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Found 19 results

  1. Hulu has wonderful digital-quality episodes of this wonderful series, but unfortunately, only has 30 of 39 first-season episodes. I'm not sure why, but I'm looking forward to seeing the rest if I can find them - from what I've seen so far, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is a superior series to "The Twilight Zone," and I say that as a Twilight Zone fan. All episode links are to the wonderful reference website, "The Hitchcock Zone" - in particular, to their "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" subsection, which contains all directors, writers, and actors. If you're a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, The Hitchcock Zone should be bookmarked on your laptop. Anytime someone is referenced in this thread for the very first time, a hyperlink is made; all subsequent references are accompanied by a number in parentheses, e.g., (4), which is the number of episodes they've been involved with up until that point (in any major sort of capacity - director, producer, writer, etc.) Until all 39 episodes are included in this thread, there will be some numbers skipped - for example, do a "Find," then a "Repeat Find" on the name James Neilson - you'll see that, since episode 29 is missing, he skips from the hyperlink (the first reference) to number (3). Season One (Oct 2, 1955 - Jun 24, 1956) Joan Harrison (39), a close friend of the Hitchcock family, was Associate Producer of all 39 Season One Episodes 1.1. - "Revenge" - Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Written by - Teleplay: Francis M. Cockrell (Writer of "Breakdown" on "Suspense," "The Expanding Human" on "The Outer Limits," 4 episodes of "Batman"), Story: Samuel Blas Featuring Ralph Meeker (Mike Hammer in "Kiss Me Deadly"), Vera Miles (Rose Balestrero in "The Wrong Man," Lila Crane in "Psycho") [The immediacy of the police car was a bit contrived (they were running out of time), but this is still a really powerful episode - with subject matter that is absolutely shocking considering it's over sixty-years old - and before it's over, you'll have your hands up to your face, saying, "Oh, *no*!"] 1.2. - "Premonition" - Directed by Robert Stevens (Directed 105 and Produced 102 episodes of "Suspense," Director of "Where is Everybody" and "Walking Distance" on "The Twilight Zone"), Written by Harold Swanton (Writer of 14 episodes of "The Whistler") Featuring John Forsythe (Charlie on "Charlie's Angels"), Warren Stevens, Cloris Leachman (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in "The Last Picture Show") [Although this was an extremely strong second episode (second episodes are notoriously weak, as people often have "one great idea" they use up for the pilot), "Premonition" has one of the worst fake piano playing sequences I've ever seen in Forsythe (supposedly) playing Chopin's Revolutionary Etude.] 3. - "Triggers in Leash" - Directed by Don Medford (Director of "To Trap a Spy"), Written by - Teleplay: Richard Carr (Writer of "The Riddler's False Notion" and "Death in Slow Motion" on "Batman"), Story: Allan Vaughan Elston (Writer of "Isle of Destiny") Starring: Gene Barry (Dr. Clayton Forrester in "The War of the Worlds"), Darren McGavin (Carl Kolchak on "Kolchak: The Night Stalker"), Ellen Corby (Grandma Esther Walton on "The Waltons") [A fun episode featuring three big-name actors, without going over-the-top in the least, or being condescending to the viewer. There is genuine tension here, relieved by a twist that turns out to be clever and funny, but only when the episode is over and you begin to breathe again.] 4. - "Don't Come Back Alive" - Directed by Robert Stevenson (Director of "Mary Poppins" and "The Love Bug"), Written by Robert C. Dennis (Writer of 4 episodes of "The Outer Limits," 4 episodes of "Batman," "Log 81: The Long Walk" on "Adam-12") Starring: Sidney Blackmer (3 episodes on "Suspense," William Lyons Selby in "One Hundred Days of the Dragon" on "The Outer Limits," Roman Castevet in "Rosemary's Baby") 5. - "Into Thin Air" - Directed by Don Medford (2), Written by - Teleplay: Marian B. Cockrell (Writer of 4 episodes of "Batman" (2)), Story: Alexander Woollcott (The inspiration for Sheridan Whiteside in "The Man Who Came to Dinner") Starring: Patricia Hitchcock (Alfred's Daughter, Barbara Morton in "Strangers on a Train") 6. - "Salvage" - Directed by Jus Addiss (Director of 3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (2)), Written by - Teleplay: Fred Freiberger and Richard Carr (2), Story: Fred Freiberger Featuring: Gene Barry (2), Nancy Gates (Martha Bradford in "Perry Mason's" "The Case of the Crooked Candle") 7. - "Breakdown" - Director: Alfred Hitchcock (2), Writer - Teleplay: Louis Pollock and Francis M. Cockrell (2) - Story: Louis Pollock Starring: Joseph Cotten ("Citizen Kane," "Gaslight," "The Third Man," etc.) 8. - "Our Cook's A Treasure" - Starring: Everett Sloan (Bernstein in "Citizen Kane"), Beulah Bondi ("Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "It's a Wonderful Life," etc.) Director: Robert Stevens (2) Writer: Teleplay, Robert C. Dennis (2) - Story, Dorothy L. Sayers 9. - "The Long Shot" - Starring: Peter Lawford (of "The Rat Pack") Director: Robert Stevenson (2) Writer: Teleplay, Marian B. Cockrell - Story, Alexander