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I guess if pressed, I'd have to say Rear Window...because no matter how many times I've seen that film, it STILL makes me uneasy to watch it... A close second and third would be Vertigo and The Man Who Knew Too Much mostly because I LOVE Stewart, Novak and Day in just about ANYTHING they've ever been in....
Why? It's perfect, and maybe the best screwball comedy.
Rear Window - Self-conscious and predictable.
Rope - Yuck
But I never thought of trying to experience Hitchcock's 1935 version as a screwball comedy - maybe you're on to something!
Wow! No mention so far of PSYCHO!
The original thriller ... mind-bender ... and shocker.
The direction editing and cinematograhy exquisite.
The shower scene, famously constructed of something like 62 pieces of film ... 62 shots.
The score ... the strident, shrieking rhythmic violins ... the deep bass monotonal trombones, terrible in their finality, underlining and magnifying the shower scene death, as the camera withdraws in a dizzying corkscrew from the eye of the victim (a still shot!)
It's hard to imagine today the incredible impact this film had ... how it demolished the notion that viewing film was sanitized and safe and civilized ... how it obliterated our conventional notions of normality and humanity and ushered in the modern era.
I recall there were lines around the block at its screenings, and exhortations by Hitchcock, in advertisements, not to give away the plot ... an exploration of unknown psychological territory.
No one who entered the theater left it as the same person.
Not least because of its genius-level musical score by Bernard Herrmann. But the instrumentation throughout was strings only - no trombones. I believe I read an interview with Herrmann where he mentioned that he consciously restricted himself to string sonorities (no wind or brass colorings) - it was meant as a sonic parallel to the use of black-and-white in the film itself.
Anyway, yes, a truly great film!
You GOT me!
It was, if I am correct now, deep bass violins, one short stroke, one long .. repeated, right?
Thanks for the correction!
"a great movie too"?
I still like some of the earlier ones, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT and SABATEUR probably don't get too many votes for best ever, but I admire them both greatly.
Then, of course, there's LIFEBOAT with its unique camera work.
But I would still put PSYCHO at the top, then perhaps NORTH BY NORTHWEST, VERTIGO and REAR WINDOW.
But let me think about it, so I can change my mind.
I really like movies where the acting is mostly all you have to make the movie. An oversized rowboat and nowhere to go. A great, diverse cast (including one of my favorites Ms. Bankhead).
Some great performances in that film as well... Other Hitchcock films that I have yet to see are Notorious and Strangers On A Train...
Rod Taylor. Tippi Hedren. Suzanne Pleshette. The closet Hitchcock ever came to science fiction.
'A lie is halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on'. -Mark Twain
I was in high school when I first saw it - maybe it produced its overwhelming effect on me because I was at that impressionable age.
I even ended up marrying a girl named Madeline. Coincidence? I think not! ;-)
like it much and even panned it.. Hitchcock apparently blamed Stewart and Novak for it saying Novak was too "wooden" and Stewart too old to play the part...LOL.. HE cast them for God sakes! Vera Miles had been slated to play Madeline / Judy but got pregnant before shooting began. Hitchcock was so disgusted with the reviews that he never worked with Stewart again in spite of their past few films together. Through the years though and in retrospect Vertigo has gained alot of respect and even sometimes has replaced Citizen Kane (I've NEVER though much of it) on film lists as the greatest film of all time! When I was a teenager in the late 60's, I saw Picnic for the very first time and fell in love with the beautiful Ms. Novak... Picnic, Vertigo and Pal Joey are 3 of my absolute favorite films! Unfortunately, she didn't age well and had some bad plastic surgery done through the years...That's funny about your wife... does she have blonde hair and look like Madeline / Novak?
Same thing happened to me too. I saw Picnic and fell in love with Kim Novac the moment I watched her dance. I liked Vertigo because of her the first time but the next two times the mystery was solved more clearly. I still love that movie. Saw Picnic again recently to watch the dance scene! It is a great scene not just for a teenager but to a guy who has seem many a dance.
Especially Rosalind Russell... I was a Theater Arts major in college and was lucky enough to play the part of Alan on stage. That movie made such an impression on me, that I used Moonglow at my wedding for our first dance....
Thank You TWB for that great nostalgic trip.
But she's a big fan of Vertigo too! ;-) And, actually, I think the spelling of the name in the movie is Madeleine. I tried to get her to change the spelling of her name to match that in the movie, but she wouldn't go for it. And I tried to get her to change her hair color too, but she wouldn't go for that either. (Just kidding!)
(Her favorite Hitchcock film is N x NW!)
BTW, I didn't realize that Hitch had turned on Novak and Stewart. Geez, if he was turning on Novak like that, where does that leave Tippi Hedren? ;-)
LOL... Though not natural... Funny thing though my son has red hair and both my Mother and late Mother-in-law have/had red hair... Poor Tippi Hedren! Hitch most definitely had a fixation on blondes... I have NEVER understood the appeal though of Tippi Hedren and Grace Kelly, neither of them were very good actresses IMO... Talk about wooden!
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