Alfred Hitchcock

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Scharphedin2
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Alfred Hitchcock

#1 Post by Scharphedin2 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:24 pm

Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980)


I don't want to film a "slice of life" because people
can get that at home, in the street, or even in front
of the movie theater. They don't have to pay money
to see a slice of life. And I avoid out-and-out fantasy
because people should be able to identify wit the
characters. Making a film means, first of all, to tell a
story. That story can be an improbable one, but it
should never be banal. It must be dramatic and
human. What is drama, after all, but life with the dull
bits cut out. The next factor is the technique of film-
making, and in this connection, I am against virtuosity
for its own sake. Technique should enrich the action.
One doesn't set the camera at a certain angle just
because the camerman happens to be enthusiastic
about that spot. The only thing that matters is whether
the installation of the camera at a given angle is going
to give the scene its maximum impact. The beauty of
image and movement, the rhythm and the effects --
everything must be subordinated to the purpose.

~ Alfred Hitchcock


FILMOGRAPHY

Number 13 (unfinished, 1922)

The Pleasure Garden (1925)

The Mountain Eagle (1926)

The Lodger (1927) Concorde (R2 DE) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years / Laserlight (R1) / St. Clair (R1) / Waterfall Home Ent. (R2 UK)

The Ring (1927) Lion's Gate (R1) - as part of Alfred Hitchcock: 3 Disc Collector's Edition / Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1927-1928, Vol. 1

Downhill (1927) Concorde (R2 DE) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years / Universal (R2 FR) - as double feature with Waltzes from Vienna

Easy Virtue (1928) Laserlight (R1) / St. Clair (R1) / WHE (R2 UK)

The Farmer's Wife (1928) Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1927-1928, Vol. 1 / Laserlight (R1) / St. Clair (R1)

Champagne (1928) Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1927-1928, Vol. 1 / Brentwood (R1) / St. Clair (R1)

Blackmail (1929) Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1929-1931, Vol. 2 / Kinowelt (R2 DE) / Laserlight (R1) / Ryko Distribution (R1) - double feature with Juno and the Paycock

The Manxman (1929) Lion's Gate (R1) - as part of Alfred Hitchcock: 3 Disc Collector's Edition / Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1927-1928, Vol. 1 / Laserlight (R1)

An Elastic Affair (short, 1930)

Juno and the Paycock (1930) Universal (R2 FR) - double feature with The Man Who Knew Too Much / Ryko Distribution (R1) - double feature with Blackmail / Madacy (R1) / St. Clair (R1)

Murder! (1930) Lion's Gate (R1) - as part of Alfred Hitchcock: 3 Disc Collector's Edition / Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1929-1931, Vol. 2

The Skin Game (1931) Lion's Gate (R1) - as part of Alfred Hitchcock: 3 Disc Collector's Edition / Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1929-1931, Vol. 2

Rich and Strange (1931) Lion's Gate (R1) - as part of Alfred Hitchcock: 3 Disc Collector's Edition / Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1932-1940, Vol. 3 / Carlton (R2 UK) - also as part of 3 Classic Hitchcock Films /

Number Seventeen (1932) Optimum Releasing (R2 UK) - as part of The Early Hitchcock Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1932-1940, Vol. 3 / Laserlight (R1) / Westlake Ent. (R1) / Genius Ent. (R1)

Waltzes from Vienna (1934) Universal (R2 FR) - as double feature with Downhill

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) Concorde (R2 DE) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years / Universal (R2 FR) - double feature with Juno and the Paycock / Carlton (R2 UK) / Alpha (R1) / Laserlight (R1) /

The 39 Steps (1935) Criterion (R1) / Carlton (R2 UK) - also as part of 3 Classic Hitchcock Films / Laserlight (R1)

Secret Agent (1936) Concorde (R2 DE) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years / Carlton (R2 UK) - also as part of 3 Classic Hitchcock Films / Alpha (R1) / Laserlight (R1) / St. Clair (R1)

Sabotage (1936) Concorde (R2 DE) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years / Laserlight (R1) / Brentwood (R1) / St. Clair (R1)

