The Magnet 060: Grab Bag
Weird animal sounds, Hitchcock's Frenzy, more AI art, and mathematical music
Hi and welcome to a new issue of The Magnet. This time around, I’m sharing a few things that have interested me recently.
What is this weird animal sound?
As Carla and I walked through a banana grove on Madeira island in early March, we heard an unusual animal sound. It was coming out of an irrigation pipe, about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. Whatever it was, it was far back in the tube, so I couldn't see it. I recorded about 30 seconds of the sound it was making, which you can listen to here. It might be two or more animals arguing. If you know what kind of animal it is, please tell us in the comments.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy is much better than I expected
I’ve seen a lot of Hitchcock movies, including his most famous ones like Psycho, The Birds, Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, Rear Window, and North by Northwest. But it wasn’t until last weekend that Carla and I saw one of his lesser-known movies, Frenzy, playing at the Los Feliz Theatre in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago (as part of the wonderful American Cinematheque program). Frenzy came out in 1972 and was Hitchcock’s second-to-last movie (his final one was 1976’s Family Plot, which I haven’t seen). We were both surprised by how much we liked it, given that people don’t talk about it as much as his other films.
Frenzy takes place in London and revisits one of Hitchcock’s favorite themes: mistaken identity (e.g., The Wrong Man and North by Northwest). This time, the wrong man is an antisocial war hero who gets falsely accused of a string of gruesome necktie stranglings. Hitchcock’s trademark combination of suspense, panic, dark psychological undercurrents, and absurd humor is all on display in Frenzy, and it’s as entertaining as any of his earlier classics.
Given that the movie was made in the 1970s, we probably shouldn't have been shocked that one of the police officers casually made a "lay-back-and-enjoy-it" joke about a rape victim's brutal attack. However, it was still a bit jarring to see that level of insensitivity on display. It’s a reminder of how sexist things were in the 1970s. Overall, though, we were both glad we finally saw Frenzy and would recommend it to any Hitchcock fan who hasn’t seen it yet.