More than any medium, film creates its own world. For two hours an audience sits in a darkened auditorium with no distractions save what the filmmaker wishes displayed on the screen ahead. The audience knows what to expect when they enter that world: the films of Steven Spielberg entertain and mesmerize, in past or future; Woody Allen shares his neuroses for the benefit of others. But as one of a handful of directors whose name is known to the film-going public at large, the films of Alfred Hitchcock create a special world of their own... Nothing is ever quite what it seems in a Hitchcock film - amiable pillars of society are revealed to be manipulative criminals; seemingly honest, upright citizens are shown to be deceitful villains; an innocent man finds himself at the center of a web of doubt and intrigue. The rug is constantly tugged from beneath the audience's feet. Hitchcock himself recognized his reputation: "If I made Cinderella, the audience would be looking for a body in the coach!"
In a career spanning half a century Hitchcock made 58 films (we are not including "Number 13", which was never finished, and "The Mountain Eagle", which by all accounts, no longer exists), and carved himself a niche in cinema history. While audiences kidded themselves they knew what to expect from a Hitchcock film, they were deluding themselves. Audiences came to Hitchcock films to be scared, thrilled; if there was a lull, it was only to trick the audience into a false sense of security. In Psycho, his most successful film, the heroine is killed a mere third of the way into the film, and with the star dead that sense of security lapsed even further. Alfred Hitchcock was one of the few outright geniuses cinema has given us. His 58 films testify to that; many are as fresh, chilling and invigorating today as they were when first released. That is the legacy of Hitchcock. We present the filmography of Alfred Hitchcock.
(Many thanks to the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Much of the narrative contained on this page was taken from MOMA's Alfred Hitchcock exhibition of his films celebrating his 100th Birthday in 1999).
Where indicated, these Alfred Hitchcock movies available for purchase. Some have been previously viewed... some are new. Some are reproductions of rare, out-of-print classics. Descriptions are in black. Please be sure to order by the red identification numbers. V = vhs NTSC video. D = dvd. LD = laserdisc. C = ced. P = vhs PAL video. All items are subject to prior sale!
1 First screening 1993 (actually produced 1944). Phoenix, for the British Ministry of Information (MOI). 31 minutes. B/W. NR. The Moliere Players. Film noir classic about World War II classics of espionage, suspense and murder that was banned by the British government and unavailable for almost fifty years. (Also see "Bon Voyage" below). London, 1944. A company of refugee French actors. In the dressing room, someone says he's having trouble with his current role. Another actor, a former barrister, suggests he model himself on "my old friend... Jean Michel, the chief of police in Madagascar" - and tells him that he even looks like Michel. Then, in a series of flashbacks, he narrates his (reportedly) true story. Michel, far from being a friend, had sought to expose him as a Resistance leader on Madagascar after Petain had ordered capitulation. In the end Michel vainly tries to switch sides. Hitchcock, along with Angus MacPhail, devised the story after observing the bickering among the Free French who had worked with them on "Bon Voyage".
2 First screening: March 1963. Universal / Alfred Hitchcock Productions. 120 minutes. color. PG-13. Screenplay by Evan Hunter, based on the short story by Daphne du Maurier. Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette. Melanie Daniels, a wealthy, shallow playgirl, meets Mitch Brenner, a young lawyer, in a San Francisco pet shop. Stung by his sarcasm, she tracks him down to Bodega Bay, bearing a pair of lovebirds as a gift for his little sister, Cathy. After a diving seagull gashes Melanie's forehead, she stays overnight with the local schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth. Next day, Melanie attends Cathy's outdoor birthday party, where seagulls swoop down on the children, the first of many mass bird attacks, which come in waves, soon devastating the area. Hitchcock: "In the Birds there is a very light beginning, girl meets boy, and then she walks into a very complicated situation... I deliberately started out with ordinary, inconsequential behavior... I felt it was vital to get to know the people, the mother especially... and we must take our time before the birds come. Once more, it is fantasy. But everything had to be as real as possible... And the birds themselves had to be domestic birds - no wild birds... I believe that people will rise to the occasion when catastrophe comes... It's like the people in London, during the wartime air raids. In the Birds there are 371 trick shots, and the most difficult was the last shot. That took 32 pieces of film." The Birds was shot in part in Bodega Bay, a village north of San Francisco. Eerie. Fascinating. Chilling...
3 First screening: June 1929. British International Pictures (BIP). 86 minutes. B/W. Sound. NR. Anny Ondra, John Longden, Sara Allgood, Donald Calthrop, Cyril Ritchard. Screenplay was by Hitchcock, Charles Bennett, Benn W. Levy, and Garnett Weston, based on a play by Bennett. Blackmail seems quintessential Hitchcock. A blonde heroine, a dull policeman, a chase in and around a familiar public landmark, a killing, suspense, even a cameo performance by the director himself, together with a number of stylistic "touches' readily ascribable to him. It was Hitchcock's tenth feature as director, yet only the second of his films to incorporate those features of the 'Hitchcockian' universe we now take for granted. Blackmail was based on a successful West End play but Hitchcock was to open it out and to inject into it a degree of cinematic panache, especially in some of the 'silent' sequences, which pushed well beyond the conventions of theatrical and literary adaptation. The film features Anny Ondra as Alice White, a naive young woman who murders the man who tries to rape her. She then finds herself caught between the Scotland Yard detective investigating the case (who also happens to be her boyfriend) and a treacherous blackmailer. Blackmail was released in June 1929. It was hailed as the 'first British all-talkie film' and was Hitchcock's first sound film. Ondra, speaking with a central-European accent, had to be dubbed right on the set by Joan Barry. Hitchcock started shooting the film as a silent film and ended up making two versions: sound and silent. The trade press at the time called Blackmail a 'film of outstanding merit', a view echoed by reviewers. A note of interest: Although Hitchcock made a brief appearance in The Lodger, Blackmail represents his first calculated on-screen cameo. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
4 First screening: August 1929. British International Pictures (BIP). 120 minutes. B/W. Silent. NR. Anny Ondra, John Longden, Sara Allgood, Donald Calthrop, Cyril Ritchard. Blackmail was released in June 1929. It was hailed as the 'first British all-talkie film'. The trade press at the time called Blackmail a 'film of outstanding merit', a view echoed by reviewers. But in 1929, the sound film was still a novelty, and most cinemas in Britain were yet to be equipped for sound. As with many films in this transitional period, both European and American, Blackmail was also released in a silent version, although not until the sound version had had a couple of months to impress audiences with its technical innovations. Understandably, the silent version has been overshadowed by the sound film, although as Charles Barr has noted, various critics - including Paul Rotha at the time and Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol and Francois Truffaut subsequently - make reference to it in their discussions of the original release version.
5 First screening: 1944. Phoenix, for the British Ministry of Information (MOI). 26 minutes. B/W. NR. Film noir classic about World War II classics of espionage, suspense and murder that was banned by the British government and unavailable for almost fifty years. Story hinges on an escape from a Nazi concentration camp by a professor's daughter accompanied by a "friend" who proves to be a Nazi plant. (Also see "Aventure Malgache" above). Both Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache drew on a group of exiled French actors assembled under the name of the Moliere Players. As many of the actors had relatives in France who were then active in the Resistance, performances by the Players were anonymous so as not to give possible clues to the occupying forces. The intention was to distribute both films in the liberated areas of France.
6 First screening: August 1928. British International Pictures (BIP). 104 minutes. B/W. Silent. NR. Betty Balfour, Jean Bradin, Theo von Alten, Gordon Harker. Screenplay by Hitchcock and Eliot Stannard, based on a story by Walter C. Mycroft. To keep his daughter out of a fortune hunter's hands, a millionaire pretends to go broke. Hitchcock later dismissed the movie as "dreadful," yet a critic at the time called it "bright entertainment." Champagne was made in English and German versions. The story line is as thin as mountain air and is basically boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finally gets girl. Even though Hitchcock thought this was one of his worst films ever, it does have some funny bits, such as a drunk who walks with a stagger from side to side on a ship that is very steady. When the ship starts to roll, though, the drunk walks straight and everybody else staggers. The film was trivial but not unlike some of the other losers with which Hitchcock was connected in his early years. A producer suggested to Hitchcock he make a film about champagne, and so he wrote a mordant and cautionary tale that was transformed into a "dreadful hodge podge." While Hitchcock believed Champagne to be his career's "lowest ebb," Francois Truffaut thought the film to have some of "the lively quality of D. W. Griffith's comedies." This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.DVD $39.
