Monday, April 13, 2009

Coming up: Alfred Hitchcock spotlight

Alfred Hitchcock directed about 56 features plus quite a few tv serials and shorts, with about half of the tally directed in the UK and the other half in the USA -- 1939’s Jamaica Inn was Hitchcock’s last film in the UK and 1940’s Rebecca was his first film in the US. Hitchcock’s first feature was directed in 1925 with his last one coming 51 years later in 1976. In that staggering timeline, Hitchcock directed silent, sound, b&w and colour films. But when it comes to critical acclaim, Hitchcock’s most cited films are near the end of his career in the late 50’s such as Vertigo, Rear Window, North by Northwest and Psycho. It turns out that I had only seen one of Hitchcock’s UK film, the brilliant The 39 Steps directed in 1935. But I was inspired to hunt down Hithchcock’s older films while reading André Bazin's Cinema of Cruelty. On my first try, I came across a few of Hitchcock's older American films:

  • Rope
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Saboteur
  • Strangers on a Train

  • While all the four films were entertaining, it was also educational to observe the framework of Hitchcock's future films buried in these older works. Saboteur and Foreign Correspondent contain elements which pop up in North by Northwest while Strangers on a Train predicts Dial M for Murder. Also, The 39 Steps lays the tracks for Saboteur. Intrigued by what I had seen, I planned to view more films and started to draft a list of works to chase. And then as fate would ordain, I came across a box set of 20 Hitchcock films from the 1920’s until the 1940’s. So I will be spending the next few weeks doing a truly comprehensive spotlight on any film director I have ever done. Previously in 2007, I had watched every single David Lynch film but Lynch’s output is much much less than Hitchcock’s so it was easy to do a full spotlight on David Lynch. But as far as Hitchcock goes, it will be interesting to see how far I make my way down his list of films:

    Family Plot (1976)
    Frenzy (1972)
    Topaz (1969)
    Torn Curtain (1966)
    Marnie (1964)
    The Birds (1963)
    Psycho (1960)
    North by Northwest (1959)
    Vertigo (1958)
    The Wrong Man (1956)
    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
    The Trouble with Harry (1955)
    To Catch a Thief (1955)
    Rear Window (1954)
    Dial M for Murder (1954)
    I Confess (1953)
    Strangers on a Train (1951)
    Stage Fright (1950)
    Under Capricorn (1949)
    Rope (1948)
    The Paradine Case (1947)
    Notorious (1946)
    Spellbound (1945)
    Lifeboat (1944)
    Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
    Saboteur (1942)
    Suspicion (1941)
    Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
    Foreign Correspondent (1940)
    Rebecca (1940)
    Jamaica Inn (1939)
    The Lady Vanishes (1938)
    Young and Innocent (1937)
    Sabotage (1936)
    Secret Agent (1936)
    The 39 Steps (1935)
    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
    Waltzes from Vienna (1934)
    Number Seventeen (1932)
    Rich and Strange (1931)
    Mary (1931)
    The Skin Game (1931)
    Murder! (1930)
    Juno and the Paycock (1930)
    An Elastic Affair (1930)
    Blackmail (1929)
    The Manxman (1929)
    Sound Test for Blackmail (1929)
    Champagne (1928)
    Easy Virtue (1928)
    The Farmer's Wife (1928)
    Downhill (1927)
    The Ring (1927/I)
    The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
    The Mountain Eagle (1926)
    The Pleasure Garden (1925)

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