Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

And Your Favourite Hitchcock Film Is . . . ?


TomJH
 Share

Recommended Posts

I know it may be a tough call because the master of suspense created so many memorable works. But try, if you can, to select just one film from one of the most legendary director's career to pick as your favourite. If you can state your reasons why all the better.

I watched mine again just the other day . . .

REAR WINDOW

Hitchcock achieved a sophistication in his presentation of this ""Peeping Tom" thriller, combined with bits of sharp humour and, of course, nail biting suspense that makes it an irresistible treat for me. The casting is perfection. Even Grace Kelly, an actress I can generally resist, is very good in this one. It's probably my favourite Kelly performance.

Hitchcock rose to the occasion with the challenge of making a two hour thriller in a confined set, the apartment of the protagonist laid up with a broken leg, from which the only other view we have is his view, the apartment courtyard outside, with brief glimpses into the apartments and lives of his anonymous neighbours (some with given nicknames such as Miss Lonelyheart and Miss Torso).

One of the great film sets:

giphy.gif

SPOILER ALERT:

One of my favourite scenes in the film is that in which Kelly impulsively climbs into the apartment of the man (Raymond Burr) suspected of having killed his wife, only to have Burr unexpectedly return home and catch her.

Of course we, the viewer, along with the film's protagonist laid up with a leg in a cast (James Stewart), are watching in sheer helplessness as Burr questions Kelly then turns out the lights as Kelly screams for help. It's an incredible moment of impotence for a film leading man. The only thing that Stewart can do he does - call the police. Aside from that he (and we) are helpless as we may be about to witness the death of his girlfriend in the dark. The unexpected price that one can pay for being bored and prying into the lives of others.

This is a scene that still gives me the chills, even after repeat viewings, one of the riveting highlight moments from a great film.

RearWindow1954.jpg

Anybody else care to make a call on their favourite film of the Master?

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of Sir Alfred's favorite storylines: A man is accused of a crime he did not commit, and goes on the lam in search of evidence that will prove his innocence. Robert Donat played such a character in "The 39 Steps" (1935), one of the director's final British films before he moved to Hollywood. It also was the situation for characters played by Robert Cummings in "Saboteur" (1942), Cary Grant in "To Catch a Thief" (1955) and Jon Finch in "Frenzy" (1972). 

But Hitchcock's best thriller -- and my favorite -- is "North By Northwest" (1959), the Master's final collaboration with Grant. 

The stylish actor -- British born like Hitch --  stars as New York City ad executive Roger O. Thornhill, who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when he is mistaken for an espionage agent named George Kaplan.

Thornhill finds himself in several tight spots, including a classic case of taking the rap for a murder in broad daylight.

In his quest to track down the real culprits, Thornhill somehow manages to elude authorities while making the acquaintance of Eve Kendall (Saint), an empathetic woman he meets on a train to Chicago. She is the coolest of Hitchcock's cool blondes.

Ernest Lehman's splendid original screenplay -- full of humorous as well as dramatic moments -- received an Academy Award nomination. In 2005, the Writers Guild of America East and the Writers Guild of America West polled members to determine the 101 Greatest Screenplays. "North By Northwest" was ranked No. 21. One of my favorite lines from the movie -- delivered by the dependable character actor Malcolm Atterbury -- sets up one of filmdom's most iconic moments.

One of Hitchcock's trademarks was bringing chaos to symbols or institutions representing order. In "Blackmail" (1929), police chase a murder suspect through the British Museum. Cummings' character in "Saboteur" racies to confront the title character (Norman Lloyd) at the Statue of Liberty.

In "North By Northwest," the climax occurs at one of America's most revered sites -- Mount Rushmore.

Another favorite line: Thornhill's irrepressible mother (Jessie Royce Landis) -- who doesn't believe her son's stories of intrigue -- blurts out in a crowded elevator: "You gentlemen aren't really trying to kill my son, are you?" Actually, they are.

Related image

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really love Rear Window.  The courtyard set in and of itself is fascinating.  I love that Hitchcock devised these storylines for the characters in the background, of course, their storyline is based on James Stewart's character's assumptions.  Stewart, due to his broken leg, is the Gladys Kravitz of the neighborhood.  When you're laid up and bored like Stewart's character, it seems natural that you would observe your neighbors and make up stories about their goings on--if only to keep yourself entertained.  Grace Kelly is gorgeous in this film and wears the most beautiful wardrobe.  Thelma Ritter is hilarious.  "Must've splattered a lot...Come on, that's what we're all thinkin'."  I love this movie.  Even though I've seen it multiple times and know how it ends and all that, it's still fascinating.  My only qualm is Stewart's cheesy looking fall at the end. But it was 1954, I'm willing to overlook it. 

