“Films these days move from one spectacular action scene to the next,” Martin Scorsese observes in the Hitchcock/Truffaut documentary that has been going the rounds of the art houses recently. Many of us yearn for the days when Alfred Hitchcock could build up the suspense with one deft touch after another until audiences were literally gasping with the tension. Hitchcock was not alone in this, even if his suspense sequences were rather special. At its best, traditional American cinema can be defined by its finely honed narratives where the big moments, such as a long-anticipated action sequence or a dramatic…
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