Learning Objectives Identify Key Theory: Analyse the workAuteur Theory of Ridley Scott Explore the criteria for Auteur status
AuteurIn 1962 Andre Bazin famously asked “What isCinema?”Andrew Sarris, author of Notes on the AuteurTheory (1962) answered with a question of hisown “How do you tell aHe asked: genuine director from a quasi-chimpanzee?In the search for his answer he began to studythe concept of ‘Auteur director s’ - his workbecame the first major attempt to put ascientific spin on the value judgement of art
Sarris’s Auteur Theory Interior meaning is “Over a group of films, According to ‘Notes on the Auteur’ extrapolated from the a director must exhibit Andrew Sarris claims the word Auteur tension between a certain recurrent has three meanings or criteria director’s personality characteristics of style, and his material…hisis which serves as It1. The director must have technical not quite the vision of signature. The way a competence the world a director film looks should have projects nor quite his some relationship to2. Films must have characteristics that can the way atoward attitude director link it with other films in his/her oeuvre life…the temperature of thinks and feels” the director on the set”3. The films must display ‘interior meaning’ Oeuvre: The complete works of a painter, composer, filmmaker
Genuine Director or quasi-chimpanzee?In answer to his question Sarrisattempted to create a more detailed An Auteur is a Directorcriteria who also exclude their own will over a film to the points that theyHe states: become the author.1. A film’s sensibilities can come from a multitude of places (producers, social concerns, personal issues etc)1. A directors distinct psychology permeates the work and becomes the psychology of the piece – it is at this point that the director becomes the author
Auteur? Using Andrew Sarris’s criteria for an auteur, make a list of three directors you feel meet his criteria Provide an example to support each of the following points: A film’s sensibilities can1. The director must have technical come from a multitude of competence places2. Films must have characteristics that can A directors distinct link it with other films in his/her oeuvre psychology permeates the work and becomes the3. The films must display ‘interior psychology of the piece meaning’
Interior Meaning?Andrew Sarris states that an auteur is a director who movesbeyond technical achievement and into the circles of interiormeaningInterior meaning is what the Auteur theoryhinges on! – and it is a difficult concept todefine “...interior meaning, the ultimate glory of the cinema as an art! Interior meaning is extrapolated from the tension between a director’s personality and his material”
Watch the following extracting and makes notes on the following:How does Ridley Scott display his technical competence?What characteristics link films with other films in his oeuvre?What ‘Interior Meaning’ is identifiable in the work of Ridley Scott?How is this meaning created from the tension between RidleyScott’s personality and his material? “...interior meaning, the ultimate glory of the cinema as an art! Interior meaning is extrapolated from the tension between a director’s personality and his material”
Interior Meaning?Log on to the internet and research the work of Alfred HitchcockComplete your handout and identify the elements of his personalityand work contribute to his status as an Auteur
Learning ObjectivesApply the Auteur theory to Research Hitchcock Hitchcock’s relationship with women Apply the Auteur theory to Vertigo
“Spot-o on?”“His (Hitchcock’s) particular life long fantasises informed just about everyone of his motionpictures – and alarmingly often, the frustration of his romantic fantasies or his harbouring violent ones sprang in to life. His movies were consistently self revealing“ Donald Spoto Author ofWatch the following clips from Hitchcock’s films Spellbound by and consider this question: Beauty – Hitchcock and What do the extracts have in common? his leading ladies What do they reveal about Alfred Hitchcock?
Auteur Theory We have previously established that, according to Andrew Sarris we can identify an Auteur director from a 5 point criteria As film students we must also be aware that the auteur theory is a conceptual one, based on our reading and understanding of a particular directors oeuvre Ultimately we must identify recurrent themes in the directors work and also the personal Form or content? style of the directorWhat do you think ‘personal style consists of’? Story or Themes? Genre or acting?
HitchcockUsing the research you have carried out in previous lessons makea list of the recurring themes in Hitchcock’s work Obsession The Double / The wrong man or Doppelganger womanPunishment of women Hitchcock Audience as Birds Voyeur Suspense MacGuffin Which of these are present in Vertigo?
