Alfred Hitchcock Appreciation and Discussion Thread



  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    Birdleson wrote: »
    The same story's court proceedings are dramatized in COMPULSION (1959). It's not bad.
    Thanks. Will check that one out. That infamous case was also the basis for the 00's film Murder By Numbers, with Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling & Michael Pitt.
  • edited April 2016 Posts: 6,432
    Rope a film made in 1948 is quite astonishing, a experiment and Hitch did that alot. Hitch is one of the most innovative directors of all time, one of the most important. Hitch constantly pushed the envelope of film making. Love the panoramic skyline back drop, its a character within itself as day turns to night in the real time set up. Films like the Birdman would not exist if it were not for Rope.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021

    When I saw Rope for the first time (late 80's I think) I thought they were a couple, with Brandon being the dominate one. I was mesmerized by their acting and behaviour.

    Even today when I watched it I saw this again. Hitchcock was such a genius in many ways.

    In Lifeboat he depicts the "Nazi" as the friendly, could be your neighbour kind of guy.
    Also a stroke of genius, because as the movie progresses you see how evil that guy really is. It's ironic that Hitchcock got accused of portraying the Nazi as too friendly by critics.

    Imagine if he had made it obvious that Brandon and Philip are a couple.

    I'm almost ashamed to have Rope only at No 5 in my above ranking. But then the number of brilliant movies by Hitchcock is astonishing.
  • Posts: 108
    Hitchcock was educated as a film maker on sets of silent movies. So he understood the power of the image in itself, and that rings through in almost all of his films.

    One fine example is Notorious: the extreme tracking shot on the party, zooming in on Ingrid Bergman's hand (what an actress!) that anxiously and secretly holds the key to the wine cellar. Or Vertigo: the scenes where James Stewart stalks Kim Novak - not a word is spoken, but so much is said and (apparently) clarified. Also, the technical way in which he visualises the dizzyness of James Stewart as a result of his vertigo and Angst dreams - tracking the camera in on James Stewart while zooming out on the background (or was it the other way around?) - is really innovative.

    His production from the 1930s up to Psycho is incredible - I haven't seen his silents. I count between 15 and 20 excellent movies in 25 years: it's easier to sum up the lesser movies than the excellent ones. What other director has performed such a feat? After Psycho it declined for me. "The Birds" and "Marnie" are good movies, but not on par with his best work in the decades before. With the exception of "Frenzy" - very unglamorous, but intense.

    A personal favorite of mine, besides the obvious choices already mentioned, is The Trouble With Harry. Quite a different movie in the Hitchcock-catalogue - not a thriller and low in suspense, but very enjoyable.

    I feel a bit sorry for this great director since I read somewhere that he felt he never got the artistic appreciation he deserved. Hollywood labeled his movies in a certain way to commercialize them, which he felt neglected the artistry and deeper meaning of his movies. So he must have been happy with the appreciation of the Nouvelle Vague journalists and directors.
  • Posts: 4,325
    ROPE 1948

    This is one of Hitchcock's single-set movies. The whole picture takes place in an apartment in a skyscraper.

    I'm always astonished that this is a 40s movie. I believe Hitchcock was so ahead of his time with Rope. It really feels like something he could have made between Rear Window and The Man Who Knew Too Much.
    Maybe it's the dialogue, the mesmerizing acting by Farley Granger and James Stewart, or the story itself. Everything seems timeless.

    On this occasion I want to say how lucky we all are to be able to watch such movies in High Definition, with brilliant colours and sound. Also to watch such movies on big TV sets brings the experience of seeing a movie like it was supposed to be nearer to us.
    Nothing beats the big screen, but nowadays you get pretty close with anything 55" or even bigger a tv set.
    Rope certainly looks great on a 65" tv set and on Blu-ray.

    Farley Granger, one of many actors/actresses used twice by Hitchcock is probably my favourite of those two-time actors.
    Rope and Strangers On A Train is an extremely strong duo that can be watched back to back.

    This concludes the first half of my Hitchcock Marathon: 1934-1951 movies available on Blu-ray.

    My ranking:
    1. The Lady Vanishes
    2. The 39 Steps
    3. Saboteur
    4. Rebecca
    5. Rope
    5. Notorious
    6. Strangers On A Train
    7. Lifeboat
    8. Spellbound
    9. Suspicion
    10. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)

    A projector costs about the same price if not cheaper than those size TVs. Go big, and get a projector for the big screen experience at home - i have a 108" image.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    edited April 2016 Posts: 1,984
    I'm actually thinking that Rear Window might be Hitchcock's best. I'm all for his more famous pictures like Vertigo and Psycho, but I don't think they're quite as good. At the moment, North by Northwest is a very close second.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    Birdleson wrote: »
    I'd have a hard time ranking Hitchcock. I know my favorites include: PSYCHO, VERTIGO, FRENZY, THE 39 STEPS, REBECCA, THE BIRDS, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1934), REAR WINDOW, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, NOTORIOUS, STRANGERS ON A many more. I can't rate them confidently.

