Thursday, September 15, 2011

Film | Hitchcock Double-Feature

This blog entry is going to be the 50th post here on Blame Mame! I can't believe the blog is almost 4 months old with 50 posts and almost 30 followers! In honor of the 50th post, I asked my wife what I should write about and without hesitation, she said "Hitchcock." Now up until that point we both had only seen Vertigo last week, so she really must have enjoyed it. I thought that was a great idea, since we had plans to watch Rear Window right after that conversation. So here it is... The Alfred Hitchcock Double-Feature!

After seeing Vertigo and Rear Window, I am definitely a fan of Alfred Hitchcock. Both films were some of the best I have ever seen. I later learned that they were unavailable to the public for over 30 years because Hitchcock left them to his daughter as a part of his legacy. I can't even imagine if I hadn't been able to see these now! I am really looking forward to my next ventures into Hitchcock's films... North By Northwest, To Catch A Thief, and Dial 'M' For Murder.

 VERTIGO (1958)

This film is about an ex-detective who suffers from acrophobia (which was discovered during a horrific accident), that is asked by an old friend to keep an eye on his wife. When he agrees to take on the assignment, he has no idea the web of mystery and lies he is getting himself into. Not only does he uncover a series of unexplainable things, but he finds himself becoming obsessed with his friend's wife.

When I sat down to watch this film, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn't seen another Hitchcock film, and no one I knew had seen this film yet. When it is told that the wife is having blackouts of almost entire days, I was hooked to find out what was going on! I was not expecting what came after. With that plot twist at the halfway mark and the ending... I was exhausted after watching this film.

I really think it is a shame that Hitchcock blamed the film doing poorly at the box-office on Jimmie Stewarts 'looking too old to bring in the crowds.' I believe Stewart did a wonderful job, and I usually find the age difference in some romances hard to believe, but this was one I thought worked well. Jimmie and his co-star (Kim Novak) turned in some some great acting on their parts.

I was also glad to see some of Edith Head's costume design in this film. Kim Novak's wardrobe was stylish and really gave you a feel of that time period in America!

Hitchcock's cinematography in this film was breathtaking. I loved contrast between the ultra-wide angle shots and the close-ups. You always got the perfect feeling of the environment and the relationships due to this beautiful camera work.


My second venture into Hitchcock was even better than the first! Now this may sound silly or a little over dramatic, but I actually felt some anxiety in my stomach at the end of the film! I just didn't know what was going to happen.

Rear Window is about a photographer with a broken leg who has nothing better to do than look out of his window at his neighbors. While keeping an eye on The Newlyweds, The Torso, and Ms. Lonelyheart... he uncovers a murder! While he never seen anything take place, he is pretty sure of what happened. He even gets his old detective friend in on the case. The friend isn't as enthusiastic as he about what happened, so he decides to investigate on his own. Now with a broken leg that is a little hard, so he sends out his girlfriend, extremely fashion forward Lisa. She accepts her mission without the blink of an eye and without thinking of her safety... only to wish she had! Was it murder? Was it the mind games of a very bored man? You have to watch the film to find out!

This movie was perfect from beginning to end. While there isn't a lot of action until the last quarter of the film, it was most enjoyable to watch. You get some great side stories from the poor neighbors being spied on and some great character building. I was really happy to see Thelma Ritter in this film. Any picture I have seen with her has been a good one. She is a witty lady and fun to watch on screen.

This was my first time seeing Grace Kelly on the screen and she didn't disappoint. She was very believable in her part and Edith Head pulled out all the stops when designing her costumes! I always expected Grace Kelly to be a little dry, but I was wrong. She really gave some depth to Lisa and I really believed she was enjoying herself as she spied on the possible murder suspect.

As a little side note it was fun to see someone using a vintage SLR camera. I had made a guess that the large telephoto zoom lens used in the film was a 400mm and I was right. Only thing I found hard to believe was how clear he could see using that lens without a tripod. Now I know he used his knee at times [which wouldn't help that much during all of the action] and it is a movie, so I was able to suspend belief for this. It is also amazing that this entire set was constructed on set and most of the apartments had electricity and water in them. This was definitely a great film to watch... one I will make sure to see again soon!


  1. Sweet I saw these a hundred years ago. Maybe I will check them out again. :-)

  2. I enjoyed both of these movies - Rear Window made me very nervous & I was tense the entire time! Wonderful acting!

  3. I loved "Rear Window" and it's almost-fell-out-of-my-chair-that-was-so-scary ending. :)