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March 06, 2014


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I've loved STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET since I first saw in on TV (pan-and-scan of course) as a kid. Back then, I think part of the appeal was it just felt so adult, like maybe I was getting a peek into what my parents and their friends were really like. And of course Kim Novak is gorgeous in it.

But she's also heartbreaking, as I came to realize on many subsequent viewings (finally in proper AR, thanks to Turner Classics and DVD). The last time I saw the film was the time I realized just how moving and great it really is. It's also stunning to look at -- both the production design and Quine's compositions (with DP Charles Lang couldn't be improved upon. I'd give my left something-or-other for a Blu Ray.

Nitpick: Vertigo was a 1958 release. But great article, Glenn (as is the Siren's).

mark s.

D. Macdonald's test of an actor's talent --- Can one imagine said actor performing Shakespeare? In the case of the lusciously cantilevered Novak, I'm afraid I'd have to answer in the negative. But as jbryant says, (and 'Vertigo' is inconceivable without Kim; thank the cinema gods Vera, also lovely, got pregnant) she's always been stunning to look at, even today. I suppose that makes me a sexist pig.

La Faustin

"I went to Kim Novak's dressing room and told her about the dresses and hairdos that I had been planning for several months. I also explained that the story was of less importance to me than the over-all visual impact on the screen, once the picture is completed. 'It can't matter to YOU what color your hair is!' I pointed out."

Jonathan Rosenbaum


By the way, there was an excellent and extended interview with Kim Novak on TCM not so long ago--well worth tracking down.


While his routing condemnation on account of that "cattle" quip is indeed unfair, it's kind of undeniable that Hitchcock didn't have much patience with fussy performers.

Which is why it's unfortunate Hitchcock never was able to work with Carole Lombard beyond the charming, but atypical "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." Lombard, a good friend of his (he rented her St. Cloud Road home after her marriage to Clark Gable) was anything but fussy, and Hitch might have given Carole a definitive dramatic role to expand her already substantial legacy. (Oh, and after his "cattle" comment, Lombard -- always the practical joker -- brought calves to the set.)


"Animal-like sensuality? Hell, for the whole exchange Hitchcock and Truffaut do sound as if they're discussing some exotic zoo exhibit."

Seen Marnie recently?

The first time I saw it was in a film class, and all the other students were confused as to why Hitchcock kept putting the camera many feet ABOVE the actors, filming down at a 3/4 angle. And, being smarter than the average bear, I immediately realized that he was indeed filming the humans as exotic zoo ANIMALS.

It fits in quite well with the thematic elements of that film, and adds a non-pejorative shading to that notorious "cattle" quote.


During my nearly 20 years at Sony, I tried like hell to get rep houses to take Quine seriously as an artist with a distinct style and oeuvre, especially given his mentorship of and influence on Blake Edwards. Alas, only the L.A. County Museum went for it. I still believe a major reappraisal of his work is in order.


"e. g." should be "i. e."


Cadavra: Sign me up any Quine reappraisal that might happen. I grew up loving Operation Mad Ball, The Solid Gold Cadillac and How to Murder Your Wife, discovered the glories of Strangers When We Meet, Full of Life, Pushover and Bell, Book and Candle a few years later, and have more recently become acquainted with the fine Drive a Crooked Road and It Happened to Jane. I even have kind words for Paris When It Sizzles.


Sign me up FOR any Quine reappraisal, obviously. Also sign me up for a proofreading seminar.

andrew b.

That Kim Novak interview on TCM was indeed excellent. Really provided a lot of insight into her approach to acting and what made her so unique.


I finished watching a third season Columbo last night -- "Double Exposure," starring Robert Culp, Chuck McCann and Louise Latham, with a murder plot that hinged on subliminal imagery -- and was surprised to see that the director was none other than Richard Quine.

Quine had directed two earlier, second season episodes -- the London-set "Dagger of the Mind," with Richard Basehart and Honor Blackman as stage actors (Geoffrey Unsworth even received a shared credit for the photography, presumably whatever location work was done, though you'd never mistake it for Tess); and "Requiem for a Falling Star," with Anne Baxter as a fading actress, and much of the story set on a studio lot.

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