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About filmcat

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  1. I agree with the people who suggested that you should probably see a movie twice and, if possible, at different points in your life, before you write it off as bad. That makes sense to me. I have seen movies that I thought were terrible and then, saw them again at a later date and saw or understood things I hadn't before. Having said that, I'm not going to follow that advice completely. First, I really don't like silent films. I could see from the Daily Doses and the one silent film that I did watch for this course, that Hitchcock probably handled the silent films very well given the restrictions of the times. But, I just don't want to watch any more. Second, I had trouble understanding the very early British sound films (from BIP) due to the accents, slang, and film quality. Again, I've given it a shot, but I just don't want to see any more. I haven't seen Waltzs from Vienna​ and it wasn't available on TCM. So, that gets us up to The Man Who Knew Too Much ​(1934). Starting there, I've seen every Hitchcock film (most of them multiple times), except for Frenzy. ​ I didn't like the sound of it when it was first released, especially after reading some of the reviews. One of the advantages of starting this course late is that I could read what people wrote about it now and I still hated everything I heard about it, so I just didn't put myself through that! I don't mind some sexual and/or violent material in a movie, but this movie sounded far too extreme in both of those areas for me. There is too much sexual violence, obscene nudity, and disrespect against women in the world today without watching it for entertainment. So, taking those films out, what do I consider the worst Hitchcock films? I didn't care for ​Young and Innocent, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Lifeboat, The Paradine Case, Under Capricorn, I Confess, The Wrong Man, Psycho, or Family Plot ​the first time I saw them. I didn't get a chance to watch all of the films this month, so I've still only seen a few them one time and I'm willing to give them another try before I write them off as "bad." Therefore, I won't comment on ​Young and Innocent, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, or I Confess. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed Lifeboat​ with a second viewing. Also, though I'm still not really a fan of Psycho, ​I could appreciate the quality of the film, particularly Hitchcock's directing, the acting, and the musical score. However, the other four I still don't care for and just couldn't get "involved" in them. I do like Marnie, Torn Curtain, and Topaz. They wouldn't be on my list of the best of Hitchcock and I certainly understand the criticisms other people have mentioned, but I still enjoy watching them. I agree with the people who thought Vertigo and Rebecca ​were overrated. I would add Psycho​, also. I see what people like about them and I can appreciate their qualities, but I really don't enjoy watching them as much as the other Hitchcock movies. So, my list of worse Hitchcock films would be: (1) Frenzy (May be unfair since I haven't seen it, but just from the clips and others' comments, I know this would be my least favorite.) (2) Family Plot (Didn't like anything about it.) (3) The Wrong Man (Story was emotionally compelling, but the movie was just too dreary, draggy, and depressing.) (4) The Paradine Case (Couldn't get interested or emotionally involved with the story or the characters.) (5) Under Capricorn (Basic story was interesting, but not emotionally involved with any of the characters. They all seemed so very flawed and unsympathetic. It was also dreary, draggy, and depressing.)
  2. I teach at the college level, also (but, not in a film-related subject). I can't say how impressed I have been with this course. The level of preparation here is incredible! There has been a tremendous amount of material presented and it has been in great form! I am incredibly picky (could say obsessed) with things being presented correctly and in good form. I realize Dr. Edwards had students helping him with some of this material, but I'm sure the majority of the material came from him, plus he also had to oversee the students' work. This had to take a tremendous amount of time and effort on Dr. Edwards part. And I can't imagine having over 16,500 students -- that boggles the mind!! I think the course has been structured to allow a great deal of flexibility. The only complaint on that score that I have is with the programming from TCM. It has been difficult to try and watch so many movies in such a short period of time and, also, get through the course material. Part of the problem is my own fault because I started just before the deadline to enter, so I have been trying to play catch-up all along. But, it would have been easier to have the course spread out a little longer (maybe over two months) so the films didn't run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. two nights a week. I'm a night-owl, but I can't handle all-nighters like I could in college! And/or, TCM could have put all of the Hitchcock films on the On Demand channel, so we could watch them later in the week. Some of us don't have working DVRs. I think we owe Dr. Edwards and his student assistants a huge "Thank You!" As others have mentioned, we got all of this for FREE! Again, that is unbelievable. Dr. Edwards has structured this course to give us a lot of flexibility, so I think we should return the favor and give him a little flexibility in return!
