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Alfred Hitchcock


Devon Malcolm
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So, the big man would have been 119 today and there's a great article about him, and more specifically North by Northwest, on Little White Lies:-

http://lwlies.com/articles/north-by-northwest-alfred-hitchcock-art-of-the-chase/

I think one of the reasons I've liked Chris McQuarrie's two Mission: Impossible films, and why Brian De Palma's original is so good, is because they feel like the sort of films he would be making today. The opera house scene in Rogue Nation especially is probably the best movie scene he never directed.

He's also one of the few directors in history who you can barely be wrong with when you pick his best film. Whether it's Psycho, North by Northwest, Vertigo, Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Rebecca, The Lady Vanishes - they're all right in their own way because they're all quite different.

So we like him, yeah?

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Big fan of North by Northwest. Great, great film. Obviously, the plane-over-the-field scene is iconic, and the action and suspense is bang-on, but it's also quite underrated in terms of just how funny the dialogue is. That bit where he calls his mum to explain what's happened to him had me chortling (spoilered because Grant delivers the line better than a typed post on the internet can, and context is key, so watch that first if you haven't watched it yet):

"No, Mother, I have not been drinking. No, these two men, they poured a whole bottle of bourbon into me. No, they didn't give me a chaser."

Obviously, I enjoyed Psycho immensely, too, as well as Strangers On A Train and The Lady Vanishes. That said, I haven't watched anywhere near as many Hitchcock films as I should have. A neighbour recently gave me his Hitchcock Collection on DVD, so that's going to be remedied soon.

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7 minutes ago, Chest Rockwell said:

Don't think I've ever seen one of his films.....

Sounds like you're saying there's no wrong place to start. For someone coming in fresh is there any good place to start in terms of what feels the least 'of its time'?

Mind blown!

He's got such a wide body of work that it's difficult to know where to start with him. Not all of his movies are timeless and there are several very much of their era. It really depends what kind of genre you think you'd connect to through anyone's work, let alone him.

If you're looking for accessibility then North by Northwest might actually be your best bet. If you're looking for a great gimmick or hook then Strangers on a Train.

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1 hour ago, Chest Rockwell said:

Don't think I've ever seen one of his films.....

Sounds like you're saying there's no wrong place to start. For someone coming in fresh is there any good place to start in terms of what feels the least 'of its time'?

The issue you may have with a lot of his movies is how much dialogue there is and the delivery is very much 'of its time' If you can get past that you're in for a treat as his films range from great to masterpieces (and not in a 'why do people enjoy this arty shit' way, they are genuinely thrilling to watch)

Psycho is a great watch, even though almost every part of it has been referenced in pop culture, it's still a must watch.

My pick would be Rear Window though. Again it's been done to death and referenced so many times since but for build and the quality of acting (Jimmy Stewart is an all time great) it's one of his best.

 

Oh and in response to Keith. Yep he was an absolute shit to her, and others. One of those people where you have to have a bit of separation between the person and his work. His female leads were almost always the same: Blonde, emotionally cold and usually punished in some way or a controlling mother character. Hitch had issues

Edited by chokeout
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Vertigo is one of the greatest experiences of all time. It's a gorgeously made movie. I have a 7ft poster hanging in me old room in the da's house. North by Northwest and Rope also make me happy just by thinking about the experience of watching them.

I think why the first M:I is my favourite of all them, is that it feels like something Hitchcock would be behind, as D-Mal rightly stated. The camera angles, use and timing of the score on top of the pacing and plot make it one of the most Hitchcock style flicks that wasn't directed by the man himself.

Nick of Time was shit, though, as far as" Hitchcockian" influence goes. It can ask my bollocks

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The only one of his established classics that I couldn't really get into was Rope. I still thought it was a good film but I think it was the performances where it didn't work as well for me.

Vertigo is one of those films where I'd say that it's an absolute must to rewatch, perhaps as much as anything I've ever seen. It unlocks so much you may have missed first time around.

Rear Window is my favourite though. I also love The 39 Steps as it was the first of his I ever saw and was the entry point into his films.

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Rear Window is the one I'd recommend any first timer. I struggle to decided which is my favourite between it and Psycho.

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@Devon Malcolm I can see why Rope wouldn't grab someone and I know a lot of people think it to be one of his shitter - or more polarising, at least - movies, but I think it's absolutely genius, and incredibly ballsy, considering it was 1948. The whole film carries a weird sense of it feeling like you're not actually watching a film, and I love that my nerves do be absolutely rinsed (even though it's not a conventionally tense movie) watching it.

Psycho's a great movie. The Gus Van Sant remake really was horrible, wasn't it? I saw that in the flicks and Anne Heche's bumhole, 25 feet high was an awful thing to see.

 

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