TIE ME UP, TIE ME DOWN: THE TIES THAT BIND…IN A GOOD WAY

Ahhhh! got’cha. I bet you thought I was going to talk about “Fifty Shades of Grey”? Not yet. Now…there’s a stream of consciousness to my thinking about movies. One movie reminds me of another and another and this star worked with that one in this movie which reminds me of that movie which was directed by this director who worked with that actor who…

You get the idea.

Am I alone in daisy-chaining movie-related things? Hopefully it wasn’t too too crazy my linking Alfred Hitchcock ( finally I give him top billing ) with John Ford as I did with my post above. I daisy-chained my way to thinking about directors. Yes, we all know those great on-screen classic teams like Garbo and Gilbert, Tracy and Hepburn, Fred and Ginger, Powell and Loy, Flynn and deHavilland, Bogie and Bacall…and the list goes on.

But my thoughts ran back to directors and the stars they collaborated with. Working in a studio was a big help in fostering those relationships. Who really had a partnership of creativity and success? How many could I come up with. Any 0NE of the movies these collaborations produced would be a dream to have under one’s belt. But these folks worked together several times to create classic gems. Can you name who I have here? If you think of any collaborative efforts I missed, let me know.

DIRECTORS COLLAGE

DIRECTORS COLLAGE ( I )

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9 thoughts on “TIE ME UP, TIE ME DOWN: THE TIES THAT BIND…IN A GOOD WAY

  1. Hello ‘T’,
    Glad to see Curtis/Flynn, Ford/Wayne, etc. Here are a few more, perhaps a bit obscure, more or less. Anthony Mann/James Stewart, Bud Boetticher/Randolph Scott (I may have missed this one,) Charles Chaplain/Mack Swain (character actor yes, but still …) and as far as on-screen partnerships (not necessarily paramours) here are Lancaster/Douglas and Lancaster/Curtis, Hudson/Randall, and Taylor/Burton (going back to paramours.) Hey, lets get together and talk about a few more like Trevor/Wayne!

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    • Hellooooooh Marvin,

      I’m glad to see you recognize some of these collaborations, and added some other teamings of your own. Ahh “Stagecoach” with Claire Trevor and John Wayne. He’s really quite the romantic hero at times, isn’t he; doesn’t get a lot of credit for that.

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  2. Well, Theresa, you have really done it! Today’s posts taken together with your recent long essay on Vertigo have really grabbed me and said to me Look! And Look Again! Connections are indeed what it’s all about in love of movies and love in life. The connections you make here are pointed and stimulating.

    These two great American artists may not at first seem to have much in common, except their continued popularity, but thanks to your insights we are compelled to dig deeper into their connections. They were both men of humble beginnings and raised Catholic. They both chose, or were impelled, to work in popular genres, and without wearing their Art on their sleeves, gave their films a deeper and more moving significance than any of their competitors.

    Like you, I have seen most of the films you cite more times than I could say. Yet you opened my eyes to connections that I had not seen. The two rescues at the end of The Searchers and Notorious are of course dealing with many of the same things. Even more connected are the doorway shots that end The Searchers and Vertigo.

    Up until the early sixties there was very little “serious” writing about movies in English, especially about popular American films. I needed to stretch my high school French to find writers who took Ford and Hitchcock seriously. Because of this, I knew all the French titles of these movies. They called Ford’s masterpiece La Prisoniere du desert, the feminine noun obviously referring to Debbie. That was okay at first, but as time went by, and I repeatedly returned to the film’s world, it became clear from the final shot that Ethan is the prisoner of the desert. The door closing on him marks him as an Outsider, not capable of being part of a family. Likewise, the last shot of Vertigo shows Scottie on the outside, but not even looking at the inside. The interesting thing here is that, at these final moments of their stories, Ford is inside and Hitch is outside. Make of that what you will.

    Even closer to Ford’s brilliant shot is the beautifully moving corridor shot of Midge’s departure from the story and Scottie. Speaking of Midge, I have always felt that the reason she broke their engagement was that she already knew that Scottie was seeking something “more”. He doesn’t really want a real woman. Not only is Madeleine not “real”, but she is shown in imagery that separates her from reality. Right from the first shot of her at Ernie’s, we and Scottie see her in a dream-like haze. Why does he fall in love with her? What do he and we know about her? We know more about her great-grandmother than we know about her. He sees her as his Dream. Midge certainly did not fit that picture, nor does Judy, in spite of her appeal to him. So, what does Scottie do when he meets a real woman? He tries to turn her into his dream. And how remarkable that Stewart can continue to engage our sympathy for Scottie after the brutality of Scottie’s remaking Judy into his dream. And how remarkable that Novak can be so convincing as both a dream and a real woman.

    Well, I have certainly rambled on here, but I just want to mention one of my favorite “pre-Vertigo” movies. It is Le Grand jeu made by Jacques Feyder in 1934. Marie Bell plays both parts. I think you would like this one.

