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Found 32 results

  1. Why hadn't I seen "No Country for Old Men" before ?! As entertainment, this was pretty darned intense, and very, very well-done. As art, I need to think about it some more, but I think there's a lot to extract from this film. I don't like the sudden, undramatic loss of the anti-protagonist, but there must be a reason for this.
  2. I just watched SE2 EP2 of "Black Mirror," entitled "White Bear." It was the single-most intense thing I've ever seen, TV or movie. If you don't mind not sleeping, and feeling sick all the way down to your soul, then watch it on Netflix, and don't read ANYTHING about either the series, or the episode, before you do. White Bear on Netflix --- SE4 EP1 is the greatest tribute to Star Trek: The Original Series I've yet seen - this, while maintaining its own identity and sense of purpose: It is magnificent. --- So far, I've watched six episodes of this, and it's the best TV show I've ever seen - better than Breaking Bad, better than anything.
  3. *** MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW *** As a "companion pre-piece" to "No Country for Old Men" (2004) I watched (for the very first time) "Blood Simple" (1987), and I can sure see how one influenced the other. The difference being that "Blood Simple" is almost - perhaps is - a very, *very* dark comedy, in the tradition of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors," although "Comedy of Errors" is a farce, and "Blood Simple" is a carefully crafted, methodically worked, mistaken-assumption story that is so subtle that the audience, at times, also makes mistaken assumptions. I don't much care for the term "Neo-Noir," but in both of these Coen films, it's a very fitting description (I think I groused about the term's overuse in "The Usual Suspects," which just doesn't meet the requirements in my eyes). "Blood Simple" is so improbable that it *could have* fallen into farce, but it didn't, and the fact that it didn't shows you're being led along by two master filmmakers. The Coen brothers are positively brilliant, and I've always had "Barton Fink" on my all-time greatest films list - I need to watch that again. The ending of "Blood Simple" was as riveting, engrossing, and shocking as any ending I can think of that I've seen, and to say anything more about it (at least without a spoiler alert) would do the reader a great disservice. It is a monumentally great ending. And I have never seen a Coen film that I haven't liked - I've only seen perhaps half of them, so they're not off the hook in terms of batting 1.000, but they just may be my favorite living filmmakers when you consider their entire body of work. "Blood Simple," if you haven't seen it, is a *great* movie, and it's unbelievable that it was a "low-budget" film - it doesn't come across that way at all. If you loved "No Country for Old Men," you owe it to yourself to watch the Coen film that started it all. Superb!
  4. Remembering the wonderful Burt Reynolds, I watched "Deliverance" last night for about the fifth time - I can't get enough of this movie, which is about the ultimate in "guy buddy movies." All four actors have comparably important roles, and both Ronny Cox and Ned Beatty made their major film debuts with "Deliverance" (both of those links should be of interest to you). James Dickey is an outstanding author, and made an important cameo in this film towards the end. I've always enjoyed this poem by Dickey, entitled "Falling" - you can read it in several minutes, and it will leave an impact on you. I think it's so romantic that Burt Reynolds, until his dying day, maintained that Sally Field was "the love of his life," even though it was an unrequited love - he truly loved her. If you haven't watched "Deliverance," do yourself a favor, and watch it, start-to-finish - it's a wonderful movie, and I could easily see it going on someone's "All-Time Favorite Film" list, even though it might not be "The Greatest Film Ever Made."
  5. 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))
  6. A Clockwork Orange is great but I can only see it once, I'm afraid. I read the book first in a Lit class in college. The movie is a chilling adaptation! For Kubrick I prefer Dr Strangelove, Spartacus, Paths of Glory, Barry Lyndon. You wouldn't believe it but I have never seen Full Metal Jacket or 2001: A Space Odyssey! I don't know HOW but I haven't! I am sure I will, and it won't be on a cell phone!
