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    Downhill (Live Piano Accompaniment)

    Presented by at Harvard Film Archive

    August 3, 2013


    Downhill (Live Piano Accompaniment)

    After being cast against type in The Lodger, Ivor Novello appears rather more suave in Downhill—unsurprising, perhaps, as the film was adapted from a play the matinee idol co-wrote with Constance Collier. Hitchcock enlivens the melodramatic story of a schoolboy’s fall from grace with a whole raft of symbols and stylistic flourishes suggestive of sexual indiscretion. The film’s most cunning twists double back on the audience’s interpretation in such a way as to suggest the fundamental unreliability of appearances: an aggrieved waitress knowingly draws false conclusions from an earlier scene’s visual details, and a dolly shot tracks out to show Novello first as a debonair gentleman, then as a waiter, and finally as an actor playing a waiter on stage—camera movement as sleight of hand. From cuckold to gigolo, Novello’s world of lost illusions leads to utter delirium, a frisson of hallucination and reality that Hitchcock would find endlessly fascinating.

    Harvard Film Archive

    Harvard Film Archive Cinematheque
    24 Quincy Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138

    Full map and directions

    Admission Info:

    $9 - Regular Admission
    $7 - Non-Harvard Students, Harvard Faculty and Staff, and Senior Citizens
    Regular HFA screenings are free for all Harvard students with a valid photo ID.
    $12 - Special Event Ticket Price for all patrons
    Discounts apply for Harvard Film Archive Members

    Phone: 617-496-3211

    Accessibility Information: Currently, no accessibility information is available for this event.

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