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The Alfred Hitchcock Filmography - A Chronological viewing

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Nelson Au, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    First Hitchcock film that I ever saw and in a theater in the 90s!!

    Still a favorite of mine!

    It’s time for a UHd blubray release!!
     
  2. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    David, on this viewing, I did notice the happy family in that upper apartment. I think they are shown at least twice. Once in the first shot, then later when the dog is found. That’s an interesting point you make that each apartment is showing a different facet of man-woman relationships. That never occurred to me before, but it is! And I can see that he is using the window as a portal for Jeff to contemplate his options with Lisa. And Stella’s line about window shopping carries more weight now.

    I found this great image on this guy’s website where he took screen caps and using photoshop, was able to create this great panorama. http://borisrautenberg.com/portfolio/rear-window/

    A8843E85-B30B-4645-BC9B-28304183ECC1.
    He’s got all the neighbors there. And the happy family too who I never thought about because they don’t have much drama as you said. The sun bathers aren’t seen again after their initial showing as I can recall.
     
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  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Osato, hopefully all the British titles, Warner, Universal and Paramount titles will get the UHD treatment.

    I got an email from Screen Archives about an upcoming Hitchcock box. This one is called The House Of Hitchcock, limited edition from Universal. This looks like the Universal Alfred Hitchcock The Masterpiece Collection Limited Edition re-issued with new box and packaging. Maybe it was already mentioned on another thread.

    https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-House-of-Hitchcock-Collection-Blu-ray/249642/
     
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  4. Mark McSherry

    Mark McSherry Stunt Coordinator

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    Enlarging that image--- I must say, I don't like the looks of that suited gentleman in the uppermost far-right apartment. Definitely up to no good!
     
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  5. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Mark, that gentleman setting the clock in the far right apartment is certainly up to something. :)
     
  6. Message #246 of 309 Sep 5, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    Cineman

    Cineman Second Unit

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    Nelson, that is a great grouping of key images from the movie. Btw, did we ever have a lip reader tell us what that man setting the clock turned and said to the composer at that particular moment? hmm.

    As an aside, I happened to be doing some work at Paramount Studios several years ago and one of the things I love about that lot is there are placards on the wall next to each sound stage entrance listing some of the movies that were shot in that particular sound stage. I was thrilled to have spent quite a bit of time in the sound stage where REAR WINDOW was shot. And later, another sound stage where parts of VERTIGO were shot. Believe me, I consider that to be hallowed ground for great cinema.

    In my free time, I scanned the walls, floor, behind every electrical cord, in every corner, nook and cranny of that sound stage to see if I could find any remaining archival evidence of that amazing REAR WINDOW set. But, alas, other than the placard outside, there was nothing. Of course, it was some 50 years and dozens of other movies later.
     
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  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Cool story David about your experiences at the Paramount sound stages! Would love to see the stages where Star Trek was filmed too.

    What do you think Hitchcock might have been saying in the cameo? Maybe giving stage directions?
     
  8. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    I love the miss torso bits.
     
  9. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    TCAT poster.

    To Catch A Thief

    1955
    106 minutes Color 1.66:1 VistaVision
    Cast:
    Cary Grant as John Robie ("The Cat")
    Grace Kelly as Frances Stevens
    Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens
    John Williams as H. H. Hughson
    Charles Vanel as Monsieur Bertani
    Brigitte Auber as Danielle Foussard
    Jean Martinelli as Foussard, Danielle's father
    Georgette Anys as Germaine, housekeeper
    René Blancard as Commissaire Lepic (uncredited)
    Story based on the novel To Catch a Thief by David Dodge
    Written by John Michael Hayes
    Score by - Lynn Murray
    Directed by - Alfred Hitchcock
    Production Studio - Paramount Studios
    View 9/1/19

    Paramount Blu Ray 2012 - audio commentary with Dr. Drew Casper
    Paramount DVD 2007 - features audio commentary with Peter Bogdanovich and Laurent Bouzereau
    Paramount DVD 2002

    Synopsis

    John Robie is a former cat burglar but has since reformed and living a quiet life in the south of France. However a rash of new burglaries has made the police suspect John has resumed his career as The Cat. He sets about to clear his name and reveal the real burglar. Along the way, he meets an insurance man, H. H. Hughson whose companies are paying off on these robberies and Frances, a wealthy American tourist and her mother who could be the next victim.

    Impressions

    Themes; Wrong man accused, the cool blonde, food, the mother, the bird cage and the glamour and romance between the leads. Plus the suspense of catching the thief and the fun dialogue.