Young and Innocent (1937) Concorde (R2 DE) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years / Laserlight (R1) / Madacy (R1) / Orbit Media (R2 UK)

The Lady Vanishes (1938) Criterion (R1) / Concorde (R2 DE) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Early Years / Carlton (R2 UK) - also as part of 3 Classic Hitchcock Films / Laserlight (R1) / Madacy (R1) / Brentwood (R1) / St. Clair (R1)

Jamaica Inn (1939) Kino (R1) / Carlton (R2 UK) / Paramount (R2 FR) / Universal (R2 FR) / Laserlight (R1) / Brentwood (R1) / St. Clair (R1)

Rebecca (1940) Criterion (R1) / Fremantle (R2 UK) / Manga Films (R2 ES) /

Foreign Correspondent (1940) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection / Studio Canal (R2 FR) - included in Alfred Hitchcock: Les premières oeuvres 1932-1940, Vol. 3 / Universal (R2 UK)

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection / Universal (R2 UK) / Manga Films (R2 ES) / Editions Montparnasse (R2 FR)

Suspicion (1941) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection / Editions Montparnasse (R2 FR) / Manga Films (R2 ES) / Universal (R2 UK)

Saboteur (1942) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Unviersal (R2 UK) - also included in The Hitchcock Collection, Vol. 1

Shadow of a Doubt (1943) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Unviersal (R2 UK) - also included in The Hitchcock Collection, Vol. 1

Aventure malgache (short, 1944) Milestone (R1) - double feature with Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage (short, 1944) Milestone (R1) - double feature with Aventure malgache

Lifeboat (1944) 20th Century Fox (R1 & R2 UK)

Spellbound (1945) Criterion (R1) / Anchor Bay (R1) / Manga Films (R2 ES) / Fremantle (R2 UK) / Prism Leisure (R2 UK)

Notorious (1946) Criterion (R1) / Anchor Bay (R1) / Manga Films (R2 ES) / Prism Leisure (R2 UK)

The Paradine Case (1947) Anchor Bay (R1) / Fremantle (R2 UK) / Manga Films (R2 ES) / Prism Leisure (R2 UK)

Rope (1948) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Unviersal (R2 UK) - also included in The Hitchcock Collection, Vol. 1

Under Capricorn (1949) Image Entertainment (R1) / Universal (R2 FR)

Stage Fright (1950) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection

Strangers on a Train (1951) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection / Warner Brothers (R2 UK)

I Confess (1953) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection

Dial M for Murder (1954) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection

Rear Window (1954) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection, and in the James Stewart Hollywood Legend Collection / Unviersal (R2 UK) - also included in The Hitchcock Collection, Vol. 1

To Catch a Thief (1955) Paramount (R1) - special collector's edition tbr 8th May, 2007 / Paramount (R2 UK)

The Trouble with Harry (1955) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Unviersal (R2 UK) - also included in The Hitchcock Collection, Vol. 1

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Unviersal (R2 UK) - also included in The Hitchcock Collection, Vol. 1

The Wrong Man (1956) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection, and in the Henry Fonda: Signature Collection

Four O'Clock (“Suspicion” TV episode, 1957)

Vertigo (1958) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection, and in the James Stewart Hollywood Legend Collection / Universal (R2 UK)

North by Northwest (1959) Warner Brothers (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection / Warner Brothers (R2 UK)

Incident at a Corner (Startime TV episode, 1960)

Psycho (1960) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Unviersal (R2 UK) - also included in The Hitchcock Collection, Vol. 1

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (17 TV episodes, 1955-61) - Several of these episodes are included in the box sets of the first two seasons released by Universal (R1). Episodes directed by Hitchcock are also frequently included as extras on releases of the director's feature films.

