"I haven't been here, you haven't seen me, and she hasn't been out of this house all evening!"-Beautiful line from "The Big Sleep" from Humphrey Bogart to Lauren Bacall
Favorite Scene From A Movie
This scene is unusual. It is from Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief" where Cary Grant and Grace Kelly are trying to outrun a police vehicle. From this scene, I was influenced to start driving.
101 Dalmatians, Rear Window
Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Cary Grant, Robert de Niro, William Holden, Faye Dunnaway, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Gene Hackman, Laurence Olivier
Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, William Wyler, Howard Hawks, Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, John Huston, John Ford, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Cappola, Akira Kurosawa, Steven Spielberg, Ingmar Bergman
Grace Kelly, Maureen O'hara, Lauren Bacall
Dramas, Mystery and Suspense
Bosley Crowther, Roger Ebert, James Berardinelli, Leonard Maltin
Posted on 02/08/11 11:18 PM | Last edited on 02/08/11 11:18 PM
A director whose career spanned approximately 50 years in six different decades, Sir Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most creative, inventive, and well respected directors of all time. He has many, many films under his belt. Most of them were fine and exciting, and his specialty type of film was of course, mystery and suspense.
Hitchcock easily comes as my favourite director. I have watched more than two times the numbers of any other director, which in total comes to 22. I have seen films as early as 1935 and as late as 1972. However, within that range, 12 films specifically jumped out at me, and I particularily loved as a result:
12. The Birds (1963): it is a frightening, gory graphic film of the master that I find particular interesting due to its subject matter, plot and special effects. The plot is quite neat how it starts with a woman (Tippi Hendren) stalking a man (Rod Taylor, the voice of Pongo from the "101 Dalmatians") whom she meets at a pet store to small Pacific town north of San Francisco called Bodega Bay. This plot is then intercepted by many psychotic birds and they are then fighting for their lives, along with everyone else within the town. The special effects make me laugh a bit at first, but than somehow, they get highly scary and Hitchcock's film becomes surprisingly intense. An iconic film under the master.
11. Rebecca (1940): I would say this film, being highly different from the others because it has little to do with murder and a surprising plot under Hitchcock, is an unusual one. It is unusual for one thing, because it is his only film to win Best Picture. None-the-less, it is a great film of a woman (Joan Fontaine) getting involved and marrying a widower (Laurence Olivier) and discovering what a corrupt man that he and his housemaid (Judith Anderson) are and that they have a secret about something. What I loved about this film is the acting. Fontaine, Anderson, and Olivier, who usually has a commanding presence on screen. All were nominated; none sadly one.
10. Suspicion (1941): Though this a light film, and the only Hitchcock film to net an acting award (Joan Fontaine for Best Actress), I really enjoyed this Hitchcock film. I liked the suspense, the acting, and the storyline. It follows the lives of Fontaine and Cary Grants' characters, who have met and then marry (similar to that of "Rebecca." Unfortunately, Fontaine fears everyday of her life, thinking Grant maybe more than what he seems, because of all the financial trouble her gets into and the film revolves around her paranoia. I find this to be one of Hitchcock's underrated great films.
9. Strangers on a Train (1951): This is an intense psychological thriller by Hitchcock and one of his most famous. It follows a tennis player (Farley Granger) who meets a stranger (Robert Walker) while riding a train, and somehow, gets mixed up in a murder mystery, where Walker's character kills Granger's estranged wife in what I call one of the most grimmest scene I have ever seen on screen. What a scene. In addition, the control and fear Walker has on Granger is utterly disturbing and makes the course the film haunting. In addition, Hitchcock's ending scene in Strangers on a Train is a shock and may make viewers fearful of carnivals. A must-see film.
8. Spellbound (1945): One of Hitchcock's most unusual and perhaps considered today as a failure, this film somehow has a hypnotic effect on myself. It is highly unusual in sense of combining Hitchcock with actor Gregory Peck, who we of course associate with character Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird." The film is about a doctor specializing with working in a mental hospital, who acts quite bizarrely and is uncovered to have some peculiar secrets by fellow doctor, played by Ingrid Bergman. I loved this Hitchcock film, just because it was so utterly bizarre and unique it was for the director. The doors within doors scene designed by Salvador Dali is equally exciting and also the score is magnificent (Oscar winner).
7. Foreign Correspondent (1940): Hitchcock's other release from 1940 and I believe the first one to use American actors (Joel McCrea among them), this Hitchcock spy thriller is an unbelievable piece of entertainment. Though lesser well known, I liked it better than his other release "Rebecca." It follows a life of an American reported who is sent to the United Kingdom when it is on the brink of World War II. He witnesses an assassination and falls victim to harrassment and attempted murder. An intense, thrilling Hitchcock film, where you can see elements which inspire further Hitchcock films later on his career. The set pieces are astonishing, especially in the windmills and the ending clips (which I will not reveal). George Sanders part is also good (he also had a good performance in "Rebecca").
6. Shadow of a Doubt (1943): I remember on December 31, 2009, I had the option of watching this film on Turner Classic Movies, in which they were running a Hitchcock marathon. I did not watch it and I regret that. Then I got hold of the film 7 months later and watched it, with a stunned look. The suspense in the film built effortlessly and it was a shock to watch. What I find amazing about this film is Hitchcock is he is not afraid of relating a venomous criminal (Joseph Cotton) to a big family, with a nosy, later frightened niece (Teresa Wright), both named Charlie. The acting is good, the story is disturbing and psychologically complex, thought simple. Hitchcock chose this film as personal favourite; it is indeed a great, great film.
