Is there anything better than the cross-cutting between that eensy splitting seam of fabric and that grand sweeping vista of life and death on top of the Statue of Liberty? You might even say that the entire country's fate itself is hanging by a thread (wokka wokka). Seriously though it's all so masterful, from conception to shoot to edit. Pure Eisenstein up in the hizzouse.
Anyway I wanted to do something America themed since it's Memorial Day this weekend; first I was thinking of the scene on Mount Rushmore in North By Northwest, but while I was looking at that scene I realized the action itself on that set is really not all that thrillingly shot. I'm not saying it's a boring scene, or an ugly scene, or anything like that - don't stone me here. There are tons of spectacular shots that Hitch got of the giant faces from all kinds of angles, and it's edited masterfully, and the characters are all their charming Hitchy selves. But as far as money-shots go with the bad guys meeting their doom, notsomuch.
It just would've been kind of tedious to look at, in the context of this series. There's some wrestling with a knife, until Cary Grant throws the dude off the edge, the end. Yawn. I know that Hitch was hoping to do more with this scene in North By Northwest - he spoke about wanting to do a gag where Cary Grant sneezed while inside of Lincoln's nose!
I guess the logisitics of the location and the sets made it too difficult. He does manage to make Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint look like Presidential boogers way in the distance in the above shot though, so all's not lost.
And here's a fun fact about Saboteur that I didn't know, via this informative write-up about the making of the film over at TCM:
"Hitchcock's cameo appearance (a tradition) in Saboteur was originally going to be shared with Dorothy Parker. In the scene where an older couple drives by the hero struggling with the reluctant model on the side of the road, the director drove the car and the writer, as the wife, delivered the line, "They must be terribly in love." After watching the dailies, however, Hitchcock thought their appearance was too distracting from the story, so he re-shot it with professional actors. He then decided to cast himself in a cameo as a man using sign language to convey an apparently bold comment to a deaf woman (played by his secretary Carol Stevens), who promptly slaps him. But the studio thought that would be offensive to people with hearing disabilities, so Hitchcock decided to make his cameo extremely brief, appearing at the window of a drugstore. Blink and you'll miss him."
All of the Previous Ways Not To Die after the jump...