    To Catch a Thief, is a fun title with a dual meaning. I’ve seen To Catch a Thief many times and it’s a real favorite. I own the laserdisc, the two earlier DVDs and the Blu Ray. ( I skipped the third DVD release. Luckily the blu ray has the same extras in that 3rd DVD) As a kid I remember hearing the title spoken by others and mixing it up with It Takes a Thief, the TV series with Robert Wagner. I enjoy this film so much and I think it’s because it’s such a fun and breezy adventure. There is picturesque scenery and the leads have such great chemistry together. This all within the mystery of the cat burglar. It was a big hit for Paramount and Hitchcock at the time too. However, this is the first time I’ve seen it in consecutive order, from Dial M for Murder, Rear Window and then To Catch a Thief. Those two earlier films were serious and To Catch A Thief was as they say, a light film if you do such a direct comparison this way, I can see why the film was criticized by the critics because of the more serious earlier films. But I found it such a nice change of pace and as some have called it, a holiday for Hitchcock in one of his favorite places. I really enjoyed this viewing a lot. And that is not to take away from Rear Window. I’d not seen Rear Window in a while so it was really great to revisit that film again with all its greatness. Part of the enjoyment was the scenery in France and the blu ray image quality is such a massive improvement over the earlier DVD’s. The higher quality VistaVision image as seen on the new blu ray makes viewing this such a pleasure.

    The supporting cast are great, John Williams as H.H. Hughson the insurance man and Jessie Royce Landis as Jessie Stevens, Francie’s mother. She’s quite good. The French cast are good too with Bridgette Auber as Danielle Fousard. It was interesting that I never noticed that Charles Vanel as Bertani was dubbed as his English wasn’t good. I noticed on this viewing that his mouth is often obscured so it made it easy to dub his voice.

    Possible spoilers for those who’ve not seen this are ahead.

    There are shots with sinister music and characters that look suspicious, but they don’t really do anything until later. Such as the life guard at the beach who tells Robie he has a phone call, when he’s doing pull-ups later, there is that sinister music. Later on we see he is part of Bertani’s gang. Later we see John noticing Bertani at the house that John and Francie check out, but it was coincidental. I come to realize that these are red herrings early in the film.

    It’s fun that the film has so many chases! The police chase John who is fleeing from his house at the start, the boat chase from Bertani’s restaurant from the police airplane, the flower market chase, and then the chase in Francie’s car from the police. I always felt bad for the woman who dropped a piece of her laundry in the road and leaves it to let Francie’s car pass.

    I noticed that here, more so then Rear Window, Grace Kelly is filmed in profile when we first see her. Technically we first see her on the beach watching a John Robie come out of the water onto the beach. While she is very glamorous in Rear Window, she is even more so in this film. As discussed earlier in the thread, the picnic sequence between John and Francie in the car up on the side of the road looking down at Monaco is a real lengthy single take. From the second that John sits down with the basket and they start eating and drinking, it’s one shot. You can see that Cary didn’t really eat too much of the chicken. I didn’t time it but it was quite a scene up to the point that Cary takes Grace’s arm, then it cuts in closer.

    In the 1995 James Bond film, Goldeneye, James Bond is driving the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 with a woman in the car and engages in a race with a woman in a Ferrari. The race ends when the woman order’s Bond to stop the car and he pulls over to the side of the road. We learn that the woman was assigned by M to evaluate him. I wondered if this scene was partly influenced by To Catch A Thief. In the shot with the car on the side of the road, the camera pulls up and you can see Monaco in the background below. Not the exact same, but similar view.

    Another thing that is interesting, when I watched the extras, there was a technical issue with some of the Day for Night shots, there is a green tint. And the roof shingles have a green tint in the night shots in the opening scenes. Later the windows of the Carlton hotel at night when seen from Cary’s point of view have a strong yellow hue. I noticed on the blu ray, these were much more toned down, perhaps the blu ray’s color timing was much more accurate then the earlier DVD’s. About the blu ray, I was really amazed how good the VistaVision image is. The detail on skin and fabrics was so clear.

    Hitchcock’s distaste for eggs is fully on display with one smashed against a window meant for John Robie and later, Jessie puts her cigarette out in the egg yolk.

    The score for this film is by Lyn Murray. I thought it was pretty good and after watching the movie so many times, it’s a part of the film. It has some memorable bits because you hear it in the film. The one scene where Francie kisses John at her hotel room door is the famous shot and the music works to make it fun. I liked it enough that I managed to find a CD of the actual score from Intrada. It also has the score for Bridges at Toko-ri also with Grace Kelly and the score is by Lyn Murray.

