Alfred Hitchcock Retrospective: Part II
April 23-June 30
AFI Silver presents a retrospective of Alfred Hitchcock's films, spanning the director's entire career, from the earliest silent films he made in England to the blockbuster entertainments he directed in Hollywood.
Part II focuses on the early Hollywood period, beginning with Hitchcock's first US film, REBECCA, and including many critical and commercial hits: SHADOW OF A DOUBT, NOTORIOUS, STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and DIAL M FOR MURDER; several films whose reputations have come up for reconsideration over the years: FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, STAGE FRIGHT, I CONFESS and UNDER CAPRICORN; and the rare, only recently rediscovered propaganda films Hitchcock made for the British Ministry of Information during World War II, AVENTURE MALGACHE and BON VOYAGE.
HALF PRICE HITCHCOCK
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Thursday, April 21, all Hitchcock tickets purchased between 12:01 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. are half price!
Joel McCrea stars as an American journalist in London in 1938 who covers the war and discovers an espionage ring and assassination plot. Hitchcock outdid himself with the action-packed set pieces, using all manner of camera trickery and special effects, from a fatal fall from high atop Westminster Cathedral to mysterious goings-on at a windmill in the Netherlands to an inventively staged plane crash. McCrea's impassioned, Edward R. Murrow-esque radio monologue during the London blitz finale even impressed the opposition — Nazi Germany's Joseph Goebbels thought the film "a masterpiece of propaganda." Six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison; PROD Walter Wanger. US, 1940, b&w, 120 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Apr 23, 1:00, 9:40; Tue, Apr 26, 9:45;Wed, Apr 27, 6:30 (Montgomery College show at AFI)
Hitchcock sought to make a film in Hollywood for the better part of the 1930s, and he finally got his chance in 1939. While he was working on GONE WITH THE WIND, producer David O. Selznick hired Hitchcock to begin work on an adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel "Rebecca." Joan Fontaine stars as the "second Mrs. de Winter," who, after a happy honeymoon with husband Laurence Olivier, has difficulty settling in at his gothic manor, and is not helped by the creepy maid Judith Anderson, whose devotion to the departed Mrs. de Winter borders on madness. Eleven Oscar nominations and two wins: Best Picture (Selznick's second in a row) and Best Cinematography.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Robert E. Sherwood, Joan Harrison, Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan, based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier; PROD David O. Selznick. US, 1940, b&w, 130 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Apr 23, 7:00; Mon, Apr 25, 7:15, Tue, Apr 26, 7:15
Hitchcock's follow-up to the blockbuster REBECCA once again sees Joan Fontaine marrying impetuously and coming to regret it. This time, it's to charming playboy Cary Grant, who has become cold and distant. Rumors of his gambling debts and a bad real estate deal cause Fontaine concern, and when one of his friends turns up dead, she worries she could be next. Best Actress Oscar for Fontaine, with many theorizing it was payback for the one she didn't win for REBECCA. The production is notorious for the meddling of producer David O. Selznick — it was not the ending Hitchcock wanted, nor the one Grant, seeking to shake up his light comedy image, signed on for.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison and Alma Reville, based on the novel "Before the Fact" by Francis Iles; PROD David O. Selznick. US, 1941, b&w, 99 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Apr 29, 7:20; Mon, May 2, 7:20
MR. & MRS. SMITH
