Getting into Hitchcock...advice??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chuck Mayer, Mar 3, 2002.

  1. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    Fellow HTFers,
    As some of you may know (from my entry on the 2002 Film List thread), this year I have decided to check out a few Hitchcock films. I have only seen bits and snippets, so I am untainted (or tainted). So my question to my friends here...where to start? I have Notorious, Rebecca (I am a Criterion sucker), Vertigo, and Rear Window sitting in my DVDEmpire basket. Good place to start? I don't need to see EVERY film of his...so distill it for me. The more I like, the more I'll check out of course[​IMG] Anyways, any suggestions? Things to look for? Ideas? Help me out here, suckas!
    Thanks in advance,
    Chuck
     
  2. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    In my opinion, his most suspenseful, action-packed and entertaining film is North By Northwest. It's also a GORGEOUS 16x9 transfer.
     
  3. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Well, apart from some of the titles on that list, I also own North by Northwest, Psycho, Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Marnie, The Birds, and Strangers on a Train. I would recommend all of them, although North by Northwest and Psycho especially.
     
  4. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Oh, yeah, Chuck, I didn't notice you didn't list Psycho. You've really never seen it? If you only ever see one Hitchcock film, make it Psycho. Then North by Northwest. Rear Window and Vertigo are great psychological thrillers, but I prefer the action of North by Northwest.
     
  5. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    The only N X NW disc I saw was a $15 older release...is that the one you recommend?
    And no, I have not seen Psycho (but I have seen Psycho II or III - who cares, hangs my head in shame[​IMG] ).
    Consider both added[​IMG] Keep the advice coming please...
    Thanks,
    Chuck
     
  6. Tim RH

    Tim RH Second Unit

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    DIAL M FOR MURDER and SHADOW OF A DOUBT - Hitchcock's personal favorite.
     
  7. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Yes, there's only one NXNW DVD -- and it is budget priced, so you've got the right one.

    I would say that the four you originally listed, plus Psycho & NXNW, are pretty much considered to be his six greatest films.

    So, Notorious, Rebecca, Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest, and Psycho would be a good basic Hitchock library.

    Maybe The Birds. Rope was an interesting experiment (shooting the entire movie with one camera without a cut), but it didn't quite work for me. You might add The 39 Steps or The Lady Vanishes, both Criterion, I believe, to cover his very early years.
     
  8. parin_patel

    parin_patel Stunt Coordinator

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    I am a pretty big Hitchcock fan myself, and have managed to watch most of his movies in the last few years on DVD (thanks to Netflix). The films you've chosen are a good place to start. The Criterion versions are especially nice; the film restoration is very good and the discs have some cool extra features (like the Lux Radio broadcasts of the entire movie). Anyway, here are some good movies to start out with:
    His British Period (30's):
    39 Steps (Criterion)
    Lady Vanishes (Criterion)
    His early Hollywood Period (40's):
    Rebecca (Criterion)
    Spellbound (soon to be on Criterion)
    Notorious (Criterion)
    His late Hollywood Period (50's, all these films have great transfers and special features):
    Rear Window
    Vertigo
    North by Northwest
    Psycho
    Most people (and I agree) think that these films repesent pretty much the best of Hitchcock.
     
  9. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    If you end up liking him, you won't want to stop. But I'd definitely start with

    Rear Window

    North by Northwest

    Vertigo

    Psycho

    and then move on to

    Rebecca

    Notorious

    Strangers on a Train

    The 39 Steps

    The Lady Vanishes

    To Catch a Thief

    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

    The Trouble with Harry

    The Birds

    Dial M for Murder

    Marnie

    Suspicion

    Saboteur

    Rope

    Lifeboat

    etc.
     
  10. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    There have been good suggestions by everybody here, but I'd like to second Strangers on a Train and Shadow of a Doubt, two black & white classics that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
     
  11. Scott Leopold

    Scott Leopold Supporting Actor

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    I love Hitchcock, but I can't consider any "must see" list complete if it doesn't include Strangers on a Train and Shadow of a Doubt. These are two of my 10-15 favorite Hitchcock films. While I find it extremely difficult to choose just one favorite, my top 4 would probably be these two, Rear Window and Psycho. With Hitchcock movies, my actual favorite is usually whichever one is on at the moment.
     
  12. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    And if you get Strangers on a Train, be sure to watch the British version before the US (they're both on the same disc). The US version is censored to get rid of some -- in my opinion, very subtle -- homosexual innuendo, so it runs about 2 minutes shorter.
     
  13. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    It's funny because Rope happens to be one of my favorite Hitches.

