Showing posts with label alfred hitchcock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alfred hitchcock. Show all posts

14 March 2015

Watch The "The Origins of Auteur Theory" Video Essay

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“There are no good and bad movies, only good and bad directors,” François Truffaut once said when talking about the auteur theory.It's a word that's been used for many decades when talking about filmmakers who embeded their personal stamp on their own film.When it started or who was given the first we have to go back to French New Wave Cinema of late 1950's into 1960's  when it became very popularised. Everyone from Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick , Martin Scorsese have all been given the title of Auteur but do we really know what an Auteur really is?

In this  17 minute video essay from FilmakerIQ they try and explain what the terms means as year after year many of us debate the meaning and who should be regarded as an 'auteur'. When the likes of Michael Bay get's regarded as an auteur it  can easily become heated . This video delivers an nice argument and useful, entertaining especially if your wanting to enhance your film history knowledge too!

18 January 2015

Blu-ray Review - The Lady Vanishes (1938) and Young and Innocent (1937)

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Release Date:
19th January 2015
Rating: U
Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty
Buy: Blu-ray The Lady Vanishes

Release Date: 
19th January 2015
Rating: U
Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Nova Pilbeam, Derrick De Marney
Buy: Blu-ray - Young and Innocent

Network are releasing 2 of Hitchcock’s early British films on Blu-ray this week: The Lady Vanishes and Young & Innocent. Both of the films show that Hitchcock’s style and technique was fully formed years before he left to go to Hollywood to make his masterpieces like Vertigo, The Wrong Man, Psycho and Rear Window.

The Lady Vanishes is the more well known of the two and is often considered the high water of his British films, with only The 39 Steps topping it. It was also his penultimate film in Britain before he left for the glitzy heights of Hollywood; his last was Jamaica Inn, which is considered one of his very worst. A young woman is travelling by train and meets an elderly lady, but she soon mysteriously disappears. The rest of the train passengers deny the existence of the old lady, but a young musicologist helps the woman, and together they search the train for clues and for the whereabouts of the mysterious woman.

The film is equally as much a film by Hitchcock as it is a film written by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder who seemed like the perfect match for Hitchcock’s perverse sense of humour. However, they never worked together again, except for some re-writes on Jamaica Inn. The film is one of Hitch’s most overtly comedic (of course, all of his films have his trademark humour) and the script is just one great line after another, giving it an almost screwball comedy feel at times. It’s also full of concise shots and storytelling, which is expected from the Master of Suspense.

Young & Innocent is the more overtly Hitchcockian film of the two in the classical sense. It’s about a man who is believed to be guilty of the murder of a young woman; it’s the classic wrong man scenario, which many of Hitchcock’s best films follow. This one is not one of his best but it has many virtues.

It’s a very quick paced film. At only 83 minutes or so, it’s a perfect example of Hitchcock's theory of a film’s length, “The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.” The same can be said for The Lady Vanishes as well, however sadly in some of his later films in the 60s he didn’t follow his own rule. Young & Innocent is a solid populist thriller that shows a master filmmaker early on, yet clearly his focus and cinematic technique are already there, and much of his themes are on full show. Even his first film has a scene of characteristic Hitchcockian voyeurism.

Both discs boast hi-def transfers and look as good as they can due to their age. Both films include introductions by Charles Barr and image based extras. Young & Innocent however has the upper hand in the features department, featuring a 25 minutes documentary on Hitchcock’s British career.

The Lady Vanishes ★★★★
Young and Innocent ★★★1/2

Ian Schultz

17 June 2013

Hitchcock DVD Review

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To fans, admirers he is Alfred Hitchcock but to his friends, colleagues to them you called him 'Hitch' hold the cock. Based on Stephen Rebello's Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho, Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock attempts to deliver the master of suspense at crossroads whilst creating his horror masterpiece Psycho. A film that has a rare insight into the relationship with the only woman to steal his heart and most of all his confidant, his co-collaborator Alma Reville (Helen Mirren) his wife.

Hitchcock starts at the premier of the 1959 North By Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) is unnearved by a reporter who questions his ability at 60 to still produce the goods. With a new wave of filmmakers emerging could he still handle the pressure? Why not quit when he's ahead? Determined not to be pigeonholed  and not to become 'television show' Hitchcock searches high and low for that piece of magic to recapture his past glories delivering something fresh most of all something different.

It is thanks to the discovery of Robert Bloch's dark twisted Psycho Hitch finds himself a magical source, a novel based on the life of the infamous serial killer Ed Gein , but who'll support him?As ever Hitchcock's faithful agent Lew Wasserman but his support ended here as Paramount, the usual private investors all refused to support him forcing him to find the $800,000 needed to make the film in 30 days.