I Saw the Whole Thing (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV episode, 1962) - Universal (R2 JP) - included on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Vol. 4

The Birds (1963) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Universal (R2 UK)

Marnie (1964) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Universal (R2 UK)

Torn Curtain (1966) Universal (R1) - also included Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Universal (R2 UK)

Topaz (1969) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Universal (R2 UK)

Frenzy (1972) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Universal (R2 UK)

Family Plot (1976) Universal (R1) - also included in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection / Universal (R2 UK)


GENERAL DISCUSSION

The Birds Remake!

Hitchcock (Janus Films)

Vertigo vs Orpheus / Reality vs Illusion


RECOMMENDED WEB RESOURCES

Google Video: The Men Who Made the Movies: Alfred Hitchcock (1973, AFI, 57 minutes)

Alfred Hitchcock Data Base

Alfred Hitchcock DVD Wiki

BBC - BBC audio interviews with Hitchcock

The MacGuffin

Senses of Cinema


DVD

3 The Lady Vanishes (Criterion)

56 The 39 Steps (Criterion)

135-137 Rebecca / Spellbound / Notorious (Criterion)

Alfred Hitchcock: The Signature Collection

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Hitchcock Early Years Box question

Lifeboat

Studio Canal Hitchcock Sets (audio issues)

To Catch a Thief - Special Collector's Edition

Two Early Hitchcock Sets: R1 & R2

Universal's Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection

Vertigo - mainly a discussion of pressing defects on the first release of the film on DVD.

BOOKS/ARTICLES

Hitchcock Truffaut - Revised Edition (Simon & Schuster, 1985)

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#2 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:45 am

Vanity Fair's tribute to Hitchcock & nice old interview Roger Ebert interview with Hitchcock.

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#3 Post by Antoine Doinel » Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:42 am

Terrence Rafferty reflects on Vertigo.

From the blockbuster film The Birds, get your very own Tippi Hedren doll now!

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#4 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:31 pm

Given how Hitchcock felt the need to live that scene in Vertigo, 'Tippi' Hedren was pretty much already the 'Tippi' Hedren Doll in real life.

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#5 Post by aox » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:38 am

I guess everyone knows Psycho, the Birds, Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, and Rope.

Others would cite, Notorious, Rebecca, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Lifeboat, Strangers on a Train, Dial M for Murder, and The Trouble with Harry, To Catch a Thief as upper-tier Hitchcock.

Are there any gems that kind of get overlooked?

The only out of the way Hitchcock I think I seen are The 39 Steps and Shadow of a Doubt which are fantastic. I think Shadow of a Doubt has largely been reevaluated over the past 10 years and is sort of blasting into tier 1 or 2 Hitchcock.

I have been told to check out the Lady Vanishes. I suppose he also has like 10-20 films from when he was working in Europe. Most write them off as largely forgettable, but then you find something like The 39 Steps.

so, is there anything worth seeing that stands up with his greats? anything under the radar?

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#6 Post by HypnoHelioStaticStasis » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:45 am

Try "Frenzy." It's surprisingly graphic for a Hitchcock film (its the only one of his films with nudity), but it grabs you and has some delicious black comedy. Not to mention it features some very credible police procedural work, unusual for a Hitchcock, who seems to usually be more interested the victims or suspects than the authority figures out to get them. Not sure if its "upper-tier," but its one of his most technically dazzling works.

Give "The Wrong Man" a chance too, very underrated, IMO. Great Fonda performance.

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#7 Post by HugoDeVries » Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:57 am

With any Hitchcock film your pretty much certain to find several things to love so his whole Filmography is pretty much worth collecting.

One of my favourites though aside from the big hitters is Frenzy and shows that even in the penultimate stage of his long career the master was still firing on all cylinders.

Dont want to give to much away if you havent seen it but its an excellent wrong man/serial killer flick packed with loads of trademark Hitch moments, (also the same grotty London vibe as the also excellent Peeping Tom 12 years earlier). As his only R rated movie some of the deaths are very effective, not just in whats seen (the brutal onscreen strangulation) but also what isnt (the famous pan away from the murder out of the house). It has has lots of black comedy, the disposal of the body and any scene with the Inspector Oxford and his ghastly dinners. The Neck Tie Murderer is a fine villian acted like a sinister playboy.

