Alfred Hitchcock—The Supreme Director

Jul 29, 2020 | Newsletter

“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.”
Alfred Hitchcock

 
 

Benjamin Crisler, The New York Times film critic, wrote in 1938: The three unique and valuable institutions the British have that we in America do not have are the Magna Carter, the Tower Bridge, and Alfred Hitchcock. In June, the same year, LIFE Magazine called Hitchcock the greatest master of melodrama in screen history.

David O. Selznick signed Hitchcock to a seven-year contract. Hitchcock moved from London to Hollywood, to remain there for the rest of his life. During his career in Hollywood, his films received a total of 46 Oscar nominations and six wins, eight of his films were selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, he was honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award, and he was knighted in December of 1979, four months before he died.

I am listing my recommendations of Hitchcock films in three categories: (1) His early years, the 1940s, (2) His three classic masterpieces, and (3) His three minor films (which would have been widely admired if directed by someone else).

 

(1) The 1940s: 

NOTE: His two biggest hits during this period, Rebecca and Notorious, are not currently being streamed. 

 
 

Shadow of a Doubt

Charlotte (Charlie) Newton is a precocious bored teenager  living in Santa Rosa California. One day she receives the wonderful news that her favorite Uncle Charlie is coming for a visit…

 

Foreign Correspondant

Robert Stroud is imprisoned as a young man for committing a murder in Alaska. His rebellious attitude puts him in conflict with Harvey Shoemaker, the prison…

 

(2) His Three Classic Masterpieces:

Vertigo

While chasing a fugitive over the rooftops of San Francisco, detective Scottie Ferguson encounters vertigo, falls, and hangs over the side of the roof…

 

​North by Northwest

This is a classic Hitchcock film about mistaken identity. Roger Thornhill is an advertising executive who by sheer coincidence is mistaken to be…

 

Psycho

Marion Crane, a real estate secretary, is told by her boss to deposit $40,000 in cash that a client left as payment for a property. Marion and her boyfriend, Sam Loomis, are having trouble…

 

(3)  Three Minor Films:

The Wrong Man

Hitchcock states in the opening that every word in the film is true. Manny Balestrero is a musician at New York’s Stork Club…

 

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Dr. Ben McKenna, his wife Jo, and son Hank are vacationing in French Morocco. On the bus ride from Casablanca to Marrakesh…

 

Frenzy

Unlike most suspenseful films, the serial killer terrorizing London by strangling women with a tie is identified right from the start. His name is Bob Rusk…

 
 

Coming Soon, Can’t Wait

Aug 14: Platform TBD. The Personal History of David Copperfield. Dev Patel in a reimagining of the classic Charles Dickens novel through the comedic lens of Armando Iannucci.
Aug 21: HBOMax. Chemical Hearts. Emotional coming-of-age story
Sep 04: Disney+. The Beatles: Get Back. A documentary that chronicles the Beatles recording of their 1970 album, Let It Be.
Sep 25: Netflix. The Trial of the Chicago 7. Aaron Sorkin directing the seven men charged with conspiracy during the anti-Vietnam war protests.
Dec 18: Platform TBD. West Side Story. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Broadway classic. 
 

News & Commentary

The current environment clearly is leading more Americans to watch more video at home. The uptick in video consumption, which was already on the rise, will continue to increase after the pandemic. — Rick Welday, AT&T Executive V.P.

Commentary:

What may also happen is that viewers will begin to realize that the cost for streaming films can add up. It can easily surpass the cost viewers are incurring for cable subscriptions. So, no doubt, resistance will take place. This may prompt the digital platforms to offer their content for free but with advertising. If they limit the ads to a few BEFORE the film begins, viewers may find this option attractive.

 

My best,

 

 

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