Greatest script-writer ever, or a visionary?
What many people who adore Alfred Hitchock’s films don’t seem to realize is that Hitchcock was no more a fantastic script-writer than anyone else in the business…
…yes, his films were incredible—ground-breaking, willing to take creative risks that others shied away from—but his scripts were often no more than a basic blue-print; a tone setting device rather than a definitive outline to be followed rigidly. Hitchcock himself was not ashamed to admit these things, citing that film-making was something which had to be envisioned powerfully in ones mid before being transferred to first script, then celluloid.
I wonder if film-making of Hitchcock’s caliber could be achieved today with such an ethos and a million script discussion meetings? Something tells me that’s highly unlikely; the very story-line of recent Daniel Day Lewis film debacle ‘Nine’, directed by Rob Marshall, championed the ‘no script, just passion’ ideal, but, unlike Hitchcock’s films—which all flourished from a solid idea of what would eventually happen and where things would begin—it fell flat on its face with a big thump, despite an enormous budget and a slew of some of the hottest female actresses ever to grace the silver screen.
It’s a good question: could Alfred Hitchcock cope with todays behemoth budgets and fixation with casting, sex appeal and obsession for aesthetics over good old-fashioned creative vision? Somehow I doubt things would be the same.
Take The Birds, for example—one of Hitchcock’s most renowned pieces besides Psycho. By all accounts it’s a great film, but what if it hadn’t been made and the idea had surfaced instead in 2010 under the guidance of someone else? Would the evil birds have looked any better brought to life with CGI technology and crazy amount of cash? Or was it that slightly dodgy fluttering shadow quality that gave the birds the menace, as well as their violent action?
Sadly, it seems the days of vision over script are gone for good—but never-mind, we’ll always have Hitchcock for that.
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