Meet the Newtons, father Joe and his wife Emma, and their three children. There's little Roger, a precocious proto-Lisa Simpson in Anne and their elder daughter Charlie, named after her uncle, Emma's younger brother. Charlie is bored of life in a town where nothing ever seems to happen, and decides to send off a telegram to her namesake uncle inviting him to visit - at the same time he too has sent one proclaiming his intention to do the very same.
Bringing many of Hitchcock's films to Blu-ray for the first time, Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection offers, in one box, a veritable galaxy of brilliant work by the man who, when all is said and done, can creditably be considered the greatest movie director ever, at least in the English-speaking world.
In this galaxy there are the Plutos, the curious outliers begging for further exploration -- SaboteurThe Trouble with HarryTorn Curtainand Topaz Here, too, are the magnificent, multilayered Saturns and Jupiters, replete with rings and moons of ceaselessly inventive, bravura filmmaking -- RopeThe Man Who Knew Too MuchPsychoand The Birds There's also a touch of Venus, with North by Northwest and Marnie mixing matters of the heart, mind, and hormones into inimitably strong sexual-romantic cocktails.
And then there's the brilliant, blazing star around which all the others orbit, comprised of the three single greatest contributions the master made to the filmography of the ages, perfect films all: Shadow of a DoubtRear Windowand, glory of glories, Vertigo Finally, there are the pale moons -- Frenzy and Family Plot -- that, after that sun sets, keep on luminously reflecting its light.
|Recent Posts||Sign Up Sergey Dvortsevoy's 'Ayka' Wins Grand Prize at Kinoshita-Backed Tokyo Filmex The suspenseful tenor of dramatics associated with director Alfred Hitchcock is utilized here to good advantage in unfolding a story [by Gordon McDonell] of a small town and the arrival of what might prove to be a murderer. Hitchcock poses a study in contrasts when the world-wise adventurer Joseph Cotten eludes police in Philadelphia to […] 18 mins ago Concert Review:|
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Having so categorized the wealth of cinematic wonders spilling over from this deceptively compact package, we'll work our way through the set not chronologically, but in a direction from more peripheral to absolutely central not just in Hitchcock's oeuvre, but in anyone's experience of the moviesalways keeping in mind that it's space and time limitations that necessitate these handy thumbnails, and even the least of these films could inspire several in-depth essays Saboteur is probably the best of this grouping, with its tension-filled, reluctant romance between stars Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane, fueled by mistaken identity and constant jeopardy after an aircraft-manufacturing plant is bombed by enemy agents during WWII, recalling Hitchcock's earlier The 39 Steps.
Topaz, with its cast of international stars e. Similarly strong moments -- the thrilling climax on the Statue of Liberty or the sinisterly quiet, nonchalant revelation that a friendly grandfather is dangerous in Saboteur; Torn Curtain's hair-raising, not-for-the-claustrophobic final escape from a ballets russes performance -- punctuate, and go a long way toward redeeming, the other two as well, with Hitchcock's unflagging visual precision and fluidity taking up much of the excess slack elsewhere throughout these relatively weaker entries.
As for The Trouble with Harry, the closest to a flat-out lark in the box, it's "minor" and mild-mannered by design, with an ensemble of actors including Shirley MacLaine, in her big-screen debut, and Hitch's later Topaz star, John Forsythe playing out, against a magnificently shot by Robert Burks, who shot many of the films included in this collectionautumnal New England backdrop, a snowball of misunderstandings in which multiple characters feel culpable for the suspected murder of a man they didn't kill but whom nobody really liked.
It's a comedy in the Shakespearean sense, culminating in not one but two happy romantic pairings, the principal of which is that between the spunky MacLaine and the Thoreau-ish painter Forsythe a sort of comic counterpart to Rock Hudson's nonconformist in the contemporaneous All That Heaven Allows.
Jimmy Stewart began his long and very fruitful collaboration with Hitchcock on Rope, an oddly and, most often, very successfully experimental work that plays out in real time, over the course of a dinner party with a murderous underlying secret, with almost no cuts, the camera following the characters from framing to framing and room to room without skipping a beat, in a transfixing dance as Stewart, a college professor who blithely spouts quasi-Nietzchean, beyond-good-and-evil platitudes, slowly but surely realizes that the two of his former students John Dall and Farley Granger hosting the gathering have taken him at his word, thrill-killing a third ex-pupil and hiding the corpse right under the noses of the guests.
With its proudly matte-painted "New York skyline" glowing through evening, dusk, and into nightfall outside the apartment-set windows, Rope may be the purest example of Hitchcock's career-long embrace of artifice as an aesthetic strategy, and is something beautiful to behold. The Birds marks another performer's debut under Hitchcock's auspices, this one of a more alluringly feminine sort: And then there's the much more documentary-like Psycho, its deceptive black-and-white appearance of realism sliced into something sleek, foreboding, and inevitable in the cutting room, propelled swiftly along toward doom by perhaps the most instantly recognizable of Bernard Herrmann's many Hitchcock scores.