  7. 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
  8. 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:
  9. "First Blood" may be my favorite of the original "action-adventure" pictures featuring the lone anti-hero against the mob. We've all seen "First Blood," but Sylvester Stallone (who plays John Rambo) draws an interesting parallel between "Rambo" and "Frankenstein": From Amazon X-Ray: "Stallone compares John Rambo to the monster of Doctor Frankenstein, and Colonel Trautman to The Doctor, in the respect that Rambo is a war machine monster created by America [Sam Trautman is named after Uncle Sam] to do its bidding, but then he escapes and runs amok, but also wants to fit into a society who shuns him, and Colonel Trautman was basically instrumental in making Rambo into what he is and feels remorse for how he turned out and does what he can to help make things right." *** SPOILER ALERT *** Don't click on either of these if you haven't seen "First Blood" or "Mulholland Drive" It's startling how much Rambo's jump-scare knife attack against Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) appears to be a direct, visual influence for David Lynch's "jump-scare diner scene" in "Mulholland Drive." If you have the fortitude, and haven't yet seen the films, I urge you not to click on these thumbnails, although I've tried not to give too much away. More than anything else, even the darkened skin, it's the demonic grins that link these shots together.
  10. "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."
  11. I'm watching "Firefox" for the first time since it was released in 1982. I distinctly remember the opening scene, with Clint Eastwood jogging (although, for some reason, I thought I remembered him jogging without a shirt). When I was 21 years old, I thought to myself, 'My *God*, he looks old' (he was 52). Now, my impression when I just saw that same scene was, 'My *God*, he looks young.' Unfortunately, other than seeing the movie in the theater vs. on Amazon, there's only one variable in this equation. (Actually, in a later scene, Eastwood was standing around without a shirt - he really wasn't in top shape for this film, even for a 52-year-old.) I had completely forgotten how blatantly Soviet this film was - sort of like an earlier version of "The Hunt for Red October" (1990) which I thought was just awful. However, I was studying Russian in the late 1980s, and knew enough to pick out the flaws in Red October; when I saw Firefox, Russian was like Chinese to me, so I had absolutely no idea how contrived it was. I do find it interesting just how John McCain-like Clint Eastwood's Vietnam flashback was. I also didn't realize that Firefox, like all of Malpaso's (Eastwood's Production company's) pictures since, has no opening credits after the title was displayed. One thing I'm noticing about Firefox is the incredible attention that's being paid to seemingly mundane detail (which I consider to be a huge asset; others consider it to be dull) - not a lot of action is occurring, but the Soviet atmosphere is being slowly and surely cultivated, despite the film not being shot in the Soviet Union (for Cold War reasons) - I suppose some might find the entire structure ponderous; I find it fascinating, in the way that I find Bruckner's symphonies fascinating. Just don't watch Firefox looking for an "Eastwood action movie," because you're going to spend a lot of time trying to find it. That said, Eastwood's heavily Americanized Russian accent would *never* pass muster when scrutinized by even a casual speaker, much less suspicious KGB agents screening him at a security gate - also, doesn't *anybody* around the perimeter of the ultra-secure facility know what their own pilot looks like? The special effects used for the flying scenes were known as "Reverse Bluescreen" photography, and were pioneered by John Dykstra just for this film - Dykstra was the special-effects lead for the original "Star Wars," and is almost surely a household name to anyone who cares about special effects. When the second Firefox is chasing the first, it becomes *extremely* obvious that this is a riff on Star Wars - you'll know the scene when you see it. Interestingly, not long after this, there's a scene that's a riff on, believe it or not, my favorite scene from "Wings" (1927), one pilot showing respect to the other. And after *that*, there's yet another Star War's riff - recall, "Use the force, Luke." If you want a detailed plot synopsis, there's a good one on *** SPOILER ALERT *** IMDB.
  12. Yep. It's been so long, though, that I can' really comment on it. I remember it fondly, but am afraid if I revisit it I'll hate it. Some memories are better left alone.
