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DON’T LOOK DOWN

October 16, 2008

I had Vertigo booked for this weekend, but Gayle’s been coming home from the newspaper office every day reporting the problems they’re having with the 70 mm print — sound not working — and that they can’t find a 35 mm print so I guess I’ll be staying home and watching “The Trouble With Harry” which is not only my favorite fall movie, my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie and Shirley’s MacClaine’s first and very excellent performance, but is also just a lot of fun.  Hitchcock allows himself whimsy and it’s GREAT.  John Forsythe plays the lead and just romps through the picture, puckishly rearranging the world to suit his mood, something we all aspire to if we have any sense.

Now to continue the Hitchcock mood, a quick run down of my favorite moments from his better known films. Vertigo is a wonderfully jarring descent into passion and showcases the mystery of Kim Novak; double feature it with “Bell, Book and Candle” for a weird/spooky Novak-Stewart Halloween. When I caught the remastered “North By Northwest” what most impressed me was how Cary Grant’s suit GLOWED. When it had reached the end of its hard run and been benched, the movie lost something. I think this might have also represented not so much glow or appeal from Grant’s co-star. “Rope” is fascinatingly creepy and Stewart is great in it. He really gets a chance to prove he’s not just Mr. Happy Go Lucky in Hitchcock’s works. Doris Day singing “Que Sera Sera” in “The Man Who Knew Too Much” is a wonderful play on her cheery image as well as a wonderful twist of tension. Raymond Burr in “Rear Window” stares, graven in cruelty, a key lever to the suspense generated by the combination of suspicion, ill intent and immobility. “To Catch a Thief,” breathless with sex and suspicion, is one of my favorite Cary Grant turns — that character was one of my childhood role models; I practiced climbing up door, roofs, trees. “Psycho” jars as much as its music and I never really enjoyed “the Birds” — too much sensation. “Dial M For Murder” is beautifully posed and shot, but I think thanks to its theatre origins, too talky.

So, there’s my Hitchcock thoughts; share yours, vote for your favorite, watch “The Trouble With Harry” if you haven’t — it’s excellent fun.

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