Punishment of Women “Hitchcocks women are outwardly immaculate, but full oftreachery and weakness. But, hurrah, he doesnt kill them all. He just teaches them a thoroughly good lesson” In what ways are women punished in Vertigo? Make a list of scenes were this is evident Make a list of the reasons why the women of Vertigo are punished Make a list of the different types of punishment they endure and the scenes they are from
Punishment of WomenAt a tribute gala one year before Hitchcocks death, IngridBergman, star of Notorious told him “Some of us actors have ideas, and then Hitch can become a little truculent”Rear Window star Princess Grace Kelly of Monacolater said: Eager to argue or fight; aggressively defiant “Sometimes he merely wears actors down until he gets what he wants”
Punishment of Women Hitchcock himself had strong opinions when it came to his actors: “I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle!”There is no doubt that he was enormously helpful inthe advancement of some careers. But hewas, equally often, unhelpful to himself when he wasunkind to people – especially to women, for whom hehad a strange amalgam of adoration and contemptand whom he felt he could control in a way he darednot attempt with men” Donald Spoto
Punishment of WomenWatch the following scenes and answer the following question:How is this aspect of Hitchcock’s personality represented inVertigo?How are the micro elements used to create a link between thefilm and Hitchcock’s personality?Final bell tower sceneThe ethereal scene
Novak on HitchcockVera Miles was originally cast as Madeleine/Judy“Hitchcock however could never let go of hisresentment that his plans for Vera had been stymied”Hitchcock said: “The majority of actors are stupid children” he said more than once, particularly in the context of vertigo” Donald Spoto Think of Kim Novak! Author of“In the second part of Vertigo when she is dark Spellbound by Beauty –haired and less like Kim Novak I even managed to get Hitchcock andher to act. But the only reason I took he was because his leadingVera Miles was pregnant” ladies
Once cast, Novak acknowledged: “Before shooting started Hitchcock sent me over to Edith Head, who showed me a set of drawings. When I saw them, the very first thing I said was “I am sorry I don’t wear black shoes”.”. Edith Head (costume designer): “Alfred Hitchcock wants you to wear these shoes” “And I said “I am sure he doesn’t mind””
“I didn’t think it would matter tohim what kind of shoes I wore. I hadnever had a director who wasparticular about the costumes, theway they were designed. Thespecific colours.The two things he wanted the mostwere those shoes and that grey suit.When Edith Head showed me thegrey suit, I said “OH! MY! GOD! –that looks like it would be very hardto act in – it is very confining”.
Then we had the 1st fitting of the Black dressand that was even worse and I said “This is sorestrictive”. And Edith Head said Well maybe you had better talk to Hitch about all this!”
Hitchcock recalls the encounter andstates: “Miss Novak arrived with all sorts of preconceived notions that I could not possibly go a long with. I do not like to argue with a performer – there is no reason to bring the electricians in on our troubles. So I went o her dressing room and told her about the dresses and hairdos that I had been planning for several months!”
“Vertigo is a testament to AlfredHitchcock’s life long fascination formaking over actresses according tohis dream ideal of blondeperfection. He supervisedeverything about theirpresentations on screen, from hairstyles to wardrobes, from make upto shoes, from camera angles to Donald Spotothe final cut” Author of Spellbound by Beauty – Hitchcock and his leading ladies
In a conversation with Novak after the final scene had been shot Stewart said to her: “He made you didn’t he!” Stewart Shouts at Novak at the finale, referring to the man who “created” Madeleine from Judy.“He made you over just like I made you over – onlybetter. Not only the clothes and the hair, but thelooks and the manner and the words. And thenwhat did he do? Did he train you? Did he rehearseyou? Did he actually tell you what to do and whatto say? You were a very apt pupil weren’t you? Youwere a VERY apt pupil!”
Samuel Taylor (Writer)“I could tell it was a very personal film evenwhilst he was making it – anyone who saw himduring the making of it could see as I did thatthis was a story he felt very deeply indeedabout ”
Punishment of WomenWatch the following scene and make notes on the following: How is Hitchcock’s own relationship with Madeleine played out on screen? What do we learn about Hitchcock through the cinematography? In what ways has your knowledge of the Auteur theory and Hitchcock’s relationships with his female stars enhanced or informed your understanding of Vertigo?
Punishment of WomenLike Stewart in Vertigo Hitchcock chose fantasyover reality and for this, the medium was perfect,for the carefully designed beauty of an actress isitself IllusoryHitchcock is reflected in the character of Scottiethrough his construction of the ideal womenthrough MadeleineAs we watch Scottie break down and re-mouldMadeleine in a perfect image we must rememberHitchcock is directing and creating this image.His own personality is exposed on screen andprovides a much deep understanding of Scottie,Madeleine and the film itself
Understanding VertigoMake a series of revision cards for revision Pick one scene Apply at least one critical debate to the scene Provide a short but detailed explanation of how the application of critical debate has enhanced your understanding of the film Swap plans with a partner and compare it with your own work Take this time to exchange notes with your partner
Understanding VertigoUsing the notes from today’s lesson and yourhandouts and make a detailed essay plan for thefollowing question: How has your study of critical debates (Auteur theory) informed and enhanced your understanding of Vertigo? Swap plans with a partner and compare it with your own work Take this time to exchange notes with your partner
Revision CardsWorking in pairs you are to make a series of revision cards that will used by your class mates The cards must relate to the following question:
Revision Cards Pick a Theme / topic E.g. Re-Construction of Women Apply the following Critical debates to the topicMale Gaze Psychoanalysis Auteur You MUST include: 1. Scene Textual Analysis 2. Links to theory 3. Analysis