  13. I loved watching "The Saint" when I was in high school - I felt like I'd snuck into a movie theater, and was watching James Bond for free. Last night, I watched Season 1, Episode 1, "The Talented Husband" for the first time ever, and I can honestly say it was one of the single finest hours I have ever seen on television. If you're a Hulu subscriber, I *urge* you to watch this first episode - you will not regret it. I remember the series as being really good, but not *this* good. Sometimes, people have one, great idea, and that's what they use for the pilot in order to sell the show - I suspect that's what happened with "The Talented Husband." It's really extraordinary television, and it's on Hulu here (subscription required) - do *not* watch the version on YouTube: The background of that version is awful; the free version on Vimeo looks like it's of good quality, but I haven't watched it, so I'm not sure. More than Wikipedia, I highly recommend this website - The Saint - as your home base for each episode. Unfortunately, it's set up so that each episode doesn't have its own URL, so I can't link to them - if you want a real, dedicated, fan-based website, this is the one for you: I'd link to it if I could. "The Saint" car: a 1962 Volvo P1800 with license plate ST 1 - Season One (Oct 4, 1962 - Dec 20, 1962) 1.1 - "The Talented Husband" - Directed by Michael Truman (Director of "Girl in the Headlines"), Written by Jack Sanders Featuring Derek Farr as John Clarron (John Whitworth in "The Dam Busters"), Shirley Eaton as Adrienne Halberd (Jill Masterson in "Goldfinger"), Patricia Roc as Madge Clarron (Caroline Marsh in "Canyon Passage"), Norman Mitchell as Mr. Smith (Gunner 'Parky' Nigel Parkin on "It Ain't Half Hot Mum") 1.2 "The Latin Touch" - Directed by John Gilling (Director of "Shadow of the Cat"), Written by Gerald Kelsey (Writer of 43 episodes of "Dixon of Dock Green") and Dick Sharples (Writer of 35 episodes of "In Loving Memory") Featuring Suzan Farmer (Diana Kent in "Dracula: Prince of Darkness"), Warren Mitchell (BAFTA Television Award Winner for Best Actor on "Till Death Do Us Part") 1.3 - "The Careful Terrorist" -
  14. "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.
  15. Earlier in the day, I'd had a minor surgery, and was staying at a hotel nearby. The *last* thing I felt like was something mentally taxing, so I went for some mind candy - something fun, entertaining, and utterly devoid of substance. I remember really liking "Jack Reacher," and the trailer I saw for the sequel (the one with Tom Cruise sitting in a bar, getting arrested by a cocky sherriff, and saying the phone would ring in 90 seconds, etc.), looked like mindless fun as well, so why not "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back?" Sometimes in life, all you want is a hot fudge sundae, you know? *** SPOILER ALERT *** There's a *lot* of opening action in this film - in fact, that whole trailer comes at the very beginning, and I had high hopes about this being another "Rambo-like" Jack Reacher movie. I was wrong, sort of. A lot of the first thirty minutes came at the fictional Fort Dyer in Washington, DC, and DC locals will enjoy seeing a lot of familiar scenery. Reacher's (Tom Cruise) Army contact - whom he has never met - Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) has been framed for espionage when he finally gets around to meeting her, and in fact, when Reacher goes to see her at the high-value prisoner detention unit at Fort Dyer, he, too, is framed for murder, and is held there (big mistake). Fort Dyer is actually in Washington, DC-proper, and Reacher is somehow able to get to Turner and make an impossible escape, beating or outwitting