Dial M For Murder.
7 First screening: April 1954. Warner Brothers/ First National. 105 minutes. color / 3-D. NR. Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams. Screenplay by Frederick Knott, based on his play. Tony Wendice (Milland), who has played tennis at Wimbledon, lives with his wealthy wife Margot (Kelly) in a small but well-appointed London flat. She has always financially supported his tennis career, now abandoned, but a year ago he felt foreboding when she began a friendship with an American mystery writer, Mark Halliday (Cummings). To secure Margot's money for himself, Tony plans her murder. Hitchcock's sole venture into the 3-D genre. (None of the VHS videos or DVDs appearing here are in 3-D). In an interview with Peter Bogdanovich, Hitchcock remarked of this film, "When your batteries run dry, when you are out creatively, and you have to go on... take a comparatively successful play that requires no great creative effort on your part and make it... I think the whole conception of a play is confinement within the proscenium... In Dial M for Murder I made sure I would go outside as little as possible. I had a real tile floor laid down, the crack under the door, the shadow of the feet, all part of the stage play and I didn't want to lose that." Dial M for Murder was the first of three Hitchcock films starring Kelly, his ideal heroine, a contradiction - at once ice and fire, elegance and sauciness.
Downhill. (American title:
When Boys Leave Home). 8 First screening: 1927. Great Britain. Downhill, made at Gainsborough Studios (UK) in 1927, was written by its star, Ivor Novello, in collaboration with Constance Collier. Released in the United States as When Boys Leave Home. Roddy Berwich (Novello) scores the winning try in an important rugby match at his private school. Later he's made School Captain. But his delight is short-lived, for a local waitress accuses him of misconduct. Out of loyalty to his friend, Tim Wakely (Robin Irvine), Roddy doesn't deny the charge, and is expelled. Worse, his father thinks he must be guilty - so Roddy leaves home.
He finds work as a minor actor in a theater. Things look up when he inherits 30,000 pounds and successfully woos and marries the leading actress (Isabel Jeans). But secretly she keeps up an affair with her leading man (Ian Hunter), and when Roddy's money runs out, discards him. Next he works in a Paris music hall as a gigolo, but quits in disgust. Finally, he ends up delirious in a dockside room in Marseilles. Some sailors take pity on him and ship him back to London. He cuts a shabby figure on arriving home. Meanwhile, his father has learned the truth about the waitress's accusation, and joyfully welcomes his son's return. In an Old Boys' rugby match, Roddy scores another try.
Alfred Hitchcock experimented with some dream sequences by shooting them in super-impositions and blurred images; this was unlike the work of most other directors of that time except possibly the early work of Rene Clair and Abel Gance. Starring Ivor Novello, Isabel Jeans, Lilian Braithwaite, Ian Hunter. Run time: 81:43 minutes. Black and White. Silent.
We possess an excellent copy of Downhill, which has never been released commercially in the United States, has French subtitles, and is thought to be in the public domain. With our state-of-the-art facilities we are offering limited reproductions at DVD $45 + postage. This reproduction is sold collector to collector. The seller owns no rights to this movie and no transfer of rights is given or implied.
9 First screening: August 1927. Gainsborough Pictures (England). 105 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Eliot Stannard, based on the play by Noel Coward. Silent with Musical score. Isabel Jeans, Franklyn Dyall, Eric Bransby Williams, Robin Irvine, Ian Hunter. The circuitous path of a woman's love life leads her from an older abusive husband to an affair with a young painter to her present marriage to a sweet young man who knows nothing of her past. Look for crafted fades and close-ups, and dolly shots that anticipate the modern zoom lens. Even in this "routine" work Hitchcock's dry trickery is evident, for example in the marriage proposal. Hitchcock believed his version of the Coward play was notable for having the worst intertitles the filmmaker ever wrote. This Alfred Hitchcock classic is in the public domain.
9D1 LaserLight DVD 1999 Special Edition. New, never been played. Silent. B&W. DOUBLE FEATURE. Also includes "Blackmail"; B&W. 1929. Includes introduction by Tony Curtis and original theatrical trailer from "Rear Window". Digitally mastered from the best available sources. All codes, will play anywhere in the world. Contains Chapter menus. Menu Languages are English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese. Subtitles in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese. $9.99.
10 First screening: 1930. The first British musical film, consists of a series of all-star vaudeville and review items drawn in part from stage shows then running in London. A couple of the dance numbers have been stencil-colored. The film is hosted in mock-formal vein by comedian Tommy Handley, wearing evening dress, as if it were being transmitted on television from BIP's film studio at Elstree. At one point, Handley reads the weather forecast.
Though Adrian Brunel was the film's supervisory director, Alfred Hitchcock is credited with "sketches and other interpolated items." According to the British Film Institute's Monthly Film Bulletin, November 1975, this means in effect that Hitchcock directed the brief sketch "Thriller," in which Jameson Thomas plays a cuckolded husband, the burlesque of The Taming of the Shrew, which features Donald Calthrop and Anna May Wong, and the scenes of Gordon Harker struggling to tune his home-made television set, watched by Hannah Jones as his wife. Incredibly, some of the segments were in color and the storyline loosely centered around putting together a TV show (when TV was really just science fiction at that time)! Hitchcock had a nostalgia for the music hall, and the film provides a chance to see at least its vestiges; the two numbers sung and danced with a good deal of abandon by Lily Morris for example, or the patter and songs of the Scottish comedian Will Fyffe.
While Alfred Hitchcock's sequences in Elstree Calling can hardly be said to occupy a significant or meaningful place in his peerless career, it is a significant curiosity and many Hitchcock scholars consider any serious Hitchcock collection would be incomplete without it. Made in 1930, it is believed to be in the public domain. UK Comedy / Musical. Runtime: 81:44 minutes. B/W & color w/mono sound.
We possess an excellent copy of Elstree Calling. Reproductions at DVD $35+ postage. This reproduction is sold collector to collector. The seller owns no rights to this movie and no transfer of rights is given or implied.
11 First screening: March 1976. Universal. 120 minutes. color (filmed in Technicolor). PG. Screenplay by Ernest Lehmen, based on the novel "The Rainbird Pattern", by Victor Canning. Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, William Devane. The master's last film. In his final film, Hitchcock was intrigued by narrative structure: How could he get two separate plots and two separate groups of people to come together gradually, inevitably, and naturally? When a wealthy woman unwittingly hires a con man and a phony psychic to find her missing heir, the results are diabolically funny in Hitchcock's tongue-in-cheek mystery thriller. Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris star as a conniving couple plotting to bilk an old lady out of her fortune by pretending to find her long-lost nephew. Meanwhile, the nephew, a larcenous jeweler and his beautiful girlfriend (Karen Black) have kidnapped a rich Greek shipping magnate for ransom. Together they're on a non-stop merry-go-round of mystery, murder and mayhem that combines suspense and comedy for unforgettable entertainment.
The Farmer's Wife.
