I wanted to mark the Hitchcock week with a fitting alternative list and I have been through a number of iterations that seemed well-worn and a little boring to be honest. Are you really interested in Dirk’s opinion on the best Hitch murder? Are you really interested in what is considered the best Hitch maguffin? Are you really interested when so much has been written already?
There are hundreds of books offering a revealing personal insight into Hitchcock from an number of different critical perspectives. Dirk’s archive has 20 different books relating to his films. Browse through Amazon and you’ll find loads of books on PSYCHO alone, never mind the rest of his significant output, so there’s more than enough opinion out there.
I thought that I would do a Friday Five literature survey, but despite my fairly wide reading on Hitchcock, I haven’t read enough to be an authority on the books available. There are the obvious: Spoto’s Darkside of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock is indispensable as is the remarkable interviews with Truffaut, while John Russell Taylor‘s Hitch:The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock is a solidly written prima, I like the comprehensive The Alfred Hitchcock Story (Ken Mogg) better because it is filled with great pictures, but the best I have read recently is the personal memoir It’s Only A Movie by Charlotte Chandler who gives an interesting perspective on her memoir with Hitch as a backdrop.
There’s nothing more to add.
It strikes me that he was the first and last true icon of cinema who was a director. I mean icon in a truer sense that his own image became a signifier that was in a sense stronger, more vivid and fascinating than the films he made. He still attracts interest because he is so recognisable.
Therefore, this week’s Friday Five (appearing on a Friday for a change) reflects the imagery of the man himself and his signature appearances.
NOW YOU SEE HIM …
1) LIFEBOAT (1944) The second appearance in a Friday Five for this excellent film. Hitch is in a diet advert. Before and after.
2) THE BIRDS (1963) One of the classic appearances as the master of suspense leaves a pet shop with a couple of lap dogs, one of them is Tippi Hedren. It is so famous that it was parodied in The Simpsons
3) SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943) I had to get this one. Joseph Cotton as nice Uncle Charlie is keeping his cards close to his chest, as is Hitch!
4) THE LODGER (1927) His first cameo appearance is in this silent ‘Story of the London Fog‘ which still remains genuinely creepy. He is leaning on the fence in a crowd …
NOW YOU DON’T
5) MARNIE (1964) At the height of his television series ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS he enjoyed presenting the programmes in a variety of self-parodying situations. In this appearance he breaks the forth wall to looking knowingly at his audience in a nod to his television persona. Hits the wrong note.
What are your favourites?