Author Topic: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon  (Read 127415 times)

Offline Achim

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #285 on: November 23, 2009, 05:41:01 AM »
Wow, it has been a looooong time since I watched North by Northwest and remember it fondly. Now we get two rather bad reviews and I start to worry whether double-dipping with a Blu-ray on a factory sealed DVD was a good idea :laugh:

Well, it is the most iconic Hitchcock I rememeber from my past (seen it way before I was allowed to see Psycho) and hope it'll hold up. Obviously the police chase will now never be the same :hysterical:

Offline Tom

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #286 on: November 23, 2009, 06:35:04 AM »
Thanks, Rich! Now I don't feel so alone with my opinion :)



Offline Achim

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #287 on: November 23, 2009, 06:43:36 AM »
I had planned to watch Ultimate Versus tonight, but I may have to give North by Northwest a watch first... :hmmmm:

richierich

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #288 on: November 23, 2009, 11:06:01 AM »
Thanks, Rich! Now I don't feel so alone with my opinion :)

Pure coicidence of course, but we can only review a film to how we personally find it. If it had been cut by 45 minutes, and a few sloppy scenes were tidied up (especially near the end) I would have said i enjoyed it. But as it stood it didn't grab me and maybe that had come from some higher expectations of the movie than normal.  :headscratch:

Offline Achim

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #289 on: November 23, 2009, 04:13:30 PM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:

Title: North by Northwest
Year: 1959
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: NR
Length: 136 Min.
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital TrueHD, French: Dolby Digital Mono, German: Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital Surround, Music Only: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish

Stars:
Cary Grant
Eva Marie Saint
James Mason (1889)
Jessie Royce Landis
Leo G. Carroll

Plot:
Cary Grant is the screen's supreme man-on-the-run in his fourth and final teaming with Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock. He plays a Manhattan adman plunged into a realm of spy (James Mason) and counterspy (Eva Marie Saint) and variously abducted, framed for murder, chased, and in a signature set-piece, crop-dusted. He also hangs for dear life from the facial features of Mount Rushmore's Presidents. Savor one of Hollywood's most enjoyable thrillers ever in this State-of-the-Art Restoration. It's Renewed Picture Vitality will leave you just as breathless as the chase itself.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Trailers
Featurettes
Gallery
Production Notes

My Thoughts:
It has been many many years (darn, I just had to put two "many"...) since I last saw this and unfortunately I remembered it faster paced than it presented itself today. This could, of course, be a problem of changed perception due to the film making we are surrounded by today (with it's flash cutting and "MTV sensibilities"). However, even the slower bits were held up by good dialog and some thrown in comedy bits. Yet again, I agree that the film would not be any worse if it had some additional cuts here and there.

The plot is Hitchcock's beloved "wrong man" theme, where an everyday guy is mistaken for someone else and finds himself running from everyone (police and crooks). I think in past viewings I had always missed the point where he is mistaken, was glad to see today how well that was actually handled. Also, seeing the film sees it's 50th anniversary this year, I found it surprising just how much sexual innuendo, to the point where it almost wasn't just innuendo anymore, there was. Hitchcock varies whether to keep us slightly ahead of the film's main character or with the same knowledge for good effect and heightened suspense. There is little less suspense than one might expect though, as much room is given to the love story (almost like in To Catch a Thief, also with Cary Grant; maybe it was him who made the master plot a different course...?)

Cary Grant was a great choice for Roger Thornhill, providing the comedic timing needed for the role. James Mason amazes with his cool display of the bad guy. We also have the reliable Martin Landau as the henchman, the beautiful Eve-Marie Saint as the love interest and Leo G. Carrol.



The Blu-ray comes with a stunning picture, providing marvelous detail and mostly very sharp images. Given that the film is 50 years old I was highly impressed; I have seen terrible transfers on far more recent films. Also on the disc are four documentaries in total length of more than 3 hours and an audio commentary.

richierich

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #290 on: November 23, 2009, 07:57:43 PM »
Title: Frenzy

Runtime:116
Certificate:R
Year:1972
Genres:Suspense/Thriller

Plot:In modern-day London, a sex criminal known as the Necktie Murderer has the police on alert, and in typical Hitchcock fashion, the trail is leading to an innocent man, who must now elude the law and prove his innocence by finding the real murderer. Jon Finch, Alec McCowen and Barry Foster head this British cast in the thriller that alternates suspense scenes with moments of Hitchcock's distinctive black humor. Screenplay by Anthony Shaffer.

