Alfred Hitchcock Retrospective, Part III
July 2-September 5
AFI Silver presents a retrospective of Alfred Hitchcock's films, spanning the director's entire career. Part III finds Hitchcock now well-established in Hollywood and enjoying his greatest run of success: REAR WINDOW, TO CATCH A THIEF, his American remake of his 1934 British hit THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, PSYCHO and THE BIRDS were all major critical and commercial hits in their day. His artistic pinnacle, VERTIGO, was famously a disappointment upon release but has gone on to be hailed as one of the greatest films of all time; similarly, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY and MARNIE have seen their reputations grow in stature.
3 days only, Sep 17, 18 & 21
"I have no objection if you see REAR WINDOW twenty times. This motion picture has enough merit to stand up under any number of repeated viewings." –Alfred Hitchcock
Perhaps Hitchcock's most suspenseful film, masterful in its visual storytelling, with James Stewart giving one of the best performances of the 1950s. Having broken his leg on assignment, Stewart's globetrotting photojournalist is laid up in his Manhattan apartment and bored stiff. Despite admonitions from his glamorous girlfriend Grace Kelly, his favorite diversion is to spy on his neighbors, framed screen-like in their windows across the courtyard from his. But when one half of a constantly bickering couple mysteriously disappears, Stewart suspects he may be witness to a murder.
DIR/SCR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR John Michael Hayes, based on Cornell
Woolrich's short story "It Had to be Murder." US, 1954, color, 112 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Sep 17, 3:45; Sun, Sep 18, 5:00; Wed, Sep 21, 6:30
#1 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
#14 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
Fifty years on, Alfred Hitchcock's landmark 1960 thriller has lost none of its power to shock, despite its familiar place and frequency of reference within the pop culture firmament. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), impulsively fleeing a dead-end job with $40K of her employer's money, stops at the Bates Motel for the night. The motel keeper, Norman (Anthony Perkins), seems nice, but his mother is another story. Hitchcock deploys his entire arsenal of suspense-creating skills, honed over four decades of moviemaking, but in surprising, expectation-defying, even iconoclastic ways. Bernard Herrmann's celebrated score remains one of the most powerful examples of the fully integrated use of music in the cinema.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch. US, 1960, b&w, 109 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Jul 8, 7:00; Sat, Jul 9, 7:15; Sun, Jul 10, 7:30; Mon, Jul 11, 7:00 - just added!
THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY
Bernard Herrmann's whimsical score — his first of many memorable ones for Hitchcock — greatly enlivens this comedy about an inconvenient corpse. The trouble with Harry is that he's turned up dead in the woods, and there's no shortage of kindly, eccentric residents of the nearby village willing to confess to accidentally killing him. Shirley MacLaine is spritely and delightful in her screen debut, her casting a last-minute, snap decision by Hitchcock. The wonderfully wry cast includes Jerry Mathers as her son, Edmund Gwenn as a retired sea captain, Mildred Natwick as the spinster he's sweet on and John Forsythe as a boho painter.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR John Michael Hayes, based on a novel by Jack Trevor Story. US, 1955, color, 99 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jul 16, 3:00; Mon, Jul 18, 4:45; Tue, Jul 19, 7:00
THE WRONG MAN
Henry Fonda's only film for Hitchcock, and a uniquely sober retelling of true events by the typically sardonic director, experimenting in the neorealist style of Rosselini and de Sica, which had recently impressed him. Stork Club bassist Henry Fonda is mistakenly ID'ed as a stickup man — he has the bad luck of being a dead ringer for the perp — and gets thrown into the slammer. Fonda is confident that it's just a case of mistaken identity and will get sorted out in time, but his fragile wife, Vera Miles, shaken by the experience and convinced that their good name has been ruined, spirals into a dangerous depression.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Maxwell Anderson, Angus MacPhail. US, 1956, b&w, 105 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jul 16, 12:45; Mon, Jul 18, 7:00
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956)
Hitchcock's remake of his 1934 classic thriller swaps Brits in Switzerland for Americans in North Africa, with James Stewart and Doris Day as the innocents abroad who become embroiled in international intrigue, then have their only child kidnapped to keep them quiet. Day, playing a former singer who gave up the stage for her family, gets to show off her pipes in a major plot point. (She hated "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," but couldn't shake it after it won the Oscar for Best Song.) Clever trick photography was used in the 1934 version's bravura climax at the Royal Albert Hall; for this 1956 version, the star director was actually able to film on location.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR John Michael Hayes, based on a story by Charles Bennett and D.B. Wyndham-Lewis. US, 1956, color, 120 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jul 23, 7:00; Sun, Jul 24, 5:05; Thu, Jul 28, 7:00
#9 AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
#18 AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
#18 AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions
#12 AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores
Perennially on Top 10 lists as one of the greatest films ever made, this film is Alfred Hitchcock's supreme achievement, the fullest expression of his cinematic obsessions and the one that goes the furthest in pursuit of them. On a leave of absence after his spell of acrophobia led to the death of a beat cop, James Stewart's San Francisco detective accepts an unusual assignment from old college classmate Tom Helmore: follow wife Kim Novak, not because she's cheating, but because she's possessed! The truth is much more mundane, duplicitous and deadly, with Stewart spiraling first into devastation, then revenge-fueled obsession.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Alec Coppel, Samuel Taylor, based on the novel "D'Entre les Morts" by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. US, 1958, color, 126 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Jul 30, 7:00; Sun, Jul 31, 5:15
