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Favorite Hitchcock villain and head stooge?


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I'm watching North by Northwest and I really enjoy James Mason as the villain and Martin Landau as his number 1. Probably more than any other combo from other Hitch films, or even combining from different ones. Mason is so suave and sophisticated, plus that bit of humor he manages to convey in so many roles. And Landau is properly snister and more intense.

 

I started to think back on others from Hitch films of the past. The head villain in The 39 Steps (my favorite Hitchock film)? No. Norman Lloyd as the number one in Saboteur? No. Not enough personality.

 

Anthony Perkins? Well, kind of hard to think of him as a villain in the same way.

 

Which ones do you like best?

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I would vote for Rebecca . While she was alive she tormented her husband, and probably others throughout her life. And then in death she still managed to be a dark presence hovering over her husband and even his new wife. Rebecca somehow had a strange hold on Mrs Danvers (making her a stooge?). Mrs Danvers became Rebecca's hand and voice from the grave to plot against the new wife. In the end, even Mrs Danvers became a victim of the evil Rebecca, hopefully the last victim.

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First of all, as much as I love Hitchcock, I can't stand *North by Northwest*. Maybe it's overexposure. OK, got that out of the way.

 

I love the villains who seem like pillars of society -- Otto Kruger and Alma Kruger in *Saboteur*, and Herbert Marshall in *Foreign Correspondent*. Many others like them, strewn throughout Hitchcock's films.

 

But I think my favorite of all is the villain with a heart of gold: Brenda da Banzie in *The Man Who Knew Too Much* (1956).

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Besides the obvious ones (Mrs Danvers, Tony, Vandamm, Bruno), I've always liked these villains as well:

 

Danielle in To Catch a Thief.

She's ballsy as all get out and sexy-she practically dares Grant to catch her.

 

Abbot in The Man Who Knew Too Much, mostly because he's Peter Lorre.

 

Charles Tobin in Saboteur

Otto Kruger is nicely sinister as the Nazi/Fascist who first befriends, then betrays the hero.

 

 

I love Cary Grant in Suspicion. I refuse to believe in the "happy" ending--he was trying to kill her and he did let his buddy drink brandy..

 

And though she wasn't really the villain (though she's sort of an accomplice) Dietrich was wonderful as Charlotte Inwood in Stage Fright.

 

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After seeing NBNW for about the 200th time, it occurred to me, when Thornhill's mother says to him, (paraphrased), "Stop making a big deal out of this. PAY the $2 fine", a $2 fine for drunken driving at about 3 times the legal limit, plus car theft? I know there's been inflation since 1959, but still......

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> After seeing NBNW for about the 200th time, it occurred to me, when Thornhill's mother says to him, (paraphrased), "Stop making a big deal out of this. PAY the $2 fine", a $2 fine for drunken driving at about 3 times the legal limit, plus car theft? I know there's been inflation since 1959, but still......

 

 

That was a joke for old-timers.

 

There was an old short made in the 1930s in which a guy owed a $2 fine for a parking ticket and somehow wound up in jail about it. He hired a lawyer, and for some reason the lawyer decided to fight the case and make a big deal out of it, instead of just paying the $2. The guy in jail kept begging his lawyer to ?Just pay the $2,? but the lawyer raved on and on about the ?injustice?, the ?unconstitutionality?, and the ?insult? of the fine.

 

This short became famous and thereafter, among the general public, the term ?Just pay the $2? meant ?Don?t make a big deal out of it?, ?let it go?, ?forget about it?, and ?Pay what you owe and let?s get out of here.?

 

There was also a skit about this in ?Ziegfeld Follies? (1945):

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039116/

 

Victor Moore ... Lawyer's Client in 'Pay the Two Dollars'

 

Edited by: FredCDobbs on Jan 3, 2011 2:30 PM

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> {quote:title=mrroberts wrote:}{quote}

> I find Robert Walker's Bruno to be a more threatening and scary guy then Tony Perkins' Norman Bates. Bruno is the No 1 "psycho", anyone agree?

 

I agree completely. Bates is crazy, so I would not consider him a villain. Bruno is not crazy, just very weird, but someone you definitely could run into in real life.

 

As for head stooge, I'd pick Moe.

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It is very unusual for me to dislike any Hitchcock movie. There is always SOMETHING to appreciate, because of the meticulous nature of his direction -- everything -- every object, every line -- has some meaning, and I find if I don't like one of his films, it's generally due to a lack of understanding on my part, which changes when I see the light.

 

But there are a few films of his that I really don't like: the aforementioned *North by Northwest*; *To Catch a Thief*; and (as I recall, since I haven't seen it for a long time), *Jamaica Inn*.

 

I like Cary Grant -- it's not that. Perhaps it's just that I prefer him to be holding Mae West's hand in a carriage, or appearing in screwball comedies. But I think the fact that he's in two of my least fave Hitchcock's is just a coincidence.

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