Woolcott 10. - "The Case of Mr. Pelham" - Starring: Tom Ewell (Richard Sherman in the play, "The Seven Year Itch") Director: Alfred Hitchcock (3) Writer: Teleplay, Francis M. Cockrell (3) - Story, Anthony Armstrong 11 -. "Guilty Witness" - Starring: Judith Evelyn (Miss Lonelyhearts in "Rear Window"), Kathleen Maguire (Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actress as Leona Samish in "The Time of the Cuckoo"), Joe Mantell (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor as Angie in "Marty") Director: Robert Stevens (3) Writer: Teleplay, Robert C. Dennis (3) - Story, Morris Hersham 12. - "Santa Claus and the 10th Avenue Kid" - Starring: Barry Fitzgerald (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Father Fitzgibbon in "Going my Way") Director: Don Weis Writer: Teleplay, Marian B. Cockrell (2) - Story, Margaret Cousins 13. - "The Cheney Vase" - Starring: Patricia Collinge (Birdie Hubbard in "The Little Foxes" - Premiered Feb 15, 1939 at the National Theater, Washington, DC), Darren McGavin (2) Director: Robert Stevens (4) Writer: Robert Blees 14. - "A Bullet for Baldwin" - Starring: John Qualen (Muley in "The Grapes of Wrath," Earl Williams in "His Girl Friday," Norwegian resistance member in "Casablanca"), Sebastian Cabot (Giles French in "Family Affair") Director: Jus Addiss (2) Writer: Teleplay, Eustace Cockrell and Francis M. Cockrell (4) - Story, Joseph Ruscoll 15. "The Big Switch" - Directed by Don Weis (2), Written by - Teleplay: Richard Carr (3), Story: Cornell Woolrich ("It Had To Be Murder" (source for "Rear Window"), "Goodbye, New York" on "Suspense") Starring: George Mathews (Sergeant Ruby in "The Eve of St. Mark"), Beverly Michaels (Betty in "Pickup") 16. - "You Got To Have Luck" - Starring: John Cassavetes (Academy Award Nominations for Best Supporting Actor as Private Victor Franko in "The Dirty Dozen," Best Original Screenplay for "Faces," and Best Director for "A Woman under the Influence"), Marisa Pavan (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress as Rosa delle Rose in "The Rose Tattoo," married to Jean-Pierre Aumont for 45 years) Director: Robert Stevens (5) Writer: Teleplay, Eustace Cockrell, Francis M. Cockrell - Story, S.R. Ross 17. - "The Older Sister" - Directed by Robert Stevens (6), Written by: Teleplay - Robert C. Dennis (4), Story - Lillian de la Torre (Writer of "Dr. Sam Johnson: Detector") Featuring Joan Lorring (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress as Bessy Watty in "The Corn is Green"), Carmen Matthews (Vinne in "Static" on "The Twilight Zone" (xx), Mrs. Boatwright in "Sounder"), Polly Rowles (Helen Donaldson on "The Defenders") 18. - "Shopping for Death" - Directed by Robert Stevens (7), Written by Ray Bradbury (Writer of "Farenheit 451," "The Martian Chronicles," and "I Sing the Body Electric") Starring: Jo Van Fleet (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress as Cathy Ames in "East of Eden"), Robert Harris (Seth Bushwell in "Peyton Place"), John Qualen (2) 19. - "The Derelicts" - Directed by Robert Stevenson (3), Written by: Teleplay - Robert C. Dennis (5), Story - Terence Maples (Writer of "The Circuit" on "National Velvet") Featuring Robert Newton (Long John Silver in "Treasure Island"), Philip Reed (Kiing Toranshah in "Harum Scarum"), Peggy Knudsen (Diedre in "A Stolen Life"), Johnny Silver (Benny Southstreet in "Guys and Dolls"), Robert Foulk (Mr. Wheeler in "Green Acres"), Cyril Delavanti (3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (xx))
  2. Note: As of this writing, a high-quality version of this film can be found for free at this URL: http://ffilms.org/marnie-1964/. For those trying to find Hitchcock's cameo, this is the *one* time it will be impossible to miss. *** SPOILER ALERT *** Okay, there's something about "Marnie" Edgar (Tippi Hedren) that's more than meets the eye - instead of simply being a shrewd, serial bandit which is obvious from the very beginning, you have two very disturbing scenes in the first thirty minutes: the "dream scene" at her mother's (Louise Latham's) house, which culminates with her mother, Bernice Edgar, taking a very "Hitchcockian" stroll back down the stairs, and the "spilled red ink" scene at Mark Rutland's (Sean Connery's) office. The viewer should also bear in mind that, at this point, there isn't necessarily a reason to believe that Marnie knows that Mark Rutland is a major client of Sidney Strutt's (Martin Gabel's), from whom she stole almost $10,000 to start the movie - but she *might* know, as she's obviously a very resourceful woman, and might have deduced this while working for Mr. Strutt. Sean Connery does not play fools - there's something a *little* too easy about Marnie bearing witness to this five-digit safe combination in the desk drawer of Rutland's office - they apparently had the perfect candidate right before Marnie interviewed - could Rutland have suspected something from the very start? It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I've learned not to try and outguess Hitchcock (that's the surest way to make a fool of yourself). And yet, he gives her a paper to type about arboreal predators in the Brazilian rainforest, making it very clear that most predators are women - we're being messed with. Master of Suspense bastard! I wonder if this scene of Rutland kissing Marnie