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
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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
“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
A juror in a murder trial, after voting to convict, has second thoughts and begins to investigate on his own before the execution. German version of “Murder. (ımbd) Continue reading
This uncharacteristic Alfred Hitchcock endeavor was adapted by Hitch and his wife Alma Reville from a play by John Galsworthy. The British countryside turns into an ideological battlefield when Hornblower, a wealthy, self-man tradesman, stakes his claim to a piece of valuable forest property controlled for literally centuries by the “landed gentry.” The local squire and his wife dig in their heels and refuse to acknowledge Hornblower’s presence: How dare he use mere money to challenge the Rights of Blood? Their genteel snobbery is every bit as obnoxious as Hornblower’s brash effrontery, and the result is a film with virtually no heroes or villains whatever. Never in any future film did Hitchcock ever lobby so strong an attack on the smug implacability of the aristocracy.
-All Movie Guide Continue reading
Frenzy is a 1972 thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and is the penultimate feature film of his extensive career. The film is based upon the novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern, and was adapted for the screen by Anthony Shaffer. La Bern later expressed his dissatisfaction with Shaffer’s adaptation. The film stars Jon Finch, Alec McCowen and Barry Foster and features Billie Whitelaw, Anna Massey, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Bernard Cribbins and Vivien Merchant. The original music score was composed by Ron Goodwin.
Frenzy was Hitchcock’s first film to earn an R-rating in the United States, as Psycho was originally released unrated. Continue reading