Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Alfred Hitchcock Movies


Happy Thursday! Happy October! Oh, wait...ahem....BoooohhhOooohh Huuuhappy Oc-toh-buh.


Scary, no? Never mind. Point is, The 31 Days of Horror are finally here! Since it's Thursday, we'll kick things off with another installment of Thursday Movie Picks, the wonderful weekly meme hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves. Each Thursday this month will be part of the Halloween Edition and have a horror related topic. Today, we're tackling the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. The man rarely went in for straight horror, but he managed to scare us just the same. I'm going with these three...


Psycho
(1960)
I mean, this is a given, right? We can go back and forth about whether or not it's his best film. I think it is. However, I'll not hear of anyone saying it's not his most iconic. Nothing he, nor perhaps any other director, has transcended the medium of cinema so completely as Psycho. Also beyond reproach is its status as one of the all-time great horror flicks. Click here for my full review and here for my breakdown of the legendary shower scene.


The Birds
(1963)
I wasn't going to include this one. To be honest, I don't have a whole lot to say about it. The problem is a unique one, I think, in the world of Thursday Movie Picks. I'm literally watching it for the first time as I'm typing this. I'll be sure to get a full review posted long before this month runs out. Yes, 31 Days of Horror includes the classics.


Frenzy
(1972)
I've got a little more to say about this one for two reasons. First, it's not as well known as Psycho. Second, unlike The Birds, I've seen it before. This one is more thriller than horror, but I'll roll with it. The plot concerns a loser by the name of Blaney. We meet him as he's getting fired from his gig as a barkeep for drinking up the product. We follow him around as he does loser stuff. There also happens to be a serial killer on the loose. Whoever this person is rapes women then strangles them with a necktie. Soon enough, all signs point to Blaney as the culprit. This is one of the last movies Hitchcock directed and contains the most intimate violence he ever filmed. While the killings in Psycho maintained a certain distance between the murderer and the victim, Frenzy makes them uncomfortably close.



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32 comments:

  1. If forced to choose, I would say that Psycho is my favorite of Hitchcock's films, and probably his best, too (although it's REALLY tough to choose between that and Vertigo). I don't very much care for The Birds, but my issues with it are nearly all on the script level. Technically it's incredibly accomplished. Frenzy wasn't just a return to form for Hitchcock, it was easily one of his dozen best. There are two scenes in it that are comfortably among the best scenes he ever directed.

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    1. Vertigo is awesome. As for Frenzy, if I'm guessing I'd say the two scenes were the one where Blaney's ex is killed and the one where the killer is on the back of the potato truck trying to retrieve his pin from latest victim.

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  2. Frenzy is the one of many of Hitchcock's films I haven't seen though I am going to do some Hitchcock this month. Everyone needs to do one or more Hitchcock film for October.

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    1. I've only just recently seen it and it's an excellent watch. It's quicker moving than a lot of his films, too.

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  3. If only I wasn't such a wimp, I would watch a lot more of Hitchcock's films. Great picks!

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    1. Lol. His films are much more Freudian examinations of odd sexual proclivities than exercises in fear. They're a lot closer to Basic Instinct than A Nightmare on Elm Street.

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  4. I love Psycho, but I haven't seen the other two. I know I should see The Birds.

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    1. Psycho is a masterpiece. The Bird? I'm not so sure. Definitely see Frenzy.

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    2. I've seen almost all of Hitchcock. I've even seen his early films, like The Skin Game and Number 17 and five or six of the silents. And my two favorites are The Birds and Suspicion.

      I don't really get it at all when fans seem leery about praising The Birds as a classic. I think it does a lot of things that the viewer doesn't expect, so many first-time viewers feel a little dissatisfied after a first viewing and they don't watch it again. I grew up with it. I was three the first time I saw it. I love it. I watched it three times last year.

      As for creepy Hitchcock films, how is it that nobody has mentioned Shadow of a Doubt!?!? Joseph Cotton is super creepy! (It's my third favorite Hitchcock.)

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  5. Frenzy is high on my Netflix queue because I'm currently working on my 1972 Fistis...so I'll see it soon.

    Psycho and The Birds are CLASSIC for a reason. Great pics.

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    1. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Frenzy.

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  6. Yeah to The Birds! That's one of my favs of his. It's just so stylized and besides Tippi, who has a certain charm but is no great actress, has a tremendous cast of players..I LOVE Suzanne Pleshette's fog voiced schoolteacher Annie Hayworth. Psycho is an iconic film that I like very much but don't watch often. Perkins is great in the lead, too good unfortunately since it crippled his career. For a classic era director Frenzy is a revelation in his willingness to embrace modern sensibilities. I admired it for its daring and it was fascinating but perhaps his most disturbing and after my initial view I've never had any desire to watch again, a similar reaction that I had to Peeping Tom.

    Hitchcock is my favorite director and I've seen all but a few of his silents so I went with some of his more obscure films, save Notorious, and since no director is infallible my extra is one of his misses.

