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Top 5 Hitchcock films


konway87
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Hi, Arkadin -- While many people prefer THE 39 STEPS or NORTH BY NORTHWEST, SABOTEUR remaines my favorite of Hitchcock's "Wronged Man on the Run" trilogy. There is so much to see in this film that it really needs to be viewed a couple of times to appreciate everything within it's frames. An interesting work (and virtual tour of the U.S.) that more people should be familar with.

 

I like all three of Hitch's "Wronged Man on the Run" films, but Saboteur is my least favorite of the three for one reason: Robert Cummings. I'm a complete sucker for charm and chemistry and Cummings just doesn't reach the levels of Cary Grant or Robert Donat for me in those two areas. And I say this while also saying that I like Cummings in Saboteur. It's just that I don't like him near as much as Grant or Donat.

 

I do believe Saboteur is a very underrated Hitch film. It deftly combines the dark evil and quirk of The 39 Steps with the Americana of North by Northwest, so in a way, it's a perfect blend.

 

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One of my favorite characters in Saboteur is "Phillip Martin" played by Vaughan Glaser. Mr. Martin is a blind man, so he is not easily fooled by the false facades of society. He's someone who believes Barry Kane (Robert Cummings) may be innocent. It is society that's "blind."

 

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As for birthdays...mine's is January 18th. Maybe there's another Capricorn on board?>>

 

CM,

 

Check out Mongo's Birthday thread in General Discussions. He retired the thread this year but he would make a point of saying Happy Birthday to message board posters on their big day.

 

There are a few Caps still posting here, including moi. Mine's two days before yours. This is supposed to be an incredible year for Caps astrologically speaking.

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Hi Frank, I would agree that Cummings was the weakest actor of the three in the trilogy and even go a step further to say he was quite possibly the weakest actor in SABOTEUR itself. However, I think it gives the film a suspensful quality as Cummings seems truly overmatched by his adversaries.

 

Donat in my opinion, is clearly the best actor of the three and balances heroics with a run for your life attitude as few can. Although he and Cummings both end up in handcuffs, Donat's character makes better use of the prop by chaining himself to his costar. Donat's interaction with those he meets on his journey is also better written and well acted. Much smoother in my opinion than Cummings or Grant. Finally Donat's speech to unawares is the best of the three with Grant's "auction" coming in a close second.

 

On comedic terms, all actors are pretty evenly matched. Cummings has my favorite scene though when he suggests to the effeminate spy who wants his kid to have long golden curls the advice of a haircut: "it might save the kid a lot of grief."

 

As far as the villians, SABOTEUR and 39 STEPS clearly have the edge here. Their characters are powerful, sophisticated, and confident. Otto Kruger makes the better use of his wordy lines like a spider spinning webs of deceit and propaganda--all with a sneering smile. He also keeps popping up in unexpected places, which adds to his menacing quality.

 

Costars are no contest for me. I'm a big Priscilla Lane fan and love her spunky qualities. She was beautiful, but you never felt like she was afraid to get her hands dirty. She had great ability to balance comedy and drama in her roles and comes through in spades here.

 

SABOTEUR's weakness is perhaps the scene where Cummings escapes from the house. After all that work to snare him, it's just not believeable he could set off a fire alarm and walk out. Cummings also has a bit of trouble and tends to rush his speeches (but I'll give him a break here--that stuff was so wordy ANYONE would have trouble with it.). I also think that THE 39 STEPS has a better ending in the death of Mr. Miracle.

 

All in all, I love the first two films very much. I think that SABOTEUR is the best touring film and has a bit of an edge in comedy on 39 STEPS which I find to contain a more serious aspect and is perhaps a better spy film. NORTH BY NORTHWEST is the weakest film for me (especially the ending), but contains one of the best film scores of all time in my estimation. I love Cary Grant and he does a great job here, I'm just not a big fan of the film itself.

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Original release of The Paradine Case was 131 minutes. Great Reviews came from the Critics.

But David O. Selznick cut the film to 114 minutes. But when 114 minutes was released, Critics changed their opinion. Critics called the film "flat and lacking energy."