had any influence on "Eyes Wide Shut": 1'30" into this 2'10"-long movie, I am as confused as I've ever been with any Hitchcock film - "The Wrong Man," this isn't: I have no idea why anybody is doing anything that they're doing. The "obvious solution," which is being planted into our heads, is too obvious - and it would *really* make this movie dated, whereas one of Hitchcock's trademarks are a timeless quality to most of his works. Every hunch I'd thought of may have been overturned by the question, "Are you still in the mood for killing?" Hitchcock is like Bach: In a Bach Prelude, Fugue, or pretty much anything else, there aren't any superfluous notes (think about it after hearing the question asked (*)). Well, the "obvious solution" happened - with a twist to the twist, of course. I was getting ready to say this was, at best, an average picture, and certainly a sub-average picture for Hitchcock. After having watched the entire film, I still think it's a sub-par Hitchcock film, but I think "Marnie" is a decent motion picture, worth seeing if you're a Hitchcock fan; not necessarily worth seeing if you're looking for true greatness. This is a good film; it's just not a great one. Not having seen either "Frenzy" or "Family Plot," I'm wondering if "The Birds" was Hitchcock's last great movie (Edit: I forgot about "Torn Curtain" and "Topaz," neither of which I've seen either, but for both of which I have greater optimism.) And the final question tonight on Jeopardy: What attracted Sean Connery to Marnie, especially given the thefts? I can see a physical attraction, but to take it as far as he did simply doesn't make any sense at all. (*) This unanswered question remains one of the great unanswered mysteries of this film.
  3. I thought I'd seen "The Birds" in recent years, but I was wrong - I didn't even realize it was shot in color (emphasizing an array of greens). There were lots of "animal horror" movies during the 1950s (I'm thinking of "Tarantula" as I type this), but "The Birds" may have been the first to place abnormal animal behavior in a completely normal situation (if not the first film, then the first influential film).. When thinking about the things it influenced, I immediately thought of "The Walking Dead," which was, of course, influenced by the original zombie film from 1968, "Night of the Living Dead." If this is all true, then if it wasn't for Alfred Hitchcock, there wouldn't be any such thing as the Zombie Apocalypse. Mar 28, 2016 - "The Birds and Night of the Living Dead" by Dawn Keetley on horrorhomerun.com
  4. I just finished watching "Psycho" for the third or fourth time - enough so that I was able to study details instead of worrying about the plot. People can talk about "Citizen Kane," or "Vertigo," or <pick your choice> as "Best Ever," but for me, personally, since "Psycho" scared the holy hell out of me when I was about twelve-years old (introduced by, of all people, Count Gore de Vol - I guess I first saw it in 1973), this is a film that has appealed to my most basal childhood terrors, and also still resonates with me as a 57-year-old man. I suppose the ending is now dated, since *everyone* knows about "what happened," and also the concepts are no longer novel with the audience - in that respect, I can see "Vertigo" remaining fresher in the public eye - but for me, I might have to pick "Psycho" as my all-time favorite movie. Maybe. Here are a couple of interesting details that are in no way spoilers: In Norman's bedroom, there sits on the turntable, of all things, Beethoven's Eroica Symphony. Why? Maybe the proximity of the word, which actually means "Hero" and not "Erotica," but if anyone knows for sure, please chime in. When Norman first realizes "what happened," he recoils in horror, knocking a picture of a stuffed bird off the wall and onto the floor. The penultimate person you see in the film, opening and closing the door, is an uncredited Ted Knight: Blink, and you'll miss him:
  5. I have seen a lot of Alfred Hitchcock films, and "Vertigo" is one of my favorites. I can watch this movie over and over, and find something new and interesting each time. My most recent viewing was in the National Gallery of Art East building. I was delighted to see a restored version of this film on the big screen. "Vertigo" has everything I want in a Hitchcock film: suspense, romance, interesting cinematography and a fantastic score. Kim Novak beautifully embodies the iconic Hitchcock heroine--cool, blonde and sophisticated. Jimmy Stewart is wonderful as Scottie, the retired police detective with a fear of heights. Critics have written that the way Scottie objectifies Novak's character is emblematic of the way Hitchcock viewed women, making this one of his most personal films. SPOILERS FOLLOW! I live in the San Francisco Bay area, so I also enjoyed seeing the City and surrounding areas depicted in "Vertigo." There is so much to appreciate in this film, but the heartbreaking ending is what resonates most with me. "Vertigo" depicts the objectification of a manipulative and manipulated woman who, in the end, becomes sympathetic and real. The viewer can't help but root for their fatally flawed love to succeed. It is heart-wrenching to watch these two people, who love each other so much, in unbearable pain over what cannot be, and what cannot be undone.