    Saboteur (1942)-During WWII an airplane factory is sabotaged. Barry Kane, falsely accused of the crime, goes on the run in pursuit of the real culprit and encounters various memorable characters along the way including the expected Hitchcock blonde in the appealing form of Priscilla Lane. Enjoyable chase drama is highlighted by its famous Statue of Liberty finale.

    Lifeboat (1944)-A small group of passengers from a torpedoed ship struggle for survival in Hitchcock's fascinating microcosm of society in the contained space of a lifeboat. Excellent performances across the board but most of all a great showcase role for Tallulah Bankhead.

    Notorious (1946)-Alicia Huberman, played by Ingrid Bergman, has become embittered upon finding out that her father is a traitor. After his conviction she is recruited by Devlin (Cary Grant) to infiltrate a suspected spy ring in South America lead by an acquaintance of hers Alex Sebastian, played by Claude Rains. Once she manages that a deadly game of cat and mouse commences as the tension mounts. One of Hitchcock’s best with amazing work by the entire cast.

    Nobody’s perfect pick-Topaz (1969)-An intriguing premise: An intelligence agent becomes involved in Cold War politics while trying to expose espionage that lead up to the Cuban Missile Crisis and attempting to dismantle a Russian spy ring. Add in a solid if not extraordinary cast and Hitchcock in the director’s chair and this should have been an engrossing entertainment. What it is however may be Hitch’s worst film, certainly his dullest, it just plods along. If they insist on remaking one of the Master’s films this would be the place to start. A good idea somehow gone terribly wrong.



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    1. I'm a little ashamed I haven't seen Notorious. I need to make a point of that one. Topaz is a curiosity, I need to investigate, too. Even some of his better films plod along, but redeem themselves once things get cranking.

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    2. Topaz offers no such redemption sadly.

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  7. Psycho is simply excellent and it is better on the shoestring budget he was given. I love the last shot of Perkins now as his mom and when the scene fades to the car, if you stop it at that frame, you will see the skeletal head of his mom over Perkins and the chain attached to the car coming from his heart-brilliant! I enjoyed the Birds. He never explains why The Birds start attacking and why the Love birds are still sweet but it is scary especially at the school yard when Tippi has her back to them. I have to say, the actress mentions how they threw the birds at her in the attic and she was hurt in the scene. I would have the same tendency to do that to her or at least her character which is annoying (so is her character in Marnie). She is wonderful is helping animals so i congratulate her on that. As for Frenzy-this film was disturbing. I almost felt like we were seeing a bit of Hitchcock's inner thoughts in that rape scene which was very disturbing

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    1. Now I have to rewatch Psycho just so I can investigate that shot. And Frenzy...yeah, disturbing.

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  8. The Birds is best when the birds don't attack, the era's technical limitations make it bit unconvincing in today's modernised world. It's ripe for a remake, but only if someone can achieve the levels of tension Hitchcock did in his film, it'll be hard to match.

    I haven't seen much of later Hitchcock, Frenzy included, but I have seen Torn Curtain which probably ranks the worst of the Hitchcock films I have seen.

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    1. Great point about The Birds. Don't think I have ever even heard of Tom Curtain.

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    2. Torn Curtain gets a lot of points because Julie Andrews is SO SEXY!

      It's nowhere near the worst. I would pick either Juno and the Paycock or The Farmer's Wife.

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  9. The Birds was well-directed, only I think in some scenes I'm taken out of the experience due to the dated special effects, so that held me back from totally loving it.
    I prefer Psycho which is among my favorite Hitchcock films, and more importantly, it still scares me.

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  10. I love so many of his, but not The Birds, because, you know, the birds.

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  11. YES! Finally I found someone who got mutual pick with me! Upon 3 Hitchcock I have seen, Psycho is on it... so, glad you picked it!

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  12. Had to pick it. It's one of the best movies ever made.

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  13. Nice picks, man. Glad to see we matched up on two of these.

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  14. I love Psycho, I couldnt fanthom why it was remade, nothing was gained from it. I think you're right its his most iconic without a doubt, without a shadow of a doubt (had to do it). I really want to se Frenzy, its been on my watch list for far too long. I wasn't keen on The Birds when I first watched it, but after a few viewings I warmed up to the dramatic flying killers.

    -Katie at Ever So Ethnically Confused

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    1. No. Nothing was gained from remaking Psycho. Check out Frenzy when you get a chance. Thanks, Katie!

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  15. Like you said, most of the violence in Hitchcock's film maintain a certain distance and as I recall none of the ones I've seen had any full or partial nudity, So it was just not something I expect in a Hitchcock film. When I saw Frenzy I was shocked, it had both nudity and violence that was uncomfortably close.

    By the way, since you like Psycho have you seen Bates Motel?

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    1. I have not seen a single second of Bates Motel. Just not a TV guy.

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