Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

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Shrew
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#151 Post by Shrew » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:11 pm

Thank you.

1) Vertigo
2) Rear Window
3) The Lady Vanishes
4) Rebecca
5) Notorious
6) Psycho
7) The Lodger
8) Under Capricorn (Also Ran)--Well, it's me, the French, and my also-ran friend(s?). But seriously, if Cohen can put together a big restoration of Jamaica Inn, surely someone can save this poor film?
9) The Wrong Man
10) The 39 Steps
11) Marnie
12) Strangers on a Train
13) Frenzy
14) North by Northwest
15) Suspicion
16) Rope
17) Blackmail
18) Saboteur
19) Young and Innocent
20) The Manxman (Also-ran)

Notable Absences: On rewatch I dropped Lifeboat and Foreign Correspondent (only the windmill and coda had stuck with me, not the length) and promoted Saboteur and Young and Innocent. And as evidenced by yet another rewatch, I see Shadow of a Doubt like how a lot of others seem to see Vertigo. There's I lot I respect and scenes I really enjoy (the bar), but the film just never connects. I think my problem's with young Charlie.

Our Stillborn look like a pretty traditional run-down of Hitchcock's worst: Topaz, Jamaica Inn, Waltzes from Vienna, Number Seventeen, The Skin Game, Juno and the Paycock, Champagne, The Farmer's Wife, Downhill, Pleasure Garden. I've argued for Waltzes, Downhill isn't a good movie but could be a camp classic with the right score, No. 17 might belong on the top of the heap for being so gleefully stupid, and The Farmer's Wife is just bland, but otherwise these are probably fair.

Out of curiosity, were there more 20-entry lists or 10 (or odd duck in-betweens)?

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domino harvey
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#152 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:04 am

There were more Top 20s than Top 10s and there were more Top 10s than lists that ran in-between the two poles

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knives
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#153 Post by knives » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:51 am

zedz wrote: 17. Rich and Strange - I didn't get around to rewatching this, but from the last time I saw it I thought it was an overlooked gem and another one of those films that approached core Hitchcock material (the uneasy marriage) from an unexpected angle.
Glad to see some love for this. I have a rather out sized love for it despite not voting for it. It was one of the first Hitchcock's I saw and some things that are a lot less impressive in context like the retaining of title cards shocked me at the time and probably influenced my taste too much.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#154 Post by Rayon Vert » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:05 am

I also like that one and look forward to revisiting it when it eventually gets a blu-ray release. Same with Stage Fright.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#155 Post by Rayon Vert » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:19 am

The results confirm how 1954 to 60 (or 63, or 64) is arguably Hitchcock's peak classic period, and there's the classic British mini-era from 1934 to 38 (The Man Who Knew to Much to The Lady Vanishes) but my rewatches made me appreciate again how 1940 to 46 (also well represented in the results) was an extremely solid streak: leaving aside Mr. and Mrs. Smith as an oddity that Hitchcock supposedly did as a favour to Carole Lombard, you've got the masterpieces Rebecca, Foreign Correspondent, Suspicion, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt and Notorious - plus Lifeboat and Spellbound that didn't make the cut but that both are generally well appreciated and have their legions of fans.

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knives
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#156 Post by knives » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:46 am

No need to leave it aside. Mr and Mrs Smith highlights what a master Hitchcock was of the whole of cinema being able to balance something so outside his comfort zone.

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domino harvey
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#157 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:52 am

I didn't vote for it but it would probably be 21 on my list. If you were at any academic conference ~10 years ago and heard someone presenting a lengthy defense of Mr and Mrs Smith, it was probably me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the easiest way to get booked is to pick a film no one ever talks about! More than happy to never appear at a conference ever again though

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#158 Post by Lemmy Caution » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 am

domino harvey wrote:There were more Top 20s than Top 10s and there were more Top 10s than lists that ran in-between the two poles
Didn't realize this. Thought it was just a Top 10.
Would have dropped a list of 17 or so.
But doesn't matter much.

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Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#159 Post by movielocke » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:40 am

I realize now I overlooked suspicion, should have slotted it one ahead of vertigo.

Glad I'm not the only one that appreciates the curveballs of rich and strange and mr and mrs smith, though neither made my list.