  6. "Strangers on a Train," is regarded by many critics as one of the top five or six films by Alfred Hitchcock. Roger Ebert, in this review, says only three or four Hitchcock films are superior to it. Having seen most of the other films lauded as his "best," as well as some more obscure Hitchcock movies from his earlier days, I wanted to see for myself how this film stacked up against the others. The movie, based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith, tells the story of two strangers who meet on a train and discuss "swapping" murders. While I found this film flawed, there were some things I really enjoyed about it. ***SPOILERS FOLLOW*** There is stunning camera work in this film. I love the shot of the shadows as Bruno follows Miriam and her beaus through the "Tunnel of Love." Miriam's scream, as they exit the tunnel, enhances the suspense even more. Miriam's demise, shown through the reflection of her discarded eyeglasses, is brilliantly done. This is Hitchcock at his finest. When Bruno arrives at Guy's gate with news of what he has done, we see his face obscured by the shadow of the gate, while Guy stands on the other side, fully lit by a street light. Once Guy hears the news, and begins to feel complicit in the crime, he joins Bruno on the other side of the gate, both of their faces masked by prison-like bars. Another wonderfully shot scene is when Guy spots Bruno in the crowd at this tennis match. All of the spectators' heads are moving in unison, watching the match, except one. The camera locks onto Bruno's face, staring creepily ahead--at Guy, and at us. Another fun thing about this film is that much of the story takes place in the D.C. area, with several beautiful shots of the city. The plot, however, is quite implausible, which made it hard for me to get emotionally involved in the story. Some of the acting is top-notch, including a fine performance by the director's daughter, Patricia Hitchcock. Laura Elliott (also known as Kasey Rogers) is great as the unlikeable Miriam, and Robert Walker does a fine job portraying the creepy Bruno. Ruth Roman, on the other hand, a gives a one-note performance as Guy's girlfriend, displaying her full range of emotions by wiggling her lower jaw and exposing her bottom teeth. The film is melodramatic and dated, but I think any fan of filmmaking and of Alfred Hitchcock will find some things to enjoy in "Strangers on a Train."
  7. With fresh articles about it in the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company, and having just returned from my third visit, I figured this would be a good time to talk about “Sleep No More”— quite likely the most fun thing I’ve ever paid money to do. For the kid in all of us, what is the most frustrating aspect of going to the theater? You watch a compelling story unfold in front of you, but you’re physically separated from it — trapped in a seat for several hours looking at a distant stage with well-defined boundaries. “Sleep No More,” an award-winning immersive experience in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, does away with that limitation and pays many more dividends. Notice I said “experience” and not “play” or “show.” Words like that don’t do justice to “Sleep No More,” which is in a class of its own. The technical term for what they’re doing is “site-specific promenade performance”; some might call it “choose-your-own-adventure theater.” There’s no proscenium. Everyone who attends creates his or her own individual journey. You go where you want. You see what you want. You touch what you want. Inside, it’s otherworldly and dreamlike. The story is based on “Macbeth” with numerous references to Hitchcock films, most notably “Rebecca.” You’ll encounter murder, madness, witchcraft, and more. Will it be in a ballroom, bedchamber, hospital ward, high street, forest, chapel, speakeasy, or techno rave? You’ll feel as if you’ve gotten lost in another reality, thanks to the talented performers and atmosphere created by the music, lighting, and elaborate detail of seemingly endless sets. The drama of “Sleep No More” unfolds within the fictitious McKittrick Hotel, which encompasses several multi-story buildings on West 27th Street. For three hours, you become a “guest” in the hotel, where you are free to explore about 100 rooms of various sizes spread out across 100,000 square feet on five or six floors. You can follow characters who will lead you to new scenes, or you can venture out on your own to find where the action is. Audience members wear white masks to set themselves apart from the actors — which also grants the gift of anonymity. We have British theater company Punchdrunk to thank for creating “Sleep No More,” and the New York incarnation (its third) is now six years old with no signs of slowing down. In 2012 and 2013, respectively, the McKittrick added Gallow Green, a verdant rooftop bar they convert to an enclosed space called The Lodge during winter months, and The Heath, a classy looking restaurant that doubles as an intimate music performance venue. Start your evening in either spot to build some momentum before you go to the main event, where the Manderley Bar, a cocktail lounge with live entertainment, is also available to help you acclimate. Admission prices vary depending on the day and time you go but average in the low $100s. It’s quite a bargain when you compare the bang-for-your-buck here to the exorbitant prices of Broadway shows. And speaking of Broadway — when Leslie Odom Jr. concluded his tenure as Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” how could he top that? He did a guest stint at “Sleep No More.” So have have many other celebrities, such as Neil Patrick Harris, who said that the first time he attended, he "was euphoric, literally buzzing on a molecular level." You never know who could be behind the masks of your fellow hotel guests. Due to increased popularity, the performances have tended to get more crowded over time — to the point of diminishing the experience. However, there are late shows on Friday nights that don’t usually sell out, which makes one’s visit much more personal and rewarding. As the articles linked in the first paragraph say, this type of entertainment is catching on. But for now, there’s nothing out there on the spectacular scale of “Sleep No More.” And nothing more addictive.
