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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Hitchcock's big sex close-up

From Dick Elliot, Palmer Lake, CO:

Thanks for the archive interview with Alfred Hitchcock. I remember seeing him on Kup's show in the late sixties. It may have been the episode following your interview. It was around the time "Midnight Cowboy" was in theaters and every film, it seemed, had a nude or sex scene in it. This was being discussed by Kup and his other guests when Hitch spoke up.

"I think what people are waiting for is that one big close-up."

Kup asked him if he was referring to a close-up of the sex act. Hitch nodded. He talked about how he had done that scene ten years earlier in "North by Northwest." At the end of the film Cary Grant pulls Eva Marie Saint into an upper birth in a Pullman sleeper car. That shot is followed by an exterior shot of "the phallic train entering a tunnel."

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