.139.

 

Part 3:

 

While terror was entertaining

TV’s lounge-room-troops, and

millions of cinema-goers, thanks

to the clever & talented endeavor

of that famous director----Alfred

Hitchcock, then about to enter the

last decade of a career: meteoric,

bizarre, idiosyncratic and highly

unpredictable, before a slow and

unhappy slide to death in the first

15 years of my adult life: '65-'80!

 

.....the Iranian Baha’i community

was entertaining its own terror....

not a devastating flood, but a very

gentle rain on a green pasture; not

a calamity, but God’s providence,

a wick and oil unto the lamp of Faith.

 

And, Alfred, as your years went on

and you garnered-in all that success,

the ship of this Faith sailed safely in

to port well beyond the terrors of the

sea which could have taken the Cause

right off its course, and any full-blown

understanding of the meaning of this is

beyond our generation.1   But with that

terror overcome, they had to endure it

again and again as part of that history

which I have now been hearing about

all the years of my life---with the end

nowhere in sight even at this late hour!

 

I, too, had my own ordeal in life as I

went through the stages in the lifespan;

it was also an ordeal in pursuance of

those mysterious dispensations of a

watchful Providence with the end no

where in sight as I go through my 70s.

 

1 Century of Light, p. 92.

 

Ron Price

8/1/'05 to 18/1/'15.

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ALREAD HITCHCOCK: SOME THOUGHTS

As I hit the mid-point of my 71st year in January 2015, and go into the sixth year on my old-age pension, with the great bulk of my bi-polar illness behind me, or so I like to think, so I hope, I do not anticipate suffering the way many do after the age of seventy.  Of course, no man knows how and when his own end shall be, wrote some poet.1  I have a strange, but pleasing, premonition that the worst is behind me.  Unlike Mark Twain, whose life from age 60 on was blasted by calamity and sorrow; unlike the cinema director Alfred Hitchcock who was plagued by alcohol and depression from sixty-five until his death at the age of eighty, unlike many others in their declining years of late adulthood, I see a very fertile part of my life as just beginning, perhaps the most fertile part, albeit a different life than the one I have known. 

 

It is a life I am looking forward to with relish, and I am trusting to those mysterious dispensations of that watchful Providence. This is not to say that fatigue, exhaustion and anxiety will not afflict me and forces at large in the world will not assail me.  I may require the perseverance I have seen in my wife for the last 40 years.-Ron Price with thanks to 1The Bible: New International Version, Mark 13:32, and Ecclesiastes 9:12 which says: "Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them," and "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

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HITCHCOCK and MUSIC

 

Jack Sullivan is director of American Studies and professor of English at Rider University, New Jersey, USA.  He has written1 a long overdue tribute to Alfred Hitchcock's musical perspicacity.  Sullivan demonstrates Hitchcock’s uncanny ability to manipulate audiences not only with his striking, frightening images but also his adroit use of music, of all kinds, to heighten suspense, atmosphere and drama.  He also knew when to employ silences or musical rests to maximum effect.  Some of his most distinguished composers, such as Arthur Benjamin, credited him with being far more serious about music than any other director. 

 

Hitchcock was a cultured man. He had no formal music training yet was a fervent music-lover and keen concertgoer. Hitchcock came into my life, perhaps as early as 1954 with Dial “M” For Murder. -Ron Price with thanks to 1Ian Lace’s review at Music Web International of Hitchcock's music, Jack Sullivan, Yale University Press, 2006.

 

You’d been going strong, Alfred,

for thirty years before you came

into my life with Dial “M” For

Murder, with Psycho and The

Birds, their gripping music &

their memorable sounds, now

lost in my memory bank from

my childhood and teens when

the winter of my own life was

setting in early & new values1

had begun to capture my mind

& imagination long ago, Alfred.

 

Over your long career2 you presided

over more musical styles than any

directors in history; ultimately you

changed how we thought about film

music, any film music--oh so clever.

 

And thanks, Jack, for your discussion

of Hitchcock’s  music to influence the

atmosphere, characterization and even

storylines of his films.......Hitchcock’s

relationships with composers: Bernard

Herrmann, Dimitri Tiomkin, Maurice

Jarr and Franz Waxman--achievement,

a sign of genius;  they changed the way

we watched-listened to movies-yessiree.

 

1 The Bahá'í Faith

2  From his work on a film in 1921, The Lodger, to his last in 1976, Family Plot

 

Ron Price

14/8/'09 to 18/1/'15

---------------------------------------

end of document

 



Edited by RonPrice - 25 Jan 2015 at 8:13pm
married for 48 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 16, and a Baha'i for 56(in 2015)
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