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HITCH FLICKS, PART 2

  

For Hicksflicks.com, Aug. 9, 2013

The second week of the Alfred Hitchcock festival commences Friday (Aug. 9) with three films that represent distinct periods in the career of the Master of Suspense: "The Lodger" at noon, "The Lady Vanishes" at 7 p.m. and "Rear Window" twice daily at 4 and 9:30 p.m.

These movies will play for a week and then be switched out next Friday (Aug. 16) for three different Hitchcock films at the Broadway Centre Cinemas in downtown Salt Lake City.

"The Lodger" (1926, silent, b/w): Hitch's first thriller (with his first cameo) and easily the best of his silent films sets up what would become his most studied motif: an innocent man accused of murder. Based loosely on the Jack the Ripper killings, the story concerns a manhunt for a serial killer terrorizing London, and how the title character, a reclusive fellow named Jonathan Drew (Ivor Novello), is fingered as a suspect by an overzealous detective, leading to a number of complications that foreshadow many of Hitchcock's later films.

"The Lady Vanishes" (1938, b/w) is a suspense film laced with comedy and is one of the best of Hitch's British sound period before he headed for Hollywood two years later. This one has a young woman called Iris Henderson (Margaret Lockwood) befriending Miss Froy, an elderly former governess who is a fellow passenger (Dame May Whitty) on an extended train trip. Having suffered a slight concussion, Iris falls asleep, and when she awakens Miss Froy is gone and fellow passengers claim to have never seen the woman. Is she crazy or has Miss Froy been abducted? She enlists the aid of skeptical musicologist Michael Redgrave and the hunt is on. One of Hitch's great films, loaded with memorable characters performed by an expert cast.

"Rear Window" (1954) is another classic, this one from Hitch's late American period, a color film that has no right to be as lively as it is since most of the action takes place in a cloistered apartment where a laid-up photographer (James Stewart) has taken up spying in his fellow apartment dwellers in the courtyard that separates their homes. Eventually he witnesses a murder but has trouble getting the police to believe him, much less his girlfriend (Grace Kelly). A real nail-biter.

Coming up: "To Catch a Thief," "Strangers on a Train," "The Birds," "Psycho," "North By Northwest," "Vertigo" and more. Click here for the full schedule.