My Review:
There are huge chunks of Hitch under the surface of this movie - wrong man, comedy couple, suspense, intrigue, good pace, showdown scene etc. But there are some elements that just didn't fit right, full frontal nudity, rape scene, swearing, boobs aplenty etc. and I wonder if he was forced to add these into the film to satisfy the more liberated 70's audience, or what he wished to view as an ageing man?
As a standalone film without analysing too deeply it was really enjoyable, the script was quality, and the black comedy elements eased the serial killer heaviness of the film. The casting was good with several now famous British actors making early small appearances, although I didn't spot Hitch in this one?
I expected not to enjoy this, but was pleasantly surprised that such a quality piece was delivered as his penultimate film.
My Rating
 :D


richierich

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #291 on: November 23, 2009, 08:07:57 PM »


Title: Psycho

Runtime:108
Certificate:R
Year:1960
Genres:Suspense/Thriller, Horror

Plot:Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece of the macabre stars Anthony Perkins as the troubled Norman Bates, whose "old dark house" and adjoining motel are not the place to spend a quiet evening. No one knows that better than Janet Leigh, the film's ill-fated heroine who is victimized in the now-notorious "shower scene." Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, John Gavin and John McIntire co-star in Hitchcock's most compelling and terrifying film. Screenplay by Joseph Stefano.

My Review:
I saved the best til last of my Hitchcock films, one I have seen a few times and really enjoy, and which still in places makes the hairs on the back of my neck go up and my arms get goosebumps.
This to me is the first true scary film, everything since has been an attempt to match its absolutely perfect suspense, psychological tension, storyline, choreography and pace. The less is more gore aspect appeals to me, the innovative camera angles, and the way Hitch twists it so as a viewer you begin to side with Norman against the authorities is masterful.
Excellent acting, perfect dialogue, plausible characters, Hitch's greatest movie and a masterpiece I shall never tire of.
My Rating
 :thumbup:


Offline Achim

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #292 on: November 24, 2009, 05:38:02 AM »
There are huge chunks of Hitch under the surface of this movie - wrong man, comedy couple, suspense, intrigue, good pace, showdown scene etc. But there are some elements that just didn't fit right, full frontal nudity, rape scene, swearing, boobs aplenty etc. and I wonder if he was forced to add these into the film to satisfy the more liberated 70's audience, or what he wished to view as an ageing man?
Interesting point, especially since Jon just discussed recently about Hitchcock innuendos in North by Northwest vs. the explicitness of Ang Lee's Lust Caution. If I remember correctly those scenes were not forced onto Hitch (not at that state of his carreer for sure) and he rather wanted them in there himself. Question that this brings is, if Hitchcock was still around today, how explicit would he have become...?

Najemikon

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #293 on: November 24, 2009, 08:43:27 PM »
It's a long time since I've seen Frenzy, but the thing I remember is that it was very typically British. Get Carter has a similar mood in some respects. While doing this marathon and knowing it was coming up, I wondered the same as Rich. Did Hitch make an effort to match the tone of what was accepted here, just as easily as he switched sensibilities for the States, or did he find it natural because he thought the same as an average English bloke?

I'm tempted to think he simply had a chameleon like ability to pick up on what an audience expected. He could be technical to a clinical level. If he was giving into base instincts, he'd have been unable to disguise it as well in earlier films, American or not. To be fair, he was often accused of being obsessed with blondes, but after watching them all like this, I honestly believe he was looking for contrasts. Blondes are shinier!  :laugh:

Offline Tom

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #294 on: December 03, 2009, 12:00:22 AM »
I am planning to watch at least two Hitchcock movies in our December marathon.
Therefore I am setting the deadline for the next two movie in line:
2009-12-31

The Birds (Dragonfire, Jon, Rich, RossRoy, Tom)
Marnie (Achim, Jon, Tom)



Najemikon

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #295 on: December 03, 2009, 12:48:55 AM »
I'll catch-up again soon. Awkward shifts at work last couple of weeks and it really screws with your movie watching!

Najemikon

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #296 on: December 09, 2009, 07:10:54 PM »
North By Northwest(1959)
5 out of 5




Cary Grant is the screen's supreme man-on-the-run in his fourth and final teaming Suspense Alfred Hitchcock. He plays a Manhattan adman plunged into a realm of spy (James Mason) and counterspy (Eva Marie Saint) and variously abducted, framed for murder, chased, and in a signature set-piece, crop-dusted.