  3. (1) Cary Grant - Suspicion (but I really think it is comparing the four roles he played in ​Suspicion, Notorious, To Catch a Thief, and North by Northwest that you see how he brought four very different characters to life so brilliantly) ​(2) Jessie Royce Landis - North by Northwest and To Catch a Thief​ ​(she stole every scene she was in!) ​(3) Thelma Ritter - Rear Window ​(she also stole every scene she was in!) ​(4) Robert Walker - Strangers on a Train ​(such a departure for him -- he was always such a good guy) (5) Anthony Perkins - Psycho ​(I'm still not really a fan of Psycho, but I appreciate it's qualities now, especially Perkins' performance. But it makes me sad that this role typecast him for the rest of his life. Previously, he had quite a variety of different roles, but I don't think anyone could ever look at him again without thinking of Norman Bates.) ​Honorable Mentions: Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton in ​Shadow of a Doubt Ingrid Bergman in both ​Notorious and Spellbound​ ​(again, two very different characters) Judith Anderson in Rebecca My least favorite performance is Joan Fontaine in both Rebecca and Suspicion.​ I've never been a fan of Fontaine. She was the lead in these two films and I didn't feel any "connection" or emotion with her (or from her). The only film I ever thought she really did well was Born to be Bad. ​She played the villain in that movie and was excellent! Ironically, her sister Olivia de Haviliand is one of my favorite actresses. I would have loved to see her playing these two roles for Hitchcock! She was always believable in her roles. Tied for least favorite performance would be Paul Newman and Julie Andrews together in Torn Curtain. ​ I'm a big fan of both of them, but they had no romantic chemistry together! I like the story, but I think it would be a much better movie if one or the other (or both) had been replaced. Also, I think Hitchcock should have used Bernard Herrmann's score, especially in the murder scene. What a difference that would have made!
  4. I didn't have any technical difficulties with the lecture videos or the Daily Doses (except a couple of the old British films were too dark to see clearly and the British accents and slang were hard to understand). I thought all of the technical aspects worked great. And I don't have a very new or powerful computer. Also, I thought the games were great! I especially liked "Hitch or Hike."
  5. It seems like the directors, actors, and composers that I would suggest have already been discussed. And I have to admit that I don't really stay up-to-date on fashion designers. Besides, I don't think anyone could compete with Edith Head! Someone stated that Edith Head's clothes were never pretty -- Did you see Grace Kelly's dresses in Rear Window?​ Absolutely incredible!! As far as writers, in addition to Stephen King and some of the other suggestions, I would love to see what Hitchcock would do with some of the books written by David Baldacci, Sandra Brown, and Lisa Scottoline. And I totally agree that he would probably not work with the brilliant Aaron Sorkin because he is so dialogue-driven.
  6. OOPS! I forgot to mention in the message I just posted -- I made a mistake in my earlier post (Aug. 2). I listed four movies and said they starred Ray Milland, but they actually starred Van Heflin. The movies were: ​Possessed Act of Violence ​Black Widow The Prowler Sorry for the mistake!
  7. This has been a great course! I was lucky enough to be raised by two movie-loving parents, so I've been a life-long movie addict, but this is my first experience taking a course on films. I definitely should have started sooner because I thoroughly enjoyed it! And I learned a lot! I've seen a lot of the films previously, but I can't believe how much more I noticed in them after some of the "lessons." It has really opened my eyes and ears to have a new appreciation of some of these films. Thank you Dr. Edwards for a great class -- hope there will be more soon! And I'll register early next time, so I'm not playing "catch up."'' I already responded with some Hitchcockian movies, particularly a number of Barbara Stanwyck films, but I thought of some more: ​They Won't Believe Me​ with Robert Young and Susan Hayward The Second Woman​ with Robert Young and Betsy Drake I don't remember if anyone mentioned Gilda with Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, but there is also ​Affair in Trinidad​ with the same pair. It seems like Glenn Ford was in quite a few suspense movies with some Hitchcock touches. They were generally low-budget, but still effective thrillers: Framed (1947) Convicted (1950) Terror on a Train (1953) Experiment in Terror (1962) Ransom (1956) ​with Donna Reed Ransom​ was remade in 1996 with Mel Gibson, Gary Sinise, and Rene Russo and directed by Ron Howard. I rarely ever like a remake as well as the original, but this is an exception. This was much more suspenseful with a lot of unexpected twists. Some other more recent movies: The Big Fix​ with Richard Dreyfuss (combined suspense with humor without being a comedy) Bloodwork​ with Clint Eastwood Hostage​ with Bruce Willis ​Frantic​ and Firewall​ both with Harrison Ford
  8. ​​Frenzy​ starts on a sunny day with a long (rather regal) view of London, traveling down the river toward the bridge and, then, through the bridge (like we went through the window in ​Shadow of a Doubt, Rear Window, and Psycho​). The music also has a bright, rather regal, and definitely British sound. In The Lodger,​ it is very dark at night and we see a terrified woman screaming. Then, there is a crowd discussing the murder from the night before. In ​Frenzy, ​there is also a crowd, but they are listening to a politician until someone yells "Look!" and everyone turns to see the naked body of a dead woman floating face-down in the river with a tie around her neck. Common Hitchcock touches include the long, traveling shot at the very beginning (like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Rear Window, and Psycho), ​​the Hitchcock cameo, the crowd scene (like many openings), and the crowd discussing a murder (like The Lodger and ​ Blackmail​). I think Hitchcock wanted to let the audience know where they were with the long, traveling shot of London. Then, he liked to start with a crowd discussing what is going on or anticipated. In Frenzy​, he lets the crowd discover the body, not just discuss the murder.
