Fade in on Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell quaffing beers at a London pub following a busy day of shooting Blackmail (1929):

Hitchcock: “Did you get enough stills of Miss Ondra today, Mr. Powell? Some women are made for viewing through a lens. Unfortunately for our lovely Miss Ondra, she was designed for a silent movie lens.”

Powell: “I always endeavor to be professional, Mr. Hitchcock.”

Hitchcock: “Endeavor away, my boy, but our work is legalized voyeurism and often little more than that. Everyone gets a charge out of watching a pretty woman in a state of undress. In America, they think the movie camera was invented to film horses but we know better than that. It was invented for filming lingerie.”

Powell: “I prefer to think that movies have progressed beyond the peep show stage. What you are describing has a technical term and it’s not a nice one: it’s called scoptophilia, the morbid urge to gaze.”

Hitchcock: “Yes, our audiences are eager scroptophiliacs— that is a lovely word. We filmmakers drill the hole in the wall that the audience looks through. The audience may not admit it, but they hope the hole will look into the bedroom.”

Powell: “You’re talking about pandering. As a director, I would hang a beautiful picture over that hole.”

Hitchcock: “And I would have my hero take that picture down and peer through the hole at the undressing heroine in the next room.”

Powell: “Your hero sounds like a very sick man to me. I would advise the heroine to exercise great caution around him.”

Hitchcock: “She is wearing white lingerie and is very attractive in it. I think you would enjoy filming her very much with your tripod, camera, and lens, Michael. You must learn to become comfortable with the dark side of your desired profession. Voyeurism is the sport of the invalid and all cinema-goers are temporary invalids. Place me alone in a flat and I’ll stare out the window at the rooms across the way, imagining scenarios for each of my neighbors. Every room I see looks like a movie set—it’s the curse of the movie director. You may not see it yet, Mr. Powell, but wait until you direct a movie. You may turn out to be the greatest voyeur of them all!”

© 2012 Lee Price

emilygracey:

100 Horror Films For You To Watch This Halloween
#43 - Peeping Tom (1960)
Vivian: What would frighten me to death? Set the mood for me, Mark. Mark: Imagine… someone coming towards you… who wants to kill you… regardless of the consequences. Vivian: A madman?  Mark: Yes. But he knows it - and you don’t.

emilygracey:

100 Horror Films For You To Watch This Halloween

#43 - Peeping Tom (1960)

Vivian: What would frighten me to death? Set the mood for me, Mark.
Mark: Imagine… someone coming towards you… who wants to kill you… regardless of the consequences.
Vivian: A madman? 
Mark: Yes. But he knows it - and you don’t.

angryfringe:


Mark Lewis: It’s no good. The lights fade too soon.
Mrs. Stephens: They always do.
Mark Lewis: I… I have to try again.
Mrs. Stephens: What do you think you’ve spoiled?
Mark Lewis: An opportunity. Now I have to find another one.

amorphousd:

Peeping Tom, 1960, Michael Powell

amorphousd:

Peeping Tom, 1960, Michael Powell

We are a culture that loves to watch. There is little mystery left to us at this point, with no reality show plot left unturned or film idea deemed too ridiculous. Peeping Tom is a film that was ahead of its time. It preceded our desensitisation to gory horror and torture porn, and the…

Read Moore…

filmpope:

The daddy of all serial killer films and the most intelligent is a Technicolor nightmare full of dark deep focus fantasies. Powell was vilified for taking on such disturbing material, but he had tapped into the grubby underbelly of a Great Britain just emerging from post-war poverty and into a bright consumer world, gaudily represented by the corner shop in which Mark films Paris Hilton look-alike Milly for under the counter soft porn.

 In fact Powell and screenwriter Leo Marks predicted the dark side of the 60s and its relationship with sex and celebrity. In a couple of short years the Profumo affair would shock the nation and by the end of the decade revelations from the Krays’ convictions would further repel and fascinate it in equal measure.

 The softly spoken Mark is a classic British eccentric; bullied by his father, socially inept, and fanatical about his work/hobby, he stalks his female prey looking for the ultimate look of fear from his victims. His father used him in his twisted academic experiments but is Mark really trying to find his dead mother’s final expression and in it some connection with her? Or is he punishing his victims for her failure to protect him as a child?

 Mark’s dedication to cinema in the dawn of the television age is another interesting theme developed by Powell. A producer at Mark’s studio announces that all directors are to cut back on takes to save money. Powell immediately cuts to the director of the aptly named feature, “The Walls Are Closing In” who cranks up an astonishing amount of footage. It is this classic clash of business and art in cinema that drives Mark as much as anything else. He is more akin to his director than his producer but identifies more with the French New Wave and their techniques, especially the long take that introduces the film.

 Powell shows television what it can’t do by his heavily stylized use of mise-en-scene especially his masterful manipulation of colour. Mark’s room is both sinister and sorrowful, Tardis in size it is his safe haven and his death trap. As soon as he opens his room and thus his life to Helen he is doomed. In many ways this relationship matches Powell’s with Britain after Peeping Tom was released. He opened his real feelings about cinema and we killed him for it.

 We should be ashamed.

Peeping Tom can be studied for the horror section of British Film and Genre.

jaana:

Peeping Tom (1960)

jaana:

Peeping Tom (1960)

jaana:

Peeping Tom (1960)

jaana:

Peeping Tom (1960)

starcrossed:

Peeping Tom, Michael Powell (1960).

starcrossed:

Peeping Tom, Michael Powell (1960).

cadaveresexquisitos:

Vivian: What would frighten me to death? Set the mood for me, Mark. Mark Lewis: Imagine… someone coming towards you… who wants to kill you… regardless of the consequences. Vivian: A madman? Mark Lewis: Yes. But he knows it - and you don’t.
Mark Lewis (Karlheinz Böhm) y Vivian (Moria Shearer) en Peeping Tom (1960), de Michael Powell

cadaveresexquisitos:

Vivian: What would frighten me to death? Set the mood for me, Mark.
Mark Lewis: Imagine… someone coming towards you… who wants to kill you… regardless of the consequences.
Vivian: A madman?
Mark Lewis: Yes. But he knows it - and you don’t.

Mark Lewis (Karlheinz Böhm) y Vivian (Moria Shearer) en Peeping Tom (1960), de Michael Powell