Funeral March of a Marionette

Saturday, August 20, AD 2016

 

Something for the weekend.  Funeral March of a Marionette.  Written in 1872 by Charles Gounod, it will be familiar to Americans of my vintage who can recall it as the theme song of Alfred Hitchcock Presents which ran from 1955-1965.  (In its last three seasons the half hour show was expanded to an hour and renamed The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.)

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4 Responses to Funeral March of a Marionette

  • Thanks, Mac. That is very familiar to this old fart.
    .
    Other classics that made it into circuses and TV include von Suppe’s “Light Cavalry Overture” and Fucik’s “March of the Gladiators.”
    .
    The other night I watched the first hour-and-a-half of Ford’s “Rio Grande” movie (then too late went to bed). In a moment, I will remove myself to listen to “The Bold Fenian Men” by the Sons of the . . . and old US Cavalry bugle calls.
    .
    When my son wasn’t jumping out of perfectly good air planes, the Army assigned him to a cavalry squadron and a year in Afghanistan where he earned his CIB and spurs. We have his Stetson somewhere in the house.

  • Love this. Sounds to me more like a merry march than a funeral march. And I remember the Hictchcock TV series fondly, very imaginative and nothing else like it on TV then or since.

  • T Shaw, Congrats to your son! I’ve seen the Av Cav dress uniform many years ago (early 70s) at Ft. Benjamin Harrison : Stetson, boots w/spurs and Sam Browne belt w/ what looks like an ammo packet. What’s a CIB?

  • Thanks, CAM. The man looks sharp in dress blues, Stetson, spurs. The Sam Browne belt wasn’t there. I ought to have spelled it out. CIB = Combat Infantryman Badge.
    .
    He’s serving with a state-side airborne outfit.
    .
    Bless them all.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit

Sunday, August 14, AD 2016

(Yesterday was the 117th birthday of Alfred Hitchcock.  That gives me an excuse to rerun this post from 2012 with new video attachments.)

 

 

When I was a kid I loved watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents, known in its last four years as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  His sardonic wit and macabre sense of humor I found vastly appealing and no doubt had an impact on my own developing sense of humor.  Hitchcock was a Catholic, although some have claimed that he became estranged from the Faith later in life.  Father Mark Henninger in The Wall Street Journal relates his own encounter with Hitchcock shortly before his death.

At the time, I was a graduate student in philosophy at UCLA, and I was (and remain) a Jesuit priest. A fellow priest, Tom Sullivan, who knew Hitchcock, said one Thursday that the next day he was going over to hear Hitchcock’s confession. Tom asked whether on Saturday afternoon I would accompany him to celebrate a Mass in Hitchcock’s house.

I was dumbfounded, but of course said yes. On that Saturday, when we found Hitchcock asleep in the living room, Tom gently shook him. Hitchcock awoke, looked up and kissed Tom’s hand, thanking him.

Tom said, “Hitch, this is Mark Henninger, a young priest from Cleveland.”

“Cleveland?” Hitchcock said. “Disgraceful!”

After we chatted for a while, we all crossed from the living room through a breezeway to his study, and there, with his wife, Alma, we celebrated a quiet Mass. Across from me were the bound volumes of his movie scripts, “The Birds,” “Psycho,” “North by Northwest” and others—a great distraction. Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks.

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3 Responses to Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit

  • Amen! Alleluia!!
    .
    See Luke 15:7.
    .
    Repent. It is never too late.
    .
    Finally (Thank God!), it would be such gracious articles that convinced me that the Wall Street Journal subscription price was worth the money.

  • “At the end however we are confronted with the stark reality of death and the time for illusion ceases…” I think it would be more appropriate, indeed correct, to say that the time for “self-delusion” not “illusion” ceases.

  • I know that Hitchcock had a well-formed Catholic upbringing in his school years, studying for a time at St Ignatius School (prep) in Stamford Hill, in London. (He had to leave, according to his biographers, about age 15, because his father died and the family was left in tight circumstances.)
    ..
    Of course, Jesuit training, especially by the English Jesuits in the then-pre WWI era, was something substantial and to be proud of,…then. That era of spiritual formation apparently stayed with him quite well and brought him home at the end.

Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit

Tuesday, December 11, AD 2012

When I was a kid I loved watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents, known in its last four years as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.  His sardonic wit and macabre sense of humor I found vastly appealing and no doubt had an impact on my own developing sense of humor.  Hitchcock was a Catholic, although some have claimed that he became estranged from the Faith later in life.  Father Mark Henninger in The Wall Street Journal relates his own encounter with Hitchcock shortly before his death.

At the time, I was a graduate student in philosophy at UCLA, and I was (and remain) a Jesuit priest. A fellow priest, Tom Sullivan, who knew Hitchcock, said one Thursday that the next day he was going over to hear Hitchcock’s confession. Tom asked whether on Saturday afternoon I would accompany him to celebrate a Mass in Hitchcock’s house.

 

I was dumbfounded, but of course said yes. On that Saturday, when we found Hitchcock asleep in the living room, Tom gently shook him. Hitchcock awoke, looked up and kissed Tom’s hand, thanking him.

Tom said, “Hitch, this is Mark Henninger, a young priest from Cleveland.”

“Cleveland?” Hitchcock said. “Disgraceful!”

After we chatted for a while, we all crossed from the living room through a breezeway to his study, and there, with his wife, Alma, we celebrated a quiet Mass. Across from me were the bound volumes of his movie scripts, “The Birds,” “Psycho,” “North by Northwest” and others—a great distraction. Hitchcock had been away from the church for some time, and he answered the responses in Latin the old way. But the most remarkable sight was that after receiving communion, he silently cried, tears rolling down his huge cheeks.

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10 Responses to Alfred Hitchcock and the Jesuit

  • Every so often I read something such as this (last Friday’s WSJ) and say to myself, “It’s still worth the subscription price.”

  • Whenever I read a story of a penitent, I think of the sermon that Bossuet preached at the solemn profession of Mlle de la Vallière, (Sister Louise de la Miséricorde) the former mistress of Louis XIV, as a Carmelite nun.

    He took as his text, “And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new'” (Apoc 21:5).

    He also discusses the mystery, even the paradox of grace, both “Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!” (Ez 18:31) but also, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”(Ez 36:26)

  • One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Isaiah 1: 18:

    “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

  • You have a good heart Donald. Thanks for the touching story.

  • Donald…..very good story. It reminds me of the movie, “immortal Beloved” about the life of Beethoven. In the movie, the dying composer refuses to see a priest and receive the last rights. In reality, according to Thayer’s Life of Beethoven, he died during a terrific hailstorm after having devoutly received the last sacraments. His Missa Solemnis, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, ” is a mighty profession of faith in a personal God by one of the greatest geniuses of all times, who composed it in the midst of the growing doubt and impending moral and spiritual disintegration of his age.” I don’t know the reason why Hollywood and the publishing industry do not want to tell the truth or downplay the influence of belief in God but it must have something to do with the agnostic/atheistic ingrained prejudice against the compatibility of Catholic faith and intellectual or artistic genius. They think only stupid or simple people could believe in God.

  • ” They think only stupid or simple people could believe in God.”

    This fits in with their usual ignorance of history, religion and ludicrous overestimation of their own intelligence.

  • Arrogant, half-witted hypocrites think everyone else is (if it were possible) stupider than they are.

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  • And also that ‘veritable icon of modernity’ the great poet Wallace Stevens:

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/arts/al0068.html

  • Poetcomic…..thank you very much for the informative link…..great story also.