Shadow of a doubt was one that dropped for me on my most recent rewatch, dropping out of the top five. psycho also dropped after my latest rewatch, my fourth or fifth viewing of it, kind of falling out of my top hitch spot for the first time ever.

I did rearrange my top four a lot before submitting and did try psycho as number one, but it didn't feel right anymore.

Vertigo has steadily dropped for me over the years with every new viewing and rereading of the mulvey essay. What sort of tipped me into freely abandoning critical consensus on the film was three consecutive girlfriends having total, unprompted disgust of the film (never saw it with any of them, came up in discussions of repertory options) it was just so hated by women I checked into my own opinions and realized I didn't really want to defend it because it wasn't a favorite like my top five.

Saboteur and lady vanishes have gotten better every viewing, remarkably great films.

39 steps has remained remarkably even for me, neither rising nor falling in my estimation, staying just ruthlessly average.

I adore the trouble with harry, and wish it had charted, oh well.

I'm disappointed I didn't cross off any of my unseen hitch films this time, manxman, paradise case, stage fright, under Capricorn and marnie. Eventually, I will complete his filmography.

I've seen all his tv directed episodes but I don't remember them with any clarity and didn't rewatch, and so didn't do a list.

1 North by Northwest
2 Lady Vanishes, The
3 Rear Window
4 Psycho
5 Saboteur
6 Notorious
7 Sabotage
8 Vertigo
9 Strangers on a Train
10 Trouble with Harry, The
11 Shadow of a Doubt
12 Rebecca
13 Foreign Correspondent
14 To Catch a Thief
15 Wrong Man, The
16 Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1934)
17 Lodger, The
18 Frenzy
19 Blackmail
20 39 Steps, The

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Satori
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#160 Post by Satori » Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:35 am

zedz wrote:The twentieth would have been Vertigo, but it's a film I'm so ambivalent about (I love some of sequences, but overall it leaves me cold) that I decided to leave it off my list of favourites, and it just so happens that I found nineteen Hitchcock films I liked more than it.
movielocke wrote:Vertigo has steadily dropped for me over the years with every new viewing and rereading of the mulvey essay. What sort of tipped me into freely abandoning critical consensus on the film was three consecutive girlfriends having total, unprompted disgust of the film (never saw it with any of them, came up in discussions of repertory options) it was just so hated by women I checked into my own opinions and realized I didn't really want to defend it because it wasn't a favorite like my top five.
Vertigo ended up high on my list, but I can relate to some of this ambivalence. It's not a film that I actually enjoy watching that much but I find it tremendously generative to think about later. Chris Marker's essay on it is one of my favorite pieces of film writing and I think his work (written and filmed) is a large part of why I continue to like the film so much.

As for the important gender-related aspects of the film movielocke brings up, I find Tania Modleski's argument pretty convincing: instead of Scottie possessing Judy/"Madeline" with his gaze, the film is about how this control is always slipping away and turning into a masochistic identification with her. (So re: Mulvey, the film slips between the sadistic "Hitchcock" pole and the masochistic "Sternberg" pole). Since both Gavin and Scottie literally construct "Madeline" as a kind of phantasmatic supplement to Judy, the film is all about how how the image of woman fixed by the gaze is itself an illusion always slipping away.

I didn't get to rewatch nearly as much as I wanted to for the project, but I did manage to see most of my favorites again. I also hoped to watch more of the silents (I've only seen The Lodger and Blackmail ) but I guess that will have to wait for the 20s list.

My List:
1. Shadow of a Doubt
2. Psycho
3. Vertigo
4. Rear Window
5. The Lady Vanishes
6. Notorious
7. Dial M for Murder
8. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
9. Strangers on a Train
10. Rope
11. Sabotage
12. The 39 Steps
13. Stage Fright (Also Ran)
14. Rebecca
15. The Wrong Man
16. Suspicion
17. I Confess (Also Ran)
18. Saboteur
19. Lifeboat (Also Ran)
20. The Foreign Correspondent

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Feego
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#161 Post by Feego » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:58 am

Great work Dom! Here's my top 10 list:

1. The Birds (1963)
2. Vertigo (1958)
3. Strangers on a Train (1951)
4. The 39 Steps (1935)
5. Psycho (1960)
6. Rear Window (1954)
7. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
8. Notorious (1946)
9. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)
10. Stage Fright (1950)


