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Alfred Hitchcock at the Space!

Hitchcock is released in the UK and Ireland this week. I actually quite enjoyed it, but – then again – I am a big fan of the director and his work. I was notified this week that The Space, Britain’s on-line cultural hub run by the BBC and by the Arts Council, is celebrating the director’s legacy and has collected a host of Hitchcock-related materials from its archives, all of which are available via their website. It’s a great service, and I’m remarkably fond of it. It’s also nice to see a celebration of Hitchcock, and the sharing of material from the archives, free to the public at large. You can find the website here or click the picture below.

thespace

Non-Review Review: Hitchcock

As a bit of a film fan (and a bit of a Hitchcock fan), Hitchcock had me interested. After all, Hitchcock’s Psycho is arguably among the most important films ever made, both creating an entire subgenre (“the slasher”) and imbuing it with artistic credibility at the same time. The production of Psycho was not only a huge gambit for Hitchcock, but it was also an incredibly difficult task for the auteur to accomplish. Hitchcock was sixty when Psycho was eventually released. It’s easy to imagine a director at that age resting on his laurels, and Hitchcock really works when it explores the drives of the talented film maker, willing to look at the implications of those drives and how the same things that made him one of the world’s greatest directors may also have made him a less-than-nice person.

Hitchcock occasionally gets a bit too cluttered with domestic drama, but it features two strong performances and a fascinating true story. It might not be as exceptional as it could have been, but it’s still a damn fine exploration of movie history.

Alma matters?

Alma matters?

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Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: Ignorance, Bliss and Entertainment…

Occasionally, I like to do a bit of research. That might shock some of my more regular readers. If I’m covering a particularly topic, I like to have a bit of background knowledge that will allow me to offer some nuanced or informed commentary. Hopefully, I might be able to tell you something you didn’t know – after all, hopefully the time spent reading my review isn’t wasted if I can tell you something you didn’t already know, regardless of whether our opinions agree or disagree. Also, it’s just nice to know these things because they can help my understanding of a particular film.

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Watch! Alfred Hitchcock Presents a PSA About Texting At the Movies

I’m quite looking forward to Hitchcock, the trailer of which premiered last week. The marketing team have sent around this lovely PSA, in which Anthony-Hopkins-as-Hitchcock lets us know his stance on texting in the cinema. It’s written in the dry punning style of Hitchcock, and I like Hopkin’s deliver – it’s not really an accent, just an attempt to emulate Hitchcock’s rhythm of speech.

As for the video itself, it looks – ironically enough – like it was shot on a mobile phone. But, considering the fact that it’s being pushed so widely, I assume that’s the intent. (Indeed, it would have been interesting for the trailer to end with a smash cut of somebody turning off the mobile.

Still, it’s a light and fun piece of marketing, and one I can easily get behind. Although I wish I could say that texting in a theatre was the worst thing I’ve had to put up with.

Watch! Hitchcock Trailer!

I must have missed it, but the screen adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock & The Making of Psycho has now been officially titled the much blander (but more accessible) Hitchcock. It doesn’t really matter, though, as the new trailer has arrived and it’s really quite wonderful. I’m a massive Hitchcock fan, so recruiting Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren to headline a film about the making of one of his most high-profile works is certainly fascinating. Looking forward to this one. It’ll start a limited release in the States in late November, but we’ll be waiting until February to see it over here.

Ah well. At least they can’t spoil they ending.

The Death of the Author: The Impact of Off-Screen Behaviour on On-Screen Antics…

The rather convolutedly-titled Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho will be arriving soon, the director’s Vertigo was recently named by Sight & Sound as the best film of all time and the British Film Institute is running a season of the director’s films. (There’s even a nice blu ray box set being released in October.) However, this focus on Alfred Hitchcock has, naturally, brought some focus on to the less pleasant aspects of his character. October, for example, will also see HBO airing The Girl, a documentary exploring his relationship with Tippi Hedren. She has some choice words on his character.

“I think he was an extremely sad character,” she said during a panel discussion of HBO’s upcoming The Girl, which recounts her troubled relationship with the director. “We are dealing with a brain here that was an unusual genius, and evil, and deviant, almost to the point of dangerous, because of the effect that he could have on people that were totally unsuspecting.”

Of course, such accusations and allegations are by no means new, but it does raise an interesting question about those masters of cinema. Even for those of us who resist the supermarket tabloid gossip about engagements and break-ups and cute-sounding-couple-nicknames, is it ever possible to divorce filmmaking from the person either in front or behind the camera?

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Non-Review Review: Psycho (1960)

Psycho is a masterpiece from Alfred Hitchcock, a uniquely American horror story that redefined and codified the horror genre. Even after one has already seen the film, and knows the twists and the plotting detours that Hitchcock’s adaptation of Robert Bloch’s novel might make, it’s still a powerful and compelling piece of cinema. Hitchcock laid a template here that would inform generations of horror films that followed, with the DNA of Psycho to be found even in the most unlikely of places.

“You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave…”

Note: Hitchcock famously guarded the ending to this project. “Don’t give away the ending — it’s the only one we have!” he pleaded in advertisements. However, it has been fifty-two years, so I fear that the statute of limitations on potential spoilers has expired. After all, Psycho has been so massively influential it’s hard not to know what happens. If, by some fluke, you know nothing about the film… see it! See it now! We’ll still be here when you get back.

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