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Favourite Hitchcocks

What is your favorite Hitchcock film?   86 votes

  1. 1. What is your favorite Hitchcock film?

    • Family Plot (1976)
      1
    • Frenzy (1972)
      0
    • Topaz (1969)
      0
    • Torn Curtain (1966)
      0
    • Marnie (1964)
      1
    • The Birds (1963)
      3
    • Psycho (1960)
      5
    • North by Northwest (1959)
      16
    • Vertigo (1958)
      16
    • The Wrong Man (1956)
      1
    • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
      0
    • The Trouble with Harry (1955)
      1
    • To Catch a Thief (1955)
      0
    • Rear Window (1954)
      24
    • Dial M for Murder (1954)
      0
    • I Confess (1953)
      2
    • Strangers on a Train (1951)
      1
    • Stage Fright (1950)
      0
    • Under Capricorn (1949)
      0
    • Rope (1948)
      4
    • The Paradine Case (1947)
      0
    • Notorious (1946)
      5
    • Spellbound (1945)
      1
    • Watchtower Over Tomorrow (1945) (uncredited)
      0
    • Aventure malgache (1944)
      0
    • Bon Voyage (1944)
      0
    • Lifeboat (1944)
      0
    • Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
      0
    • Saboteur (1942)
      0
    • Suspicion (1941)
      0
    • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941)
      0
    • Foreign Correspondent (1940)
      0
    • Rebecca (1940)
      3
    • The House Across the Bay (1940) (uncredited)
      0
    • Jamaica Inn (1939)
      0
    • The Lady Vanishes (1938)
      1
    • Young and Innocent (1937)
      0
    • Sabotage (1936)
      0
    • Secret Agent (1936)
      0
    • The 39 Steps (1935)
      1
    • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
      0
    • Waltzes from Vienna (1933)
      0
    • Number Seventeen (1932)
      0
    • Rich and Strange (1932)
      0
    • The Skin Game (1931)
      0
    • An Elastic Affair (1930)
      0
    • Juno and the Paycock (1930)
      0
    • Mary (1930)
      0
    • Murder! (1930)
      0
    • Sound Test for Blackmail (1929)
      0
    • The Manxman (1929)
      0
    • Blackmail (1929)
      0
    • Champagne (1928)
      0
    • The Farmer\'s Wife (1928)
      0
    • Easy Virtue (1928)
      0
    • Downhill (1927)
      0
    • The Ring (1927)
      0
    • The Lodger (1927)
      0
    • The Mountain Eagle (1926)
      0
    • The Pleasure Garden (1925)
      0

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186 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

We were due to have a Hitchcock night on Friday featuring the 39 Steps and Rear Window. Unfortunately despite buying if off ebay ages ago Rear Window still hadn

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One of my favorites is the quieter Shadow of a Doubt, where a killer visits his family (including his neice, who practically worships him) in a small, idyllic town. Watching this film almost feels like watching a play, and the slower pace allows you to get to know the characters more. The cast, including Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton, are all top-notch.

Diane

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Fave five:

1 - Vertigo -- shot to the top after a recent viewing... needs to be seen twice to fully get its rhythms. Of Hitch's films, the one with the story that sears in the head the most.

2 - Psycho -- the one that revolutionized cinema, and did it on the cheap.

3 - Notorious -- the casting is perfect, the character studies are three dimensional and you really root for all these characters.

4 - Rebecca -- the biggest surprise to me--the one film that Hitch got nominated for Best Director, his first US film, and the most romantic, and yet, oddly eerie.

5 - To Catch A Thief -- the one with the most style over substance, but, what style!

Nick

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Nick, you are so right on that top five, though I think I would stick "North by Northwest" in place of "Notorious," though maybe it's just because I haven't seen "Notorious" (on my notorious list of classics I haven't yet seen). Rebecca is my all-time favorite Hitchcock.

