Vertigo (1958)?.. Barbie (1959)? It Can’t Possibly Matter To You…

We’ve all watched classic films where at some point someone says something or something in the plot makes you frown or roll your eyes at the sheer jarring implausibility of the whole thing. Did people really talk like that? Did audiences really swallow this stuff? For some people this is why they don’t watch films made before… well, now. For the rest of us it’s just a matter of how things were and if you care about films etc, you put them in the context of the times they were made and view them accordingly…

But sometimes even the most die-hard classic movie lovers hear something and just think WHAT!?

It can’t possibly matter to you

 

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Can’t you just love for who I am, Scottie?

Scottie (James Stewart) falls in love with Madeleine (who is in fact Judy, pretending to be Madeline), a girl whom he has been tailing. When he believes Madeleine dies, Scottie encounters Judy who reminds him of Maddie (because, unbeknownst to him they, are one and the same) and he urges her to dress like Maddie and eventually to dye her hair to look more like her, imploring her with the words:

It can’t possibly matter to you

Is this just shabby dialogue, designed to move the plot along or the assertion of a genuine belief?

Change your hair, your clothes, everything about you until you become my fantasy – do it for me; it can’t possibly matter to you…

Despite a recent renewal in interest due to its being voted the Greatest Film EVER (really?!) by Sight and Sound, I have never watched Vertigo (1958) on the big screen so I can’t attest to how modern-day audiences react to this exclamation, however, I imagine (and actually hope) there are at least a few snorts of laughter… Did audiences at the time receive it without batting an eyelid? And if so, how?

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“It can’t possibly matter to you” – so casually thrown in you could easily not give it another thought, but WHAT?! Why could it not possibly matter to her? Is it just the way she wears her hair that could not possibly matter? That the way she styles herself means nothing to her and adds nothing to her sense of identity? Or is it the whole thing that couldn’t possibly matter – allowing herself to be re-made by another; to become a reproduction of someone else’s vision, of someone else’s obsession?

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As he wants her.

You can’t help but suspect that this is the true voice of Hitch as he sculpts his ideal femme – the director playing with his toys: you exist solely for my gratification; it can’t possibly matter to you as without me you’re nothing, just inert matter in need of guiding hands to bring you to life – like a Barbie doll.

Did Hitch invent Barbie (1959)?

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As he wants her.

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By Dixie Turner

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