TO CATCH A THIEF
As jewel robberies proliferate in the South of France, police start to grow suspicious of former cat burglar Cary Grant's supposed "retirement." But Grant's more interested in fireworks over Cannes with fire-and-ice Grace Kelly. Best Cinematography Oscar and two other nominations for this Hitchcock classic.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR John Michael Hayes, based on the novel by David Dodge. US, 1955, color, 106 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Aug 5, 7:20; Sat, Aug 6, 7:20; Sun, Aug 7, 2:45
#7 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
Chaos reigns in Bodega Bay when an avian invasion descends upon the town. Hitchcock's high-water mark for controlled atmosphere and mastery of cinematic technique, with methodical build-ups of tension and sudden visitations of terror from above. Tippi Hedren famously endured endless takes of harrowing bird attacks; Rod Taylor is her callow lover, Jessica Tandy his icy mother and Suzanne Pleshette his jilted ex, a local schoolteacher who bravely defends her own flock. Instead of providing a score, composer Bernard Herrmann supervised the sound design of the bird sequences — all blood-curdling screeches, sudden flutters and the whooshing of wings.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Evan Hunter, based on the story by Daphne du Maurier. US, 1963, color, 119 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Aug 12, 7:00; Sat, Aug 13, 5:30; Tue, Aug 16, 6:45; Thu, Aug 18, 6:45
Tippi Hedren's secretarial skills are exceeded only by her knack for safe cracking, having pulled off a string of job-then-rob scams. But nothing could have prepared her for new boss Sean Connery — he catches her red-handed, and instead of handing her over to the cops, asks for her hand in marriage! He finds a challenge in his new wife, whose compulsive criminality, sexual frigidity and phobias stem from a mysterious childhood incident, which Connery is determined to help her confront and resolve. A critical and box office disappointment upon release, the film's reputation has improved over the years as new viewers discover and appreciate its complex psychology.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Jay Presson Allen, based on the novel by Winston Graham. US, 1964, color, 130 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Aug 14, 2:45; Thu, Aug 18, 9:15
Paul Newman teamed up with director Alfred Hitchcock for this Cold War thriller, in which he plays a rocket scientist on assignment in East Germany. Julie Andrews, shedding her Mary Poppins image, is his fiancee, who is inadvertently drawn into the web of intrigue and danger. A classic (yet underrated) Hitchcock espionage film, it also features one of the director's most harrowingly memorable murder scenes, in which he shows just how difficult it really is to kill a man. (Courtesy of BAM Cinematek)
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Brian Moore. US, 1966, color, 128 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Aug 20, 12:20; Mon, Aug 22, 4:30
Informed by a Soviet defector of secret shipments to Cuba, CIA man John Forsythe asks French agent Frederick Stafford to be his man in Havana. Hitchcock's attempt to make a realistic James Bond story would have benefited from a Sean Connery-type star in the lead, but it does boast French stars Michel Piccoli and Philippe Noiret in supporting roles, plus show-stealing turns by character actors Roscoe Lee Browne and John Vernon. Perhaps the real star is Henry Bumstead's exciting art direction, with locales ranging from Harlem to Havana to Paris, plus several visually stunning flourishes — most memorably, a woman's purple dress "blooming" out as she falls.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Samuel A. Taylor, based on the novel by Leon Uris. US, 1969, color, 127 min. RATED PG
Sun, Aug 21, 12:20; Tue, Aug 23, 6:45
Down-on-his-luck ex-RAF pilot Jon Finch is on the run from accusations of being the Necktie Killer, while chief inspector Alec McCowen must contend with his wife Vivien Merchant's "gourmet" cooking during discussions of the case. This film marks Hitchcock's return to England and return to form at his most fiendish, manipulating the audience into surprising moments of identification with the killer. The screenplay is by cult favorite Anthony Shaffer (SLEUTH, THE WICKER MAN).
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Anthony Shaffer, based on the novel "Goodbye Picadilly, Farewell Leicester Square" by Arthur La Bern. UK, 1972, color, 116 min. RATED R
Sat, Aug 27, 2:45; Tue, Aug 30, 7:00
Grifters Barbara Harris and Bruce Dern make a living by scamming people as a kind of psychic detective duo. But when they cross paths with the dangerous kidnap-and-ransom enterprise of William Devane and Karen Black, they're in for a challenge — and multiple surprises. Wild coincidences go down smoothly, thanks to expert structure and the expected standout set pieces — including a no-brakes careen down a Northern California mountain highway, and an overhead-shot, mazelike stalking through a cemetery — in this spoofy black comedy, Hitchcock's final film.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Ernest Lehman, based on the novel "The Rainbird Pattern" by Victor Canning. US, 1976, color, 121 min. RATED PG
Mon, Aug 29, 7:00; Wed, Aug 31, 7:00
NORTH BY NORTHWEST
#4 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills
#7 on AFI's 10 Top 10 Mystery
#55 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies
Crackling dialogue and one memorable set piece after another — including a murder at the UN, the crop-duster attempt on Cary Grant's life and the climactic duel on Mount Rushmore — make this mistaken-identity thriller a classic that shows no signs of age. With James Mason as the unctuous villain, Martin Landau as his creepy henchman and the luminous Eva Marie Saint as a double (maybe triple) agent.
DIR/PROD Alfred Hitchcock; SCR Ernest Lehman. US, 1959, color, 136 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Sep 3, 7:15; Sun, Sep 4, 2:20; Mon, Sep 5, 7:00