Saturday, September 12, 2009

Playing Hysteria

I watched CAUSE FOR ALARM last Wednesday when TCM unleashed a bunch of noirish movies. I was scrubbing the floor, a ceramic one which takes two hours to clean, soon to replaced by fake wood. But anyway, her performance was 90 minutes of pure hysteria, fascinating mostly for how she was able to sustain it yet keep our attention.

There were other actresses then able to do this in the forties and fifties without making us tear our hair out. Bette, Joan C, Joan Fontaine, Vivien Leigh and a flock of B actresses. Can anyone do this today? Is there a recent performance where an actress played hysteria for a two-hour stint. Or has this type of thing gone the way of seamed stockings? I'm not really talking abouth horror movies here--I know it goes on in them. More suspense.


Todd Mason said...

Well, the border between suspense and horror is pretty porous...except for me, since I think that if it's fantasticated, it's horror and if "realistic," suspense. But my first thought was Harrison Ford, in the likes of FRANTIC.

wv: intspart

Todd Mason said...

Jodie Foster. PANIC ROOM, etc.

Terrie Farley Moran said...


I had a bought of uncontrollable hysteria (not the good kind) at the thought of two hours scrubbing the floor.

Can you get a new floor tomorrow???


Richard Robinson said...

Patti - it's not "fake wood" it's "engineered wood flooring". Don't you feel better already?

That's too much hysteria. A person can only stay ion the edge of the seat, white knuckled, for so long. I like a break, even if we know the threat isn't really over.

"The line between horror and suspense is porous" says Todd. I'd not thought of it that way, but I guess it can be. Somehow, as I get older, I enjoy panic and fright less.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It takes two hours because of the grout. I hope I have a new floor Monday.
Yes, Jody Foster is an excellent example.
It is too much hysteria. I felt rather frantic either from the floor or the movie.

Fleur Bradley said...

Most recently, I'm thinking Liv Tyler in The Strangers, but that's more horror, I guess. A lot of frantic chick stuff going on though--it gets on my nerves after a while.

Best of luck with the floor!

Deb said...

Forgive the impertinent (and completely clueless when it comes to flooring) question, but why would you spend two hours scrubbing a floor you plan to replace within a few days?

(Obviously, in my house, five minutes with the swiffer wet jet is about all the floors can hope for!)

P.S. Did anyone see a movie called "Nowhere to Go" on TCM last week? A great little noir from Ealing Studios (of all places). I'd never heard of it, but it featured Maggie Smith in her screen debut and was very entertaining.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This like cleaning the house before the maid comes--don't want the old floor to look dirty for the installation. Yes, I'm crazy.
I DVRed that movie too.
I didn't see THE STRANGERS. I think Nicole Kidman played hysteria is a movie recently but can;t recall.