We're Talkin' Hitch!

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Post by MikeBSG »

Remember when they aired "The Dick Cavett Show" on TMC last year, and they showed Hitchcock reminiscing about a practical joke in which he threw a party and had an actress come and play an elegant, older woman and then told the guests he had no idea who she was?

I was reading "Alfred Hitchcock Interviews" and found a fuller account of the joke.

Hitchcock rented the room at the restaurant and had the actress show up. One of the invited guests, apparently some big shot agent, came with his wife, who was invited, and with his house guest, who was not invited but insisted that the house guest be part of the party.

Everybody was baffled about the old woman, who insisted that she had been invited, but Hitch told everyone that he had no idea who she was.

So they started to eat, and halfway through the meal, a screenwriter bangs his fist on the table and declares "It's a gag!" pointing at the old woman. Then he points at the uninvited houseguest and says: "You're another gag!"

I wonder if the writer ever worked in Hollywood again.
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Post by knitwit45 »

I remember reading that once, an actor and Hitch were on an elevator, alone. At the next stop, someone got on, and Hitch said, "So the woman started up the stairs, and a man jumped out of the shadows, wielding a huge knife....." He had it timed perfectly to exit at the next floor, and the poor sucker who had no idea what was going on was left hanging in suspense.... :shock: :shock: :lol: :lol:
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Post by Dawtrina »

Hmm. The most votes here seem to be for the ones I just couldn't get.

North By Northwest always seemed empty to me. I watched it a few times to try to get what everyone else was getting but couldn't. Mostly I couldn't buy Cary Grant as an advertising executive who suddenly turns into James Bond, but it felt like a great textbook rather than a great film.

Rope is my least favourite Hitch of all and I found The Birds pretty disappointing too. Maybe that was just because one of the worst things about Hitchcock films is the annoyingly bad rear projection and The Birds had some of the worst examples.

And as for the best, there are just so many of them. Vertigo knocked me out. I loved Notorious and I see new things to stun me every time I see it. Rear Window is genius. Psycho amazes me by continuing to amaze me even though I know exactly what's going to happen and why. Strangers on a Train is as definitive as it gets. Shadow of a Doubt was Hitch's favourite and it's another classic but it isn't my favourite.

My favourites though tend to be earlier, mostly but not entirely from the late English era: The 39 Steps, Sabotage and especially The Lady Vanishes. From the early American era, I really loved Saboteur. Lesser but still really enjoyable earlier films include The Ring and Number Seventeen. I'll probably enjoy The Lodger a lot better if I could see it in a better print. Mine is terrible.
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Post by melwalton »

I liked 'The Trouble with Harry' best.
Next: 'Dial M for Murder' or 'Family Plot'.
I didn't care as much for some like 'North by Northwest' or 'Vertigo'. In the former, Saint couldn't make up her mind whose side she was on and in the latter, Stewart couldn't seem to know that Novak was Novak which I thought obvious,
Maybe it's me. I thought 'the Man Who Knew too Much' was okay, in spite of that silly song but I couldn't make sense of the one with Robert Donat, .... mel

change is the only constant
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Post by moira finnie »

Hi Mel,
I just saw Dial M for Murder for the first time in the last year & loved the intricacy of it and Ray Milland's performance in particular.

It's great to see someone who's fond of The Trouble With Harry too. I love the two Mildreds, (Dunnock & Natwick), Edmund Gwenn, and especially the New England countryside & the Bernard Herrmann score in this movie. Though I'm not keen on Shirley MacLaine's cute style, she was okay here, and John Forsythe should've had more of a chance to do light comedy in movies. I also like Royal Dano & Parker Fennelly very much. Most people don't remember the seemingly dour Fennelly at all, though thanks to a local radio station that repeated old Allen's Alley shows in my town as a kid, I knew him well as a member of that illustrious troupe. (He also sold Pepperidge Farm cookies from a wagon in tv commercials, using all his deadpan charm, I believe).
Mr. Parker Fennelly. He was a tall drink of water, ayah.
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I saw Dail M for Murder years ago and didn't think it was as good as Hitch's other fifties movies and then I rented it and watched it again and loved it. Ray Milland does give a great performance.

I have some trouble with Grace Kelly though, unbelievably beautiful I have seen her only in her Hitchcock movies, Mogambo and High Society. I always find her playing the same kind of roles. Is this because producers didn't want to cast her outside the niche. High Society she has more to do and I haven't seen Country Girl I always kind of blame her for Judy Garland not getting the oscar she deserves. Which is completely ludicross having not seen The Country Girl.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Post by melwalton »

Hi, Moira. Nice to talk with you.
I saw 'Harry' about as many times as they dug him up and enjoyed it every time. I agree about the Mildreds. I keep remembering Barefoot in thr Park' Yes, Dano was very good. I don't recall seeing him elsewhere.
...... mel
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Re: We're Talkin' Hitch!

Post by srowley75 »

cinemalover wrote: I'm wondering which of his films is your favorite? Or can you limit it to one?
I'm one of those who can't limit it to just one. Taking everything into account (acting, direction, cinematography, script, etc.), I think the all-around best film that Hitchcock ever made was Psycho. But in terms of my favorites - well, that one's not even in the top five. Mine would be:

1. Rear Window
2. Strangers on a Train
3. The Lady Vanishes
4. Rebecca
5. North by Northwest

All of those are "anytime" pictures - meaning I can watch them no matter what mood I happen to be in. Can't say the same for Psycho, though.

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Post by charliechaplinfan »

JohnM wrote:If anyone ever gets a chance to see <b>Dial M for Murder</b> (easily in my top 5 Hitchcock film favorites) in 3-D, drop everything and go. It is, along with <b>House of Wax</b>, a revelation!
I never even knew about the 3D, that must be something
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
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Post by MissGoddess »

I saw Dial M for Murder in L.A. at a retrospective, in 3-D. It was a lot of fun.
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