I know what I'm watching tonight. 

My second favorite Hitchcock film is probably Notorious with The Lady Vanishes running a close third. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hitchcock's cameo in "Rear Window" shows him tinkering with a clock in the apartment of a songwriter (played by Ross Bagdasarian). 

In real life, Bagdasarian (1919-1972) was a songwriter as well as an actor. With his cousin William Saroyan, he wrote "Come On-a My House," which was a huge hit for Rosemary Clooney in 1951.

Later in the 1950s, he sped up recordings of his voice to create a trio of singing Chipmunks: Simon, Theodore and Alvin. Using the pseudonym David Seville, Bagdasarian produced such hits as "Witch Doctor" and "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." 

In 1961, the popularity of The Chipmunks led to "The Alvin Show" on CBS -- and an animation empire was born. It is run today by Bagdasarian's son, Ross Jr.

Image result for hitchcock cameo in rear window

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unrelated item: a 'lost' Hitchcock film from 1924, 'White Shadows'--not citing it as my fave--just noting here that it has been found and made available. Worth seeking out for any Hitch fans. (If this is old news to some of you, I apologize, I only heard of it this week myself).

My favorite Hitchcock flick is 'Frenzy'.

Although I heartily enjoy most of his work; this one stands out to me. Its small-scale and personal, (no nation-wide manhunts climaxing atop historic monuments). I like the non A-list actors; (especially fun little Billie Whitelaw) and I dig the realistic, tawdry seamy, squeamishness of the overall story. Only 'Strangers on a Train' has a more nail-biting moment (the keys in the gutter) than the cliffhangers found in 'Frenzy'. They come fast and furious.

As a runner-up I will also say that I quite like 'Family Plot' for much the same reasons. The 'nasty' characters ring more true than all of Hitch's usual lineups of goody-two-shoes types.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, Janet0312 said:

Shadow of a Doubt is my favorite. That a beloved uncle could be a cold blooded murderer of widows comes to visit his family in a sleepy town. Yeah, baby. That so works for me.

I agree on "Shadow Of A Doubt" and Hitchcock himself agreed as well, it's was his favorite.

Joseph Cotten was excellent as Uncle Charlie. He was not some wild eyed, mouth foaming maniac, but a well dressed, soft spoken gentleman. We never saw a villain like that, from a small town and loving family. 

Teresa Wright was also great as Young Charlie, the girl who worships her uncle but is the only who finds out about his crimes. She also finds some darkness within herself as she even threatens to kill him.

The supporting cast is great, Henry Travers and Patricia Collinge are Wright's unsuspecting parents. Macdonald Carey and Wallace Ford show up as a pair of suspicious undercover cops. Hume Cronyn has his first and one of his best roles as an eccentric neighbor with a grisly sense of humor.

Hitchcock's direction has many of his great trademarks, such as camera pans in the beginning from bridges, streets and finally to small room with Cotten on the bed and the shots of the two Charlies where the seem like two sides of a coin, especially eerie scene where both are in shadow as the face off against each other.

The script and dialogue are seem very real and natural. Much of it is due to "Our Town" playwright Thornton Wilder. And the final twist has Wright and Carey the only ones who know the truth about Uncle Charlie while the rest of the family and town hail him as a hero. 

In short, I love everything about it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  1. Psycho
  2. The Birds
  3. North By Northwest
  4. Shadow of a Doubt
  5. Notorious
  6. Strangers On a Train
  7. Rear Window
  8. Foreign Correspondent
  9. Frenzy
  10. Rebecca

I also like The 39 StepsThe Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), SaboteurLifeboatI ConfessTo Catch a ThiefThe Wrong ManMarnie, and Vertigo.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I really love Rear Window.  The courtyard set in and of itself is fascinating.  I love that Hitchcock devised these storylines for the characters in the background, of course, their storyline is based on James Stewart's character's assumptions.  Stewart, due to his broken leg, is the Gladys Kravitz of the neighborhood.  When you're laid up and bored like Stewart's character, it seems natural that you would observe your neighbors and make up stories about their goings on--if only to keep yourself entertained.  Grace Kelly is gorgeous in this film and wears the most beautiful wardrobe.  Thelma Ritter is hilarious.  "Must've splattered a lot...Come on, that's what we're all thinkin'."  I love this movie.  Even though I've seen it multiple times and know how it ends and all that, it's still fascinating.  My only qualm is Stewart's cheesy looking fall at the end. But it was 1954, I'm willing to overlook it. 

