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Hitchcock's later color films were terrible


JulieNewYork
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There's absolutely no comparison between Hitchcock's early, brilliant black & white films from the 1930's and '40's such as the original Man Who Knew Too Much, Foreign Correspondent, The 39 Steps, Lifeboat, Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, etc., and his dreadful later films such as Vertigo, To Catch a Thief, the remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rear Window North By Northwest, Rope and The Trouble With Harry.

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>There's absolutely no comparison between Hitchcock's early, brilliant black & white films from the 1930's and '40's such as the original Man Who Knew Too Much, Foreign Correspondent, The 39 Steps, Lifeboat, Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, etc., and his dreadful later films such as Vertigo, To Catch a Thief, the remake of The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rear Window North By Northwest, Rope and The Trouble With Harry.

 

Prepare to be flamed. ;)

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All of his films up to Psycho were good to me, all the films that he made after that were ok but flawed. I can't belive that you think that Vertigo, Rear Window and North by Northwest are terrible but it's your opinion. I think that Hitchcock was a master at using color, him and Kubrick were. I do love his early black & white films, Notorious and Shadow of a Doubt being my favorites.

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The Lodger is good and IMO inventive: there are scenes that presage what Hitchcock would later do in Psycho (a bathtub scene) and the various obsessions of later films (eg. Marnie); there's also one really interesting scene of the main character pacing in his apartment, seen from below.

 

Unfortunately, I haven't seen Hitch's other silents.

 

As for Hitch's later movies, I believe Hitch had a falling out with Tippi Hedren on the set of Marnie that led to the rest of his later movies basically going through the motions. But I'll stand in line with the OP for a flaming in saying that Vertigo is seriously overrated.

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I think VERTIGO is somewhat overrated, mainly because the plot twist is given away too soon ... the audience knows about Kim Novak before Jimmy Stewart does ... and I always found that to be a weakness. The suspense is gone, and we have to wait for Stewart to "catch up" to us. I also could never see the chemisty between Stewart and Novak. On the other hand, the photography and the musical score are first rate.

 

I think NORTH BY NORTHWEST is Hitchcock's finest film, at least among those I've seen. It has a great combination of suspense and humor, and again, a brilliant score. It is a movie I will always stop and watch if I spot it while changing channels.

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I saw an interview with Hitchcock where he described a scene with two characters seated at a table, while unbeknownst to them, but known to the audience, a bomb is underneath that table. I agree this is suspense. We want to warn the characters but are powerless to do anything. But I do not agree that giving away a major plot element to the audience so early and waiting for a character to discover it is suspense, or at least, as suspenseful as the above scenario. I would ask you to consider PSYCHO, where the audience never learns the truth about "Mother" until Vera Miles does. We may have our suspicions, but we have to wait for confirmation. Also, in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, we do not learn the truth about Eva Marie Saint until Leo. G. Carroll informs Cary Grant. I find both of those revelations more suspenseful than Jimmy Stewart making the connection to Carlotta's necklace, long after the audience has already learned the truth. But that's what makes these boards interesting ... the multitude of opinions :)

 

Cordially,

Rich

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I pretty much agree. His later stuff is totally over-rated. I can barely watch Vertigo, and The Man Who Knew Too Much is just "give me a break." I would, however, say that Rope and Rear Window are watchable, yet average. North by Northwest I found mostly annoying.

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"Has anyone seen his silent films???"

 

Yes, THE LODGER is very good. I thought THE RING (1928) was excellent, I also liked THE MANXMAN (1929). THE FARMER'S WIFE (1928) is a fun light comedy. EASY VIRTUE (1928) is pretty good as well. I have not seen all of his existing silents, but over all his silent output is good.

