Wednesday, December 22, 2010

notes on the birds...


we will start with the lineup:   

rod taylor, tipi hedren, susan pleshette,  jessica tandy, veronica cartright, ethel griffies and assorted other lackeys and hangers on.  taylor of course plays the penultimate american archetype, circa 1962, repleate with ascot and sears robock sp binoculars; dialogue gleaned from the pages of mickey spillane and john macdonald.  his notions of the heavens lifted from the pages of national geographic and readers digest with a little bit of fat boy and little man ??? thrown in for good measure.  his gods are the deities of commerce qnd debt relief, five year plans and the truman doctrine.  poster child manifiest destiny qnd men to match my mountains, singular errant offspring of the donner party and filled with zany anecdotes on the rise, supremacy and fall of amborse bierce.  he is the front page of life magazine and his sound track reeks of the flatted fifths and steel strings of getz and gilberto.  

with  liberty and promise comes a price;  the fall of adam, expulsion and desert wanderings, the rise of our protagonist eve qnd the tower of babel.  the death of mary magdalene brings little sympathy and zero remorse as she is of the earth, a whore, and she wears the tilled soil proudly upon her rags and face, reminicing on the curse of tristan and isolde and that old saw, king oedipus.

she anticipates the coming of melanie daniels through prophesies, dreams, the mandalas of gurdjief and the ever present collection of shacks on a hillside which, with the addition of local spirits, spell the four horsemen of the apocalypse in a series of clever runes.  she has ravens hair and to no avail, the lips of john the baptist.  to the casual onlooker, she seems a jaded miss havishem, suffering suspicion and innuendo.  to the passerby, she appears sequestered, relegated to the outskirts, a resident hester at mercy to the elements     

so hitchcock, the quinticential post victorianist, plays pleshette off against victorian Archetypes, elocuted ladies in greenhouses and lectures ln music and meaning, fashionobly plumb wives of the newly landed gentry.  annie displays a little too proudly her everyman library edition of the oedipus cycle, the roman poets catallus, ovid and seneca, as though lessons gleaned from these writers will assist in her understanding of the intricasies of mrs bundy's monthy gatherings of the bodega bay ladies ornithological group, whose recent inquiry into the migrational habits of the (of the what?) annie immediatly relates to ovids bansihment and the impending hypocritical policies that will doom the empire in a scant 500 years.  

annie is quite the little anomolie, with her forays into wagner lietmotifs and her penchant for cigarettes.  she takes this gardening business far too seriously.  ladies in waiting prick their fingers arranging flowers, they dont pursue master degrees in horticulture.  annies face is filthy and she is forever tilling the soil, an obvious attempt to thwart sexual tension during the templars absence.  her dialogue is pure faulkner, she goes through compound sentences like a whore through lipstick and her metaphors reek of jungian symbolism, an obvious result of her soljourn at miss barstows finishing school for girls and her quips to melanie; utilitarian, with all due respect to oedipus; reek of mary kay cosmetics.

the common notion is that hitchcocks blondes are women who run wolves but that is a polite misnomer.  if it werent for the platinum blondes of the fifties, there would be no concept hitchcokian blonde.  it was grace kelly in rear window that started it off and cemented it in to catch a thief.  her earlier stint in dial m for murder was a knock off, an attempt to cash in on the 3d craze and her character came off more english than american and make no mistake, hitchocks blondes are an american phenonmenon.

annie heyworth is the anti-thesis, the anti-blonde, elektra to melanies helen sp the mind reels, pondering the similies, the metaphors purging through hitchcocks brain; the horror, the horror—