Dr. Rich Edwards

8/1/17 Lecture Note Discussion: Remakes, Homages, and Films Inspired by Hitchcock

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"Into the Night" with Jeff Goldblum.  There's definitely a McGuffin in there and the chase around Los Angeles is complicated, yet funny at the same time.  You can also see a regular guy pushed into extraordinary circumstances.  Definitely worth a viewing.

 

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Not to be confused with Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (1956) but Jim McBride's thriller The Wrong Man (1993) with Rosanna Arquette, Kevin Anderson and John Lithgow, contains mistaken identify, innocent man accused of murder, a sexy blonde, exotic locales, stairs, trains, buses, action, chases and an iconic cigarette lighter.

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The 1948 British film, The Fallen Idol, has a kind of Hitchcock flavor.  A butler who looks after a rich diplomat's son is accused of murder (SPOILER: he's innocent).  The little boy thinks he saw the murder happen, but lies to protect him.  The lies get the butler further in trouble.  There's real suspense here, and it's a psychological drama.  There's also a good bit of dark humor, particularly the very last line.  Check it out.  TCM shows it off and on.

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Well… here are my totally random contributions…

 

- - - - - - -

 

MOVIE:
"Identity
" -

  (trailer)

motel, rain, psychotic behavior, keys, murder, intrigue, a little bit of humor, and a killer on the loose...

 

- - - - - - -

 

TV SHOW:
Murder She Wrote “South by Southwest” episode:

 

(There are many, many other Hitch-influenced TV shows/episodes, of course....)

 

- - - - - - -

 

Speaking of TV…

 

One of the things I’ve realized recently about Columbo is that his movies/TV shows clue us into the murder/crime first, and then we get to watch him put all the clues together. That is what makes him fun to watch; his rumpledness makes killers think he is useless… but in reality he is outsmarting them. Compare this to Jessica Fletcher’s whodunit story style where there is always one little miscellaneous clue at the end of the show that we never get insight into, which makes her seem smarter than all of us for figuring out who did it.

 

I think these shows are a good reminder of Hitch’s desire not to do whodunits. While I enjoy watching Jessica Fletcher work things out that lead to the solution of a crime, it never escapes me that she is given more information than I am, because I am merely an onlooker. I expect her to solve the crime because she knows more than I do about it. But I actually prefer Columbo’s stories because I get to see the murderer conducting the crime at the beginning… so I’m in on it (the story, not the crime) and now all I have to do is see if and how Columbo works it all out. He makes a point of befriending the criminals and then catches them in a trap created by their own egos.

 

... Oh, one more thing...

 

Just kidding.

 

(Columbo joke. :-) )

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OH, I just remembered!  Duh - it was on TCM last night!  Manhattan Murder Mystery.  Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.  It's a riff on Rear Window.  Really terrific mystery with an all-star cast (Anjelica Huston and Alan Alda) and a lot of neurotic Woody Allen humor.  Highly recommend!   :D  

 

And I just heard an ad on TCM for an upcoming showing of The Night of the Hunter.  The stolen money that is hidden (I won't say where) seems a bit of a MacGuffin.  Instead, the film is really about good and evil - with Robert Mitchum in just about his most evil role.  Children on the run from danger.  Fantasy-like sequences (that river scene with the kids!!!).  The unrelenting dread.  The oddball humor of the older couple in the first part of the film.  It's a brilliant film!

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This topic is fun! I am enjoying reading all the posts! Since beginning this course, I am seeing Hitchcockian elements in many movies and TV episodes. One TV episode was glaringly Hitchcockian in some of the camera work. I have been rewatching the original Twighlight Zone on Netfix, and in the episode about the boxer who is past his prime and still has to get in the ring to fight, the director/editor must have been channeling Hitchcock. In the scene during the boxing match, we are shown the spectators of the fight in a montage of hands. We don't ever really see faces, just hands shown in various positions of excitement, anxiety, anger, fear, etc.

My son and I sat down and made a quick list of movies we think are Hitchcockian:

 

Enemy of the State: Ordinary man gets involved with spies and secrets by accident while Christmas shopping. 

 

Double Jeopardy: Women gets framed for her husband's murder.

 

Secret Window: Writer slowly goes mad in a remote cabin in the woods.

 

Vantage Point: Varying views of a presidential assassination with lots of twists and turns in the plot

 

Shattered: Amnesiac begins to discover that his slowly returning memories are not matching what his "family and friends" are telling him

 

Breakdown: Couple is preyed upon by criminals while traveling by car through the desert

 

Flightplan: Women loses daughter while on a transatlantic fight with a twisting plot reminiscent of Bunny Lake is Missing.