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Vaughn Glaser is my favorite character in Saboteur, along with his polar-opposite, the always smilingly smooth Otto Kruger. Sadly, I've read a few criticisms of Glaser's character, ridiculing in fact. That makes me see red. In my opinion, there aren't enough of those characters in Hitch's films.

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Great discussion on the part of all yous guys.

 

Frank---like your description of Cary Grant's "bitey" way with comedic dialogue. That's spot on. And why I think he's such a great actor but easy to undervalue.

 

"Something wrong with your eyes?"

 

"Yes, they're allergic to questions."

 

That may be my favorite exchange in the entire picture. Credit to *Ned Glass* who is so superb at playing sly, cynical wise guys.

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Vaughn Glaser also makes a small cameo in Shadow of A Doubt. Hitchcock always used interesting subjects in his films.

 

Here is an example. Under Capricorn is a story about "A Tale of Two Countries." They are Ireland and Australia. And Hitchcock uses some themes from "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. Sydney Carton is related to Charles Adare. They both become heroes in the very end.

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SPOILERS

 

I don't know if anyone noticed the symbolisms in Psycho. Symbolisms can be seen clearly in other Hitchcock's films too. There are lots of references with birds.

 

The major female character's name is Marion "Crane." She lives in "Phoenix." Norman's hobby is taxidermy, stuffing birds. When Marion started eating, Norman says "You eat like a bird." Marion Crane buys the car at California Charlie. Car no. is NFB 418. NFB stands for Norman Francis Bates.

 

Norman's hobby is taxidermy, stuffing birds. Name "California Charlie" reminds Hitchcock fans of early Hitchcock film Shadow of A Doubt, because Teresa Wright's character Young Charlie in Shadow of A Doubt lives in California.

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Yes, I forgot about that. I am glad you mentioned it. Shadow of A Doubt also has symbolisms in it. Joseph Cotten is compared to a Dracula.

 

I collected these informations from many Hitchcock admirers.

 

1) In the beginning, Joseph Cotten is on the bed like a vampire.

2) When the landlady lowers the curtain and light disappears from Joseph Cotten's face. And he gets up.

3) Jack Graham asks Ann to tell Catherine the story of Dracula.

4) Uncle Charlie comes from "Pennsylvania." Dracula comes from "Transylvania."

5) 'The same blood runs through our veins' does have a connection to the 1931 film--Dracula says the exact same line in reference to Mina when he and Van Helsing have their "battle of wills" to prove he now has power over her.

6) Women are attracted to Uncle Charlie.

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Good Evening, Konway -- I see you have found your magical Hitch touch. Excellent stuff. I missed over half of the ones you mentioned.

 

Hitch was the biggest winker around. He would often include jokes in his films just for his own entertainment. And he would most definitely incorporate symbollism in many of his pictures, especially during his Hollywood years.

 

Shadow of A Doubt also has symbolisms in it. Joseph Cotten is compared to a Dracula.

 

This one is very new to me... and I like it! Charlie was definitely sucking widows dry, that's for damn sure.

 

4) Uncle Charlie comes from "Pennsylvania." Dracula comes from "Transylvania."

 

Hmmmmmm. Curious.

 

Hey, Arkadin -- There is also a picture of a bird on the wall in Marion's room. When Norman discovers her body he backs up, knocking this picture off the wall--Marion Crane (bird) has been bumped off!

 

That's fantastic! I never caught that. That's definitely Hitchcockian humor at its finest.

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Here is an example. Under Capricorn is a story about "A Tale of Two Countries." They are Ireland and Australia. And Hitchcock uses some themes from "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens. Sydney Carton is related to Charles Adare. They both become heroes in the very end.

 

Hi Konway---Under Capricorn is a movie I've only seen once and I want to reexamine.

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Lifeboat is a good film. Here are the symbolisms of Shadow of A Doubt in a very descriptive way and with more informations.

 

I collected these informations about symbolisms from many Hitchcock fans.