To address something Shrew brought up the other day:
Shrew wrote:Lodger—Not much to add here except that it’s great and Novello hits exactly the right level of camp/creepiness/elfin handsomeness to make both a believable love interest and murderer. I’m kind of surprised the “kiss” sequence doesn’t come up more often in discussions of “the gaze” #notallhitchcocks

And quick discussion question: does the imposed ending improve or lessen the film? I’m in the former camp, as you get a nice demonstration of how similar romantic and murderous obsessions can look.
What I find interesting about the "kiss" is the way Hitchcock re-purposed it three decades later for Grace Kelly's intro in Rear Window. It is fascinating how what was dark and menacing when a male actor was shot in extreme close-up becomes highly erotic and desirable once the genders are switched.

As for the imposed ending, I like it because it does turn out to be one of Hitchcock's earliest explorations of his beloved "wrong man" theme as well as having an understanding love interest complicit in protecting him. It also establishes a running motif of a couple-on-the-run trying to hide handcuffs, which would be used again in The 39 Steps and Saboteur. The climax of Novello cuffed to the railings with the angry mob calling for his death always reminds me of the ending to Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera. I think the revelation of his innocence works better here than it did in Suspicion because it's less abrupt than the later film and adds complexity to a character we knew precious little about.

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domino harvey
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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#162 Post by domino harvey » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:41 am

movielocke wrote:Vertigo has steadily dropped for me over the years with every new viewing and rereading of the mulvey essay. What sort of tipped me into freely abandoning critical consensus on the film was three consecutive girlfriends having total, unprompted disgust of the film (never saw it with any of them, came up in discussions of repertory options) it was just so hated by women I checked into my own opinions and realized I didn't really want to defend it because it wasn't a favorite like my top five.
Ascribing the reactions of three women in your life to women at-large is dangerous. It sounds like these women reacted strongly to Scottie's behavior but transferred their disgust to the film, which by no rational leap of the imagination could be seen to defend his actions. I'm sure they were wonderful people in their own way but a reaction like the above that almost willfully misses the point would be a red flag for me of future misery in a relationship!

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#163 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:45 pm

domino harvey wrote:There were more Top 20s than Top 10s and there were more Top 10s than lists that ran in-between the two poles
domino harvey wrote:EDIT: Oh, I almost forgot to mention: Thank you to every single contributor for not trying to "reclaim" Topaz by voting for it
One reason for my only submitting a top 10 (aside from not getting a chance to review many of the early Hitchcock titles to be satisfied enough to place them) is that Topaz would have been my 11th place entry! :P

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#164 Post by bottled spider » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:21 pm

I didn't vote, but followed discussions a bit, watching a few that were new to me (Spellbound, To Catch a Thief, North by Northwest) and revisiting a couple (Dial 'M' for Murder, The 39 Steps). The latter two I'd seen as a kid, and were a joy to revisit. Indeed this project has reminded me that I saw a lot more Hitchcock as a kid than I initially remembered: Rope, Vertigo, Rear Window, Psycho, Strangers on a Train, Dial 'M' for Murder, Sabotage, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1959), The 39 Steps, The Trouble with Harry, and The Lady Vanishes. These were seen en famille at a cosy and pretty decent art house/repertory cinema in my hometown, so Hitchcock has a lot of nostalgic value for me, even if I haven't pursued him much as an adult. Had I compiled a list, Dial M and Notorious would be at the top.

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#165 Post by bottled spider » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:06 am

bottled spider wrote:What are some of the better Hitchcock commentaries? I remember listening to a good one for Saboteur, but don't remember the label, or the name of the commentator (British).
Turns out I had Saboteur and the original Man Who Knew Too Much entangled in my memory (I know, they're not even similar). And it wasn't the Kemp commentary I liked, but the video appreciation by Guillermo del Toro. The commentary spends too much time talking about things outside the film itself and might just as well have been a written piece, but the Toro is one of the best appreciations I've seen. (I also enjoyed his short introduction to Watership Down; Kemp I think has done better elsewhere).

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Re: Auteur List: Alfred Hitchcock - Discussion and Defenses

#166 Post by bottled spider » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:36 pm

Foreign Correspondent. What everybody else said, plus: the business with the notes McCrea sends Laraine Day before her speech is one of the funniest things I've seen in a non-comedy movie.

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