12 First screening: March 1928. British International Pictures (BIP). 100 minutes. B/W. Silent. NR. Screenplay by Hitchcock, based on the play by Eden Philpotts. Jameson Thomas, Lilian Hall-Davis, Gordon Harker. A recently widowed wealthy English farmer begins entertaining wedding again. With the help of his housemaid, he considers his local marriage options and creates a list of potential brides - but wait! The housemaid has ideas of her own! Hitchcock considered his version of Philpotts's enormously successful comedy dull, "a photograph of a play with lots of titles instead of dialogue." However, the movie was sufficiently well received to be remade as a sound film in 1940. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
13 First screening: August 1940. Walter Wanger/ United Artists. 120 minutes. B/W. NR. Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders, Robert Benchley, Edmund Gwenn. Screenplay by Charles Bennett, Joan Harrison, James Hilton and Robert Benchley. Hitchcock: "When I am given a locale - and this is very important in my mind - it's got to be used, and used dramatically. We're in Holland. What have they got in Holland? Windmills..." Hitchcock originally offered the title role to Gary Cooper and felt he was turned down because Americans treat the "thriller-suspense" film as second-rate, while in England "it's part of literature." McCrea got the role, and the location work was done in Amsterdam. Getting there from London during wartime was hazardous and the first shipment of equipment was torpedoed by the Germans. It is said that Goebbels brought in a copy of Foreign Correspondent through Switzerland and enjoyed it enormously. On the eve of war, American newspaperman Johnnie Jones is assigned to Europe. In London he talks to an elderly Dutch diplomat, one of the few people who might yet prevent the war - but who will shortly be kidnapped and tortured while a double is assassinated in Amsterdam as a decoy. Johnnie attends a luncheon organized by the head of the Universal Peace Party, Fisher, whose daughter he eventually falls in love with and becomes engaged. Neither knows that her father is a renegade. When war comes Fisher heads for American, taking his daughter with him. Then ensues drama on - and above - the high sea.
14 First screening: May 1972. Universal. 116 minutes. color (filmed in Technicolor). R. Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Alec McCowen, Billie Whitelaw. Screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, based on the novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square, by Arthur La Bern. Hitchcock goes mad with this blackly comic story about a six criminal - the "Necktie Killer" - plaguing post-Carnaby London. Naturally, an innocent man who is suspected by police as the murderer must fight to nab the real perpetrator and clear his name. Working with playwright Shaffer, then celebrated for Sleuth, Hitchcock devised a witty thriller about a psychotic killer and the man he eagerly frames for his crimes. Although there were dissenters who felt that the style and tone did not redeem the representation of the murders, the majority of critics welcomed Hitchcock at 72 back to his breathless practice of the macabre.
15 First screening: February 1953. Warner Brothers / First National. 95 minutes. B/W. NR. Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne. Screenplay by George Tabori and William Archibald, based on the play Nos deux Consciences, by Paul Anthelme. A compelling, starkly photographed Hitchcock drama about a priest who hears a confession from a murderer, and later finds himself accused of the crime. He is then torn between his vows of silence, and his need to clear himself of the charge. At the time of release the film got mixed reviews but failed at the box office. Francois Truffaut asks of I Confess, set in Quebec City, "Isn't it a rather formidable coincidence that the murderer who kills a man in order to rob him should happen to confess his crime to the very priest who was being blackmailed by the dead man?... It's the height of the exceptional." Hitchcock replies, "Let's say it comes under the heading of old-fashioned plot... I believe there are no more plots in recent French films." The priest, of course, cannot share the murderer's confession with the police, and is himself accused of the crime.
16 First screening: May 1939. Mayflower Pictures. 108 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Sidney Gilliat, Joan Harrison and J. B. Priestley, based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara, Leslie Banks, Robert Newton, Emlyn Williams. Set in 19th-century Cornwall, this tale of a young woman who visits her aunt only to discover she's residing in a haven for throat-slashing pirates, "wreckers" who with false lights enticed ships to break onto rocks so that their cargo became booty, is one of Hitchcock's lesser known films. It was produced by Charles Laughton who played the village parson, and featured Maureen O'Hara in one of her earlier roles. Hitchcock thought an audience would immediately calculate that you can't fit a big actor into a small role. "You see, this was like doing a who-done-it and making Charles Laughton the butler." This was the last film Hitchcock made in Britain, and he did it while waiting to begin his contract with David O. Selznick in mid-1939. Like his first American film, Rebecca, it was adapted from a novel by du Maurier. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
Juno and the Paycock.
17 First screening: June 1929. British International Pictures (BIP). 85 minutes. B/W. N R. Sara Allgood, Edward Chapman, Sidney Morgan, John Longden, Barry Fitzgerald. Screenplay by Hitchcock, Alma Reville, and Sean O'Casey, based on the play by O'Casey. Dublin in the 1920s. Hitchcock filmed this Sean O'Casey famous play because he liked its blend of humor and tragedy. One of the rare occasions in which Hitchcock adapted a substantial literary work rather than a light novel or play. Admiring the shifts from humor to tragedy, the changing mood, and the well-conceived characters, Hitchcock made Juno and the Paycock because "it was one of my favorite plays so I thought I had to do it." A critic at the time ranked it "amongst the screen masterpieces of the world". A different kind of tribute was paid the film when a print was burned by Irish nationalists in the streets of Limerick in 1930.
The Lady Vanishes.
18 First screening: August 1938. Gainsborough Pictures. 97 minutes. B/W. NR. Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty, Cecil Parker, Mary Clare. Screenplay by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder, based on the novel The Wheel Spins, by Ethel Lina White. Iris Henderson, vacationing in central Europe, is about to return home to London and be married. At the railway station, she is peaking with a kindly middle-aged governess when a falling window box knocks her out. When she wakes up, she's on the train with the governess. The governess, Miss Froy disappears - and no one seems to have ever seen her. And the search is on! Critical and popular acclaim was enormous. Hitchcock won "Best Direction" in the New York Film Critics Awards for the movie. In 1938 Hitchcock, after he had won the New York Film Critics' Award for his direction of The Lady Vanishes, announced that this "will be the last secret agent picture I shall make for a very long time." The film, whose action takes place on and around a train, was one of Francois Truffaut's favorites. He admitted to seeing it sometimes twice in one week since it was (and still is) often shown in Paris. "Since I know it by heart I tell myself each time that I'm going to ignore the plot, to examine the train and see if it's really moving, or to look at the transparencies, or to study the camera movements inside the compartments. But each time I become so absorbed..." This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
19 First screening: January 1944. Twentieth Century-Fox. 96 minutes. B/W. NR. Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak, John Hodiak, Hume Cronyn. Screenplay by Jo Swerling, based on an original subject by John Steinbeck. When a freighter is sunk by a U-boat in the mid-Atlantic, the U-boat is itself hit. Survivors from the freighter gather in an open lifeboat. They number eight. Soon they are joined by the U-boat's sole survivor, it commander Willi. They have a broken compass and limited rations, and hope they are heading for Bermuda. In fact Willi, who secretly has his own compass, is steering them towards a German supply ship. Hitchcock told Peter Bogdanovich, "It was really a film without scenery. I made it for the challenge. And it was topical... I appeared to make the Nazi stronger than anyone else because in the analogy of war, he was the victor at the time. The others, representing the democracies, hadn't gotten together yet..." A key Hitchcock film.
20 First screening: September, 1926. Gainsborough Pictures. 100 minutes. B/W. Silent. NR. Ivor Novello, Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney, Malcolm Keen. Screenplay by Eliot Stannard and Hitchcock, based on the novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes. Hitchcock's classic thriller of a boarding house lodger suspected of being the notorious Avenger who has slain 7 fairhaired girls, and only on Tuesday nights! While Jack the Ripper terrorizes London, a landlady comes to believe that one of her tenants is the killer. Makes good use of two of Hitchcock's favorite themes - mistaken identity and mob pursuit. Hitchcock's third film is the first that the filmmaker thought to carry his distinctive signature. Hitchcock transformed a stagebound play into a fluid, suspenseful, and atmospheric work. One of The Master's finest efforts. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
Lord Camber's Ladies
21 First screening: 1932. Produced by Alfred Hitchcock. Directed by Benn Wolf Levy. 80 minutes. Not rated. Drama, Romance. Starring Gerald du Maurier, Gertrude Lawrence, Benita Hume, Nigel Bruce, Clare Greet, A. Bromley Davenport. In this drama the owner of a flower shop falls in love with one of her patrons. Unfortunately, he is married to a shrewish actress and cannot get out of the marriage. The distraught woman then leaves her shop to become a nurse. Trouble ensues when the actress suddenly appears, accuses the nurse of fooling around with her husband and dies leaving the nurse and the husband to be charged with murder. Fortunately, they are found innocent and they are free to fall in love at last!
