Monday, July 17, 2017


The Turner Classic Movies channel is having an Alfred Hitchcock celebration, and so in a slightly listless way, in the last couple of weeks I’ve watched The 39 Steps (1935) and Lifeboat (1944).

I think we’re all aware, given Hitchcock’s size and shape, that he may have had a few “food issues” – and there is some quite odd stuff in these two movies.

In The 39 Steps, for one reason or another, Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll get handcuffed together, then take shelter for the night in a Scottish inn, where the landlady assumes they’re a runaway couple, and is keen to help with the romance.  She serves them sandwiches.  There’s also some stuff about Madeleine Carroll getting her feet wet and having to dry her stockings, which results in a scene that looks like this:

In Lifeboat, adrift on the open seas with dwindling supplies, the whole cast is obviously much obsessed with food since they’re in danger of dying from hunger and thirst, and here’s Tallullah Bankhead with a typewriter and a cracker:

 Which got me thinking about Tallullah Bankhead.  We all know who she is, but she really didn’t make very many films, and I’ve never seen her in anything except Lifeboat. I don’t think I even saw her in the 1960s Batman.

And yet she’s thoroughly famous – partly for her alleged bad behavior, and for her wit, some of which seems a bit forced, though still enjoyable.

She once explained why she called everybody “dahling.” “Because all my life I've been terrible at remembering people's names. I once introduced a friend of mine as Martini. Her name was actually Olive.”

I’d so like to believe that.

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