Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Argento / Poe / de Quincey / Hitchcock

I like women, especially beautiful ones. If they have a good face and figure, I would much prefer to watch them being murdered than an ugly girl or man.
- Dario Argento

Of all melancholy topics, what, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most melancholy?" Death–was the obvious reply. "And when," I said, "is this most melancholy of topics most poetical?" From what I have already explained at some length, the answer, here also, is obvious–"When it most closely allies itself to Beauty; the death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world – and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover.
- from Edgar Allan Poe's Poe essay The Philosophy of Composition

[L]et us treat it [murder] ├Žsthetically, and see if it will turn to account in that way. Such is the logic of a sensible man, and what follows? We dry up our tears, and have the satisfaction, perhaps, to discover that a transaction, which, morally considered, was shocking, and without a leg to stand upon, when tried by principles of Taste, turns out to be a very meritorious performance.
- from Thomas de Quincey's essay On Murder, Considered as one of the Fine Arts

The plot of Patrick Hamilton's play Rope was billed as “sugested by Thomas de Quincey” - Hitchcock enjoyed quoting his Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts – but drew its more obvious inspiration from a notorious American crime of 1924.
Hitchcock had followed the newspaper stories about Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, a pair of reportedly brilliant University of Chicago students and homosexual lovers who were obsessed by the superman theories of Nietzsche. In order to prove their superior intellects, Leopold and Loeb had committed a completely motiveless killing – murdering a young acquaintance just for the thrill of it”
- from Patrick McGilligan's Hitchcock biography Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light

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