HITCHCOCK 101 - Golden Oldies On the Big Screen
For Hicksflicks.com, Aug. 30, 2013
It its last week, the Alfred Hitchcock film festival at the Tower Theater has saved some of the best for last: "Vertigo," recently voted by critics internationally as one of the greatest films ever made; "North By Northwest," which is arguably Hitch's most thoroughly entertaining romp; and "The Man Who Knew Too Much," the original black-and-white version that he would later remake.
All three films will be shown daily, Friday, Aug. 30, through Thursday, Sept. 5, with "The Man Who Knew Too Much" at noon, "North By Northwest" at 4 p.m. and again at 9:30, and "Vertigo" at 7 p.m.
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934, b/w, noon): Considered the film that put Hitchcock on track with his signature plot about an innocent man that has to take the law into his own hands to solve the mystery or he himself will suffer the consequences. Here, a young girl is kidnapped to keep her parents from revealing an assassination plot, and the chief villain is Peter Lorre in his first English-language performance. Stilted and dated but still enjoyable, with Lorre especially good.
"North By Northwest" (1959, 4 & 9:30 p.m.): Hitch's quintessential innocent-man-on-the-run picture, with Cary Grant becoming involved in a spy plot, then eventually being falsely accused of murder. This is the one with the famous Mount Rushmore finale, and the supporting cast features urbane villain James Mason and his more lethal henchman Martin Landau. Eva Marie Saint provides the duplicitous love interest and there are plot twists galore, along with thrills and suspense, laced with witty humor in both dialogue and sight gags.
"Vertigo" (1958, 7 p.m.): A retired police detective (James Stewart) with a debilitating fear of heights is reluctantly hired to follow a troubled woman (Kim Novak), but the surveillance ends in tragedy. Later, he meets someone who seems to be her double and the action and romance crank up again. Misunderstood when initially released, this is now considered a masterpiece, and the stars and director are all in peak form.