    I guess I would go -

    Rear Window

    NxNW

    Vertigo

    Notorious

    Psycho

    Rope

    The 39 Steps

    The Lady Vanishes

    Dial M for Murder

    Strangers on a Train

    The Birds

    The Man Who Knew Too Much (I prefer the remake actually)

    Number 17

    Sabotage

    Rebecca

    Shadow of a Doubt

    But opinions vary. This isn't even the end of his great films, just a starter 16. Sabotage and Number 17 are some of his older works but great classic Hitch.
     
  14. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    The Lady Vanishes is not to be underestimated. It's a true whodunnit of a puzzle and a complete joy to view over again to see what you missed. One of my favorites.
    Lifeboat is another gem though many people find it belongs in the Mrs. Miniver hall of war cinema. It's the smallest set ever used for a major Hollywood film and a great piece of ensemble acting. Though it could use a really solid restoration it's not in bad shape. Tallulah steals the show in an over-the-top performance.
    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 version) with Peter Lorre is another classic Hitchcock that shows off his classic camera style. Couched in wit, it's a wonderful story and Lorre has never been better in American cinema.
    Rear Window Oh that kiss!! What man's heart doesn't melt upon seeing Grace Kelly in her best role ("I've always wanted to meet Mrs. Thorwald.")? This movie works on SO many sexual layers from and all of them frosted by Her Serence Highness the Ice Queen deluxe. There are some genuinely thrilling moments and you'll never identify with a film character like you will with Jimmy Stewart as he watches Lisa from his rear window. That it's a good movie is almost secondary to watching Kelly!
     
  15. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    Hopefully, with the titles being thrown out, you'll be able to get a consensus. Here's how I would rate the Hitchcock films:

    1.North By Northwest (1959)

    2.Vertigo (1958) & Psycho (1960)

    3.Marnie (1964)

    4.Rear Window (1954)

    5.Strangers On A Train (1951)

    6.Rebecca (1940) & Spellbound (1945)

    7.39 Steps, The (1935)

    8.Notorious (1946)

    9.The Lady Vanishes (1938)

    10.The Birds (1963)

    11.The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

    12.The Trouble With Harry (1955)

    13.Frenzy (1972) – a lot of the violence was out of place.

    ~Edwin
     
  16. Aaron Garman

    Aaron Garman Second Unit

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    Hello all. After studying almost 9 Hitchcock films in my film criticism class this year, I think I could reccomend some. Firstly, Psycho is his masterpiece. In my opinion, everything just works. It is also one of the most engaging films I've ever watched. Next I'd have to say is Vertigo. Again, a truly engaging film filled with intrigue. If you want to check out an older Hitchcock film, do see Shadow of a Doubt. Not only is the film shot extremely well, it has great acting on the part of Joseph Cotten. Oh, it is also in Black and White and in the academy ratio. Ooooooo I love to be a little retro sometimes.
    AJ Garman
    "We all go a little mad sometimes...haven't you?"
    Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho,1960.
     
  17. Dave Barth

    Dave Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    Something to consider is what level your expectations are at. If you go into seeing, say, Vertigo or North by Northwest expecting them to be the best pictures by one of the best directors ever, it's possible that your expectations will be so high the films can't possibly live up to them. If that's been an issue for you historically when seeing films like this, you might try starting off a little lower on the list...otherwise, not only may you be disappointed, but every film after might seem lesser...

    If (and only if) expectations are a problem, I'd suggest starting with the British Criterions, or The Birds. The first two give you a nice glimpse into his early career, while I suspect The Birds will leave you wanting to see more.

    Otherwise, if you want to start at the top, Notorious, Vertigo, Psycho, and North by Northwest would be where I'd start, followed by the other Criterions, The Birds, and Rear Window. I haven't seen some of the other films named so far. My omission of them isn't meant to slight them.

    The only ones I've seen and would recommend you avoid as starters would be late-period, lesser films like Torn Curtain and Topaz.

    It would be hard to unintentionally give a wrong answer to your question, given the number of good films he has and the rather solid consensus regarding what constitutes his lesser work.
     
  18. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    There are several HTF members who know a LOT more about Hitchcock than I do, but I'd like to offer one small piece of advice:
    After absorbing and falling in love with the major classics, don't forget to give Lifeboat and The Trouble with Harry a look.
    Perhaps it's because they're two of his 'smaller' films, but I've always had a special fondness for those two!
     
  19. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    I was doing my list off the top of my head. I most certainly agree that Shadow of a Doubt should be on there!
     
  20. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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