Hitchcock on film


top left: The Foreign Correspondent; right: Lifeboat.
bottom left: To Catch a Thief; right: North by Northwest.

Watching Alfred Hitchcock’s remake of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much this evening I realised I’d missed the director’s customary cameo appearance, and furthermore didn’t remember which scene it was supposed to be in. One of my film books lists all the cameo spots but better than that are websites such as this one that show you the actual shots.


The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).

For the record his appearance in The Man Who… is in the crowd at a Marrakech market with his back to the camera, so he’s easier to miss than in other films from this period.


Last Year in Marienbad (1962).

And while we’re on the subject, mention should be made of Hitchcock’s appearance in Alain Resnais’s Last Year in Marienbad, a film he had nothing to do with. A brief shot shows a cardboard cut-out of the director in a hotel corridor and the way the figure is positioned always makes me think he’s floating above the floor. The timing of the appearance is apt—11 minutes in—since Hitchcock always put his cameos near the beginning of the film so as not to distract the audience later on.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Alex in the Chelsea Drug Store
Borges in Performance

Taxandria, or Raoul Servais meets Paul Delvaux


La Rue du Tramway (1938) by Paul Delvaux.

Taxandria (1994) is a feature-length fantasy film by Belgian animator Raoul Servais that’s received little attention outside his native country, possibly because it failed in the marketplace and has been deemed too weird or uncommercial to export. You only have to compare the export version of Harry Kümel’s Malpertuis with his original cut to see how inventive Belgian films are treated by US distributors.


Servais had previously made an acclaimed animated short, Harpya, using a combination of live actors and painted backgrounds. Taxandria elaborates on this process (called Servaisgraphy by its inventor) using settings designed by one of my favourite comic artists François Schuiten, creator (with Benoît Peeters) of Les Cités Obscures. Taxandria intrigues for a third reason, the inspiration of Surrealist master Paul Delvaux whose paintings served as the origin of the project. And it also contains a remarkable detail in the screenplay credit for Alain Robbe-Grillet, a man better known for making Last Year at Marienbad with Alain Resnais, and the kind of fierce intellectual one imagines would usually run a mile from this kind of extravagant whimsy.


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