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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hitchcock Fest Wrap-Up, Part IV

Continuing the wrap-up...

#20 --  Foreign Correspondent (1940) -- B-
After a slow start, Hitchcock soon shows his visual skills in this flick from his early career.  There are several rather stunning set pieces that get a little lost in a simply "little better than average" film.

#19 --  The 39 Steps (1935) -- B-
I'd seen the play based off of this movie and read the book this movie was based on and was disappointed in both.  The film is the best of the three, but it didn't win me completely over. Still, this is pretty darn good early Hitch and moderately okay overall Hitch.

#18 --  Rope (1948) -- B-
As a film lover, I can't help but be fascinated with Hitchcock's long takes in the film Rope.  However, the film (which I remember really liking in the past) was a bit talky this time around and Farley Granger (on the left above) who nearly single-handedly ruined Strangers on a Train by his crappy acting almost does the same thing here.  Even looking at the picture of him above makes me cringe.

#17 --  Suspicion (1941) -- B-
Suspicion features some good acting from leads Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, but with a title like "Suspicion," one would expect moments of suspense.  However, there's not a minute of tension in the film's first hour and the ending is a bit of a letdown.  Nevertheless, I liked the film, but longed for it to be better.

#16 --  The Paradine Case (1947) -- B
This is probably the highest film on the list that the most people will dislike if they watch it. A huge chunk of the film takes place in a courtroom which interested me, but I could see it wearing thin for others.  Surprisingly, though, the film really comes alive in what could have easily been a throwaway plotline -- when lawyer Gregory Peck begins to fall for his client, Peck's wife, Ann Todd (pictured above) begins to get a tad jealous.  Todd is able to elevate the soap-opera-y aspect and raise it to another level that was completely unexpected to me.

#15 --  Family Plot (1976) -- B
This may very well have been a case of lowered expectations making something seem better than it actually is, but I remember watching Family Plot (Hitch's last film) several years ago and despising it.  This time around, I found it a fun diversion with hints of comedy and a surprising amount of amusing mystery.  It's not top tier Hitchcock and I'd love for his last film to have been a classic, but this isn't something Hitch should be ashamed of at all.

#14 -- Sabotage  (1936) -- B
Although Hithcock would later call the scene one of his worst cinematic offenses, the screenshot above of a young kid getting onto a bus carrying packages that, unbeknown to him, contain a bomb was shockingly well put together and genuinely exciting.  This was the first film that I watched in the fest and I admittedly was not expecting much.  However, this early Hitchcock film manages to build suspense even though we know right from the opening moments that the main character is a deadly saboteur seeking to harm the people of England.

#13 --  The Wrong Man (1956) -- B
This film was such a departure for Hitchcock that the typical Hitchcock cameo within the film is nearly nonexistent.  Instead, Hitch appears in shadow in the opening shot stating that the film is a true story about a man wrongly accused of a crime.  This is Hitch's grittiest film with nary a bit of humor.  With a great performance from Henry Fonda, The Wrong Man was a true surprise for me and one I'd watch again.

#12 -- Notorious (1946) -- B
If there's one film that I want to rewatch on this list, it's Notorious.  I feel that perhaps my rating is too low on this one.  To me, the film had a rough start.  As I've said in a previous wrap-up, Ingrid Bergman always seems rather cold to me and it took me quite a while to warm up to her in this film.  I found it very difficult to believe that Cary Grant would fall in love with her immediately after he met her.  However, once the story really kicks in and Bergman's character becomes an undercover spy to help America infiltrate a Nazi ring in South America, the film really starts to shine.  The final scenes are quite good and made me think that I need to view this one again.

#11 --  Marnie (1964) -- B
People complain about Tippi Hedren's acting skills and while it would've been nice to see someone else in the title role of Marnie, the film is still a very interesting character study.  One of Hitchcock's most overtly sexual movies, Marnie's past has shaped the woman she is now -- a person incapable of loving anyone...especially a man.  Sean Connery plays the man who wants to love her and he's a good fit for the role.  An interesting film...one that may not be suited for everyone's tastes, but I certainly appreciated the different feel Hitch brought to this one.

#s 10-1 coming soon...

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