Coming as it does fairly late in Alfred Hitchcock’s career, and his most successful period, it seems fitting that North By Northwest works as a greatest hits, aided by regular contributors, including composer Bernard Herrmann. Ernest Lehman’s screenplay is most closely related to Saboteur, itself a development of several earlier plots, with its wrong man on the run chased by gentlemen villains belonging to a sort of Fifth Columnist group, but there are many motifs from Hitch’s other films. The whole thing is faster and bigger than ever before, with Hitch revelling in the absurdity. Even the title doesn’t make sense and yet the plot manages to follow it!

It is probably the film that really started set-piece cinema, with the hero moving from one danger spot to the next. Certainly if Hitchcock can be credited with a hand in creating the Bond franchise, this is the final and most obvious piece of the puzzle; a cross-country thriller with a smart-arse hero and a suave villain. And I’d say fundamentally better than any Bond from that early period. Incidentally he was offered the first Bond script, Thunderball, but passed to make Psycho.

With the wisecracks and insistence on a freshly pressed suit for every occasion, Cary Grant is the closest to an American Bond too, though he is better as the permanently perplexed everyman, who can never quite grasp just how this ridiculous situation arose. He adds another level throughout, especially to the fantastic crop-duster sequence (recently voted the number one movie moment by Empire) and the wonderful banter at the auction. Grant was one of cinema’s greatest movie stars and he uses the persona brilliantly. He even convinces when he turns hero-proper for the final act, normally the point the modern descendants of North By Northwest falter (except those with Harrison Ford, another classic everyman) and keeps the story grounded throughout.

Usually the romance sub-plot turns out to be the real story in Hitchcock films. That may be the case here, but it is left much later to give the films drive and conclusion in the final act and Eva Marie-Saint is as important to the plot as she is to the hero. She makes a great Femme Fatale and the early seduction is a highlight of the movie. The very final shot is pretty cheeky too! Rounding out the cast, James Mason is the smoothest of criminal masterminds and Martin Landau impresses as his sly right-hand man.

As with the best of this sort of movie, the main plot points are dealt with efficiently leaving a huge margin to play with. Some may see it as extravagant, but I say not at all. So it is Hitchcock’s slickest and most fun work, but no less ambitious, with some incredible compositions, thanks in part to regulars Robert Burks’ photography and George Tomasini’s editing. The crop duster opening and the escape from the UN (following a very theatrical murder!) stand out in particular.

It pounds along at a fast pace and has dated very little, except the writing; it just isn't the modern way to slow down action movies with all that pesky character stuff, is it? Except Bond... ;)

Najemikon

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #297 on: December 09, 2009, 07:15:52 PM »
As I expected, I think I'm one of the only ones to think NbN simply could not of been improved. :weep: The only concession to that I'd make is I don't mind extravagance. Possibly in my top five Hitchcock films. "Sloppy", Rich? Where? There's some sublime stuff in there.

Oh well. You're all nuts.

 :tease:

Offline goodguy

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #298 on: December 09, 2009, 07:32:25 PM »
North By Northwest(1959)
5 out of 5


Not sure what to make of that, especially since I did re-read your 4-star Eagle Eye review (with the comparisons to NbNW). I guess I'm kinda over Hitchcock. I have seen a lot of his movies about 20 or more years ago. I did like them then, mind you, but somehow I'm not really interested to revisit them, even if I've mostly forgotten which "signature scene" belongs to which one. I still have a fond memory of Vincent Gallo re-enacting the crop-duster scene during a talent competition in Kusturica's Arizona Dream, though. ;)
Matthias

Najemikon

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Re: Alfred Hitchcock Marathon
« Reply #299 on: December 09, 2009, 07:48:51 PM »
North By Northwest(1959)
5 out of 5


Not sure what to make of that, especially since I did re-read your 4-star Eagle Eye review (with the comparisons to NbNW). I guess I'm kinda over Hitchcock. I have seen a lot of his movies about 20 or more years ago. I did like them then, mind you, but somehow I'm not really interested to revisit them, even if I've mostly forgotten which "signature scene" belongs to which one. I still have a fond memory of Vincent Gallo re-enacting the crop-duster scene during a talent competition in Kusturica's Arizona Dream, though. ;)

Hitchcock is one of my favourite directors because he represents the perfect film for me. I grew up watching his movies and already loved this, and Psycho and The Birds. Now I put more effort in, they still reward because they are constructed as well as any film can be. I can either be a nerd about them or just watch them for the hell of it. I think I can watch Psycho any time.

I'm not familiar with the parody. Is Arizona Dream worth seeing?