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    • I’m glad my stream-of-consciousness, and giving serious thought, nudged you to look a little closer at the connections between these two great filmmakers.

      Funny how, again, it takes Europeans to appreciate our American art forms ( i.e. jazz ) before we Americans do. And you’re a better man than I Gunga Din if you tackled those French authors writing about Hollywood cinema. But as I’ve already told you, you’re a Scholar. Ethan is the prisoner, the outsider, the Searcher. Searching for Debbie is a powerful MacGuffin as we watch him search his own soul though he doesn’t outwardly realize that’s what he’s doing. And poor delusional Scottie – NOT looking within but always looking for the outward appearance. He loses everything by not looking WITHIN. Your comments on those two “anti”-heroes brings me to see this. And your saying: “the interesting thing here is that, at these final moments of their stories, Ford is inside and Hitch is outside. Make of that what you will,” is a nugget I will chew on for a long long time.

      I see what you mean when you say: “Even closer to Ford’s brilliant shot is the beautifully moving corridor shot of Midge’s departure from the story and Scottie.” Midge will not be allowed IN to Scottie’s mind…world; she’s kept outside. I depart from you in this respect – I don’t get the impression that Midge broke off her engagement with Scottie because she gets the impression Scottie’s wanting more. I believe Midge breaks off the engagement because she wasn’t quite really ready to settle down; that she wanted to explore more of what she was worth ( job-wise, career-wise ) rather than just be a wife. ( NOT that there’s anything wrong with being a Wife ). I felt it was more for herself than for him.

      Re: Madeleine…do you not think the first time we see her, at Ernie’s, that that was the REAL Madeleine? And from the slow car surveillance onward, this was Judy AS Madeleine? Gosh, it’s sometimes hard to let go of a Dream. You sometimes can’t let go unless you replace it with something. Something is better than nothing; a dream is better than having no one. ( Not my personal philosophy but just trying to amateur-psychoanalyze Scottie ). You write: “And how remarkable that Stewart can continue to engage our sympathy for Scottie after the brutality of Scottie’s remaking Judy into his dream.” Yes yes. A testimony to that “intangible somethingness” of James Stewart. ( “Why did you have to pick on me?! Why me!!!” )

      And Novak as both the dream and the real woman…I quite agree, she was remarkable. It’s a futile exercise in reverie to picture someone else in that role. Kim Novak is perfect. You and I have talked of actresses remembered for one role that’d go down in the annals. This is it. ( “Did you ever see a dream, walking…well I have” ). Maybe Hitchcock’s greatest trick is to purposely MAKE a movie that is ahead of its time. I may just have to see it at the American Museum of the Moving Image soon.

      I’ll have to look into “Le Grand Jeu.” Thank you for your “ramble” Bob.

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      • Theresa, your stream of consciousness and serious thought are a winning combination!

        When Scottie and Midge are together, he is self-absorbed, but not she.

        The only time we see the real Madeleine is in the flashback when her body is thrown out the window!

        I also remember Kim from Pushover, Phfft (when that was playing, the kids loved to call the theatre and ask what the show was!), The Man With the Golden Arm, Bell Book and Candle, Strangers When We Meet, and especially Kiss Me Stupid. She was also very good in a number of movies that I would rather forget.

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      • * Babbling on for the win…me! LOL! 🙂

        * True about his self-absorption now…but back in college?

        * You think that’s the only time?

        * Whew! At least the movies are forgettable, but not Kim. ( Love “Strangers When We Meet” though she’s said she didn’t have a good time woring with Douglas ).

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  3. “…but back in college?” What better age to firm up characteristics like self-absorption and dreaming?

    Yes, I think that’s he only time we see “real Madeleine”. But correct me if I’m wrong. Since we always see things in this movie that we have not noticed during the past fifty years, who knows?

    Kirk Douglas seems to have been difficult person, extremely intense, driven, and with enough self-absorption (let’s face it, an occupational hazard!) to have played Scottie, though lacking the charm of James Stewart. Isn’t it amazing how the best of them can be totally convincing “loving” someone they don’t like? I can’t even imagine kissing Joan Crawford.

    I’ve been thinking about the Coroner. Everything he says is absolutely true according to the information that he, we, and Scottie have. It’s his failure to save Madeleine, so brutally forced on him by Henry Jones, that drives Scottie over the edge, even more than losing her.

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    • Ahhhhhhhhhh I have to say I wait to see the Coroner skewer Scottie, and in that dead pan way he does. Whew! It’s a crucifixion. So on top of losing your girl, this guy tells the whole wide wide world of sports what a loser you are. Check, please! One strait jacket to go.

      “What better age to firm up characteristics like self-absorption and dreaming?” – Ha! Ya got me there, Bub. Hollywood…the dream factory.

      Kirk Douglas shows me what Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant CAN do.

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  4. Pingback: SHANGHAI EXPRESS ( 1932 ) | CineMaven's: ESSAYS from the COUCH

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