Sunday, September 16, 2007


Finally caught up with Buñuel's El and I'm wondering if anyone knows of any good lengthy texts (whatever language, if it's Romance I can parse it and get a little something) handle the question of parts of El's apparently massive influence on parts of Vertigo. Do any of the Hitchcock biographies or anything deal with this? And given how much hell Brian De Palma received with his "Hitchcock ripoffs" (which were, of course, a mere handful of completely forthright engagements with the Hitchcock corpus/mythos: whatever else one thinks of them), has anyone replied how heavily the Master of Suspense seems to have "borrowed" from Buñuel here?

(Speaking of Hitchcock books: has anyone read the two-volume Hitchcock's Cryptonymies by Tom Cohen? Looks fascinating but very intensive, maybe too thick a slice to add to my plate at the moment.)


Anonymous said...

Well, it's true, of course, there are lots of things in Vertigo which might have come from Él, as other details could stem from Abismos de Pasión or Ensayo de un Crimen. But I'm really surprised by this comment, I would have thought that the influence of Buñuel on Hitchcock is quite clear. In fact, more mysterious are the parallels (such as between The Exterminating Angel and The Birds). On the other hand, the number of films from the most varied countries (including Italy, Argentina, México and Spain) which might seem to have influenced Vertigo is so big as to make any such influence quite improbable. I'd think Vertigo touches some essential myths of which there are traces in many films made long before, in the most different cultures.
Miguel Marías

ZC said...

Certainly Vertigo touches on some very deep-seated myths; I I'm not attacking the film, I think it's a masterpiece (and greater than El). And the overlaps between Buñuel and Hitchcock were always apparent. What set El apart for me was that a few elements, especially the belltower scene, appeared to have been almost directly lifted straight out of the film and into Vertigo. This is no slight to Vertigo, nor an accusation of plagiarism--I'm just curious about such a "coincidence," to what extent Hitchcock (if at all) had consciously modeled his belltower scene on Buñuel's, etc.

I really enjoy what I've read of your work, by the way--thanks for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

Hey Zach:

Didn't you ever see that photo of the famous lunch Cukor held for Bunuel...? Guests: Alfred Hitchcock, Rouben Mamoulian, Robert Mulligan, George Stevens, Billy Wilder, Robert Wise and William Wyler.

Anonymous said...

I think we in Spain have always been aware of the Hitch-Don Luis connection, and have written about it in passing, not dealing with it. It worked rather only one-way (Buñuel claimed he did NOT like Hitchcock, but I'm not quite sure that was always true). A pity Truffaut never asked Hitchcock, I'm sure he would have admitted Buñuel's influence, which I think is probably conscious, although perhaps not deliberate or purposeful enough as to "lift" a shot. Then, one must not forget that "Rebecca" was a highly influential work in its time, worldwide, and that some things one can find in "Vertigo" as well as in some very strange prior movies elsewhere probably come from "Rebecca". The tower view is certainly striking, but I don't think Francisco's vision (or neuroses) have much to do with Scottie's.
Another anonymous (not me) already pointed out the celebrated photograph of Buñuel and some Hollywood friends, including Hitchcock.
I think you did well in pointing out this kinship in your very interesting blog, since certainly it has been not analyzed and developed. Perhaps someone can check both filmographies and comment some day.
Miguel Marías