Monday, August 3, 2015

On the Nature of Suspense

I was listening to the NPR podcast  “Pop Culture Happy Hour” and the participants were talking about suspense, primarily in films.  This made me consider the films and books I have found most suspenseful.

Of course, Alfred Hitchcock tops the list, and his film that tops the list for me is “Notorious” with Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains.  The scene in the wine cellar when Bergman breaks the wine bottle which is actually filled with uranium ore ( re: Nazis in South America) had me just barely able to sit and watch.   The second Hitchcock film is “Rear Window” for some of the same reason:  Cary Grant , who has a badly broken leg, is watching through his apartment window as Grace Kelly breaks into the apartment across the street and Cary can see that the murderer who lives there is on his way up to the door.  Aaaaah!

Many other films come to mind. “ Speed “: The one with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves and Dennis Hopper…. on the bus with the bomb…

Not as good as Hitchcock, but kept me on the edge of my seat.
Another fairly cheesy movie which kept me on the edge of my seat, and which I still remember clearly after about thirty years, is "Arachnophobia."  That's all I can say about it.


What about books?  Gone Girl, as much as I disliked all the characters, was very suspenseful.  I recently finished  The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell, which had  many suspenseful moments but for me

An unsatisfying “deus ex machine” conclusion.


I can’t think of any TV shows, but then I don’t watch much TV.


Will keep thinking and add to this entry.

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