An Evening with Hitchcock

Slice of Life2

I am participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Thanks to the co-authors of              Two Writing Teachers for creating this  supportive community.

Last night Allan and I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much. That one, along with Rear Window, are two of my favorites from Hitchcock. (Of course, it probably has something to do with Jimmy Stewart, too.) As I watched, I thought about how much movie making and book-making, especially picture books, have in common.

There is a classic scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much that takes place during a concert in London’s Albert Hall. Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart are frantically trying to find their son, but in the process realize that something else very sinister is about to happen. Jimmy Stewart rushes in and realizes Doris has figured something out. They talk, he runs up to the balcony, argues with the guards, runs to each door. The scenes cut quickly back and forth from character to character, and all the while the only thing heard is the beautiful music in the concert hall. There is dialogue, but we don’t need to hear it to know what is happening. Everything is in the visuals and the music. That is what makes us feel anxious (no matter how many times we have seen it). That is what carries the story forward. Just like in picture books, the illustrations enhance the text and are so often used to evoke emotion and advance the story.

After the movie we watched the “behind the scenes” to learn more, much like the back-matter in a book. To me, it was like reading an author’s note that explains the process. There is so much we can learn about story and writing from watching movies, especially the classics. Sometimes we just have to approach it through a different lens.

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6 Responses to An Evening with Hitchcock

  1. cindaroo42 says:

    I love this- especially when you said, “there is dialogue, but we don’t need to hear it.” This is so true and it’s the images that can create these powerful moments. Sometimes I need a reminder to think about how directors work hard to create specific images in film. It makes me wonder other ways they thought about to try to capture the scene. It’s the same thing in writing! Great slice!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. arjeha says:

    Sometimes dialogue just becomes background noise in the hands of a master which is what Hitchcock was. In the hands of a master storyteller, whether film of book, good visuals are all that is needed to move a story along.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, we can learn so much from the master craftsman in any of the arts. I agree that Hitchcock was one of the best directors and there is so much that we never know about that goes on ‘behind the scenes’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. paulabourque says:

    Hitchcock was a master of “show, don’t tell” and the scene you describe typifies that so perfectly. The art of storytelling, be it in writing, movies, paintings, dance, etc. has some common threads that weave a beautiful tapestry about life. Love your slice today, Rose.

    Liked by 1 person

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