Sunday December 09, 2018
Something You've Never Seen Before, 1960
Norman, looking at truly secret things.
“The movies had always been based on a tension. On the one hand, the form says, ‘Look, I can show you something you have never seen before’: it could be an act of violence, a sexual suggestion; it might be a beautiful man or woman alone with their thoughts, unaware of being spied on. Much of the charm of pictures lay in this privileged opportunity granted to us. For instance, do you want to look at Garbo or Harlow at your leisure so that you can speculate over whether they are wearing underwear? Here you are. At the same time, the business apparatus of movies was always backed up by a guardian-like sternness that said, ‘Don’t expect to get a look at truly secret things. Don't think we‘re going to let Garbo or Harlow take off the dress—that outer cover—so that you can see whether you were right or wrong. Yes, we’ll show you ”murder,“ but don't expect us to be cruel or bloodthirsty or murderous about it. Because that would be too naughty—and would put film too close to sadism or torture.'
”No country lives as blithely or as uneasily with the opposed ideals of orgy and restriction as America. No other country has such warring impulses toward libertarianism and restraint. No other country required so detailed or comical a code of what could be seen on public screens and what could not. And no other film business so encouraged the ingenuity of directors, photographers, and actors to see what they could get away with.“
David Thomson, ”The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder." My review of the title film.