5. Notorious (1946): Hitchcock's black-and-white masterpiece boasts unreal photography, plot, and especially great acting. It is another unusual plot for Hitchcock, involving espionage, where a daughter of a Nazi (Ingrid Bergman) is recruited by an agent (Cary Grant) to spy on a Nazi in Brazil (Claude Rains). Hitchcock picked an utterly fascinating topic of conspiracy. The are so many scenes of magnificence in the film. The on-screen chemistry between Grant and Bergman is superb. One scene in particular is when there embracing a party for Bergman and Rains engagement (of course put on by Cary Grant and the others). The cheek to cheek interaction plus the lighting are outstanding. The scene at the beginning of the film with Bergman driving drunk with Cary Grant is also sensational. This film ranks at the top Hitchcock's films. Notably, Notorious was only nominated for a screenply Oscar and Best Supporting Actor Claude Rains. The year was released was a great year for cinema. If it had been released the next year, it may have gotten more nominations, such as Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Cinematography, and Sound. Too bad for "Notorious."
4. Psycho (1960): One of Hitchcock's most famous films of all time. An innovative great under the master. There are literally two plots in the film. The first one follows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who steals over forty thousand dollars and goes on the run. The second plot, after the infamous shower scene, concerns Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) who is kind of strange and we suspect is the murdered of Marion Crane in the shower. An utterly ground-breaking film. I love it because of its plot, suspense, thrills, and continuous pace. Disturbing and unforgettable. Excellent Hitchcock film!
3. Vertigo (1958): Hitchcock at his most beautiful, using excellent use of colour, combined with psychological suspense and an interesting fear: acraphobia, fear of heights. It follows the life of a police officer turned detective (James Stewart in one of his greatest roles) spying on a woman suspected of committing suicide. Nothing in this turns out to be what it seems. Everything was surprising. It is an absolute shame that it was not the success it deserved to be in 1958, only respected by a few critics, including, of all people, New York Times writer Bosley Crowther. If it garned the respect it has today, it would have hopefully beat the ridiculous musical "Gigi" for Best Picture, but no, it was not even nominated. This film is one of the most screwed movies from the Academy Awards, because of its brilliance.
2. To Catch a Thief (1955): Although it is considered, unfortunately, a minor work, I would call this one of his masterpieces. I would also call this a possible inspiration for James Bond films, due to its wittiness, beautiful colour and cinematography, and astounding chemistry between Cary Grant and Grace Kelly (Bond usually knew how to treat a woman). The film follows Grant, a retired jewel thief, who is believed to be a burglar in the French Riviera. He tries to clear his name and gets involved with Grace Kelly and her mother (Jesse Royce Landis), both as love affairs. This move is sexy, thrilling, and funny. One particular scene I love is the car chase along the dangerous road (eligidly the same one in which Grace Kelly met her untimely death in a car accident) and the way it ends, which a French police officer crashing his patrol car to avoid a chicken, alerting his collegues back at the station "Poulet! Poulet!" Of course, French for chicken. I also feel this film inspired me to start driving. Wonderful Hitchcock film!
1. Rear Window (1954): Easily one of the greatest films of all time. Absolute inventive on every level. A film seen photographed from only one place: the protagonist's apartment. It is sick and at the same time sensational, following an injured reporter's quest (James Stewart) who believes his neighbour (Raymond Burr) across the courtyard has murdered his wife. With the likes his of girlfriend (Grace Kelly) and nurse (Thelma Ritter), they try and convince everyone about his neighbour's psychotic acts. The viewing of Rear Window is one of the most enjoyable film going experiences anyone can through. The performances are great, the visuals are spectacular, the isolation feeling is astonishing. Everything about this film is done to perfection and that is why I pick this as the greatest Hitchcock film of all time. Most people are familiar with the plot, but it just spectacular to watch, with some many things going on with the neighbours in the courtyard. I love voyeurism. Cannot be beat.
These are my favourite, top of the line Hitchcock films. I loved each and every one of them. However, I should not leave others ought. I really liked "Lifeboat," how Hitchcock managed to make the whole setting of the film in a small floating piece of wood on the Atlantic Ocean. I did like "North By Northwest," "The Man Who Knew too Much (1956)," "The Wrong Man," "Frenzy," "The Lady Vanishes," and "The 39 Steps." They are good, just not my favourites. "Dial M for Murder" and "Young and Innocent" were okay, nothing significant. I will need to re-watch the film "Rope" to get a better opinion on the film.
I have to admit I am not fan of Hitchcock before 1940. The three films I have seen before that year were not his best, though interesting. However, that does not mean I won't watch more films from before 1940. I still need to see "Blackmail (1929)" and "Sabotage (1936)" and perhaps also the original "The Man Who Knew too Much" with Peter Lorre.
In addition, I also have to see "Marnie," "The Trouble With Harry," and "Family Plot," which seem to be somewhat popular. In addition, I will aslo watch "Stagefright" and "I, Confess." I am not sure I want to see "Topez" or "Torn Curtain," because they are not all that popular, but perhaps. Well, what ever I do, I will try to watch many more of Hitchcock's films. A smart man he certainly was.