Hitchcock, Wilcox and the Yellow Canary (conclusion)
Did Yellow Canary provide Hitchcock with a roadmap to Notorious?
As with Hitchcock's emerging career two decades before Notorious, was Wilcox a model also for the director's views and inquiries into the opposite sex?
The motivations for these shifts in his work and private life are generally explained within a contained psychological study of the Hitchcock psyche. But could the releasing of these issues, concerns and behaviors in his work come solely from his own psyche, emboldened by his entrenchment in his career and continued commercial and artistic success of the Hollywood phase of his filmmaking? Or, like many of the characters Hitchcock realized on film, are there other influences from stronger personalities that were emulated in order to claim a new identity? Like so many of the characters which populated his filmic landscape, did the director see himself as a null personality awaiting a strong personhood to demonstrate or dictate his role in life?
Wilcox and Neagle's presence in Hollywood could have, on an emblematic level, had a causative effect by rousing and encouraging Hitchcock in his desires for control of his leading ladies while also contributing to vague dissatisfactions and unrequited longings in his personal landscape. If the formal qualities of the film Yellow Canary could have influenced him as a cinema director, then perhaps its star and director could have influenced his personal life via their fait-accompli emblem of a fantasy obtained? Did the sexual dynamics and moral politics of the Wilcox/Neagle relationship influence Hitchcock's future portrayal of women on film and his attitudes towards his leading ladies?
These are the questions I will leave with you.
- Doug Bonner, © 2008
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