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Call me "Weird" (see sig), but North by Northwest does nothing for me. From the very get-go, I cannot get into its convoluted plot, and the complete lack of danger that Cary Grant seems to be in, as he's quipping all these one-liners throughout. Sorry. Perhaps it will get points for style, but "To Catch a Thief" has that trumped.

Go see Notorious. It is less gothic than "Rebecca", but is simultaneously Vertigo-cynical, Rear Window-suspensful and Rebecca-romantic. It's a great story, well told.

For me, other great Hitchcocks I have yet to see "Shadow of a Doubt", "Strangers on a Train", "I Confess!" (the Catholic in me), and "Marnie." My wife has yet to see "Psycho" in its entirity, and I cannot wait to spring this on her around Halloween.

Nick

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I think Rear Window and Psycho are the only Hitchcock films that I have seen more than once, and it's been so long since the Hitchcock retrospective at the Cinematheque several years ago that I don't think I remember the films well enough to rank them.

Nick Alexander wrote:

: Call me "Weird" (see sig), but North by Northwest does nothing for me.

Yeah, I don't remember being all that impressed with this one the one time I saw it, either.

I also didn't get what all the fuss was about when I caught the restored Vertigo a few years ago. It didn't help that I saw it in a theatre with an audience, since there were a few things in there that apparently tend to make modern audiences laugh, and not in the way that you suspect Hitchcock would have wanted them to laugh -- Hitchcock's films do date themselves, at times.

: . . . "I Confess!" (the Catholic in me) . . .

I, of course, had to see this one because it's the only film Hitchcock made in Canada, and in 1995 or thereabouts, Robert LePage (co-star of Jesus of Montreal, director of Possible Worlds and The Far Side of the Moon) made his directorial debut with Le Confessional, a movie that takes place partly in Quebec City while Hitchcock happens to be making his movie there. (Apparently one of the child actors in Hitchcock's film went on to become a news anchor, so there is one sequence in LePage's film in which Hitchcock auditions child actors, and the camera goes for a close-up on this one girl as she reads her line, and then we cut to the modern-day news anchor on TV in the present-day part of the story.)

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My top ten:

Rear Window

Vertigo

Strangers on a Train

North by Northwest

Psycho

Rebecca

The Birds

Marnie

Rope

The Man Who Knew Too Much

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Posted · Report post

Rear Window--love the POV stuff, the interplay between Stewart & Kelly, and the suspense of the final scenes, and the structure of the whole thing

Marnie--the combination of bogus psychosexual mystery romance is irresistible, as sold by Hitchcock, Hedren, and Connery

Rebecca--a classic

I've never seen Psycho from beginning to end. The others I acknowledge intellectually as masterpieces of suspense, but I just don't enjoy suspense that much, so none of them are my favorites.

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Nick Alexander wrote:

: Call me "Weird" (see sig), but North by Northwest does nothing for me.

Yeah, I don't remember being all that impressed with this one the one time I saw it, either.

You're both crazy. "North by Northwest" is Hitch's all-around best entertainment. I love it more every time I see it. Plus, Eva Marie Saint is a total babe in that film (my motivations have been exposed!).

I also didn't get what all the fuss was about when I caught the restored Vertigo a few years ago. It didn't help that I saw it in a theatre with an audience, since there were a few things in there that apparently tend to make modern audiences laugh, and not in the way that you suspect Hitchcock would have wanted them to laugh -- Hitchcock's films do date themselves, at times.

I had the same experience when I saw the restored "Vertigo," but that wasn't my first exposure to the film. I find it difficult not to rank that as Hitchcock's best film, but the darkness and obsessiveness that appeals to so many critics is less appealing to me these days than it once was. Like others, if I had a choice, I'd rather rewatch "Rear Window," which is my favorite Hitchcock film.

So I've named the "best," the most entertaining, and my favorite. It's so hard to pick just one! And I haven't mentioned some of the others cited above, all of which are outstanding:

Shadow of a Doubt

Strangers on a Train

(both of which I'd watch before)

The Thirty-Nine Steps

The Birds

Psycho

I tried years ago to watch "To Catch a Thief" and just couldn't get into it. My wife recently received the DVD as a present, so maybe I'll watch it next.

