‘Topaz’: Romance in a Violent World

People fall in love everywhere, all the time. They fall for fellow workers and comrades. They flirt in dirty bomb shelters in much the same way they meet in beautiful marketplaces. Naked, both emotionally and physically, we are all quite similar and circumstances just make us more or less creative about finding ways into one…

‘The Birds’

I grew up hearing about two Hitchcock films: ‘Psycho’ and ‘The Birds’. Where the former lives up to the thrill of a well-turned plot, the latter is more of a bloody mess. In most scary movies there’s a human-like body out to get people. ‘The Birds’ takes someone’s phobia of birds and preserves it for…

‘Marnie’: The Complexities of a ” Sex Mystery”

“One might call ‘Marnie’ a ‘sex mystery’, if one used such words.” – Alfred Hitchcock ‘Marnie’ is by far the most extreme vision of frigidity Hitchcock ever explored. Adapted by Jay Presson Allen from Winston Graham’s novel of the same name, it serves as an oddly seductive screen commentary about the origins of psychosis in…

The Extreme Misogyny of ‘Vertigo’

I often wonder why Jimmy Stewart, an actor known for having a wholesome nature in an out of character, would play increasingly misogynistic roles in Hitchcock’s films over a span of a decade. I’m sure he had his pick of other scripts and Hitchcock wasn’t the only brilliant director around (*read any other piece I’ve…

The Most Classic Horror Film: ‘Psycho’

All my life I’ve heard people name Hitchcock’s “Psycho” as the scariest movie they’ve ever seen. I heard the music from Janet Leigh’s murder scene played as a spoof on TV and saw clips of Leigh screaming bloody murder in the shower. I understood that this movie was an icon of horror, but couldn’t get…

‘The Lady Vanishes’ – To Judge and to Fear

Conspiracy Thrills One life. Hitchcock tended toward the kind of funny that pokes fun at institutions and systems. In “The Lady Vanishes”, the humor and drama are essentially about trusting one’s self in unbelievable situations. To start, the jolly older woman -Ms.Froy- who ends up caught in a conspiracy plot on her way home to…

A Purist Rom-Com: A Touch of Death in ‘The Trouble with Harry’

From death cometh life and the living can be ridiculous! Fascinating! Oh good, good grief! Alfred Hitchcock always liked his films to have a sense of humor about them, and “The Trouble with Harry” is the height of funny stuff. There’s this man who happens to have died at the apex of everybody’s favorite hiking…

Psychopathy in Hitchcock Thrillers ‘Rope’ (1948)

Character Study: Rupert Cadell (‘Rope’, 1948) I recently read an article in which the author questioned whether a psychopath could be a good person. Scientists have studied psychopathic behaviors enough that they’ve come full-circle, considering that psychotic people should be viewed with empathy and even admiration. After all, they are focused, not driven by emotions,…

Private Worlds: Hitchcock’s Penchant for Rule-Breakers (“Rear Window”, 1954)

“Rear Window” is a frustrating story to follow. With unbelievable characters and a seriously Mr. Magoo protagonist, I found it tough to watch. Of course that’s naive, because it isn’t about the character’s development- not how cunning they are or how quick their reflexes…there’s so little traditional ego present in the dialogue. This isn’t a…

Analysis of Hitchcock’s ‘Saboteur’

Hitchcock’s thriller ‘Saboteur’ exemplifies the director’s drive for subverting his audience’s sympathies. There is a daringly clarified critique of systematic injustice in the form of a single misjudged civilian taking on a class of evil that operates somewhere between the powers of government and industry, far above the heads of common workers: the saboteurs, those…