    Your favorites include The Birds? That's interesting. I've never been particularly fond of it myself. Strangers on a Train is quite good as well. How about Shadow of a Doubt? I've heard that Hitchcock claimed that that was his favorite of his own films.
  • NicNacNicNac Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 7,513
    Hitchcock is probably one of a few select directors who transcended their position and became the 'star'. People would go see a film because it's a Hitchcock. How many directors have or had that power?
    Maybe Speilberg or Tarentino? Not many.

    My favourite of his is probably Rebecca. More subtle than most of Hitchcock's films. He didn't go for his usual visual gimmicks, but he did squeeze great performances out of his cast.
    Like everyone else I love North By North West and Psycho.

    Also a fan of Spellbound and any film he did with Cary Grant, possibly the most likeable male movie star ever.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    @Birdleson - How about Blackmail and Dial M for Murder?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    edited April 2016 Posts: 9,021
    Watched Rear Window yesterday, tonight Dial M For Murder :)
    Rear Window is Top 3 material.


    I think it's fair to say, that this may be the best Hitchcock film. Sure there are others that also fall into that category. It's so difficult to point out a single film by this genius to be the very best.

    Rear Window is another of Hitchcock's "single-set" movies. Although this set is HUGE.
    In this movie everything is practically perfect. The casting, the acting, the fascinating set, the structure of the story, the ending. Also the dialogue, the lighting, the camera work. Really everything.

    This is probably the most re-watchable Hitchcock movie. It never gets old or boring. Never.
    Even if it is barley 24 hours that I watched it, I would be tempted to re-watch it again tonight.
    But that spot is reserved for Dial M For Murder. As I have the 3D Blu-ray I will actually watch it in 3D for the first time. Pretty exciting prospect :)

    I did a ranking for the 34-51 Hitchcock movies above.

    Rear Window belongs to the "phase two" which I myself defined that way. So I'll do a separate ranking for those movies.

    Ranking so far:

    1. Rear Window :)
  • edited April 2016 Posts: 2,341
    We all know and love Hitchcock as the "Master of Suspense" but I want to give props to his comedic skills and his ability to make us laugh.

    Two movies come to mind: "The Trouble with Harry" which starred a young Shirley McClain alongside John Forsyth and Leave it to Beaver's Jerry Mathis. This screwball dark comedy is about folks in a small town who find Harry, a corpse in the woods outside of town.

    then of course his final film, some would not consider it comedy but I found many parts funny. "Family Plot" Hitchcock was having fun with this complex story about ruthless kidnappers (William Devane and Karen Black) and a pair of con artists pretending to be mediums. Cabbie (Bruce Dern) and his girlfriend the cute as a bug and funny Blanche (Barbara Harris).
    I guess Hitch was just having fun with this one and made it with his tongue in cheek.

    Hitchcock has a very funny scene in the grim and dark "Frenzy" when the murderer tries to retrieve a piece of evidence from his latest victim. The scene of him in the back of the potato truck tying to determine which sack of potatoes held the corpse and his bumbling mishaps such as spilling potatoes all over the highway.

    Family Plot has a humorous scene where Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris are driving down a mountain road not knowing that the Ed Lauter fixed the brakes and accelerator in an attempt to stage a fatal accident for Dern and Harris. Harris is getting physically sick, while Dern is trying to get control of the car and keep it from going over the side of the mountain. He finds himself having to dodge joggers, pedestrians, other cars and eventually a motorcycle club.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    Birdleson wrote: »
    I like BLACKMAIL a lot (first British talkie). DIAL M FOR MURDER is decent, but not a favorite.

    Ah. I take it you like The Trouble With Harry?
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021

    I love this movie for the cast. Grace Kelly I don't have to explain I'm sure. Ray Milland is a favourite of mine so I'm always thrilled to watch anything with him in it.
    What makes Dial M special to me is Robert Cummings. Saboteur 1942 belongs to my favourites of Hitchcock, meaning it's a Top 10 entry.
    That Hitchcock used him again 12 years later in Dial M is just fabulous. To make the ensemble cast complete there is the often used John Williams as the Chief Inspector and Anthony Dawson, one of many, many links between Hitchcock and Bond.

    Dial M works very well and is highly re-watchable, probably almost as much as Rear Window.

    The camera work in Dial M must belong to Hitchcock's best. I'm always amazed what angles are used. It's a single-set movie (again) and the space is very confined. It's really only the living room of a flat for the most part. But Hitchcock manages to show it in so many different ways that it never gets boring or claustrophobic.

    While there might be many Hitchcock movies that are better overall, this is my guilty pleasure movie of him.

