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    VISUAL

    Downhill (Live Piano Accompaniment)

    Presented by at Harvard Film Archive

    August 3, 2013


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    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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