Special mention should go to the trailers, the hitchcock as salesman approach should be given far more credit (much better than clips of the best bits we seem to get now) in producing trailers that are orginal and witty, Frenzy's hitchcock corpse in the thames no exception.

DVD is more than worth a purchase, but then all Hitchcock ones are,
its Hitch Man!!!

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#8 Post by tryavna » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:13 pm

aox wrote:The only out of the way Hitchcock I think I seen are The 39 Steps [...]

I have been told to check out the Lady Vanishes. I suppose he also has like 10-20 films from when he was working in Europe. Most write them off as largely forgettable, but then you find something like The 39 Steps.
Is The 39 Steps really perceived as being "out of the way" nowadays? There was a time when certain critical circles considered Hitch's British films to be superior to his Hollywood work: faster-paced, lighter-toned, less reliant on the glamor of stars, etc. That's clearly a minority opinion now, but I hadn't thought that the pendulum had swung so far that his British work was being dismissed outright.

At any rate, The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes ought to be acknowledged masterpieces, and Young and Innocent and Sabotage (despite Hitch's own feelings) very nearly should be as well. Blackmail, Number Seventeen, and several others also make for extremely rewarding viewing.

Greathinker

#9 Post by Greathinker » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:15 pm

Strange that Hitchcock's work tends not to be a subject of criticism outside the basis of individual films. In recent years I find myself agreeing with Woody Allen, who to paraphrase said that he found his films to be moreso entertaining than works of art. Yet as for those films strictly created in the suspense genre, the reputation behind many of those escape me; Notorious for instance is wound up tighter than an eight-day clock-- a movie suffocated by technique.
Does Hitchcock for many transcend broad criticism, for reason that he in part epitomizes the golden age of studio filmmaking-- or for other reason? His place seems to be vaguely undefined yet at the same time unquestionable.

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#10 Post by HypnoHelioStaticStasis » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:34 pm

I don't think any filmmaker transcends criticism (although why would anyone lambast grandpa for his poor lighting while filming little joey's birthday party on his hi-8?). I think a lot of people have been critical of Hitchcock's films over the past decade or so, especially towards once-heralded films like "To Catch a Thief" and "Spellbound." One reason why he may be considered a sacred cow is because of how appealing his films are to modern audiences, as his approach towards certain subjects, sex and death among them, are played to a more ironic hilt. The moralizing in his films feel less overt and they are presented in a more stylized fashion. If anything, his films are just well-paced eye candy (and who doesn't love that?). And I don't think he epitomizes the golden age of the studio system: directors like George Cukor, (whose work I find a little grating), Howard Hawks and William Wellman are better examples I think. Hitch's range wasn't very large.

He's made a couple of turkeys ("Torn Curtain" anyone?), but I think his sensibility can appeal to a broad range of people, thus shielding him a little.

Hope that helps, or even makes sense.

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#11 Post by aox » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:36 pm

tryavna wrote:
aox wrote:The only out of the way Hitchcock I think I seen are The 39 Steps [...]

I have been told to check out the Lady Vanishes. I suppose he also has like 10-20 films from when he was working in Europe. Most write them off as largely forgettable, but then you find something like The 39 Steps.
Is The 39 Steps really perceived as being "out of the way" nowadays? There was a time when certain critical circles considered Hitch's British films to be superior to his Hollywood work: faster-paced, lighter-toned, less reliant on the glamor of stars, etc. That's clearly a minority opinion now, but I hadn't thought that the pendulum had swung so far that his British work was being dismissed outright.
I knew someone would make this post. I realize that pretty much everyone that posts here knows their film. I was speaking from a layman's point of view or even a novice. I could easily walk downstairs and ask random people on the street, and they wouldn't have a clue what the 39 Steps is, but might know the others I listed above.

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#12 Post by HugoDeVries » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:23 pm

Your point about layman's film is a good one there a lots of classic films that people have heard of and get referenced endlessly in modern media yet many many people have never ever seen.