  9. This scene opens with a woman in a tailored tweed suit and heels walking down a hotel corridor with a bellboy carrying a large stack of boxes and what looks like a new suitcase still wrapped up. While the suit looks of good quality, the style and color are a little dowdy. Then we see her in the hotel room in a robe with two suitcases on the bed. She is unwrapping new clothes from the boxes and packing them in, what I assume, is the new suitcase. She is also tossing her old clothes and shoes into another suitcase. She takes a wallet, compact, and some other items out of her large yellow purse and then dumps the remaining contents (which is a large amount of bundled money) into the new suitcase. The yellow purse then joins the "old" clothes. She then removes the Social Security card, reading Marion Holland, out of her wallet. She has three other Social Security cards hidden in her compact and she removes one reading Margaret Edgar and places it in her wallet. She does all of this very quickly and systematically, but she does not appear to be rushing or in a panic. We then see her rinsing the black hair dye out of her hair and see it swirling down the drain (reminiscent of the blood swirling down the drain in "Psycho"). We still have not seen her face, but as the music soars, we suddenly see her stand up and throw her now blonde hair back off of her face. It is a very dramatic moment! Now we see her legs walking through a train station (reminiscent of "Strangers on a Train"). She is carrying both suitcases and is wearing a very stylish, fitted suit with her hair elegantly styled. She puts the "old" suitcase in a locker and holds the key in her hand (like Alicia did in "Notorious") as she walks away. When she gets to a grate, she intentionally drops the key and pushes it through the grate with her foot (again reminiscent of Bruno's dropping the lighter through a grate in "Strangers on a Train," although he did it accidently). She appears very self-confident and pleased. It seems like her personality has changed with the change of clothes and hairstyle. It is also obvious that she has performed this kind of change in identity before. We learn all of this about her without any dialogue, just watching her pack and changing her name and appearance. Bernard Herrmann's score starts out soft and slow, a little sad and mysterious. As she is rinsing the black dye from her hair, the music builds and seems more romantic and exciting. Then, it climaxes as she throws her blonde hair back and reveals her face! As she is walking in the train station, the music is hauntingly romantic. It is really a very beautiful score without any apparent terror approaching. As Marnie is walking down the hotel corridor with the bellboy, Hitchcock steps out of another room, watches her walking away, and then turns toward the camera (or the audience) with a slight shrug and then quickly looks away again. This is the first cameo that I remember Hitchcock looking directly into the camera and I'm not sure what meaning to connect with it. The only thing that I thought was, perhaps, he was saying that we all have some voyeur in us, that it is just human nature.