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934).
22 First screening: December 1934. Gaumont-British Picture Corp. 85 minutes. B/W. NR. Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre. Screenplay by A. R. Rawlinson, Edwin Greenwood, and Emlyn Williams, based on an original subject by D. B. Wyndham-Lewis and Charles Bennett. Bob and wife Jill dine with a French skier, who is secretly an anti-terrorist agent.. When he is shot, before dying he tells Jill of the planned assassination of a foreign diplomat in London. They are slipped a note to keep quiet. Then their teenage daughter is kidnapped. Unable to go to the police the start their own search to find their daughter. You take it from there! Its thrills, humor and rapid mood-switches make for great entertainment. It was the first of six British films that by 1939 made Hitchcock one of the best known filmmakers in the world. Hitchcock himself remade the film in 1956. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).
23 First screening: May 1956. Paramount/ FilWite Productions. 120 minutes. color / VistaVision. PG. James Stewart, Doris Day, Hilary Brooke. Screenplay by John Michael Hayes, based on a story by Charles Bennett and D. B. Wyndham-Lewis. Ben McKenna, a surgeon from Indianapolis, and wife Jo, a former musical comedy singer, holiday in Marrakesh with young son Hank. On a bus, they meet Louis Bernard, who is secretly working for the Deuxieme Bureau. Later, the McKennas attend an Arab restaurant where an English couple, the Draytons introduce themselves. The next day Bernard, wearing Arab robes, is knifed in the marketplace; dying, he whispers to Ben sketchy details of a planned assassination in London. Then, to silence Ben, Hank is kidnapped by the Draytons, whom the McKennas chase to London in their quest to rescue Hank. Que sera, sera... Hitchcock's only remake. Peter Bogdanovich asked the filmmaker why he returned to this material after 22 years. "I felt that for an American audience, it contained sentimental elements that would be more interesting than some of the others. The second The Man Who Knew Too Much was more carefully worked than the first one." Shot in part in Marrakech and starring a plucky Day opposite Stewart, the remake also involves a murder - this time a stabbing - a kidnapping, and a concert at Albert Hall that has to be stopped before the cymbals clash...
24 First screening: January 1928. British International Pictures (BIP). 100 minutes. B/W. Silent. NR. Carl Brisson, Malcolm Keen, Anny Ondra. Screenplay by Eliot Stannard, based on the novel by Hall Caine. Poor fisherman Pete (Carl Brisson) is in love with Kate (Anny Ondra) but her father Old Caesar (Randie Ayrton) will not consent to their marriage. Pete leaves for Africa to make his fortune and asked friend Philip to take care of Kate until his return. Kate and Philip fall in love. News comes that Pete was killed and they plan their lives together. The news was not true, however, and Pete returns home a wealthy man. Her father agrees to their marriage and neither she nor Philip have it in them to break Pete's heart so they marry. Kate is still in love with Philip. She has a daughter. Kate decides to leave Pete and the baby. However, Philip is about to become the island's chief magistrate and is unwilling to give up his career for her. Frustrated, she returns to Pete to take the baby, telling him that he is not the father, but he refuses to believe her or hand the child over. Distraught, Kate leaves and attempts to commit suicide by throwing herself off the quay, a crime on the Isle of Man. Kate is brought to trial on the first day that Philip serves as Deemster (chief magistrate). He is reluctant to sentence her, and when Pete appears in the courtroom to plead for his wife, he agrees to hand her over to him. Kate refuses to go, and Old Caesar, gets up and condemns Philip for being the "other man". Philip admits this and leaves the court. In the final scene, Philp and Kate prepare to leave the Isle of Man and come to Pete's house to pick up the baby. In a shot reminiscent of the theater, Kate picks up the child, while Philip and Pete stand at opposite ends of the room. She brings the child over to Pete to say one last goodbye, and he breaks down, having lost everything. Philip and Kate leave the cottage to the jeers of the villagers, who have been watching the scene. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
25 First Screening: June 1964. Universal / Geoffrey Stanley. 130 minutes. color. PG. Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker, Martin Gabel. Screenplay by Jay Presson Allen, based on the novel by Winston Graham. Marnie Edgar is a fly-by-night thief and a loner. As "Mary Taylor" she obtains clerical work with a Philadelphia publishing company owned by Mark Rutland, a young widower. Sensing a resemblance between this auburn-haired woman and a brunette who had earlier robbed the company's accountant, he keeps an interested eye on her. When Marnie empties the Rutland safe and disappears, he tracks her to a riding stables in Maryland, then virtually blackmails her into marrying him. But the resulting shipboard honeymoon proves disastrous as Marnie is both deeply disturbed and frigid; she attempts suicide. Later, back in Philadelphia, Mark's sister-in-law Li does some snooping, informing Mark that Marnie's mother is still alive, and lives in Baltimore... On the surface it is a perverse love story with little suspense played against sets that are at once sumptuous and artificial. Although the film seems richer now than it did more than 35 years ago, it still is puzzling. Not popular with critics nor a box-office success initially, "Marnie" has grown well with time and is now a highly regarded Hitchcock classic.
Mary (Sir John greift ein).
26 German version of "Murder!". Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. First screening 1930. Great Britain. 80 minutes. Screenplay by Alma Reville, based on the novel and play "Enter Sir John", by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson. Adapted by Hitchcock and Walter Mycroft. Cinematography by John J. Cox. With Alfred Abel, Olga Tchekowa, Paul Graetz, Lotte Stein, and E. Arenot. Hitchcock, blaming himself for not rewriting according to the nuances of German, felt Mary not to be the success of its English counterpart. In German without English subtitles. Alfred Abel plays the role Herbert Marshall played in "Murder!".
Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
27 First screening: January 1941. RKO Radio Pictures. 95 minutes. B/W. NR. Carole Lombard, Robert Montgomery, Gene Raymond, Jack Carson, Sam Harris. Screenplay by Norman Krasna. In spite of its stiletto edge this screwball comedy is an atypical Hitchcock film. Lawyer David Smith and wife Ann live in a Park Avenue apartment and sometimes quarrel, as married couples will. So far they've always made up. David learns that a technicality means that their marriage is not legal. Unknown to him, Ann also finds out. When, without saying why, he decides to romance her all over again, the plan backfires because Ann, insecure and fiery, resents being a potential "squeezed lemon." She throws him out. Now he must really win her back but she has tasted independence. The film played to sell-out crowds at Radio City, and became a solid commercial hit on its general release. Critics did not like it. Hitchcock said he made the film "as a gesture to Carole Lombard. The script was already written and I just came in and did it."
28 First screening: October 1930. Great Britain. British International Pictures (BIP). 100 minutes. B/W. NR. Norah Baring, Herbert Marshall, Miles Mander, Esme Percy. Screenplay by Alma Reville, based on the novel and play Enter Sir John, by Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson. A jurist(Marshall) is convinced that a woman convicted of murder is innocent. His untiring investigation slowly unearths the real killer in typical Hitchcock style. This was an early field day for Hitchcock and his evolving ideas about the blurring of opposites: reality and illusion, guilt and innocence, observing and doing, men and women. Of Murder! Hitchcock said "it was the first important who-done-it picture I made. It's the first time I ever used the voice over the face - without the lips moving - for stream-of-consciousness." Some critics considered the movie Hitchcock's masterpiece among his early films. The director also shot a German version of the film, called "Mary". This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
North By Northwest.
