Today’s long post is a guest shot from my old friend Lee Poague.
Lee is a consummate movie buff, author of numerous books on Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Susan Sontag and others…you can see a list here.
Many of the era’s screwball comedies featured cross-class romances, often a down-on-his-middle-class-luck male matched with a head-strong if erotically-befuddled heiress.
multiplies the possible pairings (Hepburn has three suitors, among them her alcoholic ex-husband) and takes any number of Freudian and Shakespearean chances in ruminating on what it means to be a “first class human being.” The importance of casting can be seen in the relative slackness of the film’s mostly agreeable musical 1950s remake, can be seen as Hitchcock’s definitive effort both to capitalize upon and to erase this expectation via the infamous lead-killing shower murder, which occurs strikingly early in the story.
Though the political allegory leaves the master/slave class structure ominously intact, the psychological extravagance of the Oedipal plot, and of Lang’s architectural treatment of its flows and surges, verges on hysteria if not ecstasy.