Alfred Hitchcock: Classic or Dud?

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Just wondering if the ILM cineastes revere Hitch as much as the Cahiers crowd... Is he the master of suspense or merely a fat fraud?

Andrew L, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Classic of course. I can't think of a single director who consistently made more good movies over a longer stretch of time (possible exceptions: Kurosawa, Fellini.) However, I think of him more as a supreme creator of genre entertainment than an "art director" as such. (And note, in my bell, this is no bad thing.)

jess, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Should say that this thread was partly inspired by a friend who told me Hitchcock couldn't be rated with the other 'greats' of American cinema - Hawks, Wilder, Ford etc. - 'cos he wasn't so 'versatile'.

Andrew L, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

being versatile = being a hack

All four are exactly equally cool (actually Wilder esp.made some bluddy awful movies). My sistah's boyf gave me the early Hitch DVD for my birthday: easier here to see than in the later post-canonisation Greats that he spent his youth in the 20s hoovering up hardcore Surrealism (i mean bunuel and breton and aragon, not hipgnosis...): he was a funny wicked man when all about were quite stiff and careful... The 39 Steps = peerless.

mark s, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Oh, I think he's classic enough ...

Robin Carmody, Sunday, 9 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

NXNW would be a classic if cary grant hadn't played the lead.

turner, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I take that back, it's classic despite CG.

turner, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

coincidently i watched the 39 steps (again) saturday, magnificent. the dialogue crackles with a wry timeless humour. luv the little asides eg the men in the train swapping dirty jokes.

stevo, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

As Kubrick, I admire Hitch because he married commercialism with art. To really influence the public, you have to respect the boundaries. That is where for example Michael Powell's Peeping Tom went wrong. Psycho, which sort of plays in the same freudian field, wasn't as risque and confrontational.

nathalie, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

The greatest thing about "The Birds" is the way it starts out like it's going to be a romantic drama, but the birds keep butting in until they just take over the whole movie. Modern suspense/horror writers could take a hint from that.

Dan Perry, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Perhaps my all-time favorite.

"North by Northwest" was amazing with Cary Grant.

"The Birds" is maybe not one of Hitch's best films, but certainly one of his strangest, and I must work in a mention of Tippi (or do I mean 'Tippi') Hedren, who I dearly wish made many more films.

"Vertigo" may be the best film ever made, even tho any claim like that is absurd.

Sean, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

eight months pass...
But Vertigo actually is the best film ever made.

Ryan, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

But Vertigo is actually the best movie ever made! And While Hitch may not be an "art director," The Birds is certainly an art film.

Ryan, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Sorry about that.

Ryan, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I wonder if I might have been the friend who inspired this, back before I came on board here? It sounds approximately like my view - I do regard Hawks, Wilder and Ford more highly, and I do find Hitchcock's range uninterestingly narrow, though he was certainly absolutely magnificent at what he did. Actually, all of the Ford movies I really love are pretty similar too, so I wouldn't necessarily separate him from Hitch on that basis.

Martin Skidmore, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yes, "The Birds" is an art film, even more so than "Vertigo", strangely. "Vertigo" is actually playing tonight on the enormous screen of the most lavish theater I've ever been in in my life; the Paramount in Oakland. I may go, but I wish I had a date.

Sean, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Why not take the date there? Or is it a date-kind of movie? ;-)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

No, Ned, I don't have a date to take. Besides, "Vertigo" is kind of an ill film to take a date to.

Sean, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Ah, I'm sorry, read that far too quickly. Well, it could be good for a date with either a wicked sense of humor or a shared AH appreciation.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Is Ford really that great? I love The Searchers and Liberty Valance but nothing else I've seen of his has impressed me much.

Justyn Dillingham, Friday, 31 May 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I dunno, Hitchcock worked in pretty different styles, too, c.f. Rebecca (my fave) and Frenzy. Though I admit he may not have ranged across as many genres as Wilder, and those others you mentioned upthread.

felicity, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Hey, Rebecca is my fave too. Very good taste you have. :-)

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I saw Vertigo after it was restored in the also-newly-restored Ziegfeld Theatre in NYC (where I think the restoration was premiered). Probably one of the greatest movie experiences I've ever had--it was like being at a concert, the audience was really into it.

