James Stewart can be solidly forgiven for films like It’s A Wonderful Life because of efforts like Vertigo and this film, The Flight of the Phoenix. It is not a wonderful life, but it is a wonderful film, with top notch acting and dialogue that you would expect from a classic film. The Flight of […]
Film TitleThe Flight Of The Phoenix
A plane crash in the Sahara results in a clash of wills to survive.
Film TitleThe Farmer's Wife
A middle-aged empty-nester has trouble finding another suitable mate
2 Hours 9 minutes Fair Value of The Farmer and His Wife: $0.00. In this early (1928) silent film, a young Hitchcock is both out of his element (mystery) and his medium (dialogue), and so this early drama is generic and basic, largely lacking in Hitchcock’s style. This is a snoozer. Summary of the Concept: […]
A traumatized former police detective falls hopelessly in love with a woman who doesn’t exist
Barbara Bel Geddes
“The language of the camera is the language of our dreams.”-James Baldwin. No director was more fluent in that language than Alfred Hitchcock. Vertigo is the most conspicuous example of his fluency. Vertigo is a Pygmalion and Galatea story. The question in this case, who is Pygmalion and who is Galatea? When, is a better […]
Film TitleJuno and the Paycock
A family earns a big inheritance and forgets their basic values
1 hour 34 minutes Fair Value of Juno and the Paycock: $-5.00. 1920s knockoff Bernard Shaw misery porn that lacks in much of the style or timing that Hitchcock would later display. This early Hitchcock film shows why he went to thrillers and suspense- it’s artless and heartless. Summary of the Concept: A poor […]
Film TitleSecret Agent
During World War One, a newly recruited British spy is dispatched to Switzerland to hunt unknown German agents.
1 hour 26 minutes Fair Value of Secret Agent: $2.00. If it’s streaming, it’s a good old timey punt, with amusing performances by Peter Lorre and John Gielgud Summary of the Concept: During World War I, a newly commissioned British spy is tasked with identifying and catching a German spy moving through Switzerland. What’s […]
Film TitleThe 39 Steps
Hook up with a spy girl, get wrongfully accused of murder.
1 hour 26 Minutes The Grandfather of all Spy Films. Without The 39 Steps, no Bond. No Bourne. No The Fugitive, the most obvious modern descendant of this film, which truly established Hitchcock on the map of international cinema. Fair value of The 39 Steps: $20.00. It’s must-see cinema, in the same way as Star […]
Film TitleDouble Indemnity
A confident insurance salesman falls for the femme fatale, and they plot to murder her husband.
Edward G. Robinson
In a just universe, we’d all toil tirelessly in Billy Wilder’s cinematic fantasy, never once questioning his authority or perspective. There have been more visionary artists to be sure – and certainly more ambitious – but few are as perfect a fit for any occasion. Because of his genius regarding the melding of humor, pathos, […]
A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her
“Gaslighting” is the use of psychological manipulation to make a person doubt their own sanity, and even to lose it. The term derives from the 1938 British play Gas Light and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations from Britain and Hollywood, respectively. It is somewhat surprising Alfred Hitchcock was not at the helm of the […]
Speaking of cowboys, Isabelle Steers (Thelma Ritter) says to aging cowboy Gay Langland (Clark Gable), “I love every miserable one of you, though you’re all good for nothing, as you well know,” to which he replies, “That may be, but it’s better than wages.” That motto (“it’s better than wages”) is referred to several times […]
Keeper of the Flame (1942) Directed by George Cukor. With Spencer Tracy and Kathrine Hepburn. 36 Hours (1965) Directed by George Seaton. With James Gardner, Eva Marie Saint, and Rod Taylor The “truth of the matter” can be an elusive concept. What is real? This is the persistent theme in the works of Philip K. […]