Sunday, January 06, 2008

I've been watching Hitchcock's "The Paradine Case" on cable and caught this amazing crypto-queer exchange:

Handsome Gregory Peck: I came on you quite by accident.
Gorgeous Louis Jourdan: But you wanted to come on me . . .

There's a very unusual feel to this film that must delight contemporary gender theorists: although it's about a woman who murders her husband due to her infatuation with another man, it depicts the men who bring her down as heartless and foolish. That kind of appreciation of moral ambiguity is very rare in Hollywood, outside of film noir. It's interesting to consider whether this alone qualifies the film as noir despite its sharing no other characteristics at all with the noir classics.

1 comment:

Paul R said...

Hi Bernard, I'm in Tucson dealing with my mom who is very sick...but good to read your post. I personally do not think Hitchcock ever qualifies as noir...but only because he effectively is his own sub-genre. His particular mix of elements (evident in the pre-noir period) anticipates noir in some ways and then tracks it throughout the period, but not one of his films feels quite right as noir. You note the missing elements: there's no pervasive despair, women are never ff, systems are never presented as corrupt, existentialism and nihilism are never subtexts. And key: Hitchcock's visual style is too jaunty and arch, and not remotely like classic noir. Alfred is his own thing. bye - PR