Joe, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I think all of Hitchcocks movies are duds(silly and boring) but the Alfred Hitchcock tv series was excellent.

jean, Saturday, 1 June 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

the Paramount in Oakland
this theater is ACE. I was very much in love with the UC theater in Berkeley (like the one in Oakland's sad, haunted, neglected cousin) and mourned its closing. At least I got to go to the closing party and steal things! They had a fantastic collection of old trailers. Hitchcock was better with his cameras than with anything else.

Dan I., Sunday, 2 June 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

He was good at picking blonde actresses as well.

Sean, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

http: //www.3investigators.homestead.com/files/jupiter.htm

I heart The 3 Investigators

Tracer Hand, Monday, 3 June 2002 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

five months pass...
I just watched Rear Window and can't think of a single thing wrong with it. Best background music ever?

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 23 November 2002 19:52 (nineteen years ago) link

the remake is better*

*warning: this may not be true

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 23 November 2002 20:18 (nineteen years ago) link

never saw the remake but I'd imagine it would be pointless.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Saturday, 23 November 2002 20:36 (nineteen years ago) link

Is the remake with John Ritter?

Nicole (Nicole), Saturday, 23 November 2002 20:37 (nineteen years ago) link

it stars r*n traino, geir h*ngo and g*ndola b*b

mark s (mark s), Saturday, 23 November 2002 20:40 (nineteen years ago) link

Ooh, that sounds tasty.

I do remember seeing a hitchcockian tv movie many years ago w/Ritter and Henry Winkler, one of them was stalking the other and it was really excellent.

Nicole (Nicole), Saturday, 23 November 2002 20:43 (nineteen years ago) link

Imagine how boring and awful most Hitchcock movies would be, if Hitchcock had not invented ways to make them seem more interesting.

Aimless, Saturday, 23 November 2002 21:28 (nineteen years ago) link

Ooh, that sounds tasty.

Don't even joke about it! *trembles in fear*

Ned Raggett (Ned), Saturday, 23 November 2002 21:31 (nineteen years ago) link

but the Alfred Hitchcock tv series was excellent.

Also, when they revived the show in the 80s on NBC, it was surprisingly high-quality; a shame it didn't quite catch on. How 'bout the episode with Martin Sheen dismembering Parker Stevenson to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" (a la Apocalpyse Now)? It doesn't get any more classic than that...

Joe (Joe), Monday, 25 November 2002 04:34 (nineteen years ago) link

Ew, I hate The 39 Steps - most overrated Hitch ever? It was just annoying if you weren't into all those innunendo jokes, and I usually am...maybe it rubbed off the wrong way on me since I saw it in class with all the frat-boys hooting and hollering at the sex jokes and then commenting repeatedly on how "dude, this is pretty cool for like, a movie that's like, black and white and shit." But The Lady Vanishes rocks - same period, but much wittier - and *weirder* !

Yeah, Hitchcock made the very same movie, pretty much, over and over again: the wrong guy being pursued, the crime being solved, etc. (North by Northwest is Saboteur with a bigger budget) - but he did it so extraordinarily well that even today any hint of suspense in any sort of film can influence it to be mislabeled "Hitcockian." And Ford was mr. patriotism-western - exactly what sort of variety did he pursue? Even Wilder had a similar satirical element in all his films..that's why they were "auteurs" folks! (And of course he picked blondes well - it was that notorious fetish of his...Tippi was a 4th-rate Grace, but even in such a flawed film like Marnie was he able to evoke something-bordering-on-performance)

Ironically, none of those Cahiers people strike me as sticking to one or two central themes long enough in their own checkered careers - any dissention here?

V, Monday, 25 November 2002 06:00 (nineteen years ago) link

V - Jacques Rivette has made the same film over and over again for the last 40 years - and it's always gd! Ditto Rohmer or Chabrol, and while Godard may have changed the way that he delivers his 'central theme' his core obsessions/interests don't seem to me to be that different to what they've always been. So yes, I dissent!

The Rear Window remake that I know of has a post-accident Christopher Reeve in the James Stewart role, which does add a whole other level of creepyass voyeurism...

Andrew L (Andrew L), Monday, 25 November 2002 10:26 (nineteen years ago) link

yeah, i was thinking of Godard and his wide range of material when I wrote that, so you're right.

a more interesting question then: we all know truffaut would have become hitchcock's sex slave if he was asked, but what do you think hitch thought of tru's early 60s works...which he supposedly must have seen before they did that book together? or do you think hitch never saw them, or cared to ?