I know what I'm watching tonight. 

My second favorite Hitchcock film is probably Notorious with The Lady Vanishes running a close third. 

 

Hitchcock had to find a way to deal with the "ick" factor of a protagonist in Rear Window who is a Peeping Tom. Casting had much to do with that, of course. Who is more "normal" than Jimmy Stewart? Also it had to be firmly established that he only watched his neighbours because he was bored. If viewers had the impression that he liked to focus his binoculars upon his neighbours as a past time ("Hey, Jeff, ya wanna get out tonight?" "No, thanks, Miss Torso's working out") it might be a little more difficult for the audience to identify with him.

Okay, okay, some of the audience still would, of course (the ones wearing raincoats with nothing underneath crowd).
 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Unrelated item: a 'lost' Hitchcock film from 1924, 'White Shadows'--not citing it as my fave--just noting here that it has been found and made available. Worth seeking out for any Hitch fans. (If this is old news to some of you, I apologize, I only heard of it this week myself).

My favorite Hitchcock flick is 'Frenzy'.

Although I heartily enjoy most of his work; this one stands out to me. Its small-scale and personal, (no nation-wide manhunts climaxing atop historic monuments). I like the non A-list actors; (especially fun little Billie Whitelaw) and I dig the realistic, tawdry seamy, squeamishness of the overall story. Only 'Strangers on a Train' has a more nail-biting moment (the keys in the gutter) than the cliffhangers found in 'Frenzy'. They come fast and furious.

As a runner-up I will also say that I quite like 'Family Plot' for much the same reasons. The 'nasty' characters ring more true than all of Hitch's usual lineups of goody-two-shoes types.

Frenzy is the only Hitchcock I ever saw at the show (outside of a couple of revivals of Vertigo).

The darker post-50s Hitchcocks leave me a little cold, though I certainly appreciate both Psycho and The Birds. Frenzy has a nastiness that makes me uncomfortable. Having said that the film also has a prime Hitchcock moment, that when the audience sees a woman being strangled inside a room and Hitch then has his camera pull back and back and back, out of the room and out of the apartment building into the street. We then see pedestrians walking by this nondescript apartment building on a perfectly ordinary "normal" day, while knowing at the same time that a woman is being brutally murdered inside that same nondescript building. The greatest horrors in the world can occur in the most ordinary of settings, Hitch is warning us.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Janet0312 said:

Shadow of a Doubt is my favorite. That a beloved uncle could be a cold blooded murderer of widows comes to visit his family in a sleepy town. Yeah, baby. That so works for me.

 

1 hour ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

I agree on "Shadow Of A Doubt" and Hitchcock himself agreed as well, it's was his favorite.

Joseph Cotten was excellent as Uncle Charlie. He was not some wild eyed, mouth foaming maniac, but a well dressed, soft spoken gentleman. We never saw a villain like that, from a small town and loving family. 

Teresa Wright was also great as Young Charlie, the girl who worships her uncle but is the only who finds out about his crimes. She also finds some darkness within herself as she even threatens to kill him.

The supporting cast is great, Henry Travers and Patricia Collinge are Wright's unsuspecting parents. Macdonald Carey and Wallace Ford show up as a pair of suspicious undercover cops. Hume Cronyn has his first and one of his best roles as an eccentric neighbor with a grisly sense of humor.

Hitchcock's direction has many of his great trademarks, such as camera pans in the beginning from bridges, streets and finally to small room with Cotten on the bed and the shots of the two Charlies where the seem like two sides of a coin, especially eerie scene where both are in shadow as the face off against each other.

The script and dialogue are seem very real and natural. Much of it is due to "Our Town" playwright Thornton Wilder. And the final twist has Wright and Carey the only ones who know the truth about Uncle Charlie while the rest of the family and town hail him as a hero. 

In short, I love everything about it!

One of my favourite scenes in Shadow of a Doubt is when Teresa Wright goes to the library is see the day's newspaper after her beloved Uncle Charlie had made a point of taking that same page out of the family paper. There she reads about the Merry Widow Murderer being sought by the police.

What makes this sequence particularly chilling for me is that as the camera slowly scrolls down the page Dimitri Tiomkin's musical score is playing the main theme from Lehar's The Merry Widow waltz slightly discordantly. As Wright slowly and sadly walks out of the library in shock at what she had just read Hitchcock pulls his camera away from her making her figure an increasingly small one in the frame, emphasizing her emotional isolation. She is now the only person in the family who knows Uncle Charlie's terrible secret.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, jakeem said:

Hitchcock's cameo in "Rear Window" shows him tinkering with a clock in the apartment of a songwriter (played by Ross Bagdasarian). 

