Alfred hitchcock

Mediterranean Gothic: The Sleepwalkers, by Scarlett Thomas, reviewed

Scarlett Thomas likes islands: either literal sea-girt territories or closed enclaves where this wickedly inventive novelist practises her richly enjoyable experiments in plot and form. If her recent Oligarchy found its sour-sweet spot in a grisly girls’ boarding school, The Sleepwalkers creates another insular possession: the Greek island of ‘Kathos’, which almost resembles Samos. Here, within sight of the Turkish coast, the newlyweds Evelyn and Richard arrive as late-September storms brew to undergo their honeymoon from hell. Ever since novels such as Bright Young Things (also island-set) and PopCo, Thomas has known how to fuse an acidly satirical streak of observation with storytelling artifice that keeps her readers pleasurably unsettled

The case for remaking great films

Afew weeks ago, news broke that Paramount was planning to embark on a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo with a starring role for Robert Downey Jr. You are forgiven if your reaction is one of deep scepticism. What can possibly be gained by remaking a film widely regarded as the apex of the art form? What director today can step into the shoes of the Master of Suspense? And who would ever mistake the star of Iron Man for Jimmy Stewart?  Gut reactions of this sort remind us of the scorn with which remakes in general are usually – sometimes unfairly – met. After all, remakes are considered by all fair observers to be inherently synthetic

A 50-year obsession with the white stuff: Milk, by Peter Blegvad, reviewed

It’s been a while since I read a good cento, from the Latin and derived from the Greek, I need not remind Spectator readers, meaning ‘patchwork’, and thus a literary work composed of quotations from other writers, the earliest known example being Hosidius Geta’s Medea, consisting entirely of lines from Virgil and which is almost as good as it sounds. Contemporary literary centos, or cento-like creations, include a lot of very bad found poems but also Graham Rawle’s simply incredible Woman’s World (2005), a novel collaged from cut-up lines from women’s magazines, and David Shields’s profoundly plagiaristic work of literary criticism, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (2010).  Peter Blegvad’s Milk: Through

I’m sick of people patronising Captain Sir Tom Moore

Nobody earns the right to respect just by having lived into old age, whenever that begins — it has happened by chance and by virtue of having dodged a few bullets. But everyone has the right to be treated with good manners and kindness by those with any power over them — even prisoners and toddlers having pyrotechnical tantrums. Mostly, politeness and consideration are forthcoming. It is always a shock if a bank clerk, dentist or traffic cop are brusque, perhaps because it is so rare. Still, I can stand rudeness more easily than I can tolerate being patronised, something older people encounter regularly. When Colonel Sir Tom Moore raised