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Entries in Alfred Hitchcock (59)

Monday
Jul062015

Beauty vs Beast: Motel Hell

JA from MNPP here, wishing you all a happy Monday and wishing what would have been a happy 88th birthday to the great, sadly passed Janet Leigh. She's been gone for over a decade but Janet's legacy still looms tall with several classics -- Touch of Evil and The Manchurian Candidate both come to mind -- but as it has been said we all go a little mad sometimes and color me mad when I realized that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho has somehow never found itself "Beauty vs Beast"-itized. It's a prime pick whose time has come! Slap on your favorite wig and let's play!

PREVIOUSLY This weekend Terminator: Genisys flopped box-office-wise and according to your votes maybe they should've thought about bringing Linda Hamilton along for the ride since her Sarah Connor trounced Full Metal Arnold in our face-off taking just under 80% of the vote. Said SusanP:

"As far as I'm concerned no contest -- Sarah Connor in a walk. Plus, when you list her pros you are neglecting her most important/awesome assets: The Arms "

Saturday
Apr182015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 5): Burn It Down, Mrs Danvers

Previously on "Revisiting Rebecca"
Pt 1 - a whirlwind de Winter courtship
Pt 2 - return to Manderley, meet Mrs Danvers
Pt 3 - feel up Rebecca's lingerie
Pt 4 - attend a costume ball but don't jump out the window, young lady!
 

...And here is Jason, with our final installment.


1:44:50 We fade up from a kiss to a sign reading "Kerrith Board School 1872." It seems so exact it made me wonder if this is a real place, but a quick google comes up with nothing. I assume this, like most everything save the more obvious natural exteriors (the beaches filmed on the California coast, for example), was a set. It seems an odd detail to so prominently focus upon though. My guess is Hitch liked the connection to The Past, with it hanging over everyone – he was never exactly the most subtle with his themes.

In the Hitchcock/Truffaut book the two filmmakers discuss how "the location of [Manderley] is never specified in a geographical sense; it's completely isolated." Hitch actually talks at length about how he sees this possibility of isolation as an "American" thing -- that if Rebecca had been filmed in Great Britain he'd have shown the countryside surrounding the house but filming it in America gave him the possibility of this "abstraction." It certainly helps that whenever we’re seeing the mansion itself it’s always a miniature, and not an actual location. Anyway, here we are... Where ever here is!

Continue on to the final installment

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Friday
Apr172015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 4) the Original Gone Girl

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca -  Nathaniel introduced us to our nameless heroine whose youthful, clumsy charm lands her the brooding Maxim de Winter. Abstew attended their nuptials and the first of the second Mrs. de Winter's trials at Manderley. Then Anne Marie ventured into Rebecca's room to see how deep Mrs. Danvers obsession goes. Will our mousy leading lady ever find the peace and love she desires at Manderley or will the ghost of Rebecca prove too great an obstacle?

Part 4 by Angelica Jade Bastién

We begin where Anne Marie left off, with #2 (aka The Second and Less Fabulous Mrs. de Winter) getting her wish for a costume ball. After failing to come up with a costume to her liking Mrs. Danvers offers to help. But, #2 soon learns that Mrs. Danvers version of help is quite dangerous. 

1:16:06 Costume balls, much like Halloween, allow people to become what they deeply want to be even if it’s just for an evening. For #2 this is especially true as she takes Mrs. Danvers advice and dresses up as Lady Caroline de Winter based on one of the many family portraits that punctuate the walls of Manderley. Lady Caroline represents everything #2 is not: poised, beautiful, disarming. 

While some of our team hasn't warmed to Joan Fontaine in this nameless role, I agree with Anne Marie's estimations. Fontaine perfectly embodies her. When we first see #2 in her costume she is nervous with desire, unsure of her decision. She carries herself with a sort of clumsiness I remember from my high school years; trying to have some sort of grace but instead bristling against the confines of early womanhood. Which makes me wonder how old is #2 supposed to be exactly? [More...]

