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"Women are magic, and I became a magician."

  • Feb 9, 2012
Confidentialy Yours,  a romance/comedy/murder movie, is the last film Francois Truffaut made. It's called an homage to Hitchcock, and like many of Hitchcock's films it mixes murder and sly humor, with the two leads misunderstanding each other, a good deal of misdirection, and everything turning out fine.
A man is murdered and another man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a suspect. Then the suspect's wife is killed and it looks like he did it. He hides from the police while his secretary (Fanny Ardant), who loves him but doesn't quite believe he is innocent, sets out to help him. More murders happen, red herrings are thrown about, and finally the killer meets justice, exiting on a great last line, "Women are magic, and I became a magician." Here and there are gentle reminders of scenes from Hitchcock movies, including the staggering victim with a knife in the back from North by Northwest.
The film belongs to Ardant. She's a tall, leggy actress with a strong face who strides along with confidence and seems to look upon life's mysteries with humor and skepticism. She was Truffaut's last love. Twenty years later, in middle age playing a wordly aristocrat in Ridicule, Ardant proves she hasn't lost a thing.
Confidentially Yours won't be added to any list of Truffaut's great films, but it is an assured and enjoyable piece of work. If you like Truffaut (who died at 52 of a brain tumor), if you like Ardant, if you like Hitchcock, it's well worth your time.

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February 10, 2012
Sounds like an interesting movie ! I just don't think that Hitchcock should have made Psycho in 1960. (Psycho is a 1960 American suspense/ horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh. )
February 11, 2012
The movie was too violent and in poor taste for the general public. In addition, the murder scenes involved the public in a level of violence that may have actually inspired people on the edge to commit more murders and copycat crimes.
February 11, 2012
Have to take issue with you here.

---1. Too violent and in poor taste for the general public? Who is to say what's too violent or in poor taste for the general public? The general public went to see Psycho in droves. They rented and then bought the VHS issue, then went out and bought or rented the DVDs. It's still one of the most popular movies Hitchcock ever made. People love to be scared out of their britches, especially when a movie is as well made as Psycho.

---2. "may have actually inspired people on the edge" kill. There is not a shred of evidence that any such thing occurred. Without evidence, I don't think such "may have" statements should be used unless in 'I personally think murders were committed by people on the edge after watching Psycho.'

---Some critics and others had trouble with Psycho when it was released. I saw it in New Haven in 1960 and nearly wet my pants and had a heart attack two or three times during the show. So did all those with me in the theater. Some were shocked that Hitchcock could be so amusing and visceral at the same time, leading us on to guilty pleasures, after all those glossy and comfortable color movies of his in the Fifties.

--Fortunately, like most things, it is all just opinion.   :-)
February 11, 2012
Then, take the consequences of what follows in the release of movies like Psycho. This 109 minute movie just is not wholesome for consumption by the general public. It does nothing to promote the civil well being of the average citizen. Not everyone can be as rational as you are. Some people will watch a movie like this and be inspired to commit similar types of  crimes.

Here is just a sample:

Again, it was American serial killer Ed Gein (also mentioned previously in The Silence of The Lambs review) who was the role model for Norman Bates. When poor farm boy Ed's mother died in 1944 he kept her corpse in the bedroom, leaving everything exactly as it was the day she died.

Then Ed took to digging up women's corpses in a local grave yard and would wear bits of their flesh and play with their sexual organs. When Ed tired of draping the human skin from the corpses over a tailor's dummy in a crude attempt to resurrect his mother and the smell of the rotting bodies drove him from the house, he took up killing fresh people to satisfy his bizarre fetishes.

February 11, 2012
Using a web site like TruTV to establish that Psycho is not wholesome for the general public may seem to some like quoting a Rupert Murdoch tabloid to prove Jennifer Lopez had a love child with a Pekinese.
Still, you raise interesting questions that have been debated for as long as those who think they know best know what is good for everyone else. The last thing I think we should expect or want from popular culture is that it should meet some standard for promoting “the civil well being of the average citizen.” I can’t imagine what that phrase means. It brings to mind, for me, what life in the Soviet Union must have been like.
At any rate, I urge that you stop perusing websites like TruTV. You might be driven to try some of those gruesome activities yourself.
In good cheer, Charley
February 12, 2012
"the civil well being of the average citizen."

By that I refer to the publics' overall feeling of contentment with life and the process of life. Psycho does not comport with a feeling of well being. It only exacerbates conditions like depression, personal paranoia and hopelessness.

There are certainly better themes than "Psycho" for the public consumption. I'm concerned about "copycat killers" who need very little encouragement to commit heinous crimes. If I was a Hollywood producer, I would be looking for cheerful or positive themes in movies in order to comport with making people feel better about themselves rather than worse about themselves and their surroundings or perceptions about their surroundings.
February 12, 2012
I suspect – I don’t know – that public contentment comes much less, if at all, from aspects of popular culture, such as the movies. I think it comes from jobs, food on the table, good health and the prospects of a better life for oneself and one’s kids. Give most people anywhere a fair chance to achieve these things and they’ll feel better about themselves far more than a Frank Capra movie would make them.
Popular cultural is a free-for-all. It has never been determined by good intentions. That’s why it can be so exciting for some, so irritating for others. It’s a mosh pit, and let the most (beautiful, ugly, down-home folk, serial killer web site, mind-numbing game, flag-waving opinion, cute Japanese doll, etc., etc.) win for the moment. Most people, I think, really like spice in their lives, and popular culture, even with movies like Psycho (or Virgin Vampires Meet Teenage Werewolves), is a stewpot of spices, much of it, in my opinion at 76, awful. Give most people an opportunity to watch a good news cable channel and they stay away. Give them a chance to watch a car accident and they slow down and gawp. But, so what? The mix of good and awful seems to stimulate our brains the way peace and calm don’t.

Remember what Harry Lime said, that two hundred years of Swiss contentment only produced the cuckoo clock.
February 12, 2012
"I suspect – I don't know – that public contentment comes much less, if at all, from aspects of popular culture, such as the movies. I think it comes from jobs, food on the table, good health and the prospects of a better life for oneself and one's kids. Give most people anywhere a fair chance to achieve these things and they'll feel better about themselves far more than a Frank Capra movie would make them."

There is something to be said about that statement. I just think that the public mood isn't enhanced positively by movies like Psycho. In addition, children can be mean and stinky over the silliest things as witnessed by the trouble school authorities have with bullying.

There is something about the "dare" or the "thrill of the moment" that inspires otherwise normal people to do things (even criminal things) that they would not do ordinarily. I believe that movies like Psycho play to this inner tendency.

This is done in ways that make things much more difficult for school authorities or people charged with keeping the public order. The public needs protection from bizarre behaviors and people that exhibit such behaviors or tendencies.

An ingredient in the struggle against criminal deviancy is to screen out movies that provide incentives for people on the outer fringes of society to act out their grossest predispositions to the detriment of the public.
About the reviewer
C. O. DeRiemer ()
Ranked #2
Since I retired in 1995 I have tried to hone skills in muttering to myself, writing and napping. At 75, I live in one of those places where one moves from independent living to hospice. I expect to begin … more
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