Hitchcock, amongst others, is almost a 'taken as seen' director for users of this site, and 39 steps aside i know friends of all ages who have never seen Psycho, North by Northwest, the Birds etc, they have seen the Big Moments thanks to those endless 'best of' shows, but showers, planes and climbing frames aside have no clue as the rest of the movie.

So movie knowledge should hardly ever be taken as read (god i know people who've never seen a Bond film or Star Wars, forget anything black and white or in another language) and the joy of this site is that we all get to learn about new stuff, everything is obscure until you know about it!!

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#13 Post by Jack Phillips » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:02 pm

aox wrote:Are there any gems that kind of get overlooked?
With the passage of time, I've come to appreciate Under Capricorn more and more. Although it is a costume drama (odd for Hitchcock) and the script isn't all it should be, it is very impressive visually: in Technicolor, photographed by Jack Cardiff, and making use of the gliding camera technique AH developed for Rope. It should be seen . . . and savored.

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#14 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:13 pm

aox wrote:so, is there anything worth seeing that stands up with his greats? anything under the radar?
Well, you've named three of my favorites (Thief, Dial M, Rebecca), so let me add a fourth: Saboteur, which is so much more than its notorious, pun intended, finale.

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#15 Post by tryavna » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:21 pm

aox wrote:I knew someone would make this post. I realize that pretty much everyone that posts here knows their film. I was speaking from a layman's point of view or even a novice. I could easily walk downstairs and ask random people on the street, and they wouldn't have a clue what the 39 Steps is, but might know the others I listed above.
I don't really buy the "layman's point of view" argument in this case. The 39 Steps is hardly obscure; if average film buffs have seen any of Hitchcock's British films, it's likely to have been that one or Lady Vanishes. Besides, when in your original post you were talking about Hitch's ouevre being "reevaluated over the past 10 years" and "most write them off as largely forgettable," the impression you're giving is of a cine-literate audience. (Do "random people on street" really go around reevaluating a major director's canon for ten years?) So if you're asking as a relative novice yourself, that's fine and certainly deserves a different kind of response. But don't mask your question with blanket generalizations about a critical consensus that may not exist.

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#16 Post by aox » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:39 pm

tryavna wrote:I don't really buy the "layman's point of view" argument in this case. The 39 Steps is hardly obscure; if average film buffs have seen any of Hitchcock's British films, it's likely to have been that one or Lady Vanishes.
What's not to buy? Before I took a Hitchcock class years ago or even got into film as anything more than entertainment (which most people view it as), I didn't even know Hitchcock had a "British Period". While I admit that The 39 Steps and The lady Vanishes would probably be the most well known and seen of this period, that doesn't mean the general public knows what they are.
Besides, when in your original post you were talking about Hitch's ouevre being "reevaluated over the past 10 years"
No I didn't. I talked about Shadow of a Doubt seems to have been reevaluated in the past 10 years and how it is gaining a wider recognition.
and "most write them off as largely forgettable," the impression you're giving is of a cine-literate audience. (Do "random people on street" really go around reevaluating a major director's canon for ten years?)
You're right. I can see how that is confusing. My apologies. For many pseudo-film buffs, it seems that the British period is sort of written off and overshadowed by his 40s-60s work. Obviously, that isn't true about the majority of scholars here who have been so swallowed by the film world that they find it hard to remember what the casual general population has been exposed to or cares to be exposed to.
So if you're asking as a relative novice yourself, that's fine and certainly deserves a different kind of response.
I will never claim to be anything more than a novice that has happened to see a lot of film.
But don't mask your question with blanket generalizations about a critical consensus that may not exist.
OK, fine. I am sure the average Joe 6-packs in Arkansas or Vermont spend much time debating the merits and impact of Hitch's British films in comparison to the giants of Psycho or Vertigo. I apologize.

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#17 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:45 pm

I believe the objection was to you justifying your ignorance by assigning your own inadequacies to a large group of people. Why not say "I" instead of "most people/average viewers/Joe Six-Packs/&c"?