about ten people in the process - less than thirty minutes into this film, Jack Reacher is in full whip-ass mode, and I'm thinking this is going to be perfect for what I wanted. It's really funny that, since this is inside of Washington, DC, their final escape from Fort Dyer was inside a *food truck* (or was it?) - if this movie were made just ten years ago, they would have had to hijack a hot-dog cart. <--- "But we're not illegal aliens! We swear! Oh, wait a minute ... it's still 2016." While Reacher and Turner are in a taxi, Turner comments, "Hey, I like your hat ..." <--- " ... you a Nats fan?" Cabbie replies, "Yeah, from the beginning." And in the next scene, Reacher and Turner are at an Internet Cafe on Pennsylvania Avenue and (the fictional) "North Street," and she's wearing the hat: I guess the driver made a tidy profit in that little exchange. When the "initial act" of the film is over, and Reacher and Turner are safe inside a motel, with Reacher positively reveling in a hot shower, we see a man referred (in Amazon X-Ray; he has no name yet in the film) as "The Hunter" on the film with a General - General Harkness (Robert Knepper) - which confirms the obvious: This plot goes all the way up to very, very high levels. "The Hunter," btw, has shown himself to be a total, complete bad-ass, on a par with Reacher - he's going to make an interesting protagonist and a formidable opponent to the seemingly superhuman Reacher. A very simple - perhaps too simple - question: Why doesn't Turner simply type a long, explanatory note, and send it to every newspaper in the country, naming names? She doesn't have to change her strategy, but people will be implicated whether she's killed or not. Remember "The Shawshank Redemption?" That's the only thing that took the warden down (in a rather effective fashion, I will add). One flaw comes about 1'10" into the film - Reacher "tries to apologize" to Turner for being somewhat condescending. While that might appeal to a broad cross-section of film watchers, I enjoyed "Jack Reacher" because he was a cold-blooded loner - he could separate good from bad - but that's all he was willing to do. I do not to see a fairly extended scene of him apologizing to a woman because he may have say something that got under her skin; the reason I enjoy Reacher is because he's a quasi-superhero, like Rambo (imagine Rambo doing the same thing, or maybe he did as the series got on in age). What I'm saying is that there's an undertone of romance here that is misplaced in this film. All this said, there's a "subtext to the subtext" which would certainly explain Reacher softening up in certain, confined situations, so it's at least understandable. Another interesting sub-theme (and I have to admit, I've seen almost *no* contemporary movies is) that they dabble with the opiate problem in the United States. (I think they might have meant opioid, not opiate, but that's the word they used.) There was great, unnoticed pun during this scene, when Reacher says, "Turn her?" and then Espin (Aldis Hodge) exclaims, "Major!" Incidentally, Turner performed all her own stunts in this film. The last half-hour of this film turned away from being a "Jack Reacher" movie, and turned into a generic Tom Cruise action flick - there was more action than you can remember (in fact, I'll remember very little about this film a week from now). I wish I could recommend this to people who enjoyed the first Jack Reacher film, but my guess is that it's probably something more like "Mission Impossible," or <pick-your-own non-stop action thriller>. I'm not sorry I watched it, because I needed it when I did, but I'd never watch it again, and I'm not looking forward to the next sequel.
