Thursday, October 01, 2009

Above: Norman Lloyd in 1942's Alfred Hitchcock Thriller Classic, "Saboteur."


He reluctantly continues that despite the technical marvels available to film and television, films today simply don’t rival film in its heyday. “Stories are different,” he says. “The culture has changed. But,” he says with a very definite emphasis, “what is missing is the humanity of men like Hitchcock, Renoir, Chaplin. They were humanists – consider what Chaplin did with himself and his heroines, Renoir’s pictures, they were filled with great humanity and now, I just don’t see that.”

The “[technical] process [today] is so brilliant, you can do damn near anything,” he stresses, “but that is taking the place of actually making movies.” In the silent era, Lloyd says, it was explained, “You write with the camera,” and that, “has completely gone out of the movies. Hitchcock said that 'sound was the end of the visual aspect of art in the movies.' He may have been extreme on that, but I understood what he meant. They’ve changed the way they tell stories.”

For fans and viewers interested in some of the best in suspense film, turn into TCM Friday nights in October. Of “Shadow of a Doubt” (a particular BeansTalk favorite), which airs Friday midnight ET.Lloyd says, “it is a suspense picture, but it is also a wonderful reflection of an American town and the mores of the town and social standings.” “Shadow” tells the tightly woven story of an adoring niece, Charile (Teresa Wright) who grows to suspect her beloved uncle, who she is named for (Joseph Cotton, a surprisingly effective villain), is a murderer.

Three other Hitchcock favorites of Lloyd’s include “Psycho,” “alone it in its characteristics; he never made another film like it. You wouldn’t put it on this list, but it’s a brilliant, brilliant film:” “North by Northwest,” and the lesser known “Frenzy,” in which “[Hitchcock] really did some wonderful tricks with the camera.”

Despite what he says about today’s film and television (that he doesn’t watch any of it), he worries he’ll “catch hell” for speaking his mind. Still, Lloyd remains optimistic. “There are still potential innovations in storytelling,” he says. “That’s always possible.”