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I would agree that THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH pales alongside it's earlier counterpart. I also enjoy Hitch's first two films in his "Wronged Man" trilogy (39 STEPS, SABOTEUR) to NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

 

However, ROPE (1948), STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, (1950), DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954), THE WRONG MAN (1957), VERTIGO (1958), PSYCHO (1960), and MARNIE (1964) are not only masterpieces, but films that broke boundaries and changed the landscape of cinema. We all have different tastes, but I really don't think anyone can look at these movies objectively and not see these very works referenced in other great films by young (and older) directors who later became great in their own right.

 

While there are some incredible films in the 30's and 40's, Hitch also made some lesser quality works in those eras as well (JAMAICA INN, MR. AND MRS. SMITH,etc.), but I would say even Hitchcock's total failures are more interesting than most films, and all are worthy of study.

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Julie, you appear to be a spammer. Someone who just posts and runs-off. Why is that? Have you nothing to add to you own threads? You give nothing of substance to back-up your claim. Seem rather pointless to me.

 

By the way, I couldn't disagree with you more! Many of Hitchcock's most brilliant and masterful films were in color, in my opinion.

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Riddle me this: if you can just think back to "Vertigo" for a moment, at what point in the plot d'ya suppose we should find about that Novak is playing two characters? I don't think "Psycho" or "North by Northwest" are the best examples for you to cite. We have enough to worry about that Norman has a psycho mom who won't let him have a girlfriend, without knowing in advance that Norman is Mom. I think both those films are constructed differently from "Vertigo."

 

Love a multitude of opinions. Just don't like the slams that some folks do. I won't suffer them too much longer ('IGNORE'). Relish the polite discourse with you Scsu.

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I would have preferred to find out Novak was playing two parts at the time Stewart did ... I would have enjoyed guessing and looking for clues, rather than having it spoiled for me too soon. But I guess we can agree to disagree :)

 

I too enjoy the polite discourse Cinemaven.

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Cinemaven:

 

My problem with Vertigo isn't that we find out too soon about Novak. For me, the movie just comes across as tedious -- I find myself having no sympathy for Stewart, seeing him as a bipolar jerk (he comes across frigid on the one hand, but also obviously has an unhealthy sexual fixation on the Novak character) who treats Barbara Bel Geddes badly, and probably deserves Marnie rather the Novak character (or, he deserves a girl who talks in rhyme, but I'm conflating movie plots here...) That, and the movie just goes on too damn long trying to make the point: we get what Stewart is about at least a half hour before the first belfry scene, and we get what the deal with Novak is a good half hour before the final belfry scene.

 

People always seem to use the word "psychological" as a buzzword claim this makes Vertigo great, but there are lots of other movies that better explore psychological themes. Cary Grant's portrayed psychological issues much better in Notorious, one of Hitch's most underrated movies. And for obsession, I think I'd pick the obsessively jealous Gene Tierney in Leave Her to Heaven.

 

I don't understand why the AFI voters put Vertigo in the Top 10 this year. Then again, they left From Here to Eternity out of the Top 100 altogether, so who knows what they were thinking.

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Call me The Great Compromiser. I think Hitch's best work was relatively early; in faster, more adventurous mode. Man on the run. Journalist in pursuit. But the psychological struggles of the 1950's and early 60's are effective as well. REAR WINDOW and PSYCHO are outstanding. Even as late as FRENZY, the director was going strong. An exciting, if surprisingly violent, thriller. FAMILY PLOT? Well, you can't win 'em all!

 

Red River

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I actually kind of agree with this, but I don't think that those films were "terrible" or "dreadful" just that they aren't nearly as good as most of his earlier films. I will counter by saying that THE PARADINE CASE, a 40's B/W film, kinda sucks IMO. And I'm also not a big fan of SUSPICION, and a few other 40's Hitch flicks. I dig his really early 30's films best, but I also think PSYCHO is one of his very best and that was 1960.

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In Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic by Dan Auiler, the author says that during the making of the film, there was some uncertainty as to exactly when to place the "revelation" scene where James Stewart discovers he's been had, and that Hitch was not entirely satisfied with its location in the film, but couldn't quite decide on what might be a better spot for it.

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