Time to #ShareCPLove for today!
I have a distinct memory from when I was a kid. It was 1980 and we had recently moved from Southern California to Tucson, Arizona (site of one of those Twilight Zones that just stuck creepily with me for years, making me Very Nervous in Tucson when I started driving by myself at night—which makes it all the odder that I do narrations for Chilling Tales for Dark Nights... but that’s a different story).
April 29th Alfred Hitchcock died.
So it’s one of those parent-related moments that lodged itself into my memory for no very good reason. I remember watching the local news with Dad and that night they announced Hitchcock’s death. There was a (very) brief moment of silence followed by one of the news guys (could have been an anchor, could have been the weatherman, no idea) piping up and saying something to the effect of, “Well good riddance. We don’t need any more blood-and-gore movies like his!”
At which point my dad snorted and said, “What an idiot!” at just about the same moment that the anchor (or at least the news guy with some authority and a brain) said something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong. Hitchcock was a master of suspense, not gore—and if all you know of him is one black-and-white scene from Psycho upon which you’re basing your assessment than you’re a bigger idiot than I thought.”
Okay, my dad (who is normally very calm and even) snorting at the doof was a quality-parent-moment all by itself, but the fact that the news anchor was effectively backing him up (long distance and by psychic means, I guess) was really cool (I was 13. So sue me).
Now curious, I asked: what’s Psycho and why did the idiot guy say that?
I received an inspired-yet-brief introduction to Hitchcock films (titles, basic plots) and a description of how tame “the shower scene” from Psycho actually was, compared to, say, Friday the 13th (which was released in 1980) or Halloween (1978). Later, at College, I made a point of seeing any Hitchcock films that were shown on or around campus (big screen! Score!) and also pulled some from our local video (ahem, yes, I know) store from time to time. Sophomore year, I grabbed a VHS of Rope after hearing a professor in the film department make some offhand comment to a student like, “don’t try to re-do Rope. You’re not Hitchcock yet.”
You probably never heard of Rope and for good reason. It’s not Hitchcock’s best film, but for a Theater and Film student it is certainly one of his most interesting. The only other time I heard anything about what Hitchcock pulled off was when a professor, teaching about the infamous Hays Code (e.g., one foot on floor when on a bed, no kiss longer than 3 seconds, etc.), told us that Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman managed to break the code rawther notoriously in Notorious.
Here – it’s a three minute kiss scene where each kiss only lasts the maximum three seconds(!):
He was a loner, Dottie. A rebel… wait. Wrong movie.
Back to Rope. It’s a story about a murder, blah blah blah, but it was filmed in what appears to be one single take. I say appears to be because a 35mm film magazine could only hold so many minutes of film before needing to switch to new magazine (ten minutes, apparently, being the max), so obviously, there are edits. There are cuts. But they are hidden by someone crossing in front of/very close to the camera or placed in parts of the film where you’re so focused on other things that you simply don’t notice. It seems like a seamless take.
Like a continuous loop of rope.
Like a rope you could use to kill someone.
Like a noose.
And of course, that led me to socks.
When Stephannie Tallent told me she was working up a book called Hitch and was looking for patterns based inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock she also told me, a little apologetically, which movies had already been picked by other designers. ROPE! I said. No Rear Window or Vertigo for me! I wanted to make socks that were wrapped around your foot like a hangman’s noose. I knew exactly how I wanted them to look. I knew I wanted to use Madeline Tosh Sock in Charcoal and I knew I wanted cables that would mimic a hangman’s knot coming down the side and I knew that what I wanted was really really weird for a sock.
But I also thought it was really cool.
The cables wrap around your calf and never let go… until the ends of the noose slide down the outside of your ankle while the other slithers down to your toe.
And it features my most favorite Welsh Heel (The one that’s included in my sock heels class)
which looks really odd–>
but is absolutely the most comfortable thing you’ll ever wear.
The whole book is full of glorious patterns that are couture-y enough for Kim Novak to wear and cleverly constructed enough to keep you interested as you knit.
In case you never saw it:
And a tid bit from Rope:
And places to watch Hitchcock (free!) online.