  8. "Rebecca," Alfred Hitchcock's first American project, is a Gothic tale filled with suspense. There is fine acting, beautiful cinematography and more twists and turns than your favorite roller-coaster. I wanted to see this film because I have watched a number of movies lately starring Joan Fontaine, and this is considered by many to be her finest work. "Rebecca" is the only Alfred Hitchcock-directed film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It is based on the 1938 novel of the same name written by Daphne du Maurier. Filmed in black-and-white, "Rebecca" has a darkly brooding, mysterious feel to it. Fontaine is perfect as the naively sweet second Mrs. De Winter, living in the shadow of her predecessor, Rebecca. Fontaine and Laurence Olivier have wonderful chemistry in this film. All of the actors are top-notch, but Dame Judith Anderson is simply unforgettable in her role as the demented housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers. "Rebecca" is a sweeping, captivating picture that every lover of classic films should see.
  9. *** SPOILER ALERT *** After watching the indescribably wonderful documentary, "Hitchcock/Truffaut," last night, I leapt into the film "The Wrong Man," which is the one film by Alfred Hitchcock about which then-critic Jean-Luc Godard wrote his longest-ever piece of criticism - Both Godard and François Truffaut, pioneers of the "French New Wave" of Directors, were then working as critics for the legendary French publication, "Cahiers du Cinéma." so this film fits right in with the Hitchcock/Truffaut documentary, and was mentioned in it as well. This is the only Hitchcock film where Hitchcock himself came out and addressed the audience at the beginning, assuring them that it was a true story, and that the facts that went into the tale were just as fantastic as most of what he's written about as fiction in the past. "The Wrong Man" stars Henry Fonda as a respectable, but struggling musician in New York City, Manny Balestrero, and his wife, Rose, played by Vera Miles. Rose has an impacted set of wisdom teeth, which can only be fixed to the tune of $300, which is money the two don't have - the next day, Manny goes into the bank and asks to borrow on Rose's insurance policy, but three female tellers are certain that he is the same man who came in recently and robbed the bank - they pacified him, and told him to come back in with his wife, while putting the authorities on full alert. In a scene which came shortly afterwards, I was certain I recognized the lady who played Manny's mother, Esther Minciotti, and sure enough, Minciotti had played the wonderfully endearing role as Marty's (Ernest Bourgnine's) mother in the 1955 Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, "Marty." If you watch the Hitchcock/Truffaut documentary first, you'll remember very well the scene in which Manny first gets thrown into his jail cell. He looks around - not at the locked door - but at all different angles, and it gives the viewer a real sense of being locked up. This is his very first experience in jail, and his fear is palpable. Halfway through this movie, I am awestruck at how realistic it is - there's no fluffing anything up; it's as if we're watching a real story unfold (which we are). I'm a little surprised that Manny is so stoic about everything, but he seems completely shell-shocked to this point - almost like he's unable to get hold of his facilities. Hitchcock *really* takes his time setting this plot up - Manny doesn't even meet his attorney, Frank O'Connor (a real attorney, played by Anthony Quayle), until about two-thirds of the film is over. Fortunately, O'Connor - seemingly a decent man - accepts the case. Some interesting notes: Shortly after meeting with O'Connor, Manny and Rose run into two giggly girls living at an apartment: One of them is a twelve-year-old Tuesday Weld (of "Looking for Mr, Goodbar"), and the other is an eleven-year-old Bonnie Franklin (of "One Day at a Time"). It's noteworthy how many known actors and actresses are in this film - when Rose has a mental breakdown, she sees a psychiatrist, Dr. Bannay, and it's none other than Werner Klemperer - Colonel Klink on "Hogan's Heroes." During Manny's trial, one of the jurors is Barney Martin (Jerry Seinfeld's father on "Seinfeld"), and finally, Harry Dean Stanton (Brett in "Alien") plays a Department of Corrections employee, though I couldn't find him when I looked. I believe none of the people mentioned in this paragraph are credited, and for some, it's the debut film of their career. This is about the closest thing to being a "non-fiction" film I've seen without actually being one - it's "based on a true story," and is so faithful to it that it doesn't seem right labeling it a "crime movie" or a "suspense movie." It's clear that Hitchcock took great pains to stay as true to the base story as he possibly could have, so I'm going to go ahead and label this movie "non-fiction" even though that may not be technically correct. A magnificent film. Apr 17, 2013 - "History of Film Criticism: Godard on 'The Wrong Man'" on torontofilmreview.blogspot.com
  10. I wasn't sure whether to post "Hitchcock/Truffaut" in film or literature, because I highly recommend both the book and the documentary about the book. I bought a paperback version of "Hitchcock/Truffaut" for a friend last summer, and when it arrived, I grabbed his copy and read it cover to cover for about four straight hours. If you are a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, Francois Truffaut or filmmaking in general, this book is a must-read. The book is based on a 1962 week-long conversation between Hitchcock and the then 30-year-old Truffaut. You get a real sense of both men, their filmmaking style and the art of filmmaking when you read this book. The documentary, which is readily available to stream online now, is based on the exact same conversation from 1962, but it is very different from the book. Because both directors are no longer living, there are numerous interviews in the film with other iconic movie makers, including Martin Scorsese and Richard Linklater. All share how Hitchcock's groundbreaking filmmaking style influences them and the movies they make. This is an engaging film that any fan of the cinema should not miss.
