Oscar History

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yes, no, maybe so? 

YES "There are a lot of ways this can go wrong but the entire team gives me faith. " - WJ

NO "The whole trailer down to the music is way too much. Subtle this film will not be." - Huh

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Yes, No, Maybe So: Hitchcock

After a seemingly abrupt transition from 2013's slate to November 2012, Fox Searchlight isn't wasting any time with their Alfred Hitchcock bio. The official site is up, a new poster (to your left) arrives so shortly after the teaser poster, it wasn't much of a tease at all. And, now, the trailer.

It feels like a long time since a Yes No Maybe So breakdown, right? We course correct now to parse Hitchcock --  the trailer for the film about the man, not the man himself or his films! We'd be here for years for the latter. Based on the two minute evidence do we want to investigate the whole two hours? Why and why not? 

You know how this works by now so let's join Alfred & Alma during the making of Psycho...


  • 'The Making of Psycho'... we wouldn't have such predictable allergic reactions to biopics if more of them would stay tightly focused on one chapter in someone's life. Cradle-to-grave is just so frought with cliff notes inelegance.
  • Psycho is my favorite Hitchcock film, so I'm happy to watch a "making of". Psycho wasn't always my favorite Hitchcock but it just kept climbing the charts over the years until there was no film left to hurdle. But honestly I'd be just as happy to watch "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Torn Curtain" -- pick a film any film -- because behind the scene and screen is a place I love to spend time.
  • This Shot!


More 'yes,' the trailer and some 'no's and 'maybe so's after the jump...

YES (Cont'd) 

  • "kill her off after 30 minutes" I love the way Helen Mirren is so obviously going to just destroy that piece of toast. Chomp Chomp. And possibly the scenery as well.
  • The possibility of surprise is large with this picture because it gives us so little of Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) and Anthony Perkins (James D'Arcy). Of course maybe they're not in much of the picture.
  • There's a real opportunity here to make a tight story about one man and one film that feels epic and expansive about the larger shift in "taste" and permissiveness in the movies. I've always loved the Psycho logo being split / torn because that's what it did to cinema right, cleaved it into two halves... Before and After.
  • I always forget that Psycho was based on a book and I like the clip of the scene when Alma reads the novel to Alfred.

Charming. Doris Day should do it as a musical."


This screencap has been modified to fit your Toni Collette needs

  • Is this all I get of my cherished Toni Collette? Longshots where she's one of the crowd??? I only caught two glimpses of her -- milliseconds! -- in the trailer. That's not remotely enough Toni.
  • Ummmm... This fat guy sounds exactly like Sir Anthony Hopkins and not much like Sir Alfred Hitchcock. Am I allowed to complain about that despite always complaining that people love exact mimicry? I guess Hitchcock's voice is just so memorable that I was hoping to hear it.
  • Have I ever told you how much I hate those joke "tags" at the end of trailers? 

Oh you imp. You've got nudity in there.
Well, her breasts were rather large. It was a challenge not to show them." 


Oh god, Mother. BLOOD! BLOOD!


  • It could be that the trailer just knows what's marketable to general audiences and not cinephiles but there's more to Psycho than the shower scene and my god they mention the shower scene a LOT in this trailer, not that meditations on the shower scene aren't necessary and can't be thrilling (see, or rather, read the great and unappreciated novel "What You See in the Dark" by Manuel Muñoz which also takes place during the making of Psycho though it's not directly about movie-making.)
  • The jokes in the trailer feel more cutesy than funny... less funny even than My Week With Marilyn. Is this going the sort of comedy route. If so I hope they saved the funnier bits for the movie theaters.
  • I'm wary of the Great Woman Behind the Great Man angle. Not that this doesn't happen or that Mirren won't nail it but that can feel like cliche.
  • Hitchcock's profile, whether fully lit or shadowed, is so famous that you can't avoid it and would be a fool not to use it visually. There are at least clever or pleasing uses of this iconic visual in the trailer but I hope newbie narrative feature director Sacha Gervasi has other visual ideas about the man.

Where do you fall on the Yes No Maybe So scale for this "Making Of" picture?
And which other Hitchcock film would you most like to see a "Making of" for?