  16. I remember watching "The Mechanic" (1972) with my dad when I was a child. I'm in yet another "Jack Reacher" mood, but don't want to completely waste my time - I remembered enjoying this as a child, and it's in a similar genre (sort of), so why not relive my childhood, and watch something with some historical merit? Besides, it features bad-ass Charles Bronson as an assassin - what more could you want in a mindless action film? Note also that producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler would go on to produce "Raging Bull" eight years later. What a difference a superstar director (Martin Scorsese) makes! "The Mechanic" is noteworthy in that it has *no* dialogue of any kind for the first sixteen minutes (I knew this going into the film). This was particularly interesting to me because at around the two-minute point, a single, dissonant, ominous-sounding, organ chord starts to build up, Bolero-style, and you wonder how it could possibly go on for another 13 minutes - mercifully, there's a lull in the tension, and it dies down. One thing this sixteen minutes of no dialogue does is allow for a leisurely presentation of the opening credits, which you don't mind, because there is action taking place on the screen. The first shot of Arthur Bishop (Charles Bronson) in his own environment shows that he is a man of taste - while alone in his thoughtfully furnished abode, he turns on a beautiful, overture-like piece on a cassette recorder - probably a slow movement from a symphony - highlighted by angelic-sounding violins, and (this is the advantage of having a food and wine critic do your film reviews, because I suspect I'm the first person in history to mention this) is drinking a bottle of Cheval Blanc, and given the age of the film, and Cheval Blanc's vintage track-record in the 60s, my guess would be that it's a '64 - he didn't decant it, so it couldn't be too old - but he needs a better claret glass than he has. This type of juxtaposition with the gritty and the urbane is exactly why "Road House" is a guilty pleasure of mine, and why I occasionally enjoy films like The Mechanic. How's this for a blast-from-the-past and product placement? The Mechanic is an interesting take on the classic tale of The Great Master taking on an apprentice, with some natural talent, under his wing. Early in the movie, you may recognize Keenan Wynn, who starred in "The Man in the Funny Suit" (he was the son of Ed Wynn), and thus, once again, so many things trace back to Rod Serling. Keenan Wynn played Harry McKenna, whose son, Steve McKenna, was played by the rising (and since hard-fallen) star Jan-Michael Vincent, who is The Mechanic's apprentice. This is sort of like an amoral version of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." *** SPOILER ALERT *** Given that they only touched on Bishop's character development (albeit clearly showing he's depressed, anxious, and lonely), I'm not convinced that a man of his skill-set - which is nearly superhuman - would so willingly take on an apprentice without testing him "to the max" first - and by "to the max," I mean, having him kill someone and putting his (McKenna's) entire life in Bishop's hands - Bishop never tested him like that, and it's simply not plausible that he would have taken McKenna on so willingly without having done so first, not when he's playing at this level. (I should add that I'm only an hour into the film, and have forty minutes left, so he may have something else up his sleeve, but Bishop essentially showed his hand to a virtual unknown, without asking anything in return first). Someone *this* good, with this much invested into his lifestyle (and I mean, Bishop was the *ultimate* assassin), would never take that risk without having something heavy and lethal to hang over McKenna's head - just in case. Well, there are less than twenty minutes left in the movie, and it's been obvious for awhile that the entire paragraph above was justified, but naive. I am very curious to see how this is going to play out, and wondering how Bishop is keeping his sanity. You'll know what I mean when you see the film (they recently arrived in Italy). Funny, I just rewatched "The Departed," and there is some overlapping thematic material in these two movies (as in, "rats like cheese"). Who's going to crack first, I wonder - the underlying tension introduced in the past 10-20 minutes is now permanent until something happens. All I know is this: Any film that makes you worry about the fate of a cold-blooded killer can't be all bad, but I'm nearly 100% confident that Bishop is going to be okay, and I'll tell you why when I finish the film - the answer was right before my eyes about forty-five minutes ago. The movie is over, and I was wrong. I thought *sure* the karate match between the old master and the young, cocky kid who broke the rules (about an hour into the movie) was a direct parallel to what would happen at the end. It wasn't, and I'm shocked that Bishop would put himself in the position he did, regardless of what eventually happened to McKenna. This movie "broke the rules" of drama by not letting me take advantage of the foreshadowing I saw, but I guess everyone got their comeuppance in the end, so it's dramatically complete, and really - where was Bishop going to go? For that matter, where was McKenna going to go? His snuffing of Bishop was *not* sanctioned by Bishop's employers (even though the film could have made that more clear), and they were angry about Bishop taking him on as an apprentice. It's still not clear to me why Bishop would unilaterally take on a partner without even asking his mysterious, shady, yet clearly *very* powerful bosses - he was only asking for trouble, and sure enough, he got it. I also remember the last scene of the movie very well, although I didn't remember it was from this film (I last saw this with my dad when I was eleven). It is just not reconcilable that Bishop would do this to himself, and that's the one fatal flaw in The Mechanic - he was too smart, with too much to lose, to let himself slip up like this, especially when he knew it was coming. Yes, he essentially "insured" his life, but to what end? Thus, The Mechanic just isn't a great film - it's a good action flick, with slightly insufficient character development, and inadequate justification of the choices Bishop made - it's worth watching as long as you know you're not seeing anything profound, but it just doesn't make enough sense for any intelligent person to buy into. And there you have the opinion of DonRocks.