    By the way, if you have the old DVD, I thought the audio commentary with Laurent Bouzereau and Peter Bogdanovich is a good listen. As is Dr. Drew Casper on the blu ray.

    Again, something in this movie one can buy and own is the Sunbeam Alpine that Francie drives around the South of France in. I remember years ago, before I was as familiar with the film, a client I worked with was telling me he has that same model car from the movie and was restoring it. Not the exact same car, but the same model. I see that it’s still a sought after car and people like it because it was in the movie.

    https://www.motortrend.com/news/1955-sunbeam-alpine-classic-drive

    IMG_0457.JPG

    And like other films, I see there are people who like to visit the sites in the film. Here’s a photo taken by a fan of John Robie’s villa located in Saint-Jeannet, in 2016. This image is by Martin Kraft I found on Commons Wikipedia. The house looks the same. Even the gate is the same, except the hole in the right post is filled in and the hedges are grown very high.

    MK54442_John_Robie's_house_in_Saint-Jeannet.

    It’s too bad that Cary and Grace did not do more films together.

    920x920.


    I just realized, To Catch a Thief is TCAT.
     
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  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Yes, it's a Hitchcock lark, and there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that. It's also a more genuine mystery than many of his films (I certainly did not guess the identity of the new "Cat" the first time I watched the movie). The Vistavision Blu-ray looks superb with striking color and Oscar-winning cinematography. You couldn't ask for a better cast, and the direction is smooth as silk.

    Edith Head won eight Oscars during her illustrious career, but her loss for To Catch a Thief rankled her greatly (she lost to the costumes in Love Is a Many Splendored Thing: "all those kimonos," she cattily remarked).
     
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  11. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Matt, that’s interesting that Miss Head would say that. I happen to watch Love Is A Many Splendored Thing on the recent Twilight Time blu ray. It takes place in Hong Kong and China. So I think she has her countries a little mixed up. I can understand that she was upset for losing though as she did seem to go all out on Grace Kelly’s gowns and cloths.

    I don’t know if you are aware, I forgot to mention something brought up on the supplements. The script supervisor, Sylvette Baudrot, mentioned the film is supposed to take place in post war France 1947-48. And Cary Grant initially was wearing a buttoned down shirt with button holes on the collar, she said that the shirt was too modern. So the pull over shirts he wears is more in line with the time period. But I never could quite figure the time period. If he didn’t steal anything for 15 years as he says in the dialogue, then 1955 is 10 years after the war and before that he could have been in prison along with the gang. And the Sunbeam Alpine is a early 1950’s or so model. Yes, as Hitchcock said, it’s only a movie. So these little inconsistencies are minor stuff. I think the film takes place in 1954 when they filmed it.
     
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  12. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Love this one.
    I need to put it on to watch on the oled
     
  13. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I’ll bet the blu ray will look great on your OLED. :)
     
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  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    Edith was not a gracious loser at the Oscars. When the costume award was instituted in 1948, she was DESPERATE to be among the first to win the first Oscar ever given for costumes. She was nominated for The Emperor Waltz. She sniffed, "All my beautiful Viennese gowns lost to Krasinka's armor for Joan of Arc." Looking at Joan of Arc, of course, there are plenty of beautiful and elaborate costumes for the ladies other than Joan's chain mail, but Edith chose to ignore those. The Academy made it up to her in 1949 by giving her the Oscar for black and white costumes for The Heiress. And then in 1950, she won both costume Oscars for All About Eve and Samson and Delilah.
     
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  15. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    It’s magnificent. I got sucked in and had to watch the whole film tonight!!!
     
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  16. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    The clarity of VistaVision in To Catch a Thief is so visible in this blu-ray that in a few scenes I get a little of a sense of fear of heights/vertigo when watching it.
     
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  17. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    Same here! Especially the helicopter filmed shots.

    Great film and a lot of fun.
     
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  18. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    Hitchcock seems to tease the audience with lack of expected 3D shots. Items are tossed diagonally instead of right at the viewer, and as has been noted, the scissors move away from the viewer.
     
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  19. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Matt, sounds like Edith Head was quite competitive! I can understand the efforts that go into designing something that you feel is your best work and to not see it recognized can be very disappointing.
     
  20. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Director
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    I can understand a competitive nature, but it's not like she wasn't rewarded handsomely for her efforts, more than any other costume designer of her era (Irene Sharaff came closest with five wins), a time when the studios were crammed with famous and uber talented costume designers. To their credit, the Academy did manage to honor most of the famous ones at one time or another.
     

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