1940 – Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
I grew up on movies from the 30s and 40s. Main reason for that was that my parents were both huge movie buffs, and, this was the period of time that they were children. In those days, obviously, movies were not as strictly made either for children or adults, though certainly some movies had more mature themes. At any rate, my take is that children often went to see movies that did have these more mature themes, when nothing else was playing. My parents made a fair effort to give me a sense of the cultural context in watching these older movies.
There certainly is something curious about the pacing and interactions of characters of movies from this era. Whether it was typical behaviors or Hollywood censorship or stylistic preferences of individual directors, one can’t help but be struck by the degree of trust characters have with each other. The era immediately before World War II seems to have been a kind of pre-paranoia era, at least as movies generally portray it. This movie is probably in early venture into the age of paranoia: who can you trust? Who is a profiteer? Who was trying to push us into war? Why would some reporter climb into a tower with a thug who admittedly just tried to push him in front of a lorry?
Hitchcock, as usual, brilliantly fuses the political state of the world with Freudian analysis: of course, daddy’s to blame.
The action sequences are, also as usual, bracing, and, typically, the main characters react to incidents like a violent plane crash rather like they ran out of sandwiches at the picnic.
The movie was made in the tiny window of time after Europe entered into the war, but before the United States entered into it. Probably is worth a little more analysis to recognize an Englishman’s take on the war at that point, and what position the United States should take regarding it, especially considering that the so called “peace” group turn out to be the enemies. Certainly, in the case of World War II, peace at all costs turned out to not be the position to take, yet we may not have fully known it then.
Weird observation: I SWEAR I see Adolf Hitler in that overhead shot of the interior of the windmill. Must just be projection. Or is it?