Wealthy married couple Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery have settled into a comfortable rut, with affectionate bickering having taken the place of real passion. Montgomery casually opines that, given the chance, he would not have married Lombard when he did but instead enjoyed single life for a while longer, and he gets the opportunity to test his hypothesis when it emerges that, due to a technicality, they are not in fact legally married. The fired-up Lombard is the one who embraces single life, including dating Montgomery's business partner, Gene Raymond. Montgomery realizes he wants his marriage back and begins courting Lombard all over again.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Norman Krasna; PROD Harry E. Edington. US, 1941, b&w, 95 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Apr 29, 5:20; Sun, May 1, 12:30; Mon, May 2, 5:20
SHADOW OF A DOUBT
Joseph Cotten drops in on his sister's family in the quiet little town of Santa Rosa, California, for an extended stay. News of a bluebeard killer of wealthy widows has the town--including Cotten's mystery buff brother-in-law Henry Travers, nosy neighbor Hume Cronyn and his niece Teresa Wright--in a tizzy. To them it's an entertaining game to be puzzled out, but for Cotten it's much more: he's the killer. Hitchcock's innovative inversion of crime story convention begins as a gentle satire of small-town life but, as Wright starts to suspect that her uncle is hiding a terrible secret, becomes a dark and terrifying film noir.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, Alma Reville; PROD Jack H. Skirball. US, 1943, b&w, 108 min. NOT RATED
Sat, May 7, 8:15; Wed, May 11, 7:00; Thu, May 12, 9:45
Robert Cummings is a California munitions plant worker wrongly accused of sabotage. Seeking to clear his name and nab the real culprit, a member of a clandestine ring of American fascists, he leads the police on a cross-country chase, dragging model Priscilla Lane along with him. The first of Hitchcock's American films to truly engage with America as a setting, with hideouts and showdowns set in mountain cabins, cattle ranches, a circus caravan, an Old West ghost town and at Hoover Dam, culminating in New York City, with stops at Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center before the famous climax atop the Statue of Liberty.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison, Dorothy Parker; PROD Frank Lloyd. US, 1942, b&w, 108 min. NOT RATED
Sun, May 8, 12:30; Tue, May 10, 9:15; Wed, May 11, 9:15
Ingrid Bergman is a hardworking, serious-minded psychiatrist at a Swiss mental hospital who channels all of her energies into work until she discovers a previously unknown passion by falling in love with the new doctor, Gregory Peck. But is Peck really the doctor he claims to be? Or is he an amnesiac imposter, perhaps even the real doctor's killer? Inspired by producer David O. Selznick's hard fall for then faddish psychoanalysis, Hitchcock makes merry with the madness and mystery, including the famous dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí and Miklos Rozsa's Oscar-winning, theremin-intense score.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Ben Hecht, based on the novel "The House of Dr. Edwardes" by Francis Beeding; PROD David O. Selznick. US, 1945, b&w, 111 min. NOT RATED
Fri, May 13, 7:00; Wed, May 18, 9:15; Thu, May 19, 9:15
Their freighter torpedoed by a German U-boat, eight survivors, a cross section of classes, philosophies and personalities, find themselves in a single lifeboat. The ninth member of their little society is the doctor from the U-boat, itself the victim of an American destroyer. As food and water dwindle, the crew's fragile peace is threatened by a baser struggle for survival, as well as secret sabotage. Hitchcock's inventively staged drama, entirely set on the lifeboat, was a big hit with wartime audiences, though some critics faulted it for not being more patriotic. Oscar nominations for Best Director, Screenplay and Glen MacWilliams' close-quartered cinematography.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Jo Swerling, based on a story by John Steinbeck; PROD Kenneth Macgowan. US, 1944, b&w, 97 min. NOT RATED
Sat, May 14, 12:30; Tue, May 17, 9:15; Thu, May 19, 7:00
