Alfred Hitchcock – Dial M for Murder (1954)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Alfred Hitchcock   Dial M for Murder (1954)

M stands for murder and also for mindfuck in this, one of Hitchcock’s best films. Based on a stage play by Frederick Knott (whose credits also include another great thriller, Wait Until Dark), Dial M For Murder includes one of the most intricate plots of any murder mystery as well as maximum amounts of Hitchcock’s trademark suspense.

A quietly evil Ray Milland plays a cold fish who plots to kill his wife (Grace Kelly) for her insurance money. As he explains at the beginning of the movie, he also wants to commit the “perfect murder” – i.e. one that is complicated and dangerous, yet foolproof and never suspected. John Williams is the Scotland Yard inspector who may be onto him.

It doesn’t matter that the movie starts with a lengthy exposition… or even that the identity of the villain is revealed in the first twenty minutes. Dial M will pull you to the edge of whatever you’re sitting on and keep you there. (If you don’t pay attention, you won’t be able to follow all the twists and turns of the plot.) Hitchcock’s direction was never better. In fact, the film is a good model to follow for mystery directors; Hitchcock draws exactly the right amount of attention (but not too much) to the subtle actions and details that are crucial to the murder plot.

Dial M For Murder is not always regarded as one of Hitch’s best. Critics seem to prefer the more theatrical, psychological melodramas to the brainy whodunits. But pay no attention – this film is definitely a classic. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Foreign Correspondent (1940)

SQHdSC Alfred Hitchcock   Foreign Correspondent (1940)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Alfred Hitchcock   Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide: Fourteen scriptwriters spent five years toiling over a movie adaptation of war correspondent Vincent Sheehan’s Personal History before producer Walter Wanger brought the property to the screen as Foreign Correspondent. What emerged was approximately 2 parts Sheehan and 8 parts director Alfred Hitchcock–and what’s wrong with that? Joel McCrea stars as an American journalist sent by his newspaper to cover the volatile war scene in Europe in the years 1938 to 1940. He has barely arrived in Holland before he witnesses the assassination of Dutch diplomat Albert Basserman: at least, that’s what he thinks he sees. McCrea makes the acquaintance of peace-activist Herbert Marshall, his like-minded daughter Laraine Day, and cheeky British secret agent George Sanders. A wild chase through the streets of Amsterdam, with McCrea dodging bullets, leads to the classic “alternating windmills” scene, which tips Our Hero to the existence of a formidable subversive organization. McCrea returns to England, where he nearly falls victim to the machinations of jovial hired-killer Edmund Gwenn. The leader of the spy ring is revealed during the climactic plane-crash sequence–which, like the aforementioned windmill scene, is a cinematic tour de force for director Hitchcock and cinematographer Rudolph Mate. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Young and Innocent [+Extras] (1937)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Alfred Hitchcock   Young and Innocent [+Extras] (1937)

Synopsis: As early as 1937’s Young and Innocent, Alfred Hitchcock was beginning to repeat himself, but audiences didn’t mind so long as they were thoroughly entertaining-which they were, without fail. Derrick De Marney finds himself in a 39 Steps situation when he is wrongly accused of murder. While a fugitive from the law, De Marney is helped by heroine Nova Pilbeam, who three years earlier had played the adolescent kidnap victim in Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much. The obligatory “fish out of water” scene, in which the principals are briefly slowed down by a banal everyday event, occurs during a child’s birthday party. The actual villain, whose identity is never in doubt (Hitchcock made thrillers, not mysteries) is played by George Curzon, who suffers from a twitching eye. Curzon’s revelation during an elaborate nightclub sequence is a Hitchcockian tour de force, the sort of virtuoso sequence taken for granted in these days of flexible cameras and computer enhancement, but which in 1937 took a great deal of time, patience and talent to pull off. — Hal Erickson Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Bon Voyage (1944)

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29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Alfred Hitchcock   Bon Voyage (1944)

IMDb Comment wrote:
In 1943 Alfred Hitchcock returned to London and took up the assignment to direct a couple of propaganda films aimed at the French, under the auspices of the British Ministry of Information. Bon Voyage is the first of two propaganda French-language short films directed by him, slated to be distributed in France after the Liberation. Continue reading

Alfred Hitchcock – Rebecca (1940)

28603744gr1 Alfred Hitchcock   Rebecca (1940)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152 Alfred Hitchcock   Rebecca (1940)

Quote:
“Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Rebecca’s haunting opening line conjures the entirety of Hitchcock’s romantic, suspenseful, elegant film. A young woman (Joan Fontaine) believes her every dream has come true when her whirlwind romance with the dashing Maxim de Winter culminates in marriage. But she soon realizes that Rebecca, the late first Mrs. de Winter, haunts both the temperamental, brooding Maxim and the de Winter mansion, Manderley. In order for Maxim and the new Mrs. de Winter to have a future, Rebecca’s spell must be broken and the mystery of her violent death unraveled. The first collaboration between producer David O. Selznick and Hitchcock, Rebecca was adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s popular novel and won the 1940 Academy Award™ for Best Picture and Cinematography (Black and White). Continue reading