It's ironic you look at the relationship cinema has with Television now, the stigma of the reporter's TV comment  wouldn't raise an eyebrow when you see the likes of Steven Soderbergh's Behind The Candelabra only getting a TV S creening compared to cinema elsewhere. Even the likes of online with Netflix, Lovefilm, seeing someone like JJ Abrams, David Fincher direct tv amongst the cinema blockbusters wouldn't have been thought of in Hitch's time and now days the stress, pressure between the media are vitually the same.

Hitchcock is a film that really doesn't know what it really wants to be. Is it a Biopic? Soap style drama or comedy?If anything at times it's more like an extended Terry & June episode plenty of drama with a lot of comedy moments or was director Sacha Gervasi pulling off a McGuffin? What this film does do is capture a period of Hitch's career (Psycho era) rather than all his career and attempts to underline his fascination with Ed Gein. Hitchcock may not be a dark film tonely but it dips its fingers into that world nearly controlling his every move blurring reality  driving him into paranoia making him believe his nearest and dearest  was having an affair though we do see she was tempted on several occasions.

Anthony Hopkins may sound like the man nor a carbon copy lookalike of Hitchcock but what he does do well is capturing his personality, mannerisms, posture even his humour is near spot on too. The lack of delving into his past will frustrate some, even when they do in the briefest of moments to showcase his childlike, creepy voyeuristic tendancies is disappointing. In those scenes his fascination for blondes is touched going further into watching them from his peephole, a regular trait but not addressing the source which will annoy those thinking this is a 'biopic'.

Helen Mirren is personally the star of the show as Hitchcock's long suffering wife Alama. She is Hitch's rock, confidant, mother to his childlike traits most of all the driving force behind 99.9% her husband's success. Unaccredited but most of all deserving of the right to share in her husbands success which the film tries to attempt to fix, sort off. The fantastic chemistry between Hopkins and Mirren is one of the film's big selling points, compelling, funny and a distraction (in a positive way) as Hitchcock's family estate refused to show any of Psycho footage. This is also probably the reason why we see very little of James D'arcy who uncannily looks like a Anthony Perkins spitting image, Scarlett Johansson delivers a good astute performance as leading lady Janet Leigh.

Hitchcock may not be the perfect film nor totally satisfy the purists. At times it feels clumsy as if your been pulled in 2 different directions, so when it veneers one way just as the scene nears a conclusion it heads into something new making scenes feel incomplete. . As much as we've criticised the film, Hitchcock is still a highly entertaining film which captures the era very well, creating a stylish film. So when you have Hitch 'conducting' the screams of the people at the Psycho premier from behind the cinema doors, its certainly worth a look.


Paul Devine

Rating: 15
DVD/BD Release Date: 17th June 2013 (UK)
Directed by: Sacha Gervasi
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston
Buy Hitchcock: DVD / Blu-ray (+ UV Copy)

Win Hitchcock on Bluray (ends 7th July - opens to a page)

23 May 2013

Pace To Present James Franco's First UK Art Exhibition

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The artists first collaborated on Rebel, an exhibition presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 2012. In Rebel, Franco acted as a producer for Gordon, while in this exhibition Gordon has acted as a curator and teacher for Franco.
He's turning into a bit of a renaissance man Hollywood actor James Franco will be showing off his multimedia skills when Pace Gallery in London exhibits the actor's latest multimedia installation  Psycho Nacirema. Curated by Scottish artist Douglas Gordon this June  until  August will be on view to general public, the actor's first major exhibition in the UK

Psycho Nacirema presents a mise-en-scène of director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller Psycho, remodelling the infamous Bates Motel where the intrigue of the film takes place, intertwined with the 1920’s Arbuckle scandal.

In Psycho Nacirema, James Franco uses the motel structure as both a physical and literal framework,
reinterpreting iconic scenes from the original film through evocative details such as the motel neon signage or the infamous shower room where the film character Marion Crane, is murdered.One of Gordon’s most well-known works is 24 Hour Psycho (1993), a projection of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous film slowed down to last an entire day which also sparked inspiration for the exhibition

Franco’s installations heighten the psychological entrapment set out by Hitchcock, beckoning the audience to become a participating character within the plot. Split Marion, 2013 a diptych mirror installation, prompts the viewer to join the artist to gaze and be gazed upon, projecting themselves as the characters of Marion Crane and Norman Bates. Compelled to identify with them, the audience is forced to recognise their own neurosis and psychological inadequacies generated by the silver-screen.

Psycho Nacirema makes numerous trans-historical juxtapositions. Principally using Hitchcock’s film as a starting reference, Franco twists it together with the real-life scandal of Fatty Arbuckle, the Hollywood star and first one-million-dollar paid actor charged with the death of the American model and silent film actress Virginia Rappe in September 1921. The Arbuckle case was filled with murky evidence and media speculations which shed a harsh light on the cinema industry.

Franco’s fascination with the subject leads to the final room of the exhibition. A four-way projected film which shows the re-enactment of the scenario that supposedly took place in Room 1219 where Arbuckle was found with Rappe who was mysteriously injured and distressed. Marrying the Psycho thriller with the Arbuckle scandal, the exhibition performs interplay of reality with fiction, compelling the viewers to address how cinema is entrenched in the modern collective consciousness.

