Sunday, November 20, 2011

Film | Hitch Triple-Feature (For The Boys)

I had a different idea in mind when I decided to put into The Scarlett Olive's For The Boys Blogathon, but with recent events that happened in my life, I was unable to do what I wanted. This was a post I had already written, but I think it fits well with the theme. These masterpiece films by Hitchcock are full of suspense and beautiful women... sounds like these films are 'for the boys.' So here it goes...

I've recently learned how much I adore Alfred Hitchcock. After seeing my first Hitchcock film, Vertigo, a month or so ago, I have been hooked. Every one of the films I have seen so far have become instant favorites of mine. I find myself thinking about how clever these films are and how beautiful they are to watch. Below you will find reviews of three of his films... we'll go ahead and call it a Hitch Triple-Feature!


"Is this the man she was waiting for...
or the man who was waiting for her?"

Ray Milland as Tony Wendice
Grace Kelly as Margot Mary Wendice
Robert Cummings as Mark Halliday
John Williams as Chief Inspector Hubbard

Director Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece of double-cross and intrigue stars Ray Milland as former tennis champ Tony Wendice, who concocts a plan to kill his rich but unfaithful wife (Grace Kelly), who's embroiled in a liaison with a writer (Robert Cummings). When Tony's plans go awry, he improvises a second act of deceit, but the entire bloody affair turns out to be far messier than he expected. John Williams plays a sly Scotland Yard inspector. [Netflix]


I went into this film not knowing what to expect. It isn't often referred to as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces, so I didn't expect anything on par with Rear Window or Vertigo. I am always glad to be proven incorrect, and I definitely was with this film. While it wasn't an in your face thriller, you knew what's going on through the whole picture, but you are still on edge because all you want is for Tony to be figured out. I wasn't sure how it was it would happen, and then came the Hitchcock genius. He always surprises me with how he brings story full circle.

I learned while reading about this film that Hitchcock came up with the idea to have Grace Kelly's wardrobe go from bright colored to dark to mimic her characters downfall. He does a great job doing so. In the beginning when she is happy and in love she is seen in a bright red gown, and at the end when she learns of her husband's betrayl, she is seen in a dark brown outfit. 


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"It's love and murder at first sight!"

Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill
Eva Marie Saint as Eve Kendall
James Mason as Phillip Vandamm
Leo G. Carroll as The Professor

What if everyone around you was suddenly convinced that you were a spy? This classic from master director Alfred Hitchcock stars Cary Grant as an advertising executive who looks a little too much like someone else and is forced to go on the lam (helped along by Eva Marie Saint). Hitchcock's sure-handed comic drama pits Grant against a crop duster and lands him in a fight for his life on Mount Rushmore -- a true cliffhanger if ever there was one. [Netflix]

I knew starting out I was going to love this film. I mean it stars Cary Grant, is directed by my good friend Hitch, and promises to take you on a thrilling ride... how could you not get excited? Honestly, I knew nothing of this film when I sat down to watch it. All I knew was that it is on many must see list and the DVD cover art was pretty amazing. After seeing the picture, it is hard to put into words how much I loved this film.

One thing I found interesting is in this film and in The Birds is that the leading ladies seem to be made to look like Grace Kelly.  The style of clothing, the short blonde hair, even their acting all reminded me of Kelly. This doesn't mean I didn't enjoy Eve Marie Saints performance, because she was great, I just found it hard to not draw comparisons. Eve was great an acting with her eyes when her character needed to convey her feelings but couldn't blow her cover.

I loved the scene in the auction house where Cary Grant makes a spectacle in order to avoid being killed by the hit man. The reactions the auctioneer had to the outrageous behavior of Grant's character  were priceless. It was a clever way to deal with a sticky situation like that.

The end sequence was one of the most suspenseful scenes I've ever seen. It was the first time I got a modern feel from a classic film. The grandeur of the shots in that scene as well as the earlier scenes reminded me of today's big blockbuster films. Had me on edge to the last cliff-hanging second.


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THE BIRDS (1963)

"Nothing You Have Ever Witnessed 
 Before Has Prepared You for 
SuchSheer Stabbing Shock!"

Tippi Hedren - Melanie Daniels
Rod Taylor - Mitch Brenner
Jessica Tandy - Lydia Brenner
Veronica Cartwright - Cathy Brenner

Chic socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) enjoys a passing flirtation with an eligible attorney (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco pet shop and, on an impulse, follows him to his hometown bearing a gift of lovebirds. But upon her arrival, the bird population runs amok. Suddenly, the townsfolk face a massive avian onslaught, with the feathered fiends inexplicably attacking people all over Bodega Bay. [Netflix]

Usually when I decide to see a film it's because I was drawn to it by a certain actor, but with this film that wasn't the case. I wasn't familiar with any of the cast (at first), and I  wasn't sure of how the story would play out, but all I needed was to know that Hitchcock was the director.

I was glad to see that Edith Head was apart of this films crew, so I was expecting some beautiful costume design. I was a little let down that Tippi's character only had two different outfits, but I was amazed at how perfect each of them was. Even though Edith only had two outfits starring in the film, she made those two count. The seemed to be ripped from the perfect wardrobes of Grace Kelly in Rear Window.

Watching the film I was in awe of the gorgeous scenery, only to find out in the special features, most of it was painted matte boards. The way Hitch was able to seamlessly combine live action with the gorgeous Painting was amazing.

The film had none stop action. You never knew when the next attack would take place and to what lengths the birds would go to get their prey. The most exciting scene was outside the school house. The character of Melanie is sitting in front of a jungle Jim and as the camera goes back and forth between her face and the jungle gym more and more birds gather. Than they get a tight close up of Tippi and hold it there until you can't stand it anymore. All you want to do is yell for her to turn around and then the camera pans back to a wide shot! The entire play area is covered in birds! All I could do was gasp! One of the best shot scenes ever!

This is the first classic era film I've seen that actually had a degree of gore. When they showed the farmers body mutilated by the birds, it was a horrific sight. The blacken eyes and bloody mess makes your skin crawl. It was at that point I became worried about the characters.

This was a great film and the ending leaves you wanting more. I heard that Hitchcock had an alternate final shot planned. He was going to have the car arrive in San Francisco only to find the Golden Gate Bridge covered in birds! That would have been awesome to see.



  1. I'm so thrilled that you have discovered Hitchcock. Vertigo, was also my first and favorite Hitchcock film. I hope that you are able to see them all.

  2. I feel the same as Dawn--so exciting that you have discovered Hitchcock! Enjoy every minute of it! If you don't mind, I would love to make a few recommendations:

    My personal favorite Hitchcock film (and overall favorite) is Notorious. I think it is one of his most underrated films. Rear Window is also one of his best, and I think you will really enjoy it. Shadow of a Doubt is fantastic. Dark, and slightly twisted. Also underrated. Foreign Correspondent is another great one starring Joel McCrea.

    I could keep going, but I'll stop with those.

    Great post!