Alfred Hitchcock

I really do need to see more of this dude’s movies. He did a lot of things nobody was else was doing, sometimes with camera work, mostly with topics he was willing to film and talk about. The original master of suspense, though unfortunately our society has become numbed to a lot of what used to be considered scary. Fortunately, Hitchcock liked to use Jimmy Stewart quite a bit, and he still holds up. Please give me recommendations in the comments.

The Birds: Definitely some suspense in this movie, and I found it scary as a kid, but when the birds attack the special effects do not hold up well. Also, I don’t really buy the actors’ reactions to the bird attacks.

Grade: C

Rear Window: I wish I could say I like this just as much as everyone else, but maybe I just grew up in the wrong time. It’s very-well acted and very-well directed. The camera work is really good. But I did not feel one iota of tension or suspense the entire movie. The final scene did nothing for me. I realize this may be because other movies have copied this formula so I knew what was coming, but it has to be something more than that. I just don’t know what it is.

Grade: C+

Rope: Like Rear Window, a one-room movie. Two men commit murder, just to see what it’s like. They arrogantly host a party for friend and family of the victim in the same room they’ve hidden the body. The added fun as a viewer is that in addition to it being a one-room movie, it’s also a one-shot movie. Back at the time, Hitchcock only had ten minutes of reel, but he would do fancy camera work to make it appear the entire movie was one long shot. Still, that’s pretty damn impressive. The only thing that falls short in this movie is the script, which is a bit heavy-handed at times. Jimmy Stewart is good as usual.

Grade: B

The Lady Vanishes: Just before he came to America, Hitchcock directed this brilliant mystery that takes place mostly on a train. A young couple realizes someone has been kidnapped and the investigation ensues. The script is incredibly tight, and the witty humor made me laugh out loud several times. It’s never terribly suspenseful, but I don’t know if Hitchcock even intended that, It’s mostly just fun to try to figure out the mystery before our protagonists do (I didn’t). There’s a great use of a MacGuffin, not a surprise for the master of the technique. My favorite movie from the 1930s, though it’s not like I’ve seen a lot from that decade.

Grade: A

A Partial LIst of Other Alfred Hitchcock Movies You May Have Seen

Pyscho
Vertigo
North by Northwest
Rebecca
Strangers on a Train
Notorious
Dial M For Murder
Shadow of a Doubt
The 39 Steps
Lifeboat
Spellbound
To Catch a Thief
The Man Who Knew Too Much
The Trouble With Harry

One thought on “Alfred Hitchcock”

  1. The final scene did nothing for me. I realize this may be because other movies have copied this formula so I knew what was coming, but it has to be something more than that. I just don’t know what it is.

    I’m not sure there is something more than that. I think you seriously underrate this film, but I might overrate it because of its importance. Also, there’s nothing I appreciate more as a writer than one long shot – almost without any dialogue – that effectively introduces, what? Twelve characters or so? Man oh man.

    I’ve seen more of Hitchcock’s TV than his movies, and would like to get a move on with the films.

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