Miami, 1946: after her Nazi-sympathizing father is sent to prison for seditious activity, Ingrid Bergman gets recruited by OSS man Cary Grant to work as an American agent and infiltrate a Nazi cell in Rio de Janeiro. Bergman must seduce Nazi industrialist Claude Rains, which means the love affair in bloom between Grant and Bergman must be nipped in the bud. Bergman does so well at her job that Rains proposes marriage — good for spying, bad for romance and increasingly dangerous to Bergman's health. Ted Tetzlaff's inventive cinematography deserves star billing alongside Grant and Bergman. "My favorite Hitchcock." – François Truffaut
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Ben Hecht. US, 1946, b&w, 101 min. NOT RATED
Fri, May 20, 7:00; Sat, May 21, 7:30; Sun, May 22, 9:45; Wed, May 25, 8:45
THE PARADINE CASE
Alfred Hitchcock's last film for producer David O. Selznick cast Gregory Peck as a British barrister who falls in love with his client, Alida Valli, who has been accused of murdering her husband. Charles Laughton is particularly memorable as the walnut-cracking judge ("they resemble the human brain"). Hitchcock "has got as much tension in a courtroom as most directors could get in a frontier fort." – The New York Times
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR David O. Selznick, Ben Hecht and Alma Reville, based on the novel by Robert Hichens; PROD David O. Selznick. US, 1947, b&w, 125 min. NOT RATED
Sun, May 22, 12:30; Mon, May 23, 8:45
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN
"Criss-cross. I'll kill yours, you kill mine." Tennis champ Farley Granger meets mysterious, overly admiring Robert Walker on a train from New York to Washington, DC, and receives a startling proposal: Walker will kill Granger's unfaithful wife in return for Granger killing Walker's father. Hitchcock's ingeniously choreographed thriller begins like a farce, but through tightly scripted narrative turns and masterful cinematic design, the suspense is ratcheted up toward a show-stopping finale. The script was based on the first novel by then-unknown Patricia Highsmith; although the adaptation is credited to Raymond Chandler, little to none of what he wrote made it into the film.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde and Whitfield Cook, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith. US, 1951, b&w, 101 min. NOT RATED
Fri, May 27, 7:00; Sat, May 28, 7:00; Sun, May 29, 2:45, 9:45; Mon, May 30, 9:45; Thu, Jun 2, 7:00
Two upper-class thrill-killers (Farley Granger and John Dall), emboldened by a toxic mix of faux-Nietzschean philosophy and amorality, murder a college acquaintance and stash the body in a trunk in the living room of a posh Manhattan apartment, where they proceed to host a cocktail party. First a hit play in London's West End, Hitchcock transferred the setting from London to New York, reorienting the story closer to its real-life inspiration, Chicago's infamous Leopold and Loeb murder case. Most famously, he set himself the challenge of staging the film as if it were one continuous, unbroken shot, through the use of ten-minute takes (the length of a 35mm film magazine) and cleverly camouflaged "invisible" cuts (see if you can spot them!) to re-create on screen the sustained tension felt by a stage audience, who knows where the body is hidden. Hitchcock's first color film, and first with James Stewart, who would go on to become one of his signature collaborators.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Arthur Laurents, Hume Cronyn, based on the play "Rope's End" by Patrick Hamilton; PROD Sidney Bernstein. US, 1948, color, 80 min. NOT RATED
Sat, May 28, 1:00; Tue, May 31, 9:00, Wed, Jun 1, 8:30; Thu, Jun 2, 9:10
AVENTURE MALGACHE and BON VOYAGE
All Tickets Only $5!
Hitchcock returned to England during WWII to make these two short propaganda films for the British Ministry of Information, intended to be shown to the Free French to help the Resistance. Unseen for decades, it was not until the 1990s that they were rediscovered and made available by the British Film Institute. In BON VOYAGE, a British pilot downed over France escapes with the aid of Resistance fighters. In AVENTURE MALGACHE, a troupe of actors from the French colony of Madagascar, now refugees in London, recalls a story of collaboration and duplicity from their homeland.
