Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 14, 2012

An exchange between two titans

Filed under: Film — louisproyect @ 1:01 pm


  1. The sound is not working on my computer at work, but the woman is Joan Rivers.

    Comment by RED DAVE — March 14, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  2. Both of these titans had issues with women which color their legacy, in my eyes at least. The entire subtext of Psycho is anti-female, violently so, and James Browns’ words speak for themself.


    Comment by purple — March 15, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  3. Both of these titans had issues with women

    You really are a pill.

    Comment by louisproyect — March 16, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  4. Actually the subtext of Psycho is about class, not so much about females. The woman is getting together with her man secretly so they can get laid, but they haven’t been able to get married because his job isn’t going anywhere. A wealthy man comes into town to make a $40,000 purchase and she clearly is depressed about how easily he can toss around money while she and her partner are stuck going nowhere. She steals the money in an effort to grab what The American Dream has always told us she should be able to expect. On the run she meets a hotel-owner and in seeing how bad his life is going she comes to a realization that she has made a mistake and needs to repair it somehow. Before she can do this the man turns out to be a psychotic killer who murders her.

    Hitchcock understand how to intertwine such issues of class into his films without making it be something that would automatically turn off conservatives. The sexual psychotic in the film allows him formally play down the issue of class, while still making it integral to the story.

    Comment by PatrickSMcNally — March 16, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

  5. I’d like to agree with Patrick here, especially today. But if Hitchcock wanted to implant a class analysis in Psycho he failed to place it anywhere near center stage. He hid it so successfully it got crushed in the overwhelming rush of suspense. Maybe with a magnifying glass.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — March 17, 2012 @ 11:01 am

  6. It seems fair to point to the darker side of both legacies. Otherwise we are merely exalting auteurs in that oddly naive European way that is perhaps the counterpart (did I almost write counter-prat?) to our all-american obsession with good guys and bad guys.

    Unfortunately, I can’t understand what James Brown is saying. It seems as if he’s asking HItchcock an interesting question.

    Comment by Joe Vaughan — March 17, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

  7. I won’t be naive and go down the auteur trail. But shouldn’t we distinguish between filmmakers who make class analysis basic to their movies and those who simply give us raw material from which we can make a class analysis? For example Kurosawa with “The Seven Samurai ” and Visconti with “Terra Trema” and “The Leopard” would be with the first. Hitchcock’s “Psycho” would be, for me, with the second. In fact any TV trash film would be with the second, because we bring our concepts to bear in analysing it. The concepts aren’t part of the film. It’s characteristic of the first group that the action–lively enough in Kurosawa, for instance,– never overshadows what he says about class. The same with the operatic Visconti. If we admit for argument’s sake that Hitchcock makes a conscious statement about class at the beginning of “Psycho”, the action of the rest of his film blots it out. Bert Brecht, no snooty auteur, pointed out that break-neck action, high drama and suspense are obstacles to understanding. Considering the movies Louis has to sit through, it’s no surprise that his taste has turned more and more to documentaries.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — March 17, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  8. If you don’t understand the question, just answer “Yeah!”

    Comment by godoggo — March 18, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

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