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Thursday
Apr162015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 3): Don't Go Into Rebecca's Room

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca - Nathaniel introduced us to a mousy girl with no name and no money, whose awkward charms land her Maxim de Winter. Abstew guided us through their nuptials and the introduction of Manderley, Maxim’s humble family castle. Turns out it’s filled with Maxim’s dead wife’s things, including a creepy servant named Mrs. Danvers. Just how much sway does Rebecca still hold over Manderley?

Part 3 by Anne Marie

We begin where abstew left off, with #2 (aka Mrs. de Winter the Second, aka Mrs. de W2 - with about as much personality as a tax form) asking Crawley to describe Rebecca’s character. Crawley answers back with a vague, glowing physical description that makes #2 twitch and me roll my eyes. Yes, yes. Rebecca was beautiful. Maybe the moral of this movie is not to judge a woman's moral character solely by her good looks.

55:55 There’s a quick montage of a fashion magazine and crossfade to #2 dressed uncomfortably in a black dress with pearls. Eagle eyed observers may remember that this is the same outfit she promised Maxim she’d never wear.  [More]

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Wednesday
Apr152015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 2): Introducing Mrs. Danvers

For its 75th Anniversary, we continue our baton-passing recap of Alfred Hitchcock's only Best Picture winner Rebecca.

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca: Nathaniel introduced us to our No Name heroine (Joan Fontaine). While travelling as a companion to a wealthy older chocaholic named Mrs. Van Hopper, she meets a mysterious stranger with a name that drips of money, Maximilian de Winter (Sir Laurence Olivier). When her employer falls ill, Maxim and No Name take the opportunity to get to know each other better. Until one day...

Part 2 by abstew

27:00 Despite Mrs. Van Hopper's skepticism over Maxim and um...Joan Fontaine's marriage (we can't officially refer to her as "The Second Mrs. de Winter" just yet since ol' Maxxie hasn't put a ring on it), the two are off for a quickie nuptial: Monte Carlo-style. Which apparently means wearing your travel clothes, almost forgetting the official papers (Freudian slip, Maxim?), and having the ceremony performed by a member of ZZ Top. More...

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Tuesday
Apr142015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 1) Off to Manderley

A 75th Anniversary Special
Alfred Hitchcock's Best Picture winner Rebecca (1940), based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier, is 75 years old this month. To celebrate, Team Experience is experimenting with something entirely new: a baton pass viewing of sorts. We don't even know how it will turn out so we hope you'll stick with it and enjoy. Five of us will be watching Rebecca in shifts. So we each get about 26 minutes of it to write about. As your host, Nathaniel, it's my duty to start running when the gun goes off. In this case perhaps lighting an Olympic flame and starting to jog is a more fitting analogy?

Flames... Breathing.... on the side of Mrs Danvers face...

Part 1. By Nathaniel 

00:01 How I do love the MGM Lion roar. First some loud David O. Selznick fanfare in the form of a title card and then a Selznick pictures tag and later another Selznick credit. Guess who's paying the bills? And then a silhouette of trees, which hey, Isn't that how GWTW's title cards begin, too? Bragging much, Selznick?

Opening credits in old movies are always over so quickly. This one names only 35 people, and 5 of them are the writers. Can you imagine?

35 names wouldn't even cover the visual effects department credits on a remake of Rebecca from the fire sequence alone (this sentence was not intended to give Hollywood any ideas). Once Pandora's Box of Credits was unlocked, credits got longer and longer.

02:00 We begin on wrought-iron gates with one of the most famous of opening movie lines. 

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. 

(Something no one ever said about Lars von Trier's Manderlay.)

In her dream state opening monologue our protagonist (Joan Fontaine's Mrs de Winter) mentions the supernatural. She drifts like a spirit through those gates, winding through fog and trees until she conjures up a silhouette of Manderley, "secretive and silent," which is just as well because the lies begin immediately thereafter. She tells us that "Time could not mar the perfect symmetry of those walls" but that's the end of any notion of immortality. More...

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