29 First screening: July 1959. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 136 minutes. color / VistaVision. NR. Screenplay by Ernest Lehman. Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau. When foreign agents mistake Madison Avenue man Roger Thornhill for "George Kaplan" - a non-existent decoy agent - they forcibly take him to a Long Island mansion, where Philip Vandamm orders him killed. Managing to escape, Thornhill seeks information at the United Nations from a delegate who is promptly knifed, for which he is blamed. He heads for Chicago, meeting an obliging platinum blonde, Eve Kendall, who unknown to Thornhill, is both Vandamm's mistress and an American counteragent. The chase goes to a prairie crossroads and climaxing at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota. Breathtaking adventure and wit. In response to Peter Bogdanovich's query about this being the "final word on the chase film," Hitchcock responded, "It is. It's the American 'The 39 Steps' - I'd thought about it for a long time. It's a fantasy. The whole thing is epitomized in the title - there is no such thing as north-by-northwest on the compass."
30 First screening: July 1946. RKO Radio Pictures. 100 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Ben Hecht, based on a subject by Hitchcock. Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern. Alicia Huberman (Bergman), the daughter of a convicted traitor, has a reputation for loose living. Government agent Devlin (Grant) offers her an unspecified assignment in Brazil. She accepts and they leave immediately for Rio where within days they fall in love. Now for Alicia's new assignment - renew relations with a former suitor, whose home shelters Nazi scientists and plotters. Both Devlin and Alicia are torn, but accede. Alex (Rains) and Alicia get married - to the displeasure of his viperish mother. The plot deepens... "Notorious" is considered by many to be the most lucid of Hitchcock's films. It was a popular film and critically successful. Said John Russell Taylor - "Notorious is one of Hitch's most romantic, most simple, most secret films. This is the old love-and-duty theme. Grant's job is to get Bergman in bed with Rains, the other man. It's ironic really... and Rains (the villain) was sympathetic because he's the victim of a confidence trick and we always have sympathy for the victim no matter how foolish he is."
31 First screening: July 1932. British International Pictures (BIP). 65 minutes. B/W. NR. Leon M. Lion, Anne Grey, John Stuart, Donald Calthrop. Screenplay by Alma Reville, Hitchcock, and Rodney Ackland, based on a play by J. Jefferson Farjeon. Hitchcock uses a staircase quite inventively to create a series of emotional and dramatic thresholds from which to tell a story about a policeman, a hobo, and a gang of jewel thieves. Hitch turns to models to create an exciting chase-climax between a train and a bus. The best things about "Number Seventeen" are its liveliness and wit, and the imaginative chase scene. While Hitchcock was not fond of the picture, the chase between a train and a bus is sustained and brilliant. Many of Hitchcock's favorite themes are here, including false appearances and mistaken identities. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
The Paradine Case.
32 First screening: December 1947. Selznick International / Vanguard Films. 132 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by David O. Selznick and Alma Reville (adaptation), based on the novel by Robert Hichens. Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Charles Laughton, Ethel Barrymore, Charles Coburn, Louis Jourdan, Leo G. Carroll, John Williams. In post-war London coldly beautiful Maddalena Paradine is charged with having poisoned her blind husband, Colonel Paradine. The family solicitor engages a famous barrister, Anthony Keane, to defend her. Keane is happily married to Gay, but from the moment he visits Mrs. Paradine in Holloway Prison he becomes infatuated with his client and convinced of her innocence. Hitchcock described The Paradine Case as "a love story embedded in the emotional quicksand of a murder trial." Selznick controlled the casting and wrote the screenplay. Hitch thought the woman's immorality would have been better represented had the object of her lust been a "manure-smelling stable hand" rather than Louis Jordan. He also believed that the character played by Peck would have fallen harder for the femme fatale had he been played by someone less earthy and more dignified.
The Pleasure Garden.
33Alfred Hitchcock's first job as director (aka "Irrgarten der Leidenschaft"). UK/Germany, 1925, Black & White, A Gainsborough Picture. Screenplay by Eliot Stannard, based on a novel by Oliver Sandys. Stars Carmelita Geraghty, Miles Mander, Nita Naldi and Virginia Valli. The Pleasure Garden was a co-production between the Brits and the Germans and was shot in Munich, largely at the Emelka Studios there. When director Graham Cutts did not want to work with Hitchcock any longer, producer Michael Balcon promoted Hitchcock. The young Hitchcock directed his first film. It is undoubtedly this experience, plus a brief stint at Germany's UFA studios as an assistant director that account for the Expressionistic form that a lot of the master's films rely on (the future Mrs. Hitchcock, Alma Reville, assisted with this production). With this movie Hitchcock's directorial career was on its way. The Pleasure Garden tells of Patsy Brand (Virginia Valli), a dancer in the chorus of The Pleasure Garden theater, who befriends Jill Cheyne (Carmelita Geraghty), just up from the country, and helps her get work at the theater. Jill proves talented but ruthless, determined to be a star. Engaged to Hugh Fielding (John Stuart), who is about to go to Asia for two years, she invites the attentions of wealthy admirers who may help her, including a supposed Russian prince (C. Falkenburg).
Meanwhile, Patsy meets Hugh's friend Levett (Miles Mander), who smooth-talks her into marrying him. They spend their honeymoon at Lake Como in Italy. Afterwards, both Levett and Hugh leave for the Tropics, where Levett begins living with a native girl (Nita Naldi). Patsy learns the truth about her husband when, hearing that he's ill with fever, she rushes to join him. Jill is about to marry the Russian, and refuses to help with the fare. Confronted, Levett becomes half-mad and drowns the native girl. Later, he lunges at Patsy with a scimitar, but is shot by the local doctor. Patsy finally finds love and consolation with Hugh, nursing him through an attack of fever and returning with him to London.
The Pleasure Garden has never been released commercially on video and is believed to be in the public domain. We proudly possess an excellent copy of this rare Hitchcock classic:
From the German National Film Archives. Excellent VHS SP quality, longer version - 67:54 minutes, silent - with accompanying Piano and Ensemble soundtrack - German subtitles. This is likely the best reproduction of The Pleasure Garden available. With our state-of-the-art equipment we have available a limited number of reproductions. Comes in collector's case. The cost is DVD $45 + postage. This reproduction is sold collector to collector. The seller owns no rights to this movie and no transfer of rights is given or implied.
Version II:The Rohauer Version. 60:51 minutes, silent - with organ accompaniment, composed and performed by Lee Ervin at Carnegie Hall Cinema theater, New York City.
34 First screening: June 1960. Paramount/ Shamley Productions. 109 minutes. B/W. Rated R. Screenplay by Joseph Stefano, based on the novel by Robert Bloch. Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, Patricia Hitchcock. In Phoenix, Marion Crane steals $40,000 from her boss, then drives towards California. She just wants to marry Sam Loomis, but her mad act of theft will prove fatal. Exhausted from driving, she stops at a lonely motel run by the youthful Norman Bates. As she eats supper, he tells her that he lives with his mother, an invalid, in the brooding old house behind the motel. Later, as Marion takes a shower before retiring... well you take it from there. Psycho exploded notions of acceptability. By surprising the audience with such ferocity, and then sustaining an intense suspense for the hour following, it may have even changed the way audiences reacted to film. It certainly turned the familiar world topsy-turvy and it did so with a salutary wink. Hitchcock, aware that the maverick film company American - International was turning out profit-making, inexpensive horrorfilms aimed at a youth market, decided he too would give the public what it wanted. He made his horror film inexpensively, deftly, and superlatively, keeping the narrative secret not only from the press, but for the first half hour of the film from his audiences, who had no idea what would happen to them once Leigh stepped into the shower. Incredible cast - fascinating, and historic movie! Recently selected by the American Film Institute (AFI) as the Number One thriller in the history of motion pictures.