  17. I feel like I just ate an entire box of Chips Ahoy! cookies. I am so ashamed that I have now watched - and enjoyed - "Jack Reacher," the Tom Cruise action thriller from 2012, but so I did. Sometimes, multiple external factors converge to make you want nothing but the cheapest, most escapist brand of diversion, and such was it with me, and the previews for the Reacher sequel which just came out were enough to reel me in for the most tawdry brand of entertainment there is. And I enjoyed it. This was my beach book, my Robert Ludlum, my Twilight Zone without the historical significance. I'd enter a spoiler alert, except there's nothing to spoil, any more than me taking pictures of the Domino's pizza that arrived, twenty minutes into the film. And I'm kidding about the pizza. But the movie was perfect within its genre, and I'm actually looking forward to the sequel.
  18. Earlier this year, I watched the 1927 silent film "The Lodger," which is widely considered the first "real" Alffed Hitchcock film (after he found his mojo), as well as the first filming of The Lodger, which was remade, in various guises, no less than four times, this being the third of five that I know of. Although this is a remake, Hitchcock had nothing to do with this: It was produced by Robert Bassler and directed by John Brahm, For those who don't know, Jack the Ripper was active in London during 1888 in Whitechapel, a district in the East End of London, in the borough of Tower Hamlets (there are (as of 1965) 33 "local authority districts" in London: 32 are boroughs, and, the 33rd is the "City of London" itself). A "district" is an unofficial, loose term for "neighborhood" - "borough" is an official term, and the district of Whitechapel is inside the borough of Tower Hamlets. If you read the Wikipedia entry for Jack the Ripper (above), it's really quite a grisly tale - the most troublesome fact? The Ripper was never caught. Since this takes place in 1888, I did some financial conversion for you to put the figures in 2016 dollars: Mr. Slade (played by Laird Cregar, an American actor) offers 5 pounds a week for room and board, which equates to 595 pounds today, or $731.85 - a considerable weekly sum for the rooms he was renting, and the meals he would be served. Mr. Robert Bonting (played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke) originally started his tea-broker business (in 1868) with 100 pounds, or $12,423 in 2016 dollars. Kitty Langley gave Annie Rowley one Sovereign: a gold coin worth about one Pound Sterling, i.e., one Pound. Since 1957, they've been minted again, but are used as gold bullion (they're certainly worth a lot more than one pound in 2016 - they're gold, and weigh slightly over one-quarter ounce (as of this writing, gold is trading for about $1,130 an ounce, so today's Sovereigns are worth $250-300)). Interestingly, and tragically, Laird Cregar went on a crash diet (which included prescribed amphetamines) to obtain the part in this film, and that caused a strain on his system that would eventually kill him this very same year, in December of 1944. Vincent Price delivered his eulogy, and Cregar currently has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cregar died at age 31, and could have conceivably become much more well-known than he currently is - I suspect most of you reading this haven't heard of him. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** This may, or may not, be a major spoiler, so I advise you to skip this paragraph entirely until you've finished the film, even if you read the rest of the Spoilers Section: it is a known quantity, in advance, that "The Lodger" in Hitchcock's 1927 film turned out to be innocent in the end. However, the reason for that was because the big-name star of that film, Arthur Chesney, did not want his reputation sullied by being associated with Jack the Ripper (whom a certain percentage of viewers still remembered). I say this only because, if I remember correctly, there was some controversy about what Hitchcock really wanted (or am I thinking of "Suspicion?"), and given that there are so many remakes of the 1927 version, it seems highly unlikely that "the lodger" will end up being innocent in every single version. We're about to see ... How coincidental that the lodger's name is Mr. Slade. Robert Bonting, the landlady's husband, was a tea-broker on Mincing Lane, which was, in the late 19th century, the world's leading center for spice and tea trading. There are almost exact similarities between Mr. Slade turning the pictures of the old actresses (in his