V, Monday, 25 November 2002 10:38 (nineteen years ago) link

Well, I think Hitchcock v. much felt that creative freedom in Hollywood cld only be gained by constantly delivering big popular movies; he made himself into a product/brand, and only took on those projects that wld help to cement his rep as the 'master of suspense'. Also, like a great many successful creative ppl, he seemed to take relatively little interest in other ppl's films, apart from seeing them as competition, or as challenges to his rep/status. AFAIR, Hitchock urged Truffaut to become a more 'commercial' director, tho' he expressed token admiration for the innovations of the French new wave. Yet at the same time, as Mark S mentioned earlier, Hitchcock was a total nut for German expressionist cinema and surrealism, and certainly wasn't indifferent to the pyschological/intellectual/aesthetic implications of 'art cinema'. He also totally lapped up the critical plaudits that started to come his way in the late 50s/early 60s - 'Vertigo', adapted from a novel by the men who wrote 'Les Diaboliques', has always seemed to me to be a kind of 'hommage' to the Cahiers critics who first unpicked some of the 'Catholic guilt' stuff in Hitchcock's movies. Hitchcock, of course, never won an Oscar - the ultimate seal of mainstream Hollywood approval - and I think that REALLY hurt him bad.

Andrew L (Andrew L), Monday, 25 November 2002 10:54 (nineteen years ago) link

Tippi was a 4th-rate Grace

Perhaps. But I almost always find her more interesting to watch, think about and discuss than Grace.

Sean (Sean), Monday, 25 November 2002 13:51 (nineteen years ago) link

Lazy man's post: Anything written by David Thomson, particularly his newly reissued Biographical Dictionary of Film, is vital reading for us hapless heaps hoping to appreciate the incredibly small human being/vast genius named Hitchcock... I also recommend whatever my pal Rob Nelson has to say.

Thomson's book Overexposures has a great Hitchcock essay. Haven't read the new Dictionary, but I have a complaint about edition one: How can someone who loves/hates Hitchcock and egregiously slams both Travolta and De Palma get away without seeing and addressing Blow Out?

Pete Scholtes, Tuesday, 26 November 2002 07:46 (nineteen years ago) link

two months pass...
Rear Window's my favourite Hitch, although objectively speaking Vertigo is probably the best. I watched Psycho again recently and had forgotten just how funny it was in places. Frenzy is highly underrated and whilst I don't think it's a particularly good film overall, the "killing scene" in Torn Curtain is great.

Ben Mott (Ben Mott), Thursday, 13 February 2003 13:50 (eighteen years ago) link

Frenzy is highly underrated

I agree. It's not remembered so much probably because it didn't have any big name actors. It was also rated R in the US, atypical of a Hitchcock film. I love the scene right at the very end, where the protagonist is flogging a dead body, covered by a sheet, thinking it's the murderer...and then the detective walks in and sees him doing that. And you think, "MAN, does this guy get *any* breaks?".

Ernest P. (ernestp), Thursday, 13 February 2003 15:17 (eighteen years ago) link

The Psycho remake was horrible.

Sarah McLUsky (coco), Thursday, 13 February 2003 15:18 (eighteen years ago) link

Does anyone think Hitch made any dud films? As I wrote above, I didn't really enjoy Torn Curtain, and I wasn't impressed by Topaz either.

Ben Mott (Ben Mott), Thursday, 13 February 2003 17:31 (eighteen years ago) link

The Paradine Case

oops (Oops), Thursday, 13 February 2003 17:38 (eighteen years ago) link

I Confess is the best movie that no one's ever seen.

naked as sin (naked as sin), Thursday, 13 February 2003 18:04 (eighteen years ago) link

Paradine Case is almost unwatchable--I like Alida Valli, but even so..

Mr. and Mrs. Smith sucks too.

Man Who Knew Too Much remake isn't very good, Doris Day. Not too hot on Marnie, although it's interesting.

Frenzy and Family Plot are both underrated, though.

Best: Rebecca, Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt, The 39 Steps, Psycho. Vertigo and Shadow of a Doubt the deepest of all his work?

Also very good: The Birds, Rear Window, The Lady Vanishes, Strangers on a Train.