  10. I've loved reading through these posts and remembering so many movies that definitely are Hitchcockian! Here are some more! The Big Clock​ with Ray Milland and Charles Laughton is on TCM tonight at 8 p.m. and its a good one! Also starring Ray Milland: Possessed with Joan Crawford Act of Violence​ with Janet Leigh and Robert Ryan ​Black Widow ​with Ginger Rogers and Gene Tierney The Prowler​ with Evelyn Keyes I don't remember seeing anyone list Double Indemnity​ with Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck. Then, as I thought about Barbara Stanwyck, who is one of my favorite actresses, I immediately thought of several of her other movies that would fit the description: No Man of her Own​ with John Lund (this is one of my favorites - it was remade into a comedy with Rikki Lake called ​ Mrs. Winterbourne, ​but the original is SO much better!) ​Cry Wolf​ with Errol Flynn Man with a Cloak ​with Joseph Cotton Witness to Murder ​with George Sanders Sorry, Wrong Number​ with Burt Lancaster ​The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers​ with Van Heflin The Two Mrs. Carrolls​ with Humprey Bogart ​Crime of Passion​ with Raymond Burr ​The File on Thelma Jordon​ with Wendell Corey Jeopardy ​with Barry Sullivan Some other examples would be: Dark Passage​ with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall ​23 Paces to Baker Street​ with Van Johnson and Vera Miles ​Experiment in Terror ​with Lee Remick Above Suspicion​ with Fred MacMurray and Joan Crawford Tomorrow is Forever​ with Orson Welles and Claudette Colbert ​A Cry in the Night​ with Natalie Wood and Raymond Burr Laura​ with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews Out of the Past​ with Robert Mitchum Undercurrent ​​with Katherine Hepburn, Robert Taylor, & Robert Mitchum Midnight Lace​ with Doris Day, Rex Harrison, & John Gavin ​The Spiral Staircase​ with Dorothy McGuire ​Blindfold​ with Rock Hudson Some more recent examples would be: Unknown​ with Liam Neeson Double Jeopardy​ with Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones High Crimes and Kiss the Girls​ both with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman
  11. I liked both "Torn Curtain" and "Topaz," but I agree "Topaz" is probably the stronger of the two. Maybe it is because there are not any major movie stars in it, but other spy thrillers have worked with major stars. As far as Newman and Andrews not being believable as spys in "Torn Curtain," they are NOT spys!! That's one of the main factors in the story! They weren't even recruited for this mission -- Newman's character came up with this plan and managed to find someone who had a contact to the spy network in East Germany. Washington doesn't even know what he is doing, they will assume he is actually a defector. All of that comes out in his discussion with the spy on the tractor in the middle of the field! So, neither of them know anything about being a spy. Of course, they are "unbelievable" in the role of a spy -- they are supposed to be unbelievable as spies! However, I do agree that there is not much romantic chemistry between Newman and Andrews (unlike many of Hitchcock's other couples). Question: Does anyone remember seeing a post that had the killing scene in "Torn Curtain" with the accompanying Bernard Herrmann score that Hitchcock rejected? I watched it several days ago. The difference in the scene is amazing! I really think if Hitchcock had used Bernard Herrmann's score, "Torn Curtain" would have been a much better movie! I just read the article about Herrmann that Prof. Edwards recommended and I wanted to see that clip again, but I can't find it! I'm pretty sure it was on this message board, but now I can't find it! Any ideas?
  12. I agree also!! I have been able to catch a couple of missed Hitchcock films On Demand, but most of the ones I missed (like "Rebecca") were not available! It's incredibly frustrating! I was able to borrow "Rebecca" from the library, but they didn't have any of the others I missed. I agree that TCM should have considered how difficult it would be to watch movies from 8pm to 6 am twice a week for a month! Not everyone has a DVR or, like me, their DVR may not be working! TCM should have either spread the movies out over the month better and/or put them all on the On Demand channel.
  13. I've been trying to watch all of them, but my recorder is broken, so its been hard! Also, I started the course late, so I missed the first week altogether. Luckily, I got to watch some of the silents and British spy thrillers on "Open Culture." I'd seen a couple of the early British films, but really enjoyed seeing them again and seeing some others that I had missed. I have to admit that I don't really enjoy silent movies, but Hitchcock's are better than most that I've seen. For the rest of Hitchcock's films, I'm lucky enough to have seen all of them in the past, except for "Frenzy." I've still been trying to see all of them this month so they are fresh in my mind, but I have fallen asleep through a few of them (tried to "schedule" my naps to coincide with films I have on DVD or VHS, but I still missed "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," the first half of "Suspicion," "The Paradine Case," "I Confess," "The Trouble with Harry," "The Wrong Man," "Frenzy," and "Family Plot.") Missing "Frenzy" and "Family Plot" was intentional -- I don't like gory slasher movies and that is what "Frenzy" sounded like. Also, I remember that I didn't like "Family Plot." As for the others, I tried to make sure that I saw the films that would be discussed in the class and as many of the others as humanly possible! I wish TCM would have put all of the Hitchcock movies on the Movies by Demand channel so I could spread them out over the week! I did manage to watch a few that I missed (or dozed in the middle of) that way, but not all. Maybe next time they have a course like this connected to their programming, they will consider spreading them out more over the weeks and/or putting them all "On Demand."
  14. I agree with you -- I've always liked "Topaz." I remember seeing it at the theater when I was about 12 and the purple dress scene always stuck with me! Years later when it was on TV, I'd forgotten the title, but I started watching it because I liked John Forsythe. It seemed familiar and when they got to Cuba, I knew it was the movie I remembered with the purple dress! I still always watch it when its on TV and I agree that it is similar to Hitchcock's earlier spy thrillers. I particularly like "The 39 Steps," "Sabateur," "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (both versions), and "The Lady Vanishes." I also like "Torn Curtain," but now that I've heard some of Bernard Herrmann's score for it, I think it would have been much better if Hitchcock had used that score.
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