DIR Alfred Hitchcock; SCR J.O.C. Orton, Angus MacPhail; PROD Sidney Bernstein. UK, 1944, b&w, 31 min/26 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
Mon, May 30, 3:15; Wed, Jun 1, 7:00
Quebec City priest Montgomery Clift has a dilemma — he's heard a confession from a murderer. Due to his vows, Clift is unable to assist police detective Karl Malden in his investigation, nor, after Malden's investigation identifies a man dressed as a priest as the suspect, to adequately defend himself. When Clift's unpriestly love affair with Anne Baxter is revealed, the combination of circumstantial evidence and Clift's guilty secrets threatens to doom him at trial. Can the real killer be found? Can Clift stay true to his vows? Shot on location in wintry Quebec, Hitchcock's religious thriller has a moody, brooding atmosphere unlike any of his other films.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR George Tabori and William Archibald, based on the play by Paul Anthelme. US, 1953, b&w, 95 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jun 4, 1:00; Mon, Jun 6, 9:15, Wed, Jun 8, 9:10
London drama student Jane Wyman hides her friend Richard Todd, suspected of murder by the police, at her father Alastair Sim's country cottage. According to Todd, the real killer is stage diva Marlene Dietrich. Curious, Wyman begins an investigation of her own, going undercover to work as a maid for Dietrich. After his success in the US, Hitchcock's return to England was ballyhooed in the press, and he gives generous screen time to the British supporting cast — all wonderfully hammy, befitting this spoofy, theater-set caper — including Sim, Michael Wilding, Sybil Thorndike, Joyce Grenfell, Kay Walsh and, in her first screen role, daughter Patricia Hitchcock.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Whitfield Cook and Alma Reville, based on the novel "Running Man" by Selwyn Jepson. UK, 1950, b&w, 110 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jun 4, 4:45; Sun, Jun 5, 1:00; Thu, Jun 9, 9:00
A rare screening of Hitchcock's least-seen, most unusual American film. In 1831, Irishman Charles Adare (Michael Wilding) arrives in Sydney, Australia, with his uncle, the new governor (Cecil Parker), hoping to make his fortune. He discovers a rough-and-tumble world of financial scheming and exploitation, but also one where amazing reversals of fortune have made ex-convicts into millionaires. He befriends Sam Flusky (Joseph Cotten), an "emancipist" (read: ex-con) who has made good, and his wife, Lady Henrietta (Ingrid Bergman). But Lady Henrietta is not well, burdened by a terrible secret that comes to light as the three find themselves drawn into a dangerous love triangle. The film is notable for its ROPE-like long takes and Jack Cardiff's elaborately mobile camerawork.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR James Bridie, Hume Cronyn, based on the novel by Helen Simpson and the play by John Colton and Margaret Linden; PROD Sidney Bernstein. UK, 1949, b&w, 117 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jun 11, 12:20; Sun, Jun 12, 12:20
DIAL M FOR MURDER
Jealous husband Ray Milland plots to do away with his rich wife, Grace Kelly, for her past infidelity with mystery writer Robert Cummings, fearing that she will ultimately leave him and take her money with her. Having devised the perfect murder scheme, invented an ironclad alibi and blackmailed shady schoolmate Anthony Dawson into doing the deed for him, a shocked Milland has to scramble to cover his tracks after the crafty Kelly makes an amazing escape. Hitchcock's adaptation of Frederick Knott's hit play eschews the typical "opening up" of movie adaptations, instead keeping the action confined to Kelly and Milland's London flat, to clever, claustrophobic effect.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Frederick Knott, based on his play. US, 1954, color, 105 min. NOT RATED Presented in 2-D
Fri, Jun 17, 7:00; Sat, Jun 18, 12:30, 7:00; Sun, Jun 19, 12:30
This mind-bending experimental film begins with an anecdote told by Alfred Hitchcock (lookalike actor Ron Burrage) about an encounter with his dopplegaenger. His advice if you should ever meet your double: kill him. But what begins like one of Hitchcock's droll television intros proceeds to chronicle the battle of images during the Cold War, including a trend toward Manichean twinning, through a dazzling array of archival footage — the US/USSR; West Berlin/East Berlin; plus atomic tests, school drills and American advertising. As for Hitchcock's anecdote, it's lifted from a story by Jorge-Luis Borges. This is a surprisingly lucid documentary disguised as a hallucinatory thriller.
DIR/SCR Johan Grimonprez; SCR Tom McCarthy; PROD Emmy Oost. Netherlands/Belgium/Germany, 2009, color/b&w, 80 min. NOT RATED
Tue, Jun 28, 5:00; Wed, Jun 29, 5:00, 9:30; Thu, Jun 30, 5:00, 9:00