In real life, Bagdasarian (1919-1972) was a songwriter as well as an actor. With his cousin William Saroyan, he wrote "Come On-a My House," which was a huge hit for Rosemary Clooney in 1951.

Later in the 1950s, he sped up recordings of his voice to create a trio of singing Chipmunks: Simon, Theodore and Alvin. Using the pseudonym David Seville, Bagdasarian produced such hits as "Witch Doctor" and "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)." 

In 1961, the popularity of The Chipmunks led to "The Alvin Show" on CBS -- and an animation empire was born. It is run today by Bagdasarian's son, Ross Jr.

Image result for hitchcock cameo in rear window

Also, Bagdasarian (aka 'Dave Seville') was the cousin and friend of William Saroyan, novelist, playwright (Pulitzer Prize winner for 'The Time of Your Life'), and screenwriter (Oscar winner for 'The Human Comedy'.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, TomJH said:

SPOILER ALERT:

One of my favourite scenes in the film is that in which Kelly impulsively climbs into the apartment of the man (Raymond Burr) suspected of having killed his wife, only to have Burr unexpectedly return home and catch her.

Of course we, the viewer, along with the film's protagonist laid up with a leg in a cast (James Stewart), are watching in sheer helplessness as Burr questions Kelly then turns out the lights as Kelly screams for help. It's an incredible moment of impotence for a film leading man. The only thing that Stewart can do he does - call the police. Aside from that he (and we) are helpless as we may be about to witness the death of his girlfriend in the dark. The unexpected price that one can pay for being bored and prying into the lives of others.

CONTINUE ALERT:

And when Burr confronts Stewart in the dark, the film commentaries always try to delve into the "kinky abstract psychology" of Hitchcock's "message" ("Ah, now we see Stewart's character confronted with the real-world consequences of his voyeuristic urges!").  But when I showed it to one first-time-viewer friend, they immediately picked up "Don't say anything, he's trying to find out where you ARE in the dark!"  Which, of course, Burr does, the minute Stewart can't help hero-blabbing.

My favorite, just because the first half of the movie's dialogue is so preciously cute, funny and wisecracking, we think the entire movie is going to be another cute-macabre wink to the audience like Hitch's TV show.  Until Grace Kelly starts seeing some evidence, says "Tell me what you saw from the beginning..." and the general expressions of "Ohh, poopie...  😮 " start becoming the audience's.

But if I had to pick a second favorite, I'm biased from having seen "Family Plot" in the hometown theater when I was a kid, and not just because non-crazy Bruce Dern is watchable in anything:

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(thanks so much for these great photos)

 

got to be: ROPE.

I love them all-----we saw the standing set for PSYCHO at Universal Studios,  we visited Santa Rosa California years back to find the "house" in SHADOW OF A DOUBT, and to Bodega Bay to find the "school" Tippi Hedren sat in front of, while the jungle gym filled with birds, in THE BIRDS.

but on a desert island, I would have to have: ROPE.

there are so many fun and weird things about this film.

Especially wonderful is the housekeeper/maid/cook who was also in: ACE IN THE HOLE, Edith Evanson.

Then the legendary Cedric Hardwicke, who starred in THE WINSLOW BOY, and narrated WAR OF THE WORLDS.

And, how totally insanely narcissistic James Stewart is throughout. Puke!!!

To me, ROPE brings horror and duplicity right into your living room, with folks you want to spend the afternoon with. With perfect decor and a lovely buffet meal.

 

THIS MOVIE NEEDS A RE-MAKE.!!!!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vertigo is definitely my favorite, though there are many Hitchcock films I will watch again if they're on TV, even if I've seen them multiple times. That applies even to films like To Catch a Thief and Dial M for Murder which I wouldn't put in the top dozen. For me, the major Hitchcock films end with The Birds, though the later films have their moments.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, kingrat said:

Vertigo is definitely my favorite, though there are many Hitchcock films I will watch again if they're on TV, even if I've seen them multiple times. That applies even to films like To Catch a Thief and Dial M for Murder which I wouldn't put in the top dozen. For me, the major Hitchcock films end with The Birds, though the later films have their moments.

For my money, Vertigo has the most haunting of all Hitchcock endings, with, arguably, James Stewart's greatest performance.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...