 

1) When we are first introduced to Uncle Charlie, he is lying on his bed, arms folded across his chest, suggestive of a vampire lying in his coffin

 

2) As the landlady lowers the blind and the light disappears from his face, Uncle Charlie rises as though waiting to commit his crimes under the cover of darkness. This image is also interesting to note, as the blinds are traditionally drawn where there is a dead man in the room.

 

3) Uncle Charlie comes from Pennsylvania. Dracula comes from Transylvania.

 

4) Uncle Charlie remains unseen on the train is a lot like Dracula's trip from Transylvania to London.

 

5) Jack Graham asks Ann to tell Catherine the story of Dracula.

 

6) Uncle Charlie is also killed while RETURNING to Pennsylvania. Dracula is also killed while returning to Transylvania.

 

7) The line "The same blood runs through our veins" is mentioned in 1931 films Dracula. The exact same line in reference to Mina when he and Van Helsing have their "battle of wills" to prove he

now has power over her.

 

8) Mental Telepathy between Little Charlie and Uncle Charlie is similar to Telepathic relationship between Mina and Dracula. And in Shadow of A Doubt, we see Uncle Charlie says to Little Charlie "the same blood runs through our veins."

 

9) Uncle Charlie is attracted to women just like Dracula's relationship with women.

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SPOILERS

 

Vertigo (1958)

 

1) The color of Madeleine's car is green. Judy is wearing green when she is first introduced in the film.

 

2) The color "Green" is seen throughout the film.

 

3) Gavin "Elster" is Madeleine's husband. And "Elster" is German for "mockingbird" and Kim Novak wears a pin shaped like a mockingbird on the first trip to San Juan Bautista.

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Hitchcock used symbolisms throughout his films. There were some brilliant symbolisms in The Paradine Case 131 minutes version. But David O. Selznick removed most of the symbolic subjects in his editing. So the film now only have 114 minutes.

 

Take Suspicion (1941) as another example. When Lina looks for the book "The Trial of Richard Palmer" in the bookshelf, we see a book called "The Blue Ghost."

 

If we see colorized version of Suspicion, then we will see that Cary Grant is wearing "a blue suit" most of the time in the film. In some scenes, Cary Grant comes to the scene like a ghost. Here are some examples. When Lina talks to Beaky about Corporation, Johnnie suddenly appears behind the door. Here is another example. Johnnie suddenly appears right after Lina tears her letter in the middle of the film.

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Hitchcock used symbolisms throughout his films. There were some brilliant symbolisms in The Paradine Case 131 minutes version. But David O. Selznick removed most of the symbolic subjects in his editing. So the film now only have 114 minutes. Take Suspicion (1941) as another example. When Lina looks for the book "The Trial of Richard Palmer" in the bookshelf, we see a book called "The Blue Ghost." If we see colorized version of Suspicion, then we will see that Cary Grant is wearing "a blue suit" most of the time in the film. In some scenes, Cary Grant comes to the scene like a ghost. Here are some examples. When Lina talks to Beaky about Corporation, Johnnie suddenly appears behind the door. Here is another example. Johnnie suddenly appears right after Lina tears her letter in the middle of the film.

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SPOILERS

 

Hitchcock films are very brilliant in one way or another. For Example, No. 13 comes up usually in Hitchcock films.

 

I always wondered why does this no. 13 comes up in Hitchcock films?

 

Here are some examples.

The Lodger (1927) - The Lodger knocks on No. 13 door.

Shadow of A Doubt (1943) - Joseph Cotten comes out of No. 13 door in the beginning of the film.

Psycho - Car no. NFB 418 - 4 1 8 = 13

Torn Curtain - Radiogram No. 1264 - 1 2 6 + 4 = 13

 

But I noticed something in North by Northwest. Eve Kendall's train room no. is 3901. if we add the numbers, then we get 13. Eve Kendall's Hotel Room No. in Chicago is 463. If we add, then we get 13 too.

 

It is possible that No. 13 is a number showing different personalities of the characters like Eve Kendall, The Lodger, Uncle Charlie, and Professor Armstrong.

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