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Reader Comments (27)

It definitely reminded me of 'My Week with Marilyn', except the subject matter and characters are considerably more compelling (also prefer the cast). Not sure how this will do awards wise except for maybe an acting nomination for Hopkins or Mirren (or both), and maybe something for make-up or costume. Overall it does look like fun and a great opportunity to see two veteran actors really pushing themselves and chewing up the scenery.

I'm hoping HBO's examination of Hitchcock and Hedren's relationship during 'The Birds' is well done. That's a project I'm hesitantly more excited for...

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

It looks like fun, but also like another instance of the trend in biopics trying to ascribe importance to something pretty minor in the grand scheme of things (hello, King's Speech). The trailer just hasn't got me all that convinced this story needed to be a movie. "We've mortgaged our house!!", oh, how dramatic. But it does look entertaining enough.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRax

Cannot wait to see this film. I adore Helen Mirren and am such a fan of the famous director - he did so many amazing movies. I too think many biopics can be dull as ditchwater but from the trailer it looks super fun and very interesting. My favorite Hitchcock films are North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train and Frenzy. Going back to the film at hand, I love the scene and the line when Alma is eating the piece of toast.
Slightly off topic, I've read a lot of critics' predictions for best actress for Oscar and so many are predicting both Marion Cotillard and Emmanuelle Riva - I just don't see this happening considering so few actors and actresses garnering a nomination in a foreign language film over the years. And as Nathaniel rightly points out, won't they split this particular vote?
I'm just gutted that I have to wait until early February to see Hitchcock as it doesn't open in the UK until then.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew W

Would love to see a "Paul Verhoeven and the Making of Showgirls!!"

My god could you imagine? lol

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Very entertaining!
And with Cronenweth und Elfman on board, very excited.
And Helen Mirren just kills it in this trailer alone. Right now I would say Mirren vs. Lawrence.
Hopkins is good, aber he is certainly Hopins trying to do Hitchcock... Hm...

Overall big YES.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBasti

David -- oh great. now this is ALL I'll be thinking about for the next month. I would finance that film myself if I had any money! ;)

Steven -- i'd kind of love to see both pictures back to back. though poor whatshisname... always starring as famous men right when someone else more famous is also starring as said famous man.

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Seems like they're focusing a lot on the obstacles to making the movie angle, when we all know that the movie will be filmed and be a big hit. Something seems off, but I like the humor so I'm a maybe.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

First time I have visited here, look forward to checking it out further.

My major pet peeve of late is casting actors of varying talent as legends that they LOOK and SOUND nothing like. The only thing that resembles Hitchcock is Hopkins black suit. Round faced, bland voiced Scarlett as Janet Leigh, who had such a crisp, distinctive voice and angular beauty? Exasperating.

And most of the moments depicted just ring so false, so revisionist...which is why I avoided Michelle Williams "Marilyn" movie like the plague. And will this one, too.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick gould

this is a Maybe so for me. Mirren and Hopkins look terrific and probably both will score with Oscar, but the movie itself looks rather meh...

and ScarJo looks nothing like Janet Leigh

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

Maybe. I'm finding this oddly similar to my reaction to "Nixon," all those years ago. Skeptical of the lead, yet fascinated by the supporters. I liked Joan Allen in that a lot, so I'm hoping for the same here for SJ to pull a strong character study.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterzig

This is a yes for me, and I'm cautiously optimistic about the odd casting of Scarlett Johansson.

And, I'd love a making of for Marnie.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAF

rick: Your Marilyn comparison makes so much sense because both have Coles Notes posing as press. ''You're the most famous _____ in the world! How does it feel!?'' Is when this movie ost me.

I also don't mind Scarlett's voice as Janet (I remember Janet more for the train scene in Manchurian than anything else) but I refuse to believe that Janet is as dumb as Scarlett and the movie is making her as.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

I'm a maybe, because I fear a hagiography at the same time that The Girl is reminding us what a sick bastard Hitchcock was. But my girlfriend is a YES YES YES so we'll see it regardless.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Nathan, I am with you on the special status La Collette enjoys. I would gladly spend an hour watching Toni recite her phone bill on YT. The youngest actress to be on MY LIST.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

i don't have a problem with Scarlett's voice, but her scream is not alike Janet's scream.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertom


Hopkins seems to be doing Michael Caine as Sir Alfred Hitchcock.

