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Friends, the American Cinema Foundation movie podcast is on its first anniversary. To celebrate, the celebrated Terry Teachout joins me to discuss Hitchcock’s Vertigo. It’s a pleasure to have him join and I am even more pleased to announce we will be doing such conversations in future, with whatever regularity circumstances permit. I’m also glad to return to Hitchcock, who was on my mind last year, when the podcast was just getting started–I was preparing for my journey to America, to become a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute, and at that time, thinking about Hitchcock’s reflections on American society–I did several podcasts that I thought revealed the power of tragedy: Psycho (with a discussion of the moral teaching of the art on display in the movie), The Birds, and later Rope. That was when I conceived a book on Hitchcock’s movies from 1948 to 1963–his analysis of the post-war transformation, which mirrors his own change from the thriller to the horror. Listen and share, friends–I hope you will be delighted with this conversation and find some insights!
I will not offer more reflections on the past year–only thanks to everyone who has helped, as interlocutors here and on the podcast, with sharing our work on social media and with advice on how to improve it. We need your help, friends–and I believe we’re worth supporting, because we offer a rare attempt to curate the culture and to persuade people it’s worth conserving and that understanding America is a good road to gratitude for America.
As for the future–I am proud to say we will have announcements of distinguished men who are generously joining our efforts, first of all, Richard Brookhiser, with whom I am doing a series on the Founders and how they–and the times–are ripe for cinematic treatment. I add, several of my closest co-conspirators, I’m happy to say, are also Ricochet members–@johnpresnall and @FlaggTaylor. Others have come and gone over the years, but perhaps Ricochet can be a home for film conversation and the attempt to retrieve Middlebrow–the meeting of high-minded thinking and artistry that attracts popularity!
Finally, In the conversation, I also mention Mr. Matthew Schmitz’s essay at First Things, an insightful treatment of the movie as a Gothic tale with important insights about our contradictory attitudes to the past, now Progressive and now Romantic, and the bad things that follow.