    Ranking so far:
    1. Rear Window
    2. Dial M For Murder
  • Posts: 108
    The creativity of angles in "Dial M for Murder" is also the result of Hitchcock experimenting with 3D in this movie. If you watch closely, it's striking how he puts ordinary objects (a vase for example) on the foreground in very peculiar places. That is how he wanted to create extra depth in a scene for the public that was watching "Dial M for Murder" in 3D.
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    @BondJasonBond006 - Excellent.
  • Posts: 596
    My least favorite aspect of Hitchcock films was his use of the soundstage rather than actual locations. I love Frenzy as it allowed the naughty schoolboy to finally express himself in ways that could only be hinted at in earlier films. My favorite is VERTIGO. It is truly a psychologically compelling film. There is so much going here from color, symbolism, and obsession. The set up to draw Scotty in is wonderful.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    Continued my Hitchcock-athon after almost 5 months.


    It's probably useless to say anything about those two movies as they belong to the best known and beloved Hitchcock movies.

    So I'll make this short.

    Both belong to the movies with highest re-watchability factor.

    In To Catch A Thief Grace Kelly is always perfect and her mother played by Jessie Royce Landis is priceless.

    With Robie, Grant probably plays one his most memorable characters, it may even be his best known.

    North by Northwest can easily be counted amongst Hitchcock's masterpieces, maybe only rivalled by Vertigo really.
    It certainly will be very high in my Hitchcock ranking.

    Hitchcock Phase II ranking:

    1 North By Northwest
    2 Rear Window
    3 To Catch A Thief
    4 Dial M For Murder

  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    I have been abandoning this thread lately, but I noticed a lot of Hitchcock viewing is going on lately. If you have something nice to review, it'll be great if you would do it here as well :)

    I watched THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY some weeks ago.

    One of the funniest and most puzzling Hitchcock films for sure. One to discover, it sadly gets overlooked a lot.
    Shirley MacLaine's introduction into the world of movies by the way.
    It's black humour but sometimes also downright funny to laugh out loud. The acting is flawless and it's a real ensemble cast in the truest sense of the term.

    Hitchcock Phase II ranking:

    1 North By Northwest
    2 Rear Window
    3 To Catch A Thief
    3 The Trouble With Harry
    5 Dial M For Murder
  • Posts: 2,383
    Frenzy is damned near his best movie. Just gonna drop that here.
  • Posts: 6,432
    Frenzy is damned near his best movie. Just gonna drop that here.

    I find it difficult to rate Hitchcock's movies as the standard is so high, Frenzy Is a return to form after a few lacklustre efforts. I like Family Plot also Hitch finished his career with two good films IMO.

  • M16_CartM16_Cart Craig fanboy?
    Posts: 532
    Psycho was amazing. Vertigo is one of my favorite movies of all time. I saw To Catch A Thief recently and it was good. I want to watch several of his films this year, and all of them before I die.
  • Posts: 3,976
    Frenzy is damned near his best movie. Just gonna drop that here.

    Family Plot is enjoyable in a light sort of way, but I wish he'd stuck with the route he had chosen in Frenzy. I love that they made the main character a bit of a shite.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,021
    The later Hitchcock films I haven't seen in more than 10 years, maybe as long as 15 even.

    I started Phase II of my Hitchcock Bondathon last year and will continue shortly, it'll be interesting to see how I will see those films now.

    Frenzy, Family Plot, Topaz, Torn Curtain...
  • Posts: 11,175
    I've seen many of Hitchcock's films but not all of them.

    As well as his most famous films, I've also seen The Lodger, his first big film that involved the hunt for a mysterious Jack-The-Ripper-style killer in foggy London, and Frenzy which is basically the same story.
  • MayDayDiVicenzoMayDayDiVicenzo Here and there
    Posts: 5,080
    Rebecca is such an underrated early Hitchcock classic. One of my favourites.
  • MayDayDiVicenzoMayDayDiVicenzo Here and there
    Posts: 5,080
    Saw these fantastic framed prints in a clothes shop- unfortunately, the assistant couldn't direct me to where I could buy them..

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger we are in this together
    Posts: 44,862
    Rebecca is such an underrated early Hitchcock classic. One of my favourites.

    Of the ones I have seen it is the best.
  • Posts: 684
    Recently found this and wanted to flag it for the Hitch fans here.

    There's a podcast called "The Secret History of Hollywood" which did a nearly 20-hour biography/history of Hitch and his films. It's in three parts:

    It's a bit overwritten at points, and it's always digressing from the main Hitch thread (although these are always interesting digressions, some do go on a bit) but the narration and production and research is top quality, and the thing is well done on the whole. I thought the third part was best, probably because that's the period I'm most interested in, and I started with it before going through the first two.
  • edited September 2018 Posts: 2,115
    A look at the man who helped Hitchcock establish his public persona: James Allardice, who wrote all the introductions and exit speeches for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
  • @Strog I have bookmarked those links, looking forward to listening to them. It also prompted me to look for other Hitchcock podcasts. I listen to podcasts daily
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