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It was wonderful of TCM to hold an ‘at home’ film festival. And what a treat it was to see the late Robert Osborne’s interviews with film stars. Mr. Osborne is sorely missed—he had a unique resume and personal involvement with the film world. While I enjoy Ben, Eddie and Dave, Alicia Malone is lacking as host. I’m sure she is a nice person, but she has no film background, aside from being a fan. It’s clear that TCM has polished up her look and attire but it’s not enough. I would love to see members of the film community back on camera—Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore, Sally Field. There are so many candidates from which to draw—please look harder TCM.
I confess to being more than a little disappointed with some aspects of Hitchcock 50. 1. Far too many of the early British films. Those of us who love Hitchcock would naturally want to believe that every one of his films is a masterpiece. Personally, I think that about 80% of his films from The Man Who Knew Too Much to Family Plot are somewhere between very good and masterpieces, and I'm including in that number some I don't particularly like, like The Wrong Man, The Birds, and The Trouble With Harry. Except for The Lodger, the rest of the silents are darned near unwatchable--flashes of the emerging Hitchcock style buried in a soggy morass of exaggerated acting and silent film cliches. And, to be candid, a lot of The Lodger is silent film cliche as well. 2. Strange omissions and inclusions, besides the early films. Why no Sabotage (a critical film in Hitchcock's development) or To Catch A Thief? Why Number 17, the only interesting bit of which is the final sequence? Why Mr. and Mrs. Smith, except to prove that Hitchcock had no sense for screwball romantic comedy? If it was necessary to be comprehensive--show all of the surviving films. 3. If I may paraphrase Casablanca--of all the Hitchcock experts in all the world, why on earth have a preening little nonentity like Alexandre Philippe, except possibly that there may be a TCM financial interest in his documentary? His commentary has been, to put it charitably, banal, where it has not been inaccurate. For example--Madeleine Carroll is not the first Hitchcock blonde. Anyone forget June Tripp in The Lodger--not to mention all the blonde victims? Or Anny Ondra, in The Manxman and Blackmail? Making a point of milk in Suspicion and Spellbound (two instances does not a repeated trope make) and no mention of the repeated trope of vertical movement followed by a fall from a great height--suggested in The Lodger, present fully developed in Blackmail, Foreign Correspondent, and Saboteur, to note the obvious ones. Guys, you can do better.