35 First screening: July 1954. Paramount / Patron. 112 minutes. color. PG. Screenplay by John Michael Hayes, based on the short story by Cornell Woolrich. James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr as Lars Thorwald. Photographer L. B. Jefferies finds himself confined by a broken leg to a wheelchair in his Greenwich Village apartment. Each day, and often into the night, he has little to do but gaze out of his rear window at the activities of his neighbors in the surrounding apartments. Jeff's main visitors are his fiancee Lisa, a high-fashion model, and Stella, a wiry insurance company nurse. When Jeff says he suspects that his neighbor directly opposite, costume jewelry salesman Lars Thorwald has murdered his wife, no one pays much attention at first. Then things really change... Hitchcock explains that Rear Window, one of Truffaut's favorite Hitchcock films, presented "the possibility of doing an absolutely cinematic film. You have an immobilized man looking out. That's one part of the film. The second part shows what he sees and the third part shows how he reacts." The favorite of more Hitchcock fans than any other!
36 First screening: March 1940. Selznick International Pictures. 130 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood, Joan Harrison, Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan, based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson, Nigel Bruce, Leo G. Carroll. Maxim de Winter's beautiful wife Rebecca had drowned and he want to "blot out the past." He meets a young woman, the future Mrs. de Winter. Maxim proposes and the couple go home to his mansion, Manderley. The housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, was devoted to Rebecca and quickly shows her resentment of the new Mrs. de Winter. In his first year in America, Hitchcock made two films, Rebecca and Foreign Correspondent, both of which were nominated for Academy Awards. Rebecca won, and Hitchcock immediately became one of Hollywood's leading filmmakers. Hitch did not consider Rebecca, a lush David O. Selznick production, really his, but thought it "a Bronte thing really, a romantic Victorian novel in modern dress." The film was a tremendous success with the American public and critics alike.
Rich and Strange. (American title: East of Shanghai).
37 First screening: March 1932. British International Pictures (BIP). Great Britain. 92 minutes. NR. Screenplay by Val Valentine, Alma Reville, and Hitchcock. Based on the novel by Dale Collins. Henry Kendall, Joan Barry, Betty Amann. Young, bored marrieds inherit money and set off on a trip around the world, only to discover - after having respective affairs - that money can't buy happiness. Part silent, part talkie. Neither critics nor the public much like "Rich and Strange" when it appeared, but Hitchcock always retained a fondness for it. Hitchcock noted, "It wasn't a thriller. It was just an adventure story. A young couple take a trip around the world. I actually sent a crew around the world to cover everything. There is an amusing sequence at the end. The cargo ship is wrecked... Then, after it's all over, they meet me in the lounge. This is my most devastating appearance in a picture. They tell me their story and I say, 'No, I don't think it will make a movie." And it didn't". This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
38 First screening: October 1927. British International Pictures (BIP). 110 minutes. B/W. Silent. Screenplay by Hitchcock. NR. Starring Carl Brisson, Lilian Hall-Davis, Ian Hunter, Gordon Harker. This tale of two boxers in love with the same girl includes an elaborate montage sequence that was greeted with applause at its first screenings. Hitchcock told Peter Bogdanovich, "I used to go to the Albert Hall. I think the thing, strangely enough, that fascinated me about boxing in those days was that the English audience would go all dressed up in black tie to sit around the ring. It wasn't the boxing I was interested in... all the details connected with it. Like pouring champagne over the head of the boxer at the thirteenth round..." A fast paced thriller. The film was a success with the critics but not at the box office. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
39 First screening: August 1948. Transatlantic Pictures. 80 minutes. color. PG. Screenplay by Arthur Laurents and Hume Cronyn, based on the play by Patrick Hamilton. Starring James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Joan Chandler, Cedric Hardwicke, Constance Collier. One afternoon, in an elegant upstairs New York apartment, a Harvard undergraduate is strangled to death with a piece of rope by two killers scarcely older than he is and influenced by the Superman ideas of Nietzsche. They put the body in a chest. Then, to crown their demonstration of "superiority," they hold a party in the same room. Those attending include some of the dead student's family and friends and publisher Rupert Cadell, who had been their housemaster at prep school, and has influenced their thinking. Cadell soon feels that something is amiss... In a 1948 interview for Popular Photography magazine, Hitchcock called Rope his most exciting picture to make. "A long time ago I said I would like to film in two hours a fictional story that actually happens in two hours with no time lapses... in which the camera never stops... In Rope I got my wish... the entire action takes place between the setting of the sun and the hour of darkness. There are a murder, a party, mounting tension, detailed psychological characterization, the gradual discovery of the crime and the solution." Rope was Hitchcock's first Technicolor feature and the first film he made from a screenplay - written by Broadway veteran Laurents - that was not divided into scenes. The film appears to be made in one continuous take.
Sabotage. (American title: The Woman Alone).
40 First Screening: December 1936. Gaumont-British Picture Corp. 76 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Charles Bennett, Alma Reville, Ian Hay and Helen Simpson, based on the novel The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. Sylvia Sidney, Oscar Homolka, John Loder. A saboteur briefly plunges Long into darkness. The man responsible, Verloc, returns home to the shabby East End cinema he runs with his wife. The wife becomes friendly with Ted from the greengrocer's shop next door, who is actually an undercover Scotland Yard man. and she begins to suspect her husband is the saboteur. Mrs. Verloc's young brother carries a package across London; he doesn't know what the audience does - that it is timed to explode. He dawdles, he boards a crowded bus... For this extended sequence Hitchcock built London "in a field... True I still had my traffic and pedestrians but I could control them..." Although Sabotage is freely adapted from Conrad's novel, The Secret Agent, it should not be confused either with Hitchcock's previous film, The Secret Agent, nor his later American work Saboteur. Great movie. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
41 First screening: April 1942. A Frank Lloyd Production / Universal Pictures. 109 minutes. B/W. PG. Screenplay by Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison and Dorothy Parker, based on an original subject by Hitchcock. Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane, Otto Kruger, Norman Lloyd. A young worker in a government aircraft factory in California, Barry Kane, is a horrified witness to the death of a friend in a fire caused by sabotage. Barry guesses that a worker named Fry is responsible, but Fry has disappeared. Barry himself comes under suspicion, so, remembering an address on an envelope dropped by Fry, he hitchhikes to a ranch owned by a Charles Tobin. The truth is that Barry has stumbled onto a network of fifth columnists, and Tobin is one of its leaders. Eluding Tobin, he is joined by Patricia and seeks out a ghost town called Soda City. There he encounters other saboteurs, tells them Tobin has sent him, and rides with them to New York. Famous confrontation on the Statue of Liberty. During the making of the film Pearl Harbor was bombed and America entered World War II.
42 First screening: January 1936. Gaumont-British Picture Corp. 83 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Charles Bennett, Ian Hay and Jesse Lasky, Jr., based on the play by Campbell Dixon, adapted from the novel Ashenden, by W. Somerset Maugham. Madeleine Carroll, John Gielgud, Peter Lorre, Robert Young, Lilli Palmer, Michael Redgrave. London, 1916: A distinguished soldier and novelist, with two assistants, is sent to Geneva to kill an unknown German agent who is leaving for Arabia. Then the wrong man is assassinated! Then the German spy is among the group! Hold on tight for this one! Already a celebrated stage actor, Gielgud, despite misgivings about acting in films, allowed Hitchcock to woo him for the role of John Brodie, a World War I secret agent, who takes the alias Richard Ashenden. Secret Agent is replete with false and mistaken identities, fatal blunders, and existential crisis. A superior spy film by Hitchcock. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
Shadow Of A Doubt.
43 First screening: January 1943. Universal / Skirball Productions. B&W. NR. Screenplay by Thornton Wilder, Alma Reville and Sally Benson, based on an original story by Gordon McDonnell. Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Hume Cronyn, Wallace Ford. Hitchcock's personal favorite of all his films. Wealthy Charles Oakley travels by train to Santa Rosa, Northern California, to stay with his sister Emma and her family. Emma's husband, Joe, works in the local bank. His hobby is reading detective stories, which he discusses with next-door neighbor Herb. Emma's daughter, the girl Charlie, feels that her family is in a rut, and hopes that Uncle Charlie, her namesake, can help them. But the teenager is in for a shock. Her uncle is the Merry Widow Murderer! Hmmm... Said Hitchcock - "This was a most satisfying picture for me because for once there was time to get characters into it." Shadow of a Doubt is a meticulous representation of small town life and also portrays the dread flowing beneath the picture postcard surface.