Critical opinion on him, though, very divided. Better than Ford? I think so, but such totally different views of life. Hitchcock's work, overall, is very shallow, though, and so repressed...

chicxulub (chicxulub), Thursday, 13 February 2003 18:13 (eighteen years ago) link

Shadow of a Doubt is really horrible.

naked as sin (naked as sin), Thursday, 13 February 2003 18:22 (eighteen years ago) link

So far, Psycho, Shadow of a Doubt, Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest and Strangers on a Train. There are so many more sure things that would keep her fully entertained and not feel like homework. Thinking Notorious, Rebecca, To Catch a Thief, Dial M for Murder, The Birds, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Lifeboat, Rope, Suspicion, Trouble With Harry, Spellbound, Foreign Correspondent ... it's kind of nuts.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 16 August 2020 04:10 (one year ago) link

M A R N I E

unpaid intern at the darvo institute (Simon H.), Sunday, 16 August 2020 04:17 (one year ago) link

Yeah I have to say... I thought there were more solid duds, but I've seen almost everything after 1930 and I can't come up with half a dozen I think really suck... Paradine Case and Under Capricorn are terrible... Topaz and Torn Curtain are bad but they have their moments... I remember not liking Young and Innocent or Secret Agent but the transfers I saw were awful... You could make the case for any of the others really... as Eric(?) said way upthread, he's got like 10 hard red masterpieces, and that list Josh is just dizzying, I can't imagine missing with any of those. I figured Notorious would've been in the first six.

Marnie has a lot of issues but it is alive and active on a level that none of his subsequent films are. I feel like The Birds is the last classic, even if it sort of loses the thread at the end.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is another hidden gem, his only genuine comedy, and really lovely at that--starring Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard! I'd add that to the list, Josh...

flappy bird, Sunday, 16 August 2020 05:07 (one year ago) link

Frenzy and Family Plot have their inexplicable fans.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 16 August 2020 09:36 (one year ago) link

I would not bump Marnie higher on a teenage girl's viewing list ahead of many of the others Josh is considering tbh

poparse's eye (sic), Sunday, 16 August 2020 10:28 (one year ago) link

I really like Family Plot.

Get the point? Good, let's dance with nunchaku. (Eric H.), Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:02 (one year ago) link

A little surprised The 39 Steps isn't on your list Josh

rob, Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:23 (one year ago) link

I would not bump Marnie higher on a teenage girl's viewing list ahead of many of the others Josh is considering tbh

at some point they gotta find out what to expect from sailors imho

unpaid intern at the darvo institute (Simon H.), Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:24 (one year ago) link

To be filed under Hope for the Future

I credit my parents showing young me lots of Hitch as to why I never had a problem getting into classic cinema/old movies (I mean, the opposite in fact)

rob, Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:27 (one year ago) link

Mr. and Mrs. Smith is another hidden gem, his only genuine comedy, and really lovely at that--starring Robert Montgomery and Carole Lombard!

This is a surprising take to me - seen that thing twice and both times it's felt to me like there's no indication whatsoever that Montgomery and Lombard's characters actually care about each other. Feels v much like Hitch was bored to tears making a screwball comedy.

Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:32 (one year ago) link

Same. And it's stodgy.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:33 (one year ago) link

Frenzy is the last classic, say I inexplicably.

Paradine Case and Under Capricorn have their moments.

brooklyn suicide cult (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:37 (one year ago) link

I don't know how many of you folks have teenagers, but it's tricky. She's really bright and patient, but there are some classic films that just don't do it for her, so I have to be careful what I show her for fear of turning her against something. For example, something like "The 39 Steps." It's a great movie, but it's still from 1935, which is close to 100 years ago, which might as well be a million years to someone who thinks movies from the '70s and '80s or even '90s are "old." The challenge I've sort of set for myself is that when I show her a square-image black and white movie (which are innately challenging to someone who has grown up in a colorful widescreen world) I've been trying to find movies that, yeah, aren't the least stodgy, or have an air of modernity to them. For example, she loved "His Girl Friday" and "Sullivan's Travels" because the dialogue was so fast and alive and they featured compelling female leads. But if I showed her a movie that came off too stodgy and old fashioned or dull, she might put a hold on classic B&W for a while. Another couple of examples: I forget the straw that broke the camel's back, but at one point she complained that too many movies we were watching were just men shooting at each other. And when I thought about it, she wasn't wrong! So we took a break from action movies for a bit. Or "2001," I think I showed her part of it when she was too young, and now she equates it with "boring." Which, tbf, it is, but it's the right kind of boring. I just showed it to her at the wrong time. Or "Seven Samurai" and "Lawrence of Arabia," she just couldn't get onboard (granted, a couple of years ago), but she more recent;y saw "Yojimbo" and loved it. But would I show her a movie even as perfect as 'Tokyo Story?" That might be a tougher sell at her age.

