Friday, March 16, 2018

Films in The Woman in the Window. A.J. Finn

Anna in The Woman in the Window is a film buff and mentions many old black-and-white thrillers. Gaslight and Vertigo have the most references, and Rear Window is a must with Jimmy Stewart as a spying neighbor. 

I haven't seen many of the films, so I made a list as they appeared in the book, with any relevant comments Anna makes. Page numbers are from the hardcover edition.

Happy Viewing!

Films in The Woman in the Window

The Man Who Knew Too Much
: "This evening selection, for the umpteenth time. I am the woman who viewed too much." (4)

Out of the Past

"'I like it dim,' I say. 'Like my men,' I want to add." (17)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: 
"Jane Russell! My physical therapist had never heard of her. 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' I said. 'Not in my experience,' she replied. Bina's younger; perhaps that's it." (22)

Les Diabolique: A rat-bastard husband, his 'little ruin' of a wife, a mistress, a murder, a vanished corpse. Can you beat a vanished corpse?” (26)

The Fallen Idol
: "--the doomed butler; the fateful paper plane." (30)

Ministry of Fear

The 39 Steps

" We'd watch a movie at least once a week--all the vintage suspense flicks from my childhood." (35):
  • Double Indemnity
  • Gaslight
  • Saboteur
  • The Big Clock
The Thin Man Franchise
  • Best: The Original
  • Worst: Song of the Thin Man
"Best Hitchcock films not made by Hitchcock." (35):
  • Le Boucher: "The early Claude Chabrol that Hitch, according to lore, wished he's directed."
  • Dark Passage: "with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall--a San Francisco valentine, all velveteen with fog, and antecedent to any movie in which a character goes under the knife to disguise himself." 
  • Niagara: "starring Marilyn Monroe."
  • Charade: "starring Audrey Hepburn."
  • Sudden Fear: "starring Joan Crawford's Eyebrows."
  • Wait Until Dark: "Hepburn again, a blind woman stranded in her basement apartment."
"Movies that postdate Hitch:" (35):
  • The Vanishing: "With its sucker-punch finale."
  • Frantic: "Polanski's ode to the master."
  • Side Effects: "Which begins as a Big Pharma screed before slithering like an eel into another genre altogether."
"Popular film misquotes:" (35)
  • Casablanca: "'Play it again, Sam,' allegedly, except neither Bogie nor Bergman ever said it.
  • Frankenstein: "'He's alive': Frankenstein doesn't gender his monster; cruelly, it's just 'It's alive.'"
  • "'Elementary, my dear Watson' does crop up in the first Holmes of the talkie era, but appears nowhere in the Conan Doyle canon."

Star Wars: "(I'm only human.)" (44)

"I inspect the spines:" (44)
  • Night and the City
  • Whirlpool
  • Murder, My Sweet

Night Must Fall: "'It's a good one to start with. Suspenseful, but not scary.'"

Laura: "It shouldn't work: Clifton Webb gorging on the scenery, Vincent Price test-driving a southern accent, the oil-and-vinegar leads. But work it does, and oh, that music." (46)

Vertigo: "I visit my film site. Andrew is online; he posted a link to a Pauline Kael essay on Vertigo--'stupid' and 'shallow.'" (50)

The Third Man: "Best noir to hold hands through? (The Third Man. The last shout alone." (50)

Spellbound: "I think of Dr. Brulov: 'My dear girl, you cannot keep bumping your head on against reality and saying it is not there.'" (84)

Dead Calm: "'I think in Dead Calm they were in the Pacific...Also, they went sailing to recover from an accident...And then they tried to rescue a psychopath who tried to kill them.'" (87)

Rebecca: "Later that evening I'm drowsing through Rebecca when the buzzer rings. I shed my blanket, straggle to the door. 'Why don't you go,' Judith Anderson sneers behind me. 'Why don't you leave Manderley.'" (95)

Strangers on a Train: "And now last night swirls in my brain, strobe-light dazzly, like the carousel scene from Strangers on a Train." (100)

Rope: "(under-rated)" (115)

North by Northwest

The Lady Vanishes

Gaslight: "Ingrid Bergman, never more luscious, slowly going insane." (129)

Dark Passage: "Bogie and Bacall making bedroom eyes across a coffee table." (142)..."The sugary scene--Bogie doped up, specters revolving before him, un unholy carousel. (144)

The Addams Family: "Lurching--isn't that how Jane Russell described me, that day at the door?...Lurch. From The Addams Family. The gangly butler." (143)

"We're at my desk, scrolling through twenty-two pages of Jane Russell photographs:
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: "pendulous with jewels"
  • The Outlaw "dishabille in a haystack"
  • Hot Blood: "swirling in a gypsy skirt."
"What would I do if I were on that screen, a character in one of my films?"
  • Shadow of a Doubt: "I would leave the house to investigate, like Teresa Wright."
  • Rear Window: "I would summon a friend, like Jimmy Stewart."
  • Signs
  • Rosemary's Baby: "'Ka-pow, out of your mind,' I think. I feel myself frown." (304)
"I saw a movie. I saw an old thriller resurrected, brought to bloody Technicolor life. I saw Rear Window; I saw Body Double; I saw Blow-Up. I saw a showreel, archive footage from a hundred peeping-Tom thrillers." (316)

Gaslight: "'If I dream things when I'm awake, I'm going out of my mind.' That was it." (316)

Vertigo: "Mistaken identity--or rather, taken identity. I know the dialogue by heart; strangely, it'll soothe me." (326)

"Tomorrow I'll revisit some favorite films:" (339)
  • Midnight Lace
  • Foreign Correspondent: "The windmill scene at least."
  • 23 Paces to Baker Street
  • Vertigo: "I napped through my last viewing."
Vertigo: "I settle into the sofa, skip back to the beginning, to that lethal lunge-and-plunge rooftop sequence. Jimmy Stewart rises into frame, scaling a ladder." (350)

Whirlpool: "It felt like hypnosis, like Gene Tierney." (353)
Gaslight: "It felt like insanity, like Ingrid Bergman." (353)

Gaslight: "'Don't tell me it was a dream, that he never came here.'" (371)

Rosemary’s Baby "'This is no dream! This is really happening!--Mia Farrow.'" (371)

Shadow of a Doubt: "Screenplay by Thornton Wilder, and Hitch's personal favorite among his own films: a naive young woman learns that her hero isn't who he pretends to be...She remains oblivious a bit too long for my liking, frankly." (394)
That Darn Cat! "'That darn cat,' he says. 'I loved that movie as a kid.'" (399)

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