bedroom) around so he couldn't see them, and with what Arthur Chesney did in Hitchcock's 1927 film. For a moment, I thought the part with the two shrews in the tavern (playing the concertina) could be an upcoming sign of dullness, but it only lasted for a minute or two, and it had a dramatic reason for existing. I'm over halfway through this film, and am really enjoying it, even more than the Hitchcock version (which was, of course, silent). Speaking of which, the techniques Hitchcock used in his silent film were so vastly different, that they make for a fascinating study. For example, to create tension when The Lodger was descending the stairs, he couldn't use footsteps (there was no sound), so he had to show a close-up of a hand, sliding down the railing. Hitchcock, himself, admitted that footsteps would have made for a more-effective buildup of tension, and he would have used them had the technology been available. It's too bad he wasn't around for more color films, which have a very different strategy than filming in black-and-white. Look at this cinematography - what an imposing shot this is: *** END SPOILERS *** Listen to what I say here: Even if you don't think you like silent films, watch Hitchcock's 1927 version of "The Lodger" first, *then* watch this version. They make wonderful companion pieces, even though this is a remake - this is a splendid picture that stands on its own; it's better still when watched after the original: You'll love them both, and watching both makes both of them better: Even though these two films were made independently of each other, they are best viewed as a diptych, making sure to go in chronological order. Whaam!
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. "Hush" (2016) is an independent, low-budget horror film that premiered at South by Southwest (remember this, Eric?) on Mar 12, 2016, and was purchased by Netflix prior to the premiere, thus giving them exclusive rights to it before anyone had a chance to screen it - buying it "on the cheap" is probably going to prove to be a wise decision. This is a classic trapped-in-the-house horror-thriller with a big twist: our heroine, Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) is deaf. "Hush" is only eighty-minutes long, and is very watchable - I read one description of it being like the final scene in "Wait Until Dark," expanded to feature length. I agree with that analogy, which also said that it never becomes tedious despite something of a one-note plot (actually, maybe several notes). If you don't like dark, claustrophobic movies where things may (or may not) jump out at you, you're better off avoiding "Hush," but having only twenty minutes of the film remaining, I can assure you that it's not gratuitously violent by today's standards though I certainly wouldn't want to see this with any pre-teens in tow. [Note: I'm writing this one, bracketed, editorial comment as I approach the end of the film, and I retract my previous sentence: While "Hush" isn't completely over-the-top, it's absolutely not appropriate for young children.] "The Man" (John Gallagher, Jr.) - other than his obligatory, Jason-like, white mask - is distressingly ordinary, which is the basis for my biggest issue with the film to this point: Nobody could be as naive as one particular person in this movie happens to be, and if you dwell on this, you're going to resent it, so I advise just accepting it as a foible of two young screenwriters, and noting that the person at least eventually caught on, instead of being terminally clueless. "Hush" is primarily shot in one location, which saves money, and it could translate into (or have been translated from) the stage. Siegel is just terrific in her starring role, and Gallagher, Jr. is only a small step behind in his - since these two have the majority of the screen time, these performances make the film qualify as being well-acted. I've watched the first sixty minutes of this eighty-minute scare, and am now going to return and watch the rest (I didn't want to finish it last night because I was getting tired, and didn't want any mind-cleansing nightmares resulting from this). I read another review which said this movie is tailor-made for a crowded theater, and I agree with that - it's a lot more fun to be scared when everyone around you is also, but there is something intimate about watching this all alone in your house. As a personal aside, it seems like I've been watching a lot of "dark" films lately, and I'm referring to the lighting; not the tone of the movies, and I'm growing somewhat tired of