Above, witness the still horrific climactic carousel-out-of-control scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Strangers On A Train’. The previous two days I’ve posted on Raymond Chandler, including a fine mini-doc on the corruption filled Los Angeles of the 1930s that inspired his early writing as well as a cameo appearance by the writer in ‘Double Indemnity’, which he co-scripted with Billy Wilder. Chandler wrote the script for ‘Strangers…’, sharing credit with Czenzi Ormonde, a woman who worked as an assistant to Ben Hecht. When Hitch asked Hecht to write the script Hecht said he was unavailable and urged Hitch to bring in his protege. At what point was Chandler engaged? Before or after this? If I could find my copy of Spoto’s ‘Dark Side Of Alfred Hitchcock’ I could tell you. But I can’t. I hate it when that happens. I do recall that in the Truffaut/Hitchcock interview book Hitch claims that the little man who crawls under the carousel in order to get to the center of the machine where the on/off gears are stupidly located was, in fact, performing the stunt without the aid of process screen. Had he moved his head just a few inches above the ground he would have been decapitated. (I sure wish I could find my copy of the Hitchcock/Truffaut book to verify this story–but I can’t. I hate it when that happens). We now know of course that Hitch was given to tall tales, cruel practical jokes and flat-out lies if they improved an anecdote. Is it possible that this was an embellishment for the good of the young and perhaps naive French directors interview book? And that the little man was never in any real danger at all during the filming of this scene? Yes, let’s hope so. We’ll consider that ‘The Bright Side Of Alfred Hitchcock’.



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