 

There are so many others. I am discovering that many of my favorite movies are Hitchcockian Thrillers, thanks to this class. I am noticing that even the names of the few movies listed above have titles reminiscent of Hitchcock movie titles.

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Split (2016)

Dir: M.Night Shyamalan

Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, M.Night Shyamalan among others and an uncredited cameo by Bruce Willis

 

I felt this movie was highly inspired with "Psycho" as the main character Kevin Wendell Crumb was like one of Norman Bates's close relatives. Not to mention the horror show that it has. Even certain scenes was inspired by Hitchcock movies. One could see that Kevin impersonates a woman and the hostages mistook her for someone who could have helped them out, only to find that her was "him" all along. This scene reminded me of Mrs Bates/Mother sequence from the Hitchcock film.

 

What amazed me even more is that the title design resembles as that of Saul Bass's Psycho and it was a great homage to him.

 

Here's the trailer to the film:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4972582/videoplayer/vi741258777

OOOO! Great example! Split was so disturbing and definitely has Hitchcockian elements!

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It's been awhile since I've seen it but I'll offer 1997's Conspiracy Theory.  

 

Mel Gibson plays the hapless cab driver overwhelmed by government conspiracy theories that are only that--until one theory is discovered to be not so theoretical. The helicopter chase scene has elements of North by Northwest and the corn field--only with more people around and the spraying of bullets instead of chemicals.

 

Gibson's character is in love with the female lead, Julia Roberts, who has no interest in him or his theory.  How their relationship changes, their attempts to expose the conspiracy while being chased themselves, and going from city-scapes to countryside seem to duplicate themes from many Hitchcock films.  

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I've often thought of David Lynch as we've discussed Hitchcockian techniques. Blue Velvet, with its working premise that the innocent-seeming middle-class suburbs are the true sites of horror, to say nothing of Isabella Rossellini as an homage to Ingrid Bergman.   

  I also count Hitch as a leader among the many filmmakers who proceed with a Freudian (or Jungian) premise about the causes of crime -- starting with mothers and latent homosexuality. The "hidden" elements of horror in Hitch's world are often not external, but internal ones. 

I wouldn't count every one as being influenced by Hitch, but I tend to group these psychoanalytic thrillers together. Here I have to recommend the fine article in The Noir City e-mag No. 21 featuring "Headshrinkers" discussed a nice grouping of these, Phantom Lady, Possessed, White Heat, Angel Face, along with Hitchs Spellbound and Strangers on a Train. Because this kind of psychoanalysis works so easily with method acting, I'm always surprised, that Hitch disliked The Method so much, but I think the effectiveness of his Innocent Man Accused motif is a certain lack of self-awareness on the part of the hero, at least in his refusal to see his complicity in criminal situations. 

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I'm not sure but I think '''The long kiss goodnight;' would fit in this category because of the double chase.

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I think David Fincher is attracted to the distinctive style and unfolding of murders in Hitchcock's film. Fincher is highly inspired by the detective prototype of Hitchcockian thrillers who also deal with personal matters as marriage and friendship. Fincher also utilizes marvelous title sequences that imply the motifs of the film, as well as a dramatic score. I could even argue Fincher has worked with famous Hollywood stars such as Brad Pitt and Jake Gyllenhaal. Some examples of Fincher's films being influenced by Hitch can be Seven, Zodiac, Gone Girl,Panic Room, and the Game.

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Jodie Foster's Flight Plan actually had similar plot points to The Lady Vanishes, in this case her daughter vanishes.  It even borrowed the scene where MIss Froy uses her finger and condensation on the train window to write her name.  The same effect is use in Flight Plan,difference being the action takes place on a plane and not the train.

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One film that immediately comes to mind (and I don't think has been mentioned yet) is Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451 (1966).  Many of the touches are there, especially the fabulous score by Bernard Herrmann.  In addition, we see long tracking shots, POV shots, use of back projection, a blonde leading actress (Julie Christie) in a dual role.  One touch I've always liked about this film, in prelude to a story about a world where reading and books are banned, no opening credits are shown written or in text to read, all are spoken.  On first viewing of this film many years ago, not knowing much about it, I immediately thought of Hitchcock.  

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Both the movie and TV series "The Fugitive - innocent man wrongly accused chasing the real villain and being chased. In the movie, you get that great train crash as well.

 

The Night of the Hunter - because we know the where the money is from the beginning and that Mitchum wants it - that's the driving force of the movie. No mystery but suspense for sure and the lighting and imagery - the children in the boat floating along the river, Mitchum's tattoed hands, the shadowy room where Shelly Winter is murdered and a typical small town that you would never think things like this are going on underneath the surface. Charles Laughton should have gotten another movie to direct.

 

Maybe a series like "24" - which is suspense more than a mystery and quite often a double chase of Keifer Sutherland chasing a villain and his agency/other villains chasing him. The sound of the ticking clock - stylized always kept you aware that time was running out.