The Skin Game.
44 First screening: June 1931. British International Pictures (BIP). 89 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Hitchcock and Alma Reville, based on the play by John Galsworthy. Edmund Gwenn, Jill Edmond, John Longden, Helen Haye. A "skin game" means a swindle, trick, or scam. The movie starts with Hornblower buying property from the proud, proper English landowner Hillcrest, assuring him that the tenant farmers would be allowed to stay. Soon Hornblower evicts them to build factories, because he is a man of progress and industry. Hillcrest is outraged, and sets out to stop Hornblower's efforts to buy up more land. Galsworthy's play about feuding neighbors had been filmed as a silent in 1921. In this, Hitchcock's sound remake, Gwenn, who played Hornblower ten years earlier, returns in the same role.
45 First screening: October 1945. Selznick International. 110 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Ben Hecht, Angus Machail, suggested by The House of Dr. Edwardes by Francis Beeding. Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Rhonda Fleming, Leo G. Carroll, Norman Lloyd, Wallace Ford. Green Manors, Vermont, a mental hospital is headed by Dr. Murchison, who is about to retire. His young successor, Dr. Edwardes, arrives and promptly begins an affair with the brilliant but hitherto rather cold Dr. Petersen. She soon detects that her lover, though he's a medical doctor, isn't Edwardes, but an amnesiac, J. B., who may have killed Edwardes. In the original book a lunatic is put in charge of an asylum. Hitchcock wanted something "more sensible" and asked Hecht, "who was in constant touch with prominent psychoanalysts," to provide some psychological basis for the melodrama. What emerged according to Hitchcock was "just another manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis." Spellbound is noteworthy for the collaboration between Hitchcock and Salvador Dali, who Hitchcock asked to design the vivid dream sequences. In "Spellbound", Hitchcock and screenwriter Ben Hecht set out to make the first Hollywood film about psychoanalysis.
46 First screening: February 1950. Warner Brothers/ First National. 110 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Whitfield Cook and Alma Reville, based on a anovel by Selwyn Jepson. Starring Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Michael Wilding, Richard Todd, Alastair Sim, Patricia Hitchcock. Eve Gill is a student at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. A friend Jonathan, a chorus dancer, asks her to shelter him from the police. It seems that his mistress has killed her no-good husband and he is suspected. Eve hides Jonathan in the home of her father. She meets Inspector Wilfred Smith, a Scotland Yard detective assigned to the case, who soon falls in love with her. Naturally this causes complications, to say the least... Hitchcock tried to get Wyman to look homely, but with Dietrich as co-star, Wyman resisted and kept making herself look glamorous. This subverted the story. However, what really did the film in, according to Hitchcock, was that it broke an unwritten law: "The more successful the villains, the more successful the picture," for in Stage Fright the villains themselves were frightened.
Strangers On A Train.
47 First screening: June 1951. Warner Brothers / First National. 100 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde and Whitfield Cook, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith. Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Patricia Hitchcock. Professional tennis player Guy Haines wants to divorce the trampish Miriam so that he can marry a senator's daughter, Anne Morton. On a train from Washington, D.C., Guy encounters Bruno Anthony, a rich young eccentric. Bruno suggests they "swap murders"; he'll kill Miriam if Guy will kill Bruno's hated father. Guy merely laughs, and alights. But Miriam again refuses to divorce him, and is later found strangled at a fair. Guy is unable to give the police a firm alibi for the time of the murder, and soon comes under pressure from Bruno, the realkiller, to complete their so-called bargain. Incredible climax on a carousel. The film marks not only Hitchcock's spectacular return to form, but the beginning of his collaboration with cameraman Robert Burks who, until his accidental death after Marnie,
48 First screening: September 1941. RKO Pictures. 100 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Samson Raphaelson, Joan Harrison and Alma Reville, based on the novel Before the Fact by Francis Iles. Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame May Whitty, Leo G. Carroll. A train enters a tunnel. In the dark, Johnny Aysgarth brushes against the leg of a stranger, Lina. He eventually is attracted to her and proceeds to sweep her off her feet. Against her father's wishes they marry and settle near the Sussex coast. In the ensuing months Lina learns much about her husband that deeply disturbs her, including his capacity to lie, embezzle, and perhaps even to murder. She even begins to fear for her life. When "Suspicion" was released it was an immediate huge box-office success. Hitchcock thought Suspicion to be the second English picture he made in Hollywood because "the actors, the atmosphere, and the novel on which it's based were all British."
The 39 Steps.
49 First screening: September 1935. Gaumont-British Picture Corp. 81 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Charles Bennettand Ian Hay based on the novel by John Buchan. Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Peggy Ashcroft, Helen Haye. The classic Hitchcock thriller of a man on vacation who becomes embroiled in a spy hunt. A classic chase film, a fast-moving entertainment that leaps from one incident to another; in many ways it anticipates North by Northwest. One of Hitchcock's great crowd-pleasers and a considerable box office success. Peter Bogdanovich asked Hitchcock why he always has the hero fleeing from both the police and the criminals. He replied, "The audience must be in tremendous sympathy with the man on the run. But the basic reason is that the audience will wonder 'Why doesn't he go to the police?' Well, the police are after him, so he can't go to them, can he?" John Russell Taylor in The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock observes that the "MacGuffin," the irrelevant but necessary reason for the brouhaha, seemed "to have entered Hitchcock's vocabulary with The 39 Steps." This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.
To Catch A Thief.
50 First screening: July 1955. Paramount. 97 minutes. color / VistaVision. NR. Screenplay by John Michael Hayes, based on a novel by David Dodge. Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams. American John Robie, a retired cat burglar, has never married and now raises flowers and grapes on the French Riviera. A recent outbreak of jewel robberies makes the police suspect Robie of breaking his parole, but he avoids being taken in. He feels he must catch the real thief and he and an insurance agent with Lloyds of London set a trap in Cannes. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly... ah, me... Hitchcock's first film shot in France, on the Riviera, is a champagne romance between a retired jewel thief and a woman who loves the idea that her man may be the criminal. Hitchcock, Grant, and Kelly so enjoyed making of this film that the director, usually in total control, allowed his cast latitude to improvise dialogue, and playfully pushed the metaphor for sexual congress so outrageously that from this movie on, fireworks have meant only one thrilling thing.
51 First screening: December 1969. Universal. 126 minutes. color. NR. Frederick Stafford, John Forsythe, Dany Robin. Screenplay by Samuel Taylor, based on the novel by Leon Uris. Leo Uris' spy novel, Topaz, was on the national best seller list for an incredible 50 straight weeks. And in 1969, the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock brought this intricate thriller to the screen. John Forsythe stars as an American CIA agent who learns of Cuban missiles and a NATO spy by the code name of TOPAZ from a defecting Russian. He enlists the aid of a French agent named Devereaux (Frederick Stafford), who helps him uncover the espionage, but leaves in his wake a trail of shaken governments, murder, betrayal, and suicide. In the words of Hitchcock, "It lies between Suspicion and North by Northwest. It has the same elements, the same wide-spread action. What makes it all the more delicious is that it actually happened, and despite French disapproval, the only thing we had to change was a reference to De Gaulle."
52 First screening: July 1966. Universal. 128 minutes. color. PG. Screenplay by Brian Moore. Paul Newman, Julie Andrews. One of the recurring themes of Alfred Hitchcock's movies is the plight of a common, decent man caught in uncommon circumstances. Torn Curtain is no exception. In this reaction to James Bondism, Paul Newman plays world famous scientist Michael Armstrong who goes to an International congress of physics in Copenhagen with his fiancé e/assistant Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews). While there, she mistakenly picks up a message meant for him, and discovers that he is defecting to East Berlin, in order to get funding for his pet project. Or is he? That's the answer Sarah and the audience discover as "Hitch" directs this action thriller behind the Iron Curtain. Armstrong must kill a man silently with what is available in the kitchen of an isolated farm. Said Hitchcock - "I thought it was time to show that it was very difficult, very painful, and it takes a very long time to kill a man."