I didn't care at all for "Frenzy."

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The five that have a permanent place in my affections are (in order of preference):

Rear Window

Vertigo

The Trouble with Harry

North by Northwest

Rope

The first two are very hard to choose between, especially as my favourite actor is the star of both.

The Trouble with Harry is one I find absolutely enchanting, though it tends to get dissed by the critics. Everything about it--the macabre, ironic humour, the autumnal New England scenery, Bernard Herrmann's rustic score--captivates me. I have a stage adaptation in the pipeline, probably based more on Hitchcock's version than Jack Trevor Story's original novella, which is proving a tad disappointing.

Rope is another one that gets short shrift with the critics, but again, I find it mesmerizing. The way the set is lit as dusk falls over the NY skyline lends the film a lot of atmosphere, I think. Again, the source material was a rather mediocre, quaint stage thriller, and the film is a great improvement on that.

North by Northwest speaks for itself.

As runners-up, I might mention the following:

Psycho

The Birds

The 39 Steps

The Lady Vanishes

Marnie

To be honest, Psycho is a great film, but I overwatched it so much when I first discovered Hitch that I can rarely muster up the enthusiasm to watch it these days.

Of the American films (1940--), there are none I have yet to see (oh, I tell a lie, the two non-thrillers, Mr and Mrs Smith and Under Capricorn I haven't seen). The only one that totally bored me was Topaz, which I remember only as an incoherent mess.

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You're both crazy. "North by Northwest" is Hitch's all-around best entertainment. I love it more every time I see it.

I'm with you Christian. North By Northwest is a brilliant film. One of my alltime favorites for certain. The movie developed so many of the elements of the spy thriller that I can't help but have a goofy grin when watching it. Along with To Catch A Theif (Cary Grant is just a cool guy), North By Northwest is one of Hitchcock's purest entertainment films and I love 'em both.

That said, Rear Window stands out easily as my favorite Hitchcock film. It's brilliant.

I also think that Vertigo and Psycho are brilliant films.

Just for the record, the Hitchcock films I've seen are:

  • Rear Window

Vertigo

North By Northwest

Pyscho

To Catch A Thief

Rebecca

Rope

Marnie

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Posted · Report post

Oh my! Frenzy is one film that I wish I *hadn't* seen.

Matt, I think my top 5 list would be the same as yours, except for my already-mentioned love for Shadow of a Doubt. I can't make a call on 39 Steps, never having seen it.

Diane

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Call me "Weird" (see sig), but North by Northwest does nothing for me. ...

Call me even weirder, but for the most part, Hitchcock does nothing for me.

I find his films clinical, detatched, cerebral. This would be a problem in any genre - it's a real problem when the genres are horror or suspense, where the audience's emotional response is central. Indeed, both genres more or less name themselves after the feelings they aim to evoke in their audience.

PSYCHO affected me, and parts of THE BIRDS - while other parts of THE BIRDS just seemed plain dumb. Un-thought-through or careless - particularly damning charges to level at a film-maker who prided himself on the meticulous care he took in constructing his films.

He's celebrated for his meticulous care: I think it's the big problem. A film-maker I know celebrates the fact that every single camera angle and facial expression was planned in advance by The Master, after which it was only a matter of manipulating the cameras and the meat puppets to capture the images already frozen in Hitchcock's mind. As a director, actor and playwright, I've learned to seriously mistrust that sort of controlling, obsessive instinct to pre-plan and calculate effects: if you don't remain alive to the process of rehearsal, the discoveries that emerge collaboratively instead of in your own brain (or indeed, half your brain - the left half), the work rarely comes alive.

Clearly, lots of people respond to Hitchcock's stimuli exactly the way he fore-ordained. Can't argue that. But to these eyes, the Emperor of Suspense has no clothes.