Film is the medium that employs all art forms, but it is contained within the screen. We take this multi-form idea and pull it through the screen, so that the different forms are once again fully dimensional and a new nexus of interaction and significance is created. In this show, we go back to the original locations and images of Psycho and alter them so that once again the viewer's relationship with the material changes. One becomes an actor when interacting with this work. Film becomes raw material and is sculpted into new work.James Franco, May 2013.

Psycho Nacirema will be accompanied by a catalogue that features a discussion between both artists and Russell Ferguson, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programmes and Chief Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

Psycho Nacirema will be on view at Pace London, 6-10 Lexington Street, from 6 June to 3 August.

More information on the event can be found here at

All Images from Psycho Nacirema © 2013, James Franco, courtesy Pace Gallery

26 December 2012

The Girl DVD Review

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The Girl is one of 2 Alfred Hitchcock biopics coming out in soon succession of each other, the other being the simply titled Hitchcock.Toby Jones stars as Hitch in The Girl, who has portrayed a famous dead
person before. He played Truman Capote in Infamous and like The Girl, which had a competing biopic as well Capote.

The Girl’s story is about Tippi Hedren (played by Sienna Miller). Tippi was a very successful model in the early 50s to 60s, Hitchcock was looking for a new Grace Kelly (who starred in a handful of Hitch’s earlier film, including the masterful Rear Window) and found Tippi. He cast her as the lead in his film The Birds. The Birds is often considered the last great Hitchcock film (even though this reviewer who put a case up for the later Frenzy) and was one of the most successful of his entire career. Tippi is tortured throughout The Birds by Hitchcock which climaxes with him lying they were gonna use artificial birds but in reality he choose to use real birds and made her shoot the bird attacking scene for 3 days.

Tippi becoming an overnight sensation because of The Birds. She was under contact to Hitch, who had already made sexual advances to her during the making of The Birds. Despite this due to the nature of the contract, she makes another film with Hitch called Marnie however isn’t as good as The Birds even though it’s certainly the more interesting film. It’s sorta like Hitchcock’s Masterpiece Vertigo’s little sister. It deals with a young woman who is a chronic liar and thief and has some serious psychological issues, which date back to her childhood. After the troubled filming of Marnie, she wants out of her contract from Hitchcock who continually made advances to her during the filming. However he made sure she couldn’t work again till
Charlie Chaplin’s last film and lost out a role for a François Truffaut film.

The Girl is a very mixed bag. It has 2 very fine performances by Sienna Miller and Toby Jones (which is the superior performance).However the film is very much a tv film and that’s fine but it barely cracks the surface level of their relationship and paints Hitch clearly as the villain (which he certainly was). You don’t get any
sort of emotion from Hitch or why he does such horrible things to Tippi. The film also suffers from a low budget film problem that a lot of film posters in Hitch’s room are mock posters for his great films and not the real ones, which probably do to copyright. The other film which is very annoying is Marnie starred Sean Connery and you never see Tippi or Hitchcock interact with Sean during the making of Marnie, there is stand in but you never see his face, this is very distracting. Overall it’s worth seeing on iplayer or renting for the performances but some things are very annoying. It also ends with the laughable appendix that claims “Marnie is now considered Hitchcock’s last masterpiece”.

Ian Schultz


Rating: 15
Release Date:26th December 2012 (UK BBC2 ) 7th January 2013 (UK,DVD)
Directed ByJulian Jarrold
CastSienna MillerToby Jones and Penelope Wilton

12 July 2012

Hitchcock's The Ring - Live Streaming Event tomorrow!

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As part of the BFI's THE GENIUS OF HITCHCOCK season, tomorrow night at 8pm will see the live streaming of Hitchcock’s 1927 boxing melodrama, THE RING, via The Space(, in co-ordination with a screening of the film at London's Hackney Empire (a venue that Hitchcock himself frequented).

The Ring, a film that helped inspire The Artist according to its director Michel Hazanavicius, has also been given a new musical score by British jazz and hip-hop musician Soweto Kinch. A unique and exciting opportunity to see a classic film for free, the stream will begin on at 8pm and viewers are encouraged to use hashtag #thering to talk about the film on Twitter.

For more details, visit
THE GENIUS OF HITCHCOCK, is a major celebration of the iconic British film director, the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. This event will showcase the complete works of his silent films, including the restoration and scoring of Hitchcock’s nine surviving silent’s films by the BFI National Archive as part of the London 2012 Festival celebrations.

The BFI has also created a dedicated microsite called - The 39 Steps to Hitchcock, this a step-by-step guide through one man's genius and features exclusive film extracts, interviews with close collaborators (Kim Novak, Tippi Hedren and more) and is a simple journey through his life and career through galleries curated by Hitchcock experts - .

The Genius of Hitchcock Published via