That's kind of why I picked the Hitchcocks I picked first. I think we started with "Rear Window" and "North by Northwest," because those are his two most perfectly entertaining movies, but they also set the stage for his other movies, most of which are also fortunately immensely entertaining.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:51 (one year ago) link

Hmm, she might like some more Powell/Pressburger. She loved "The Red Shoes" years ago, so might dig at least a couple of their other movies. Maybe A Matter of Life and Death or Black Narcissus would be good choices.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 16 August 2020 14:54 (one year ago) link

Tokyo Story would go over well I think! Evergreen story

flappy bird, Sunday, 16 August 2020 15:08 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

It's been forever since I'd seen "The Birds," possibly decades, but boy is that movie impeccably directed. Also tons of stuff I never put together until this viewing. The biggest is that, reading between the lines, it seems pretty clear, or at least is heavily implied, that Cathy (Veronica Cartwright!) is Rod Taylor's child with Annie, the school teacher, and that his mother (Jessica Tandy) is raising her as his sibling. What's less clear is how Taylor, 33 at the time of the movie's release, looks at least 10 years older than that, but that's neither here nor there. Anyway, my daughter liked it. Hitch still batting 1000.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 02:59 (one year ago) link

What's less clear is how Taylor, 33 at the time of the movie's release, looks at least 10 years older than that

Three packs of unfiltered Camels a day?

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 03:10 (one year ago) link

Ha, that was one theory! Also, Australian and super-tan? It's further confused by Jessica Tandy, who was 54 but still looks like they and she tried to make her seem older. So you've got a son who is 33 irl but looks 50, and a mother who is 54 irl but could probably pass for younger. Tippi Hedron looks her age (33; she's just a week younger than Taylor), but she's acting against a man who in a stretch could probably get away with playing her dad. The sexual dynamics of this movie are so messed up, anyway, it makes me wonder if it's all intentional.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 12:49 (one year ago) link

I disagree that he looks particularly old – men in their 30s back then tended to look really old by modern standards, just because of the way they dressed and carried themselves in the pre-kidulthood era.

But even if he's 33, the age gap is odd, you're right. I'd never consciously thought it before; it's just hung there, making the whole thing more peculiar. And your theory doesn't seem outlandish, even if I can't see anyone else suggesting it on a quick Google search.

Alba, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 14:13 (one year ago) link

https://www.thewrap.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/rod-taylor-the-birds.jpg

Yeah, for sure, people looked older. But this is a particularly old looking 33, imo.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 14:46 (one year ago) link

Still, not too old to be the son of a 54 year old. And same age as Tippi, so that all works out on paper. But yeah, the younger sister throws things off in a really conspicuous way. I'd like to think I am pioneering new ground on one of the most written about Hitch films!

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 14:48 (one year ago) link

No way does he look 50. I completely bought him as Tandy's son. The Cathy/Annie theory is interesting, however. There does seem to be a significant age gap between brother and sister.

TO BE A JAZZ SINGER YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO SCAT (Jazzbo), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 15:20 (one year ago) link

Just for the sake of comparison here is fellow mama's boy Robert Walker, also 33, in "Strangers on a Train:"

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Robert_Walker_in_Strangers_on_a_Train_trailer_%282%29..png

But he's also playing the character more flamboyantly/youthfully.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 15:28 (one year ago) link

Sorry, strictly rabbit hole stuff here, but here's Joseph Cotten, 38, in "Shadow of a Doubt:"

https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BOTQyOGM3YjAtNDE5OC00ZmZkLTk0ZGItMjk0MGZlMTQ0NDcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzc5NjM0NA@@._V1_.jpg

Maybe Taylor's makeup and general swarthiness/manliness accounts for appearances?

I seem to recall one of the earliest bits of casting trivia I learned was that Cary Grant was originally considered for "Vertigo" but Hitch thought it was too old. He would have been 51. FWIW, Jimmy Stewart was himself 47.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 15:34 (one year ago) link

("thought *he* was too old)

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 September 2020 15:35 (one year ago) link

And when Vertigo underperformed at the box office, Hitch blamed Stewart for being too old.

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 15:37 (one year ago) link

Shuddering to think of a Vertigo starring John Gavin.