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Dear all,

 

It is amazing how many times watching the films for this course, I stopped and realized the materials/idea had been 'borrowed' post Hitchcock, e.g., the scene in, "Sneakers" with Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Mary McDonald, Ben Kingsley, etc., where Robert asks CIA agent Sidney to get each of his team something large and what they can't afford totally in the same way as Alfred had done (sorry can't place the film just now)--even with the same film shot and positions of the leading actors and secondary actors.  It blew me away!

 

Everything ...truly seems to have some of the Hitchcock touch to a certain extend doesn't it.  We are forever changed by him.  Cool website:  http://www.imdb.com/list/ls071418428/

 

Some key folks:

 

David Lynch

Q. Tarantino

Coen Brothers 

Ian Fleming films--James Bond

 

Humor was very high always in Hitch Films (Cary Grant shaving in the Chicago train station running for his life and takes time to make an Adolf Hitler mustache while the other man in the bathroom watches him with his little device), the film, Spy, check out:  http://www.dartmouth.edu/~gjdemko/french.htm; in 

ALL James Bonds films and the French version of OSS 117 is hilarious with Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath with the handsome actor, Jean Dujardin. 

 

Interesting as there were some super cool murder mystery books in France in the second half of the 19th century (and prior) that Alfred Hitchcock must have read with his French love of things and then other continue to borrow from him ...the ultimate circle of life.  Check out:  http://www.dartmouth.edu/~gjdemko/french.htm

 

Thank you all! Great posts and I have learned so much ...we still can cherish 4 more days!

 

Cheers,

 

Nancy 

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The first one that comes to mind is Cape Fear, starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum. This is like a southern Hitchcockian thriller, with Mitchum playing Max Cady, who stalks Peck and his family. Plus, there is a very Hitchcockian score done by Bernard Herrmann.

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The 39 steps and The Lady Vanishes were remade for PBS Masterpiece Mystery.

A Murder She wrote episode had a murder committed in Bates Motel while Jessica Fletcher was visiting the studio lot. 

The A&E show Bates Motel a prequel for Psycho.

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Here are a few--

 

Still of the Night- (mentioned by dweigum). Love this movie! Has a great dream sequence, a blonde and an art auction.

 

Niagara- (mentioned by someone else too) Love this movie. Has a national monument, a blonde and a recurring musical theme.

 

Stoker- This movie really seems to directly rewrite or reference Shadow of a Doubt.

 

Knife in the water- Polanski's first movie? seems relevant.

 

The Skin I live in- Pedro Aldomovar. The use of Antonio Banderas in this movie seems so Cary Grantish to me. 

 

The Sea of Love- Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin. Love this movie! 

 

Copycat- Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter. Possibly?

 

The Jagged Edge- Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges?

 

Eyes without a Face?

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Gotham (1988) with Tommy Lee Jones and Virginia Madsen, contains murder mystery, sexy blonde, determined detective, ghosts, plot twists, mistaken identities and more.

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As many of my Hitchcock students note, Disturbia (2007) is based on Rear Window. Many of Truffaut's films are, especially The Bride Wore Black (1968), starring the late, great Jeanne Moreau. Many of Brian De Palma's are too, especially the Vertigo-inspired Obsession (1976).

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First thought was a more recent one - Pulanski's Ghost Writer (2010). I'd already noted DePalma's Dressed To Kill back when Michael Caine was mentioned as a possibility for Frenzy, so then landed on the Coens' 1st - Blood Simple (1984). At that point, I started to think about Hitchcockian elements in Blow Up (yes, and its homage, Blow Out), did a quick search for the release years, and fell upon this:

 

The 30 Best Suspense Thrillers Not Directed By Alfred Hitchcock - http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2014/the-30-best-suspense-thrillers-not-directed-by-alfred-hitchcock/

 

????

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I've mentioned this one in an earlier post:  The Net, starring Sandra Bullock.  It has the wronged protagonist, the double chase, and it has obvious homage elements to Notorious.  In one scene a scarf over the midriff is used, and the villain's name is Devlin.    Someone else mentioned the Murder She Wrote homage "South by Southwest".  I was watching a Martin Scorcese film last week and remember thinking "how Hitchcock" but now I can't remember the film!  This happens a lot.   Body Heat had the look and feel of a Hitchcock noire.

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Director Tom Holland has acknowledged his film "Fright Night" (1985) is inspired by Rear Window. A teenager suspects his mysterious new neighbor is a vampire, and no one believes him.

 

Now that I am a Hitchcock aficionado, I look forward to rewatching this great horror film and look for all the "Hitchcock touches!"

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post-73560-0-49959200-1501611480_thumb.jpg

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