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#18 Post by aox » Mon Aug 04, 2008 2:47 pm

domino harvey wrote:I believe the objection was to you justifying your ignorance by assigning your own inadequacies to a large group of people. Why not say "I" instead of "most people/average viewers/Joe Six-Packs/&c"?
How can "I" write something off if I haven't seen it?

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#19 Post by tryavna » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:02 pm

I don't really want to get into a pissing match, but the confusion has arisen through an original post that seemed to indicate that you were more familiar with Hitchcock's canon (and evolving critical attitudes toward it) than you now claim to be. As I said, that's fine, and I'm not really judging your level of knowledge regarding cinema history. We all have to start somewhere, and lord knows I still ask ignorant questions about directors I'm just getting to know. But I do think that you're misjudging -- or perhaps misleading -- your audience here. This forum actually does have a lot of cine-literate members, so you need to expect that people are going to respond to your inquiries with a wide range of answers -- running from simple recommendations to critiques of your own assumptions based on greater familiarity with a particular director's reputation over the years.

I was approaching your question in a way that I thought was fair. If you're going to get irritated by people who ask you to clarify your claims or try to share what little knowledge they have with you, then perhaps you'd find the Dot-Com forum more welcoming.

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#20 Post by aox » Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:22 pm

I apologize that my post is unclear to the two of you. I am at work and basically typing at 200wpm (exaggeration) in a stream of consciousness. I think I even said in my first post that I realize that the people here are exceptionally intelligent in regards to film which would be why I would post a question like this here and not on a mainstream dot.com board (EDIT: I actually did not mention this, but obviously, people know their film around here). I thought I was inferring this by listing what "laymen" (mass audience) generally know. Obviously, I can ask people on the street who may have only seen Psycho or Rear Window and most common people aren't going to be well versed in the British period (Yes, that goes for the 39 Steps) or even the lesser known American films. That was my only point when I was accused of assigning my "inadequacies" to the common public and somehow writing off films I haven't seen.

In the future, I will not try to arouse friendly conversation in this matter with the general perceptions of a director's work by the lowest common denominator of society. I consider myself a novice and more apart of them, (despite seeing a handful of Ozu, Eisenstein, etc... films) then me being a film scholar. Other people seemed to respond to my post and understand what I was getting at, so forgive me if my tone to your nitpicking of my post was abrasive. I was somewhat confounded. So, let me start again.

I have seen Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious (my favorite), The Birds, Lifeboat, Rope, The 39 Steps, Rebecca, North by Northwest, and Dial M for Murder. (I might be forgetting some).

What lesser known Hitchcock films (whether British or American) are worth checking out?

The Lady Vanishes is next on my list. Does anything in his filmography from the 1920s or 1930s demand a viewing for someone that is not a completest and has about 1000 other films by 100 other directors he wants to see?

Thanks in advance.

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#21 Post by ezmbmh » Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:01 pm

Strangers on a Train, Marnie, Suspicion, I Confess, U.S.

Lodger, Man Who Knew Too Much, Lady Vanishes, Blackmail, Murder, Rich and Strange, Young and Innocent (UK)

A start.

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#22 Post by adeeze » Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:01 pm

Does anybody find Vertigo especially overrated at all? I mean, I enjoy the film but I find others like Rear Window, Notorious, Psycho, and even Rope to be superior films. Just curious if anybody felt the same, or what their take on it is. Sorry if I offended anybody for degrading their favorite film.

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mfunk9786
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#23 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:38 pm

adeeze wrote:Does anybody find Vertigo especially overrated at all? I mean, I enjoy the film but I find others like Rear Window, Notorious, Psycho, and even Rope to be superior films. Just curious if anybody felt the same, or what their take on it is.
I agree with you. It drags a bit at times and doesn't have the restraint of some of his other films that makes them feel so tight. I still like it, but I've never considered it one of my favorite Hitchcock films.

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20s and 30s Hitch recommendations

#24 Post by stereo » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:00 pm

I'm in the middle of a complete Hithcock fest (minus Pleasure Garden and Elstree Calling which I hope to get in a few weeks time.) So these are just some of my own opinion of recent.