  11. Considering how many threads we have on both our Film Forum and our Television Forum by the Master of Suspense, the great Alfred Hitchcock, it's absurd that he doesn't have his own thread. To date, we have threads for: 1927 - "The Lodger - a Story of the London Fog" - (Ivor Novello) 1934 - "The Man Who Knew Too Much" - (Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre) 1940 - "Rebecca" (Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine) 1941 - "Suspicion" - (Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine) 1943 - "Shadow of a Doubt" - (Joseph Cotten) 1946 - "Notorious" - (Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains) 1948 - "Rope" - (James Stewart) 1954 - "Rear Window" - (James Stewart, Grace Kelly) 1955 - "To Catch a Thief" - (Cary Grant, Grace Kelly) 1956 - "The Wrong Man" - (Henry Fonda) 1956 - "The Man Who Knew Too Much" - (James Stewart, Doris Day) 1958 - "Vertigo" - (James Stewart, Kim Novak) 1960 - "Psycho" - (Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Janet Leigh) 1963 - "The Birds" (Rod Taylor, Tippi Hendren) 1964 - "Marnie" - (Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren) 1955-1962 - "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (very much of a work in progress) 1962-1965 - "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (this thread will be split into two one day) 2015 - "Hitchcock/Truffaut" (Documentary about the 1962 interview between the two directors) And, for your amusement: Alfred Hitchcock, Lee Meriwether (Miss America 1955!), and two other guests on "What's My Line?"
  12. I decided to watch "Notorious," after reading that it is French director Francois Truffaut's favorite Hitchcock film. Truffaut calls Notorious the quintessential Hitchcock film in his wonderful book, Hitchcock, which I highly recommend for any fan of the master of suspense. Perhaps because of Truffaut's high praise I was expecting too much. I enjoyed the film, but I didn't love it. I am a huge Cary Grant fan, and Ingrid Bergman is a fine actress, so I thought I might agree with Truffaut's assessment that this film is the embodiment of the Hitchcock genre. Maybe my disappointment stemmed from watching a poor quality video on YouTube. There were many buffering issues that took away from my enjoyment of the film. There are some wonderful moments in the film, however. It is well-known for the two-and-a-half minute kiss. At the time, American film studios forbade kisses longer than three seconds. Hitchcock got around this rule by having his stars break away from their liplock for a few seconds, talk and walk a bit, while still embracing and nuzzling, and then resume smooching.
  13. After viewing the 1956 version of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much," I decided to watch the 1934 film by the same name, also directed by Hitchcock. Not satisfied with his earlier work, Hitchcock decided to remake the film. While the basic plot remains the same, I was surprised at just how different the two films are. I liked parts of both films, but loved neither. Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day are endearing in the 1956 version in their roles as a Midwestern doctor and his wife on a Moroccan holiday. But the film felt too long as it went on-and-on beyond what I considered the climax of the movie. *** MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW *** The 1934 version felt too long as well, with an unsatisfying shootout scene near the end that felt oddly out of place in the film. There was more humor in this version (the dental office scene in this film being more entertaining than the taxidermist scene in the 1956 version), but there were a lot of flaws throughout the film which made me understand why Hitchcock would want a mulligan.