Get the point? Good, let's dance with nunchaku. (Eric H.), Tuesday, 1 September 2020 16:10 (one year ago) link

*shudders*

Hit It And Quit It Sideways (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 2 September 2020 21:51 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

Of course "Notorious" was a big hit here, though my daughter has gotten kind of annoyed at all these films where more or less the instant the male and female leads meet they are magically "in love." The best I could come up with is that in the era they had to be "in love" to make the romance morally acceptable, because god forbid the affair be an actual casual fling.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 21 September 2020 01:58 (one year ago) link

On that tip, you should tell her about why the big kiss scene is so broken up and stretched out.

"...And the Gods Socially Distanced" (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 21 September 2020 02:26 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Book on Hitch by a former ilxor.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-520-34356-6

xyzzzz__, Friday, 19 November 2021 09:46 (one week ago) link

Cool, guess I should finally get round to watching The Lodger ...

Ward Fowler, Friday, 19 November 2021 10:20 (one week ago) link

It's really good!

xyzzzz__, Friday, 19 November 2021 10:22 (one week ago) link

Also want to the see the 1944 remake (one of a number) with Laird Cregar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lodger_(1944_film)

Ward Fowler, Friday, 19 November 2021 10:23 (one week ago) link

what was his ILX moniker?

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 19 November 2021 10:25 (one week ago) link

what was his ILX moniker?

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 19 November 2021 10:26 (one week ago) link

my guess is either ENRQ (posted a lot about how ahead of the rest of the UK Hitch was iirc) or garu g

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 19 November 2021 11:05 (one week ago) link

ah that's where NRQ ended up!

imago, Friday, 19 November 2021 11:12 (one week ago) link

Mutuals with NRQ on twitter it's not like he just disappeared.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 19 November 2021 14:19 (one week ago) link

That, um, doesn’t sound like NRQ’s govname

Sterl of the Quarter (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 19 November 2021 14:36 (one week ago) link

He has posted under different names.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 19 November 2021 14:38 (one week ago) link

Oh, wait, I was reading wrong, d’oh! Of course that’s him.

Sterl of the Quarter (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 19 November 2021 14:42 (one week ago) link

It's really good!

― xyzzzz__, Friday, November 19, 2021 5:22 AM (five hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Second on this endorsement (the Criterion disc is excellent). But approach The Phantom Fiend (1932) with extreme caution (even if you are a completist crank like myself). The 1944 version had already been on my informal list to watch.

Infanta Terrible (j.lu), Friday, 19 November 2021 15:45 (one week ago) link

TY - I only have The Lodger in this box set, but the quality has been dece on the ones I've watched, and there are good intros from Charles Barr:

https://the.hitchcock.zone/wiki/Hitchcock:_The_British_Years_-_Network_(UK,_2008)_-_Press_Releases

NRQ has written good stuff about early English film studies/culture for Sight and Sound and elsewhere for quite a few years now. Just today, this fun little piece popped up in a newsfeed:

https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/polls/greatest-films-all-time/1941-quiz-film-classics

Ward Fowler, Friday, 19 November 2021 17:26 (one week ago) link

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FEwcNJfVcAQipJz?format=jpg&name=large

a signed certificate of rewatchability

calzino, Monday, 22 November 2021 07:39 (one week ago) link

Interesting! A re-release of Rear Window on the back of Psycho; I had to check, and apparently RW was withdrawn from circulation between 1968 and 1983, so this must be early 1960s?

In other news, the Lodger disc in that box set I linked to above looks great - nicely tinted and generally well preserved - but it's presented mute ie without a soundtrack of any kind. It makes it feel more like a Stan Brakhage joint than a Hitchcock one - so I think I'm going to check if the Criterion version has music. Even a basic piano accompaniment would be fine.

Ward Fowler, Monday, 22 November 2021 11:09 (one week ago) link

I watched it at the BFI with live piano.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 22 November 2021 11:11 (one week ago) link

The DVD I have has a truly atrocious soundtrack. Vocals, even wordless, are a bold move on a silent film score and this one sure doesn't pull it off.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 22 November 2021 14:10 (one week ago) link

That does sound bad. And not necessary.

I'm guessing that no record of the Lodger's original score/accompaniment has survived, as it doesn't seem to feature on any disc release. The Criterion Blu-Ray has "a new score by composer Neil Brand, performed by the Orchestra of Saint Paul s-Downhill". I've seen Brand live accompanying various silent films as a pianist and he's excellent - and he may well have been the pianist you saw at the BFI, xyzzzz.

Ward Fowler, Monday, 22 November 2021 15:27 (one week ago) link

Honestly can't remember. But yes I do love the (I'm assuming) live improv-y accompaniment to silents.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 22 November 2021 22:14 (one week ago) link


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