From the 20s and 30s UK period I'd recommend:
The Lodger, Blackmail (both silent and sound), 39 Steps, The Lady Vanishes (these are the obvious masterpieces)

Secondarily, but completely worth a look to see the stylistic development of Hitch:
Murder! (eps. the closing sequence),
Number Seventeen (I hated this film the first time I saw it, but now think it a retro-German Expressionist masterpiece in terms of its visual style, even if the story and dialogue are clunky),
Rich and Strange (this is such an interesting film experiment: much like Modern Times, Hitch makes a sound 'silent' film).

The Man Who Knew Too Much (the start of Hitchcockian genre: the spy thriller), 39 Steps, The Secret Agent, Sabotage, and The Lady Vanishes are all in a distinctive Hitch mode while he is playing with and perfecting the style and form that lead to N by NW in H'wood. We see him testing out (among many other techniques): the mismatched romantic couple thrown together; the ordinary man in extraordinary situations; the perfection of the big set pieces that begin with Blackmail; the icy blondes (esp. Madeleine Carroll); the role of luck in narratve fate; a complex editing lexicon specific to Hitch (not only parallel climactic action, but the cutaways and telling angles); the foregrounding of the relationship between theatre (deceptive theatricality of life) and truth; also, the Macguffins and cameos from Blackmail on become gradually more pronounced in this era.

Downhill, Easy Virtue, Champagne, Juno and the Paycock, The Skin Game, and Rich and Strange are all moral, almost Dickensian tales about the corrupting road of money that leads to private moral ruin, public humiliation, and complete debasement of principles (esp. for women). That said, there is plenty of humor thrown in these films, if not always evenly. They just aren't my favorite film topics or films by Hitch. They sometimes feel like Jeremiads about the perils of money. That said, of those listed, The Skin Game and Rich and Strange are personal favorites. I know many don't like The Skin Game, but I found it very engaging. The Ring (a boxing film) and The Manxman are MMF love triangle films where a woman's wandering love brings men to ruin . People seem to like The Ring a lot, although I personally didn't thrill to it or The Manxman. The pacing just felt laborious at times, but again, these are early films and they don't need to be perfect. What I find more amazing is how early in his career he 'did' make a masterpiece (The Lodger). In the films just listed, he consistently treats issues of personal reputation (usually related to sexual promiscuity, but also to bad financial decisions), public scandal, class consciousness and warfare, and infidelity.

Some critique: Early Hitch seems to have pacing and audience issues (as Hitch said: the difference between the first Man Who Knew Too Much and the second was that for the latter he had developed a sense of audience.) Much of the time in the 20s he seems to be learning the trade through trial and error. However, the early 30s work to me seems vastly underappreciated. (Hitch called Waltzes from Vienna, not a great or truly awful film, his worst film). He seems to be experimenting with the sound/image relationship in truly revolutionary ways (pioneering the use of subjective thought sound over the actor's face whose lips don't move). Even Waltzes from Vienna has its virtue in some brilliant sound/image moments and at least one stunning edit of a woman running from a room that rivals the woman screaming/train blowing its whistle sequence from 39 Steps).

Those are just some quick thoughts

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#25 Post by ezmbmh » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:59 pm

adeeze wrote:Does anybody find Vertigo especially overrated at all? I mean, I enjoy the film but I find others like Rear Window, Notorious, Psycho, and even Rope to be superior films. Just curious if anybody felt the same, or what their take on it is.

I remember when I first saw it, when my opinion was based mostly on the kinetics of the Birds or Psycho or N x NW, I found it oddly slow. But later, when I slowed down, I saw it had a different dynamic entirely, dizzying, hypnotic, the spiralling not outward toward plot mayhem but inward toward obsession, madness. I love Rear Window too, but there Steward gets to hang onto the male trappings of professional interest, the chasing after clues (while--most amazing thing ever--ignoring Grace Kelly's constant come-ons!), while in Vertigo, he has nothing to hang onto, he's in freefall. The film gives me more every time I watch it.

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