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Entries in Alfred Hitchcock (86)


Top Ten: Alfred Hitchcock Movies

What are your favourite Hitchcock films? For the Master of Suspense's 120th birthday today, we ought to share them. He's been dead for 39 years but we don't think he'd mind the grave-digging each birthday because his films are immortal.

Mine would go like so:

  1. Psycho (1960)
  2. Notorious (1946)
  3. Rear Window (1954)
  4. Vertigo (1958)
    Those are the four that are unthinkably indecently perfect...

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Great Moments in Screen Kissing: Notorious (1946)

For the next few days Team Experience will be sharing favourite screen kisses. Here's Seán...

Seán here in Berlin, saying hallo! to you with the adequate amount of Prussian warmth. I'll be filling you in with all my hot takes on only a handful of the myriad of films premiering at the Festspiele. But first a quick wink to one of my favourite on-screen kisses (the whole lot of them).

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of genre and form, leaving behind a body of work admired by scholars and movie lovers alike. Aside from being a good, old, problematic trickster on set, he also knew how to do it within the confines of the screen. The Production Code which outlined what was decent and indecent on film had a long list of cuttable offenses. Even toilets were verboten. But what if the inclusion of one was essential to the story, as it was when Marion Crane disposes of a letter in Psycho? Hitchcock knew how to skirt the rules and Notorious (1946) is one of the best examples of this...

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Say it Aint So! Rebecca (1940) is Getting a Remake

by Nathaniel R

Nooooo. Rebecca (1940) doesn't need to be remade. Essentially no Hitchcock picture needs to be, you know. But word is out that Lily James and Armie Hammer are risking the ghosts of Joan Fontaine and Sir Laurence Olivier to star in a new film version of the Daphne Du Maurier story about "the second Mrs de Winter," her cold bossy husband, a sinister lesbian housekeeper, and an old creepy gothic mansion. The foolish or ballsy director that's going to try to live up to collective memories of Alfred Hitchcock? That'd be Ben Wheatley of High-Rise and Free Fire fame. 

Hey, let's do a "Cast This!" in the comments for the story's best role: Mrs Danvers, that creepy housekeeper with an obsession for her late mistresses undergarments. (You may recall that The Film Experience spent a lot of time with Rebecca a few years ago for a pass-the-baton retrospective.)


What did I just watch? "The Seventh Victim"

by Nathaniel R

Because Jean Brooks had frequently been mentioned as a supporting actress standout of 1943, the last film I screened for our celebration was Val Lewton production The Seventh Victim. I have only one question: what did I just watch? Kristen Lopez was right on the podcast when she called it a "polite" horror movie. Even the satanic villains are polite...

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Perfect Things Which Are Perfect. "Rear Window" Edition

by Nathaniel R

This past weekend Jason and I went to a big screen showing of Hitchcock's masterpiece Rear Window (1954). Or one of his masterpieces that is; has more than his share, that one. We went just because it was playing (bless you rep scene) and it was the absolutely best thing to see during an actual heatwave in NYC because it's set during one yet it's its own air-conditioning. It's utterly cool...

I love that so many characters in the picture but especially LB (Stewart), eternally in pajamas and broken leg cast, come across like the heat is wearing at their nerves, temper, and clothing. Except Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont, who just floats onto the screen in a cocktail dress, in slomo no less in one of the cinema's all time greatest entrances. Lisa always looks like she is immune to common people concerns like the weather. This only benefits the film because it plays deliciously to L.B.'s (James Stewart) conflicted perception of her as somehow both above the mortal world but also too fragile for it. He thinks his rough and tumble travelling photographer existence too much for her. But isn't the rich dichotomy of the film that she's actually braver than he is when all the dangerous seeds the picture so gleefully places, eventually bloom? 

I've seen Rear Window several times but somehow I always forget big chunks of it. Like that it was set during a heatwave -- how did I forget that? But the heatwave ready to melt me again once I left the theater is beside the point. As I sat there totally engrossed and then delighted and then tense and then elated, I was reminded of a simple fact: Oh riiiiight, this perfect thing is perfect.

COMMENT PARTY ☛ So my spread-the-good-vibes question to you is this. When was the last time you saw an old favorite only to be surprised anew at its total perfection? 



Blueprints: "Psycho"

The April Showers series is back at The Film Experience, here's Jorge on how the most famous shower scene in cinema histor was written on the page.

One thing about iconic cinema sequences is that back when the script is written, before the movie is shot, released and gains critical acclaim (sometimes before it is even developed), they are not conceived to be iconic. They are simply a piece in a puzzle; one more segment in a longer story. 

But sometimes sequences transcend. Sometimes they become essential pieces of the cinema mosaic. And few scenes have stood the test of time better than the shower scene in Psycho. It has been recreated countless times, spun hundreds of homages and parodies, and changed the way horror scenes are shot, and what audiences should expect of the genre. Let’s take a look at how it looked in the page, before it acquired icon status, when it was merely three pages of a script…

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