  14. A recent discussion about "Vertigo" on this website made me think about watching "Rear Window" again. I saw this film years ago, and I loved it. I watched it again last night with the same result. This film is regarded by many critics as one of Hitchcock's best. It stars James Stewart as a world famous photographer sidelined with a broken leg. As he sits in his apartment recovering from his injury, he becomes a voyuer, passing the hours watching the lives of his neighbors unfold through their rear windows. The result is a fascinating look at human nature, and our desire to watch. Like Stewart's character, Jeff, we are drawn into the lives of these strangers, without knowing their names or in some cases, ever hearing them speak. Love, marriage, fidelity, success, failure and of course (it is Hitchcock after all) murder--all of these subjects are put on display, simply by allowing us to sit and stare out of the window with Jeff. Grace Kelly is luminous as Jeff's girlfriend, Lisa Fremont. A successful fashion model who is madly in love with him, she appears in one gorgeous dress after another, begging for Jeff's attention, but failing to draw his gaze away from the window with her more than ample charms. Hitchcock films Lisa so that we are seduced by her, even when Jeff is not. She faces the camera as she kisses his neck, begging him to pay attention to her. Her Edith Head wardrobe is divine. Anyone remotely interested in 1950s fashions will love seeing the frocks Kelly so beautifully wears. Jeff ignoring Lisa for his voyeuristic pursuits makes this film feel relevant in 2016. Who hasn't seen groups of people sitting together, heads down, scrolling through their Facebook feeds or reading the news on their phones? Would they be happier if they looked up and talked to each other? Or, consider the concert-goers, taking endless photos and posting them on social media. Would they enjoy the performance more if they pocketed their phones and lost themselves in the music? In 1954, Hitchcock was making a statement about people watching films and, perhaps, TV. Think about how much more pervasive passive voyeurism has become in the past 60 years. "Rear Window" succeeds on many levels. It is a story of romance and mystery. There is a great deal of suspense in this film as it unfolds, all extremely well done by the master. If you haven't seen "Rear Window," I highly recommend that you do.
  15. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** In one of the very first scenes of "To Catch a Thief," a woman yells out her window that her jewels have been stolen, and you're immediately transported to Nice - this great webpage on the.hitchcock.zone has all the locations used in filming the movie. In that first scene, the use of the black cat going up-and-down, to-and-fro on the rooftop in the night is Alfred Hitchcock's tongue-in-cheek way of representing the cat burglar, John Robie (Cary Grant), who owns a black cat. When Robie visits his old acquaintance's restaurant, the restaurateur's daughter, Danielle (Brigitte Auber) motorboats him away to safety, all the while mocking him with allusions to cats ("rubbing his fur the wrong way," etc.). Grace Kelly can look rather fetching: <--- The filly from Philly, berried in Grant's tomb. And if you're wondering what that gorgeous car is they're driving, it's a 1955 Sunbeam Alpine Series III Classic Drive. At the end of this telephone call, Bertani (Charles Vanel) and Robie both say what sounds like "Bonjour," which I've never heard in my life as a way to say goodbye - I think this is a mistake, and a big one considering Vanel is French and would know better: Now, why would M. Foussard (Jean Martinelli) want to kill Robie, hmm? I think I've got this one figured out: A little *too* obvious at this point? Then again, there are only 17 minutes left in the movie. There's a *knee* that went up behind Robie at the climax! See that gray lump on the left? Surprisingly, this is not on the IMDB "Goofs" list. Very, very basic question (and I don't rule out the possibility that I'm missing something): If Robie wanted to prove his innocence, why didn't he simply confide in the chief of police, and agree to secretly leave the area for a week or two? If a crime happened during that time, he was, by definition, innocent (assuming he didn't have an accomplice).
  16. Since I recently watched "The Maltese Falcon," I decided to have a go at "Suspicion," both films being from 1941. The glass of milk scene was my favorite part of the film - it was Hitchcock at his best. *** MINOR SPOILER FOLLOWS *** I didn't realize until after the movie that Cary Grant's menace is developed by Hitchcock by never having him walking into a scene; he merely "appears" - I'm not sure if that hold true for the entire film, but apparently, it happens quite a bit. Grant's performance was terrific - both childish and increasingly creepy as the film progressed. Will he or won't he?
