|A Tribute to Alfred Hitchcock|
|Page Two - A List of Favorite Hitchcock Films|
Alfred Hitchcock wrote and directed about 35 films worth seeing, and heres a list of some of my favorites:
39 Steps (1935)
Starring Robert Donat, "The 39 Steps" is a nicely paced thriller that is probably the best of the films Hitchcock directed in the U.K. Richard Hannay (Donat) meets a woman who must get to Scotland to prevent the stealing of government secrets (the MacGuffin). But when she is murdered, the police suspect Hannay, and he becomes an innocent man on the run. I enjoy the part where Hannay checks into an inn with an icy blonde (Madeleine Carroll) to whom he is handcuffed.
"Rebecca," Hitchcocks first film in the United States, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Hitchcock received an Oscar nomination for Best Director, but he didnt win. The story is basically a gothic romance about a young woman (Joan Fontaine) who marries a widower (Laurence Olivier) and goes to live with him at his vast estate, which is called Manderley. But Hitchcock brilliantly suffuses the film with an air of mystery and dread as the young woman gradually discovers the circumstances surrounding the death of the landowners previous wife Rebecca. I love the movies first line: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant) is a U.S. government agent assigned to stop Nazi uranium shipments (the MacGuffin) out of Rio de Janeiro. To carry out the assignment, he recruits an icy blonde (Ingrid Bergman) to marry (!) one of the Nazi conspirators (Claude Rains). But things get complicated when Devlin and the blonde fall in love with each other. I think that Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman are wonderful together in this nifty little spy thriller.
on a Train" (1951)
Guy Haines (Farley Granger) is a tennis player who wants to marry Anne Morton (Ruth Roman), but his wife wont give him a divorce. While riding on a train, Haines meets a pesky fellow named Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) who proposes a deal: Antony will kill Haines wife if Haines will kill Antonys father. Later, Haines is stunned to learn that his wife is dead and Antony resurfaces, demanding Haines carry out his part of the deal. Hitchcocks daughter Patricia appears as Anne Mortons sister Barbara. What I admire about this movie is how it shows that Hitchcock is capable of making a terrific film without a single charismatic star. This film is available on both VHS and DVD.
Everything comes together perfectly for Hitchcock in Rear Window, a compelling thriller that involves a romantic relationship between characters played by James Stewart and Grace Kelly and features Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr in memorable supporting roles. L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries (Stewart) is a photographer who is confined to a wheelchair in his apartment when he sees things indicating his neighbor (Burr) has committed a murder. Aided by his beautiful girlfriend (Kelly) and his nurse (Ritter), Jeff is determined to get to the bottom of things. My favorite line is when Grace Kellys character shows James Stewarts character a flimsy nightgown she has brought over in her purse and tells him, "A preview of coming attractions."
Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956)
Two of Americas best-loved stars, James Stewart and Doris Day, play a likable married couple in this entertaining mystery. Ben McKenna (Stewart) and his wife Jo (Day) are vacationing in Morocco with their young son when Ben learns that a statesman will be assassinated in London. Then Ben and Jos son is kidnapped, and they work to get him back while doing what they can to prevent the assassination. Doris Day singing "Que Sera, Sera" in this movie is indelibly etched in my mind. This film is available on both VHS and DVD. (Hitchcock buffs have been known to argue for hours as to whether this 1956 version of "The Man Who Knew Too Much" is better or worse than his 1934 version.)
"Vertigo" was a box-office disappointment in its original theatrical release, presumably because audiences expected an entertaining mystery and instead got a bleak psychological drama with Jimmy Stewart playing an unlikable character. Scottie Ferguson (Stewart) is a detective who is hired to follow an elegant, icy blonde named Madeleine (Kim Novak). Ferguson falls madly in love with Madeleine, but she dies a mysterious death. Later, Ferguson meets a shopgirl named Judy (also played by Novak) who reminds him of Madeleine, leading to some unpleasant revelations. I admire the courage of both Hitchcock and Stewart in showing us a mans perverse compulsion to transform a woman into what he wants her to be.