Thursday, October 1, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks - Halloween Edition: Alfred Hitchcock Movies


Well, this one was a bit of trouble. I have seen only five Alfred Hitchcock movies (I know. I know.). And two of those (Vertigo and North by Northwest) fall more into the film noir genre, not qualifying, in my mind, as Halloween Edition-worthy.

I at least have three that work though. Phew!! So glad I don't have to sit this one out. You won't find me on Asian Horror week. I'll go ahead and get that out of the way now. I'm lacking in horror as it is and need to see the good American horror before I travel to Asia.

Anyway, I love Thursdays. And this week on Wandering through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks, it's a Halloween Edition, Alfred Hitchcock-style.


Here are my picks:

Rear Window
1954


Lauded for its heightened suspense, Hitchcock's Rear Window is pure classic. And it does my favorite thing...it plays on basic human fears borne out of isolation and boredom. You're stuck in the house with a broken leg, cooped up, you go full voyeur and see some shit. What do you do? I'll tell you: you sweat it out like Jimmy Stewart.

Psycho
1960


This one all about that pulp. Seedy motel, creepy mansion, even creepier dude running the place. Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) and his mommy issues are so ingrained in the movie memory that it's hard not to list this movie here. It is that classic horror film, the one that gave us our first famous slasher and pushed the envelope on what mainstream movies could get away with. And that Bernard Herrmann score though.

The Birds 
1963


Okay. So, I haven't seen this one since I was a little kid. But I remember those birds, man. All crazy and shit, flying around, cutting people's faces and whatnot. Tippi Hedren cowering down, screaming her fool head off. It's images last, for real, even if I don't quite remember the story. 

18 comments:

  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one that was kind of stuck on Hitchcock's horror this week. I'm not sure how I even manage to call myself a horror fan having seen so little.

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  2. Other than Psycho and The Birds, Hitchcock didn't really do "Horror" as such, he was really more of a thriller guy. That said, I totally agree with you on Rear Window (one of my All-Time Favorites) and Psycho (probably my favorite Hitchcock). Never really liked The Birds, though.

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    1. LOL, we must have been typing this comment at practically the same time. I hit 'publish' and your comment popped up. Great minds!

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    2. Definitely. And I so need to see more no matter the genre.

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  3. I love two of these!

    ;-)

    The thing about Hitch is that, while he's known as the Master of Horror, he really made more thrillers/noirs than anything else. Psycho and The Birds are really his only 'horror' films. Shadow of a Doubt, though, is a GREAT thriller that is quite terrifying, so I highly recommend that one.

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    1. Funny how he got that label with such a small number of what would be considered "horror." I felt like given the Halloween theme that the more horror-ish ones needed to be mentioned here. I think Vertigo is my favorite of the five I've seen. Really need to see Shadow of a Doubt. Saw that one around a couple times this week.

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  4. The comments about Hitchcock not really doing horror are true, even mentioned it in my own post this week. That said, I picked two of these myself and I love the other one. Great job!

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  5. You gotta watch more Hitchcock! So many great ones. I also wouldn't think of him as a horror director, outside of Psycho and The Birds.

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    1. No doubt, man. I need to get on it.

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  6. Hitchcock is my favorite director and I love all your picks, the first and the third more than the second which I suppose is somewhat of a sacrilege but so be it. Psycho is brilliant for what it is but it's just not something that I often feel like re-watching whereas Rear Window and The Birds I watch a couple times a year. The Birds is one of my top five favorites of his work.

    As others have said Hitch was more suspense oriented than straight horror and none of my choices cross into the horror zone, well maybe my last but that's only because it's horrorfyingly bad. My first pick is my favorite of all his films and my extra is there to show that even a maestro can have a miss every now and then.

    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. Rear Window and The Birds are easily re-watchable. I actually am due for a re-watch of both, but I need to dig in more with Hitch. All of your picks are familiar titles, and I really want to check them out.

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    2. Agreed that both are endlessly re-watchable and I have a short story in relation to The Birds which once it happened has always added an extra dimension to the film for me with every view.

      This happened about 15 years ago, when I was managing a Blockbuster in DC. For some reason there were isolated bird attacks on pedestrians in the district. It was a brief period, nobody was seriously hurt and they stopped quickly, no one was ever able to figure out why it happened but it was clusters of birds who would just suddenly descend and as quickly disperse. The movie of course became our number one requested title instantly and I can't tell you how many copies of The Birds we sold, we were ordering 50 copies at a time and selling them in a day for about two weeks! Having experienced that it adds an eerie layer of possibility to the film which it didn't have previously.

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  7. Oh how I love Hitchcock! LOVE Rear Window and how we realize we are just as bad in watching other people but thankfully no murders. Psycho is brilliant but disturbing. The shot you show actually got many Doctors writing to Hitchcock that she is not dead since her pupils are not dilated. By the way Janet Leigh would never take another shower. The Birds is scary and they just start attacking and no one knows why. The question is never answered either.

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    1. Oh yeah. Psycho is quite disturbing and so cool.

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    2. Even if she wasn't dead then she would eventually bleed out.
      As for The Birds...I think it's based on a book, I wonder if the question was answered there but it being unanswered probably works for the movie.

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  8. All great picks. Rear Window, especially, its in my top 10 films.

    -Katie at Ever So Ethnically Confused

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