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I've enjoyed most of the Hitchcock films that I've seen (though there are several that I haven't seen, and I wasn't too thrilled with Frenzy or North by Northwest), but my ultimate favorite is Rear Window, for the reasons already mentioned by others on this thread-- structure, performances, cinematography, etc.

And Alvy, good call on Rope. That's one of Hitch's finest films, in my opinion, and it's criminally underappreciated.

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I have many favorite Hitchcock movies but I am only going to mention rope here. It needs to be separated from the pack. The film feels more like a play with the 15-minute scenes and these long scenes are done so well. I also appreciate the biting sarcasm in this film.

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Ron wrote:

: Call me even weirder, but for the most part, Hitchcock does nothing for me.

: I find his films clinical, detatched, cerebral.

I dunno, sometimes this is a good thing, sometimes not, and I'm sure one could point to moments of genuine emotion in his films. FWIW, I really like what whatshisface said on the Kill Bill thread about Tarantino and Hitchcock both being very stylish and kinda empty. Although in Tarantino's case, I would argue there, too, that he isn't quite as empty as he seems.

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whatshisface=Alan

I can't go for that comparison of Hitchcock to Tarantino, though, unless I come around to the idea that genre filmmaking is actually the highest and most transcendent form of art. There's way too much psychology and morality present in the best of Hitchcock to lay so much stress on his stylistic impulses.

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Russell Lucas wrote:

: There's way too much psychology and morality present in the best of

: Hitchcock to lay so much stress on his stylistic impulses.

Actually, I think the psychology is one of the reasons Hitchcock leaves some people cold. Freud is so pass

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You're right about that. To that end, if "coldness" or neutrality is the touchstone, it seems to me that Hitchcock and Kubrick is a better comparison.

BTW, as you've mentioned getting review copies of books before, did you get a copy of the new Hitchcock biography recently released?

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Russell Lucas wrote

: To that end, if "coldness" or neutrality is the touchstone, it seems to me

: that Hitchcock and Kubrick is a better comparison.

I could see that.

: BTW, as you've mentioned getting review copies of books before, did

: you get a copy of the new Hitchcock biography recently released?

Nope.

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BTW, as you've mentioned getting review copies of books before, did you get a copy of the new Hitchcock biography recently released?

Another Hitchcock biography? Who wrote this one, and what's his/her angle?

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AlanW wrote:

: Um, thanks, guy. (I think.)

Sorry, AlanW, I didn't mean to slight you -- I've been giving the Kill Bill thread only the briefest and most intermittent of skims lately, because I suspect that, if I do sit down to READ it, it will take up a fair chunk of my time. So I remembered your remark, but not who made it.

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Apologies

After starting this thread I then forgot all about it. Has anyone seen torn curtain? Being a Paul Newman fan and Hitch fan (now) I'm keen to see it even though its not rated too well.

Also a few people mentionned North by Northwest. IIRC this is largely the same story as 39 Steps (or did I just make that up I've not seen NbyNW).

Matt

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Yes, the two films are very similar in many ways.

The critic Robin Wood (author of the classic Hitchcock's Films, revised in 1989 as Hitchcock's Films Revisited) identified five plot formations basic to Hitchcock's films:

The Falsely Accused Man
(The 39 Steps, Strangers on a Train, The Wrong Man, North by Northwest etc.)

The Guilty Woman
(Rebecca, Psycho, Marnie etc.)

The Psychopath
(Shadow of a Doubt, Rope, Psycho, Frenzy etc.)

Espionage/Political Intrigue
(The Man Who Knew Too Much, Notorious, Torn Curtain etc.)

Marriage
(Rebecca, Suspicion, The Man Who Knew Too Much etc.)

I have seen Torn Curtain, and I enjoyed it immensely. I think the critics are a tad unfair on this one: It is no classic, by any means, but it isn't bad entertainment, and there is plenty of evidence of the director's usual flair.

Can't say I am much of a Newman fan, though I did enjoy rewatching Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Richard Brooks, 1958) the other night, for which he turned in an absolutely sterling performance.

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