straining to be able to see - this is one reason why a film such as "To Catch A Thief" is so refreshing and easily watchable for me - no darkness, no squishy blood sounds, no violence. Still, I knew what I was getting into, so it will be my own fault going forward if it happens again - or, maybe I'll *want* it to happen again, we shall see. I love it when you think things are a fait accompli, and you turn out to be dead wrong - so it was with the cat. This scene - along with my genuine surprise - is why I generally try to immerse myself in the moment, instead of trying to be Sherlock Holmes all the time. I guessed the ending of "The Sixth Sense," and since it was a story-driven movie, it was largely ruined for me. While I'm digressing, I'll add that I felt absolutely cheated, swindled, and robbed by the ending of "The Usual Suspects" - we can discuss my ire over that movie in another thread, but indeed, I actually got *angry* at the people who made the film for having wasted my time. Getting back on-topic, I really enjoyed the motivational, "self-help" sequence in "Hush," which occurs near the cat scene, and also the typed note on the computer - there are some very strong individual moments in this movie, and the movie as a whole is effective enough where they may resonate with you. Question for people: I'd never heard the term "bleeding out" until very recently - perhaps within the last month or so - but now I've heard it several times. Is this a relatively new term, or have I just been missing it for my entire life? I actually think the first time I'd ever heard it was in "Django Unchained." (Incidentally, "Sold American!" (which Schultz yells out when he buys Django) is, I believe, an anachronism, and didn't exist until the twentieth century.) Speaking of bleeding out, or exsanguination, I understand that people get extremely disoriented when it happens, but when you have enough presence-of-mind remaining to bet everything on a single moment, shouldn't you go ahead and seize any opportunity that arises, even if you're getting close to losing consciousness? For me to say this means that I was rooting for someone so intensely that I actually got angry when they didn't take advantage of every possible opening - that means the film had drawn me in. Four closing observations: * I think it would have been nifty if they had named Maddie, Charlotte. * The NRA is going to revel in this movie, mark my words. * The lighting in this film was poorly done: "Dark" is one thing, but "indecipherable" is another. * If you liked "Halloween," you'll probably like "Hush"; if you didn't, you probably won't.
  22. *** 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).
  23. I decided to watch "Charade" tonight for a number of reasons. I recently watched "Suspicion," a 1941 thriller starring Cary Grant directed by Alfred Hitchcock. While "Charade" was not directed by Hitchcock, it has a Hitchcockian feel. I adore Carey Grant, and felt like spending another evening being charmed by this embodiment of the Hollywood leading man. I am obsessed with Audrey Hepburn, and I was born in 1963. It seemed like a no-brainer that I should give this film another viewing. Although I saw this film several years ago, I remembered very little of it. While Hitchcockian in style and plot twists, it lacks the cinematic magic of an actual Hitchcock film. The plot is a bit like "Suspicion," with the leading lady unsure whether she should or should not trust Grant. The witty banter between Hepburn and Grant made me think of Nick and Nora in "The Thin Man." Their repartee is amusing, but not nearly as fast and funny as Nick and Nora's. I enjoyed watching Grant and Hepburn together, and I was drawn in by the plot's twists and turns. At times, "Charade" seems self conscious, and the film feels like it is trying too hard. While Grant and Hepburn make a charming couple, their chemistry pales in comparison to the sparks that flew between Hepburn and Gregory Peck in "Roman Holiday." Hepburn tells Grant time and again in this film that she loves him. She never once uttered those words to Peck in "Roman Holiday," but their love seemed more believable. Perhaps this is because at its core, "Charade" is a silly and stylish movie. It has an early '60s feel throughout, from the opening cartoon-like credits to Audrey's oh-so-chic Givenchy wardrobe. It isn't a great film, but it is an enjoyable one.
  24. "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!
  25. 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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