Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock's Love of Neckties

Alfred Hitchcock hanging by two neckties
Alfred Hitchcock hanging by two neckties, if you look close one tie is hanging around his neck while the other is... 

"Hitchcock’s films abound with objects as visual correlatives - the missing finger in "The Thirty-Nine Steps" - the milk chocolates on the assembly line in Secret Agent, the knife and time bomb in Sabotage.   Hitchcock’s objects are never mere props of a basically theatrical mise-en-scene, but rather the very substance of his cinema.",   Andrew Sarris

Hitchcock’s films always included symbolic objects.  His film plots usually incorporate these objects or missing objects, which have become known as "MacGuffins."  Hitchcock said that he directed his films so that "if by any chance the sound apparatus broke down in the cinema, the audience would not fret and get restless because the pictorial action would still hold them!"  His film  titles as well have an "objectness" to them (The Birds, Rope, Champagne, Lifeboat, Psycho, etc.)

He had a fondness for neckties using them as valuable props that either helped tell the story or as in his film "Frenzy," the necktie is more than a prop it is as much a character as the actors are in which a serial killer uses a necktie to strangle his victims.   See our Post The Necktie Strangler.   In the movie "Strangers on a Train" Hitchcock actually designed the Lobster Tie that Bruno wears so that it would resemble a pair of hands formatted in such a way - not unlike a pair of hands that would be capable of strangling someone.  

New York Times Review - Strangers On a Train (1951)
THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'Strangers on a Train,' Another Hitchcock Venture, Arrives at the Warner Theatre

In one of Alfred Hitchcock's suspense classics, tennis pro Guy Haines (Farley Granger) chances to meet wealthy wastrel Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) on a train. Having read all about Guy, Bruno is aware that the tennis player is trapped in an unhappy marriage to to wife Miriam (Laura Elliott) and has been seen in the company of senator's daughter Ann Morton (Ruth Roman). Baiting Guy, Bruno reveals that he feels trapped by his hated father (Jonathan Hale). As Guy

listens with detached amusement, Bruno discusses the theory of "exchange murders." Suppose that Bruno were to murder Guy's wife, and Guy in exchange were to kill Bruno's father? With no known link between the two men, the police would be none the wiser, would they? When he reaches his destination, Guy bids goodbye to Bruno, thinking nothing more of the affable but rather curious young man's homicidal theories. And then, Guy's wife turns up strangled to death. Co-adapted by Raymond Chandler from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train perfectly exemplifies Hitchcock's favorite theme of the evil that lurks just below the surface of everyday life and ordinary men. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi.  
Full New York Times Review

Farley Granger and Robert Walker in Strangers on a Train

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