The film's notorious "shower sequence," storyboarded precisely and painstakingly edited to create a flurry of cuts between the shots to match the one depicted within them, works so effectively on so many levels at once, from the most viscerally repulsed to the most admiringly cerebral, it's no wonder that it's the single sequence most commonly associated with Hitchcock in the popular imagination.
No less ingeniously innovative, if more subtly so, is the film's gloriously perverse structure, in which the story we think we're watching gets derailed after the first third and becomes something quite different in the aftermath -- a structure whose jarring legacy has lived on in films that pay it homage, from Dressed to Kill to Full Metal Jacket to Storytelling.
Hedren's next, final role for her discoverer was even better: Marnie is a kindred spirit of sorts to Cary Grant's frivolous, overgrown playboy in North by Northwest; despite their apparent disparateness, the films that give these two children in adult bodies are both equally fine and strangely complementary.
They're both twisty-turny romances that depict the processes of growing into actual maturity and falling into actual love as tortuous strivings, whether it's Grant's obsessive desire for Eva Marie Saint and Eva Marie Saint alone leading him, another in Hitchcock's large gallery of "ordinary," glibly indolent and overconfident men whipped into shape through the interventions of coincidence and mistaken identity, into situations where he risks getting attacked by a crop-dusting plane or falling from the face of Mt.
The unbearably sexy but implicitly frigid Marnie, for her part, must face up to a horrific repressed memory and the domineering mother there's quite a long line of those in Hitchcock, too for whom she's repressing it before she can attain her desire to melt at last under the ruggedly masculine hand of Sean Connery.
North by Northwest, a superlative and exhilarating thriller, was a hit and is a well-established Hitchcock classic; it's too bad the different but equally excellent Marnie's box-office failure and lukewarm reception seemed to end the director's collaboration with Hedren and his melodramatic impulse.
To at least the same extent that the swooningly emotional Rebecca decades earlier, Marnie, with its emergency-red flashbacks and women's-picture preoccupation with feminine iconography, ritual, and identity, suggests that Hitchcock could have been a compatriot of Douglas Sirk and Fassbinder.
Of course Marnie, great as she is, is only younger sister to Kim Novak in Vertigo, with its even more powerful exploration of the same themes.
But when it comes to Vertigo, that's only a part of it: The upstanding, upright, apparently well-adjusted regular guy Jimmy Stewart sucked by coincidence and slippery, elusive identity into something he doesn't understand, can't control, and can't get out of?
A passionate, obsessive love hopelessly complicated by submerged pasts, inscrutable desires, and murky motivations? The persistent, uncannily dream-like feeling of something important and very dangerous just around the corner, just out of sight?
The vertiginous chasm that opens up when the beautifully artificial and the sobering, despondently real, set on a collision course, finally collide, shattering apart the seemingly rational, ordinary, and predictable veneer of life?
No wonder Vertigo wasn't a hit upon its release, or that its stature grows with every passing year; it's Hitchcock's most serious film in every sense, a tensely anxiety-ridden modernist masterwork to rival Antonioni's L'avventura or Bergman's Persona with its deeply troubling look at the irresoluble problems of alienation, a permeating and amorphous sense of loss, and the instability, deceptiveness, and warped projections of identity.
Very nearly as breathtaking and disquieting is Raymond Burr's murderous husband in Rear Window, who's an actor in a panoramic drama -- love!
His and on-again, off-again fiancee Grace Kelly's ongoing date night at this ever more enthralling "movie" turns on them, though; in yet another testament to Hitchcock's taut visual and conceptual genius, few moments in the movies are as terrifying as when the gazed-upon murder suspect gazes right back at Stewart and, by extension, usthen shows up in his apartment, violating the voyeur's privileged space, demanding menacingly, "What do you want from me?gif Shadow of a Doubt dir.
Alfred Hitchcock In his interview with François Truffaut on “Shadow”, Alfred Hitchcock said the dense, black smoke belching from the train that brings Charles Oakley to Santa Rosa was a deliberate symbol of imminent evil.
Kevin Matthews's rating of the film Shadow of a Doubt Kevin Matthews Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten are both superb in a Hitchcock film as typically playful as it is typically tense.
Alfred Hitchcock’s personal favorite of his films, Shadow of a Doubt is a chilling and superbly acted suburban nightmare in which a young woman named Charlie (Teresa Wright) slowly discovers.
It may not be Hitchcock’s most powerful work, but Cotten is an exceptional character and the finale is quite a memorable ordeal. – Mike Massie Tagged Filmmakers: Alfred Hitchcock, Henry Travers, Hume Cronyn, Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright.
Shadow of a Doubt () Alfred Hitchcock especially liked Shadow of a Doubt (), he once said, "because it was one of those rare occasions where you could combine character with suspense. Usually in a suspense story there isn't time to develop character.".
Alfred Hitchcock's daughter Patricia Hitchcock also said that her father's favorite film was Shadow of a Doubt in the documentary "Beyond Doubt: The Making of Hitchcock's Favorite Film".
Today, the film is still regarded as a major work of Hitchcock.