Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Alfred Hitchcock's Essentials

I suppose it's high time I familiarize myself with Alfred Hitchcock's oeuvre. In spite of his storied reputation as a director of horror films (or at least the suspense thrillers that passed for horror in those days), I'd only ever watched the obligatory Psycho, and The Birds, which I don't remember being quite as affecting to me personally as the story it was based on.

The golden era of cinema for me was sometime around the seventies and eighties, and I'll readily admit that, although I'm willing to delve back as far as the medium allows, unlike certain modernist snobs - I even voluntarily watched a "hundred movies" pack of "horror" films mostly from the '20s, '30s, and '40s one October before I ever started this blog - I tend to be biased against many of those older movies.

It's not that I can't enjoy them, nor that I don't appreciate them in the context of their time - and there are certainly timeless exceptions that stand out (I was very impressed by the 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, for example) - but those old movies often feel dated, and what might have been novel and groundbreaking at the time often loses its spectacle in the context of a modern perspective.

Still, experiencing the results of a celebrated auteur at work often holds a timeless charm. Psycho was, in many ways, a groundbreaking film, and although I never felt it was as compelling as - to choose another vintage classic - Night of the Living Dead, there may be much in Alfred Hitchcock's cinematic style that I've missed out on previously, as an undiscerning amateur. Perhaps a cursory examination of five of his most memorable films will yet yield some insight into the reason he has become such a historical figure...

Rear Window (1954)
Vertigo (1958)
North By Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
The Birds (1963)

No comments:

Post a Comment