Alfred Hitchcock

On top of my year-based movie watching — I’m currently still in 1978 — I enjoy watching through other series of films as a Sunday night tradition. Following Bond and Indiana Jones, over the summer I decided to revisit a large chunk of Alfred Hitchcock’s work. I stuck to his color output (with the exception of Psycho of course), which starts in the late 40s. I’ve always been a big fan of his films — and his TV series, and even the Three Investigators book series that I loved as a kid — and it was really fun to do this, since I hadn’t re-watched most of them in probably a couple of decades. You’ll find below the full list of what I watched (and under this category).

Psycho

I kept this for my final Hitchcock film, and I’m glad I did. I don’t know if I’ve necessarily watched it many more times than his other films, but it’s certainly his most memorable film (on top of being the most popular), and so it was the one that I went in remembering the most about. I don’t have anything to add other than it’s still a fantastic film to take in, and still just as creepy. 

Family Plot

This was Hitchcock’s final film, and I didn’t have any particularly fond memories about it. Re-watching it, I feel pretty much the same way — it’s not horrible, but it’s not particularly good either, and I really dislike Bruce Dern’s character in this, with his over-the-top manic delivery. Wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, but I still found it interesting to watch as part of this Hitchcock revisit.

To Catch a Thief

This is definitely the lightest of the Hitchcock films I’ve re-watched so far, more on the comedic/romantic side, but with a slight dose of mystery (who is this thief everyone is trying to catch). The star here though is the amazing scenery of Nice and its surroundings, beautifully captures in “Panavision.” It wasn’t one of my favorites, but still fun to watch.

Topaz

Last week’s Hitchcock film was Topaz, which I think is a much better spy thriller than Torn Curtain. I quite like this movie, and it shows just how diverse Hitchcock could be — we celebrate him as the “Master of Suspense,” but I think he covers quite a few genres, and is just as good at comedy too (not in this movie, but just in general). Well worth watching.

Rear Window

Continuing with my Sunday night Hitchcock revisit, a couple of weeks ago I watched what is possibly my favorite Hitchcock film — and it’s one of the reasons I waited so long to watch it, since I’ve seen it so many times. It’s a masterpiece in terms of construction and execution, and the frequent no-dialogue storytelling — as we follow the action in the various dwellings through only the peek of the camera — is a joy to watch.

Torn Curtain

Last night’s entry in my Sunday night Hitchcock marathon was this one, which I had absolutely no memory of, in terms of the story (even though I know I watched it at some point in my life). It could have been an OK spy thriller, but uncharacteristically, it doesn’t feel well put together, and there are some scenes that are just painful to watch — like the confrontation between Newman and the German agent tasked to follow him, as well as some of the way-too-long focus shots on Julie Andrews’ face when she’s supposed to answer something. Someone pointed out an article to me after I watched it that suggested that Newman and Hitchcock were at odds during shooting, and that Hitchcock didn’t even really want him and Andrews in the film (the studio wanted big stars). I didn’t dislike watching it, but it’s certainly the weakest of the Hitchcock films I’ve re-watched so far.

Rope

There so much great about this movie, from the fact that it takes place entirely inside that one apartment, to the way it’s made to look as if it’s just one continuous shot (there are just a few cheats, so they were still very long takes). And it’s enjoyable to see the interactions between all of the characters, as you find how they all relate to the victim.