The Trouble With Harry.
53 First screening: October 1955. Paramount/Alfred Hitchcock Productions. 99 minutes. color / VistaVision. PG. Screenplay by John Michael Hayes based on the novel by John Trevor Story. Edmund Gwenn, John Forsythe, introducing Shirley MacLaine, Mildred Natwick, Jerry Mathers (The Beaver Cleaver!), Mildred Dunnock. The Master of Suspense directs a delightful comedy-mystery set in New England. It marks the screen debut of Shirley MacLaine. What is The Trouble With Harry? Well, it's the fact that he's dead, and while no one really minds, everybody thinks they are responsible. After several unearthings of the corpse, plenty of humor a la Hitchcock, and love affairs between the major characters, the real cause of death is revealed, and Harry troubles no one again. It's a delightful romp and a decidedly different movie from Sir Alfred. (Upon learning that MacLaine had never acted in a movie before, Hitchcock reportedly told the young actress, "I shall have fewer knots to untie. You are hired.") Hitchcock told Peter Bogdanovich that The Trouble with Harry "is very personal to me because it involves my own sense of humor about the macabre." The film's distributors were perplexed and didn't know how to handle the very dark comedy for which Hitchcock cast two unknowns as the romantic leads - MacLaine and Forsythe.
54 First screening: September 1949. Transatlantic Pictures. 118 minutes. color. NR. Screenplay by James Bridie and Hume Cronyn, based on the novel by Helen Simpson. Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten, Michael Wilding, Margaret Leighton, Cecil Parker. Australia, 1831. A new Governor has arrived. With him is his nephew, Charles Adare, who soon finds himself invited to dinner by Sam Flusky, a prospering ex-convict, and his wife Lady Henrietta, who had been a friend of Charles's sister in Ireland. The Fluskys are childless and Henrietta is an alcoholic. Charles undertakes to try and rehabilitate Henrietta. Emotions flare. Flusky becomes jealous of Charles, accidentally shooting and seriously wounding him. It gets deeper... Rope was Hitchcock's first film as producer, Under Capricorn his second. He believed it was his "juvenile" behavior that sent his company, Transatlantic Pictures, into bankruptcy. Under Capricorn was shot in England (standing in for 1830s Australia), and Hitchcock, seduced by the idea of returning to England with Hollywood's biggest star, arrived in London, flashbulbs popping, with Ingrid Bergman in tow. Her presence proved too costly. Audiences expecting excitement from Hitchcock were frustrated to discover a costume love story. True, it was beautifully photographed, but it was not a thriller. Out of Print. A real sought-after rarity.
55 First screening: May 1958. Paramount/ Alfred Hitchcock Productions. 128 minutes. color / VistaVision. PG. Screenplay by Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor, based on the novel D'entre les Morts, by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Ellen Corby, and the gorgeous Rolles-Royce! When a colleague of policeman Scottie Ferguson plunges off a San Francisco rooftop, the acrophobic Scottie blames himself, and resigns. One day, an acquaintance, Gavin Elster, hires Scottie to shadow his wife Madeleine, whose behavior has become strange and potentially suicidal. After rescuing Madeleine from attempted drowning, Scottie falls in love with her. But because of his fear of heights, he later watches helplessly as she plummets to her death from a mission tower... or did she? It is a morbid love story, creepy in its intensity, and uninflected in style. The authors of the novel wrote it in hopes that Hitchcock would buy it. Hitchcock insisted on letting the audience in on a revelation early in the film's second part because he felt "one of the fatal things... in all suspense films is to have a mind that is confused. Otherwise the audience won't emote. Clarify, clarify, clarify. Don't let them say, 'I don't know which woman that is..." One of The Master's finest, and certainly deepest, masterpieces.
Waltzes From Vienna. (Strauss' Great Waltz).
56 First screening: May 1933. Screenplay by Alma Reville and Guy Bolton, based on the play by Dr. A. M. Willner, Heinz Reichert and Ernst Marischka. Johann Strauss Jr. (Esmond Knight) is the son of the famous conductor and composer, and plays the violin in his father's orchestra. He hasn't had any of his own compositions performed or published because Strauss Sr. (Edmund Gwenn) sternly discourages it. Not dismayed, Strauss Jr. gives singing lessons to his gifted sweetheart Rasi (Jessie Matthews), a pastry chef's daughter, and dedicates all his songs to her.
Then he meets a Countess (Fay Compton) who has written some verses and asks his help in setting them to music. When her husband, the prince (Frank Vosper), hears from a servant that a young man is upstairs with his wife, he storms into the music room, but the name of Strauss placates him. Later, Rasi isn't so easily placated, for she senses a rival. However, the Countess essentially has Strauss Jr's best interests at heart. With a publisher friend, she successfully plots to have the elder Strauss delayed one night so that Jr's new composition, "The Blue Danube", may receive a performance. Strauss Jr. conducts the waltz himself, becoming the sensation of Vienna. Soon afterwards, though the Prince's suspicions have briefly been aroused again, everyone is finally reconciled.
While Alfred Hitchcock himself did not consider Waltzes From Vienna one of his masterpieces, others have found the movie "rather charming". This is the French Version and a real charmer, a nice touch to add to your collection of the works of The Master. Shot in 1933 B&W by Gaumont-British, G.F.D., UK. Aka "Strauss' Great Waltz". Music by Johann Strauss the Elder & Johann Strauss the Younger. Stars Jessie Matthews, Esmond Knight, Frank Vosper, Fay Compton and Edmund Gwenn. 52:45 minutes.
This French version of Waltzes From Vienna has never been released commercially in the US and is believed to be in the public domain. We possess a very good copy of this great classic and make available reproductions. The cost is DVD $40 + US shipping $1 first class. International us$3. This reproduction is sold collector to collector. The seller does not own rights to this movie and no transfer of rights is given or implied.
The Wrong Man.
57 First screening: December 1956. Warner Brothers. 105 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Maxwell Anderson and Angus McPhail, based on The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero, by Maxwell Anderson. Henry Fonda, Vera Miles, Anthony Quayle, Harold J. Stone, Nehemiah Persoff. A bleak and powerful drama about an innocent man accused of a crime committed by a close look-alike. This film was based on an actual incident as reported by Life Magazine, and represents the only documentary style film Hitchcock ever made. Hitchcock observed: "I enjoyed making this film because, after all, this is my greatest fear - fear of the police... In truth perhaps The Wrong Man should have been done as a documentary..." Hitchcock did try to make the film look as real as possible, shooting on locations where the events took place and using some of those originally involved. Fonda played the Everyman caught in a nightmare and Miles his fragile wife, whose descent into hysteria Hitchcock felt diverted the narrative. Splendid music score by Bernard Herrmann.
Young & Innocent. (American title: The Girl Was Young).
58 First screening: November 1937. Gainsborough Pictures. Great Britain. 82 minutes. B/W. NR. Screenplay by Charles Bennett, Edwin Greenwood, Anthony Armstrong, and Gerald Savory. Based on the novel "A Shilling For Candles" by Josephine Tey. Derrick de Marney, John Longden, Nova Pilbeam. A police chief's plucky teenage daughter assists a charming, wrongfully accused fugitive seeking to clear his name and catch the real murderer, and in one of Hitchcock's most memorable tracking shots - a bravura cinematic moment - they do. Of "Young and Innocent", John Russell Taylor writes: "... is a sheer delight, a perfect Hitchcockian demonstration that less is more. The featherweight plot... is a simple chase... It is perfectly crisp and clear and pure and to the point...". Seen today, the film justifies Hitchcock's own high estimation of it. This Hitchcock classic in the Public Domain.