  17. "The Lodger - a Story of the London Fog" (1927) is the first silent Hitchcock I've seen - I saw it because I heard him describing some of his techniques in an interview. I've read that Hitchcock had a "thing" for blondes, and was sort of (I don't want to misquote, because I don't exactly remember) "kinky-dominant" - if true, that trait comes right out at the beginning of "The Lodger," as a murderer known as "The Avenger" kills only young blondes, and only on Tuesday evenings. At around the 4:27 mark, when the word "MUR DER" is alternating in color between blue and white (I'm watching the film on YouTube, as shown below), the piercing music sounds very related to the opening theme of "Psycho" - clearly it was influenced by this, at least partially, although I have *no* idea if this is the original score - it sounds awfully modern. As a side note, it's remarkable how modern silent films can seem when they've been digitally renovated - with the use of color filters, and modern music (this may or may not be modern music), it's not much more of a "foreign experience" than watching a "foreign film with subtitles," and (as you'll see if you watch the film below) really feels almost contemporary to today. If this is the original score, then it's really compelling - the part where the lodger asks to have the photos removed is accompanied by a sort-of hybrid between Ravel's Bolero and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scherazade - it's definitely an "Arabian" theme, and seems to get more intense as time goes by. However, at the 23-minute mark, it becomes acutely, painfully obvious that this is a modern score, and while this score may appeal to a younger generation, opening up access to this classic suspense-thriller to a certain segment of a younger audience who might not finish it otherwise, it probably repels more viewers than it reels in. The comments in the YouTube video (below) reveal a depth of scorn for this particular moment that is almost universal. The score was okay, even powerful and very good, up until this point; but this is where it really jumped the shark. And my goodness, 27-minutes into the movie, and we're suffering through the same music. Let it end, please. One night, near midnight, the landlord, Mrs Bunting, is awakened by the sound of the lodger descending the stairs, and it's a Tuesday night. I saw an interview with Hitchcock where he said he used the lodger's hand on the rail to show that he was descending the staircase (it's shot from a high, top angle), and with sound, he would have probably chosen to use the sounds of footsteps instead. He went on to say that he favored color over black and white - this was a confident director who did not resist change; he embraced it, and went with it. There was one scene, lasting only a few seconds, that showed the lodger pacing back-and-forth, and the landlords down below, looking up at the ceiling, hearing the pacing. Hitchcock had a glass floor constructed so the viewer can "see" what they were "hearing." This near-obsessive level to detail is the difference between good and great. The landlord family begins to strongly suspect - and for good reason - that the lodger is The Avenger, and is terrified that he is forming a romance with their daughter, Daisy. The next Tuesday night, the lodger and Daisy sneak away on an unannounced date - of course, this *had* to be on a Tuesday. The entire family is thrown into a panic. Joe, Daisy's ex-boyfriend who cared for her *much* more than she cared for him, hunted them down, and confronted the lodger. This backfired in more ways than one, as we would soon find out. Joe, officially assigned to investigate The Avenger, shows up with two police officers and a search warrant, and goes through the lodger's room, including a locked cabinet. When they find a bag, filled with incriminating evidence, things go from bad to worse, and the lodger escapes, with handcuffs on. He ominously tells Daisy to meet him under "the lamp." Several minutes later, Daisy sneaks out to meet him, and the terrified family realizes she's gone. The lodger had an alibi, but people refused to believe it, and he was in big, big trouble - especially as a mob of people went after him, and he became stuck on an iron fence in his handcuffs, getting beaten. For the proper ending, it's best if you watch the film for yourself. I loved this movie, and in many ways it showed an immature Hitchcock, who, in my eyes, is an immature genius. Why this film isn't more famous is beyond me, and I'm *so* glad I saw it. Yes, it's somewhat straightforward, in Hitchcock terms, but it's still a great movie. I would *love* to hear some opinions of others who have seen this film. It's probably available with the original score, but if you can tolerate the periods of modern music, this version is not bad at all. And it's free!
  18. "Rope," Hitchcock's first Technicolor film, was an experiment of sorts for the director. The action takes place in real time, edited to appear as a single, continuous shot through the use of long takes. This movie is based on a play of the same name, and this filming technique makes the viewer feel as if they are watching a play rather than a film. *** SPOILER ALERT! *** "Rope" is the tale of two young roomnates who strangle a former classmate minutes before they host a dinner party. The corpse is stuffed into a large chest, on which they decide to serve their meal to their guests. The men had no issues with the deceased; they merely wanted to murder for murder's sake. Among the guests at the dinner party are the dead boy's father and fiancee. James Stewart plays the young men's prep school housemaster, who eventually unravels the mystery. John Dall is outstanding as the arrogant Brandon Shaw, who thinks commiting the perfect murder makes him superior to other men. Constance Collier gives a delightful performance as the dead man's aunt. James Stewart seems miscast in his role, and Farley Granger overacts on occasion as the nervous pianist. There is, however, a wonderful scene with Granger playing the piano while Stewart's character questions him. The metronome ticks faster and faster while the music becomes increasingly dissonant, creating a palpable sense of terror and suspense.
  19. I watched this film recently, and enjoyed it while at the same time, thought it didn't represent what I "normally" think about Alfred Hitchcock as a Director. A friend and I recently watched Hitchcock being interviewed, and he acknowledged (at that time) that this was his favorite film, and we figured out he was referring to "in terms of technical, cinematic aspects" - remember, this is the era of "Citizen Kane" (1941), which seems very dated, and in parts almost boring, but in the early 1940s, some of the cinematic devices used were groundbreaking, and Hitchcock was undoubtedly proud of incorporating modern cinematographic technique into "Shadow of a Doubt. I'd like to jump up-and-down, screaming, 'Watch 'Shadow of a Doubt!'", but I recommend this film for people wanting to peel a layer off of Hitchcock's media-bound reputation, helping to expose him for more of an avant-garde director than he's given credit for being - no, Hitchcock isn't avant-garde but the man wasn't some formulaic weaver of yarns, either - he had plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and used them.
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