Friday night Natalie had her friend Sarah Elton over and we somehow found ourselves watching a terrrrrible movie on BYUTV called Midway to Heaven that took place in Midway, Utah. One of the funniest lines came from the main character, who was a widowed father. At one point in exasperation at his daughter he yells, "I've got 20 casseroles in my refrigerator with marriage proposals on them!!!" Only in Utah.
Saturday morning Natalie and Sarah ran a half marathon up in Big Cottonwood Canyon. They both did really well, although Nat has been limping around everywhere and moaning a little bit. I have been making fun of her a bit.
Last night we went and watched The Master. I liked it, and like it even more in retrospect, but it was a very heavy film and a lot to grasp. Definitely not recommended unless you really want to be challenged as a viewer. Phoenix and Hoffman were both incredible in it. Afterwards we went to a ward activity for a while and then met up with a friend from Dental School to go and eat Pho and walk around Temple Square. He taught us how you are "really" supposed to eat it.
This week for the Criterion selection I watched "The Lady Vanishes" which is a 1938 Hitchcock suspense film. This was supposedly the film that really brought him to Hollywood, therefore the last of his essentially British films. Although this wasn't my favorite thing I've ever seen by Hitchcock, I definitely enjoyed it. The story itself is very straightforward, heck, just look at the title. What I found most interesting about the film was the way that it starts off as a straight-forward romantic comedy. You honestly wouldn't know that you were about to watch a mystery/suspense film unless you were already familiar with Hitchcock's M.O. Then, all of the sudden about a half an hour in, the whole thing switches up on you and all the sudden you are watching the two main characters choke out a strange looking magician in one of the rail cars. The way films are made and marketed today, it is harder to pull of the genre switching in the middle of a film. Films are supposed to state what they are within a minute preview so that people interested know what they are getting themselves into. The opening sequences usually only serve to create a mood that will support later events. This film was almost more frightening because of the unexpectedness of the events in the second act. Here are a few other random things I liked:
-One of the most frightening feelings for a human being is being completely alone. It is critical that we have a group supporting us at all times. Hitchcock portrays this through the events with Iris after Froy disappears. It's not so much that something sinister has taken place to Froy, it's the fact that Iris is all alone in this knowledge. Iris eventually even begins to think her own mind is unreliable, she would rather change her story than be alone in the truth. I think this is why the last scene in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is so frightening, it's clear that everyone will think he is insane and he will truly be alone in his knowledge.
-The duo of Charters and Caldicott provided most of the comic relief. They are a parody or stereotypical Brits of the era, but when it comes time to actually do the fighting, they happen to be the most skilled. Nothing seems of great importance to them except for the cricket game they might have to miss. They also have a strong aversion to rudeness, even if they are being put out for the most important of reasons.
-The Pacifist on the train is killed almost immediately. Probably a reflection of Britain's Pre-WW2 sentiment toward Germany? Although the country in this film is made up, the antagonists seem a lot like Nazis, especially the doctor himself.
-I can't believe they actually hired a magician to make the woman disappear on the train. I mean, they had a big cardboard cut out of him and everything. Was that really necessary? Couldn't they just have got a regular soldier to do a job like that?
-I do not usually enjoy modern horror, but I could see several aspects that have used over the decades to frighten an audience. Trains as claustrophobic inescapable areas, the vanishing of a friend, everyone thinking you are crazy...directors still mine this stuff all the time.
-My favorite scene of the whole thing was when they sit down to eat and Iris sees the word Froy written in the dust on the window. It vanishes just as quickly as it appears, and it further cements in Gilbert's mind that Iris must be crazy.
So I liked "The Lady Vanishes", go check it out and see what you think. Next week we are watching Fellini's Amarcord.
Have a nice week.