Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Hitchcock’

“Shadow of a Doubt” at the Cinematheque

April 8, 2010

This Friday night UW’s Cinematheque will screen a recently restored 35mm print of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Shadow of a Doubt” (1943), a film that many consider to be among Hitch’s greatest. The screening will begin at 8:05, following two more episodes of “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” (which I haven’t been keeping up with and thus can’t really comment on).

For a properly Hitchcockian cocktail of style and suspense, it’s tough to beat “Shadow of a Doubt”; the opportunity to see a fresh new print of it projected on the big screen is invaluable. (The movie also happens to be the namesake for Sonic Youth’s Hitchcock-inspired song of the same name from their fourth album, Evol. The music video, which I’ve included above, is a mandatory look-and-listen. One of my absolute favorite songs by them.)

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Heads-up re: TCM, 11/2

November 2, 2009

A real doozy of a night: Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) at 8:00PM, followed by North by Northwest (1959) at 10:15PM, then there’s Otto Preminger’s ridiculously awesome Anatomy of a Murder (1959) at 12:45AM, and then—because I’m so sure that you’ll still be awake by this point—Preminger’s Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) at 3:30AM. Of these four films Anatomy of a Murder is the only one that I’d gladly blow off jury duty or a funeral to see, but I’m hardly willing to underestimate my readership’s collective insomnia. From where I’m sitting it seems as though you really can’t go wrong with TCM tonight, that is, if you’re still shelling out the greenbacks for cable (which some of us can’t believe we’re still doing).

Also, a preemptive “Heads-up re: TCM” for tomorrow morning: Nicholas Ray’s The Lusty Men (1952) is playing at 11:00AM. Yeah, a bit of mid-day Ray (complemented by a morning cocktail or four) will have you swaggering down State St., eyepatch-clad, carefree, full of romantic impulses and hair-trigger temperament. Why bother going to lecture when you can throw yourself a free master-class in the strange, often excruciating art of being human? Professor Ray will show you how.

(Visual) Quotes of quotes of quotes of quotes, 10/26

October 26, 2009

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From Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954).

Heads-up re: TCM, 10/21

October 21, 2009

I have absolutely no reservations stating how badly I think Dennis Miller sucks, but he’s TCM’s guest programmer tonight and happens to have picked a couple of truly worthwhile watches: Carol Reed’s iconic The Third Man (1949) will begin at 10:00PM, and Hitchcock’s Suspicion (1941) will follow at midnight. The former is basically everything it’s classically been cracked-up to be (cutely canted camera angles, mazelike back-alleys and Orson Welles rationalizing some straight-up odious villainy); the latter is in no sense one of Hitch’s best, but at least it’s got a certain magnetism to it, as well as a surprising surplus of good-natured camp. So if you’re not bogged down with 60+ pages of writing to be completed by December, check ’em out.

Heads-up re: TCM, 8/9

August 9, 2009

Today TCM rolls out what is perhaps its most high-profile “Summer Under the Stars” schedule yet with 24 hours of films starring Cary Grant. Now, Grant likely needs little or no introduction, but just in case, here’s Pauline Kael’s gushy analysis of the man she refers to as hailing from “Dream City”.

You’re probably just now getting up, in which case you’re not going to be able to catch Grant and Irene Dunne in Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth (1937; 91 minutes) at 9:45AM. To compensate for the missed opportunity, you’re going to spend some of this afternoon watching Grant negotiate several implausibly tough situations during a Hitchcock double feature: To Catch a Thief (1955; 106 minutes) at 5:00PM, followed by Notorious (1946; 101 minutes) at 7:00PM. Notorious is especially essential viewing, as it’s Hitchcock’s best espionage film.

You’re also perplexed by the lack of Howard Hawks comedies, in which Grant obviously excelled, so you figure you’ll try to see a Grant film you’ve never seen before, like the Richard Brooks-directed Crisis (1950; 95 minutes) at 12:00AM; it’s probably the only Grant film ever to be banned in Mexico (so sayeth IMDB).

TCM is offering 13 convincing reasons to enjoy the great indoors today, particularly with the oppressive mugginess outside. And if you’re on the verge of losing your cable for a good long while, you’ll want to milk these opportunities for all they’re worth while they still present themselves to you. The rest of the loaded schedule is here.

Heads-up re: TCM 8/2

August 2, 2009

Not sure whether y’all have noticed by now but so far this summer Turner Classic Movies has been an absolute revelation. July was “Spotlight on Directors” month, with each day being devoted to 1 or 2 directors; these daily marathons enabled me to see tons of films by the likes of Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Otto Preminger, Jules Dassin, and countless others, many of which I’m not likely to be able to see again anytime soon. Of course, my parents’ DVR was a crucial help; without it, how else could I possibly have caught a 2:00AM showing of The Lady From Shanghai (one of my favorite films), followed by a 4:00AM showing of the ever-elusive The Magnificent Ambersons? Tragically, I don’t have the luxury of a DVR at my apartment here in Madison, so if I’m going to stay on top of TCM, some serious schedule-scouting will be necessary. What better place to report on films which may be worth seeing than here? Can’t think of one.

Since July was the month of the director on TCM, it follows that August is the month of the star (mere character-actors are apparently undeserving of 24 hours of tributary programming). TCM’s “Summer Under the Stars” kicked off yesterday with a day’s worth of Henry Fonda films (including The Wrong Man, which, I’m happy to report, was great). Today is James Mason day, and their selections are pretty interesting. Thankfully we’ll be spared from again having the opportunity to see Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (which has been on TCM many times in the past couple months), but the omission of Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life is kind of unfortunate. Bigger Than Life opened the Cinematheque’s summer schedule this year, though I was unable to attend the screening, being halfway across the country and all (insult was added to injury by the fact that Bigger Than Life was also part of iconic NY theater Film Forum’s currently-in-progress and staggeringly comprehensive Ray retrospective, the entirety of which I was unable to attend, again being halfway the country away and all); anyway, it’s a doozy of a performance by Mason, who at times seems to will the rest of the cast into psychic territory they would otherwise only flirt with (obviously it doesn’t hurt that a director like Ray was calling the shots).

Anyway, regarding the films which are actually going to be shown today, Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest (1959) is on at 9:00PM. Personally I find the film to be Hitchcock at his most aggravating, implausible, and overlong; that said, many Hitchcock enthusiasts seem to swear by it. I’ll admit that the exchanges between Cary Grant and Mason are sticky stuff, and, on the whole, the film is sort of fun, particularly before it descends into the James Bond-esque fantasy of its drawn-out second half. But if you typically find Grant irresistible and Mason snicker-provoking, I guess you could do worse than to check North By Northwest out.

A heads-up (on short notice)

August 1, 2009

For those of you who don’t mind spending a little time indoors this afternoon, TCM is showing Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man (1956), starring Henry Fonda, at 5:00PM (all times on this blog are central). I’ve yet to see the film, but it’s the subject of what Jonathan Rosenbaum has persuasively argued is Jean-Luc Godard’s best, most penetrating work of criticism from his time at Cahiers du cinéma. I personally love Godard’s review of Anthony Mann’s Man of the West a lot as well, but his analysis of The Wrong Man is definitely a classic. Suffice it to say, I’ll be tuning in for this one.

JLG: “Once again Alfred Hitchcock proves that cinema today is better fitted than either philosophy or the novel to convey the basic data of consciousness.” (Godard on Godard, pg. 50)