Hitchcock was no saintly artist battling Hollywood. Late in his career he was increasingly isolated, idiosyncratic and obsessed with his leading ladies in a most unhealthy way. (Read Donald Spoto's biography if you want more on that...!)

The trailer for THE GIRL, the making-of The Birds, seems much more promising to me:


But poor Toby Jones, getting Capote'd again!

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

I just watched the HBO "Girl" trailer... Toby Jones as a pint-sized Hitchcock is hilarious! I shall call him...Mini-Me!

Faded starlet Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren, 45 year old Botoxed Nicole Kidman as 30ish Grace Kelly, and puffy, woozy ScarJo as Janet Leigh...when will this nonsense stop?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick gould

An interesting setup, awesome cast, and then suddenly...Alfred Klump. Yikes! That's a no.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonald

@rick -- agree that Scarlett's voluptious roundness is about as far from Janet's erotic pointiness as anything! welcome to the site.

@sanfran - anthony as michael as alfred. Hmmmm. now I have to watch it again!

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

The trailer hints that we're going to get a lot of Janet Leigh without hardly any Tony Perkins or Patricia Hitchcock. And who's playing Marty Balsam , Vera Miles and JoGav?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I think the HBO film looks much more interesting...but this does seem very My Week With Marilyn. At this point though, Helen Mirren seems to be the one to watch for Oscars. I am surprised that they showed so little of the very marketable Scarlett.

Was Jessica Biel cut out?

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Jessica Biel? Huh? Oh, and I guess I got Toni as the wrong character--she's not Pat, but Hitch's right hand. Sorry.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I'd like to be pragmatic and say that I'm a Maybe So with this one - in that if it doesn't get good reviews, I won't see it, but I mustn't kid myself. Psycho is one of my favorite films of all time and I would go to see this at a midnight opening screening if I could.

That said, I'm a bit iffy on this trailer. I'm a little sad/shocked that Hopkins isn't doing that oh-so-distinctive Hitchcock voice, but at the same time maybe a little relieved? Helen Mirren looks great as per usual, and Scarlett looks surprisingly convincing as Janet Leigh. I'm VERY curious about how this one turns out, and if I'm being honest, I cannot WAIT to see it.

And poor, poor Toby Jones. At least this time his movie is an HBO special so he won't have to compete for awards. But still, that guy has the worst luck EVER.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I have actually watched a lot footage of the real Hitchcock talking in the past day, and I must say, Hopkins is actually quite good with the voice. He is great with the way Hitchcock talk like he has bitten his tongue. And it is usually impossible not to hear the actors voice. It is an actor after all (if you are not Daniel Day-Lewis).

I think Hopkins is quite amazing in this role. He got Hitchcock's voice and mimics quite brilliantly.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVortep

Yes for me! I hope Mirren gets nominated. I bet she'll be wonderful, witty and deliver some great lines. I love the woman!

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I agree it could be another "My Week with Marylin", but it looks amazing!!!... While I think Hopkins looks fine, i'm more impressed in MIrren. Maybe it just me, but I could see Mirren and Johansson or Collette nominated in leading and supporting actress categories, while Hopkins will be ignored.

Also, the new "Zero Dark Thirty" trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXkccpnoetw

While I put Chastain in the supporting category in my predix, I wouldn't be surprised if Chastain will compete as a lead. Columbia's biggest card this year and afterglow effect could help for Chastain and make her Lawrence's biggest threat.

Bad news for Dench, Knightley and Watts,,,

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterleon

With only the trailer to go on Mirren seems the only one likely to gain an Oscar nom - but Nathaniel, you naughty boy 'Helen Mirren. Again!?', she's a long way off from the free pass to the Awards that Miss Meryl has! As for A. Hopkins, he doesn't convince me as A. Hitchcock - Dame Helen has an easier job because we're not as familiar with Alma as we are with Alfred. I think it would be great if Scarlett Johansson was nominated if only for the fact she is playing an actress playing a role that won her a nomination. In all it's a maybe for me on this one. As for which Hitchcock film I would most like to see a "Making of", I'm with you on that one, Nathaniel, all or any, but wouldn't Rope be a great one to tackle?!

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe U.K.
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