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jay440 (66)



I recently rewatched Marnie and had forgotten an early scene where, searching for a new alias, she thumbs through some Social Security cards. Names on the cards: Marion Holland (the name she has just used to rob her most recent office), Mary Taylor, and Martha Heilbron(!) before settling on Margaret Edgar. Having your alias and your real name share the same first syllable is, if you think about it, a neat trick to avoid detection. It's that little truth that gives the big lie it's seeming veracity. It reminds me of a moment in Gone Girl when the "missing" wife, Amy (played by Rosamund Pike), who is going by the name Nancy and hiding out at a campground, is found out by her pregnant neighbor, who robs her and tells her, "You say your name’s Nancy but you don’t answer to it half the time. You’re hiding—I don’t know why, I don’t care. But you’re not going to call the cops." Actually, this little trick didn't work out that well for "Marie Samuels", did it? Never mind. It looks like he goes to the same barber in Fairvale as Sam, judging by their nearly identical haircuts. <blockquote>And yet -- again -- the terror in 2019 isn't about a lone gunman shooting down a lone politician...its about a lone gunman shooting US.</blockquote> -------------------- The current debate about whether media outlets should release the names of mass shooters or withhold them (so as not to encourage "fame-seekers") resonates with Travis and Hinckley. Scorsese pursued this theme in King of Comedy, with DeNiro's Rupert Pupkin kidnapping Carson-esque talk show host Jerry Lewis so he could appear on his show. And now DeNiro plays a Carson-esque talk show host in Joker. Full circle. And like Psycho, Taxi Driver was partly inspired by a real-life crime, the attempted assassination of presidential candidate George Wallace by Arthur Bremer. Bremer kept a diary (published later as "An Assassin's Diary") which Paul Schrader drew inspiration from for his Taxi Driver screenplay (DeNiro's voiceover narration comes from Travis's diary). Bremer also appears to have been a ticking-bomb of an "incel", as his diary details an unsuccessful visit to a massage parlor. Bremer's motive was fame, initially targeting Richard Nixon, and he even showed up at one of his campaign stops, gun in pocket, but couldn't get close enough (a scene mirrored in Taxi Driver), so he downgraded his target to Wallace. And of course, John Hinkley was inspired to shoot Ronald Reagan because he was in love with Jodie Foster, who played the child prostitute in Taxi Driver. You never did your lunch, did you? I misremembered the scene in my post above, I thought the car was parked but, on rewatch, yes, she was still driving. I think it's the lack of background in the shot, because she purposely turns onto a dark street with no other cars to witness the crime. The "sickening crunch" has been with us awhile (it's even listed as "Sickening crunch" on the website TVtropes) but, aside from The 3 Stooges, it seems more of a modern-day thing. I have to admit I find it revolting and off-putting, and it takes me out of the scene right away. A recent ugly example is Red Sparrow, Jennifer Lawrence's Russian honeypot movie SPOILER POSSIBLY (or not since it happens at the very beginning): she's a ballet dancer for the Bolshoi, and her dance partner does a giant leap up and lands on her lower leg with a gigantic CRUNCH!! that shoots her leg into a horrific angle. I wish I knew if that "eerie semi-smile" was Wilder's idea or Stanwyk's. I want to think Wilder saw a hint of it in one of her earlier performances and mentally tucked it away for future use. Hitchcock wrote to Wilder "since Double Indemnity, the two most important words in motion pictures are 'Billy' and 'Wilder'." I think the only other time I've come across a compliment from Hitchcock to another director is in Spoto's Dark Side of Genius, when, after seeing Antonioni's Blow-up, he is reported to have remarked that "the Italians" were "a century ahead" of him in technique. It's been pointed out that The Birds seems to have had some influences from Antonioni and other Italian arthouse cinema. Double Indemnity was possibly as influential, in it's day, as Psycho. It looks like Hitchcock tried to capture some of Indemnity's mojo by recruiting Wilder's screenplay collaborator on that film, hard-boiled novelist Raymond Chandler, to work on Strangers on a Train, with it's equally twisted murder plot. Both collaborations were unhappy ones, unavoidable probably, given Chandler's alcoholism and sour bent. Chandler actually relapsed during the writing of Indemnity, something Wilder later gloated about in an interview. His next film after Indemnity was The Lost Weekend, about an alcoholic writer who relapses into DTs. <blockquote>WHO decided that Janet should smile that rather knowing and sadistic smile on Cassidy's imagined words "I'll replace (the money) with her fine soft flesh." Was that a Hitchcock direction, or a Leigh decision?</blockquote> Billy Wilder, maybe? Hitchcock was a fan of Double Indemnity and might have borrowed the shot of Stanwyk at the wheel of her (parked) car, staring straight ahead, a tiny smile raising on her face as her husband is murdered offscreen in the seat next to her. A younger Daniel Craig would have been a closer match to McQueen, he's got the stardom, the cool and the big baby blue eyes. Damien Lewis has been a favorite actor of mine since his military-hero-turned-jihadist portrayal on Homeland and now his Wall Street tycoon on Billions, but I didn't quite get the necessary Steve McQueen vibe from his performance. Pitt could've played this if he wasn't co-starring. Lewis did score a laugh in the scene at the party where he's watching Sharon Tate dance with Jay Sebring, and McQueen's friend tells him Tate's type is "short cute guys with lots of talent", and McQueen says "I never had a chance." View all replies >