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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Pick Six: Best Alfred Hitchcock Movies


Pick Six: Best Alfred Hitchcock Movies

Vern of The Vern's Video Vangaurd returns with another Pick Six. 

With the recent release of "Hitchcock" in theaters  I thought I would take a look back at some of the best movies the master of suspense has made.   Alfred Hitchcock has made tons of movies throughout his career and trying to come up with just six is very difficult. There are tons of titles he has made that I have not seen yet. The following is a quick list of some of his greatest.

The Birds, 1963

On a normal typical day in Bodega Bay,California. A town is invaded by a group of birds without any warning. This is the first movie that I can recall that shows animals turning against humans for no reason. In typical Hitchcock fashion, the story does not begin with birds attacking. Instead it focuses on Tippi Hedren's character seeking out a man (Rod Taylor) to deliver a pair of lovebirds as a kind of joke. But when she gets there strange thing begin happening. The effects are kind of cheesy compared to day, but it still manages to have some very creepy scenes. The moment where all the birds are perched quietly all around while the protagonists try to escape is effectively chilling.

Rope, 1948

Two men (John Dall, Farley Granger) kill one of their classmates and stuff his body inside a dresser. They decide to hold a dinner party and invite other people over including their own school housemaster (James Stewart). They do this to prove their superiority and to show they can commit the perfect murder. This is the first movie that is shown to be done in one take. Well actually it was more like six but the editing is so seamless. You hardly notice when the change takes place. I do also believe that this was the first movie to have two gay characters in lead roles, and while the representation of having them be killers wasn't positive. It was still kind of a big deal especially back in those days.

Frenzy, 1972

In London a man has terrorized a small town by raping and killing a bunch of women. His latest victim was the ex wife of one of his friends and now the police suspect the friend to be the killer instead of him. This is the first movie from Mr. Hitchcock to have a strong R rating. There are scenes with nudity but it's never gratuitous. A nice enjoyable thriller with good performances all around.

One of my all time favorite movies. If your a fan of James Bond, I highly recommend you seek this one out because it is the first one to have a secret agent even though Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) has no idea why he is being mistaken for one. The movie blends suspense, comedy, erotic seduction, and thrills  so well that you hardly notice the time going by. This is the model of how to make a great blockbuster. If this were to be made today it will still be a hit just like it was when it was first released.

Psycho, 1960

Without Norman Bates there would be no Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Leatherface, or the many other psychopathic killers we have seen on screen.  Mr. Hitchcock has created the first horror slasher movie and the same elements are still used today. What really sets this one apart from the others is the way he makes you feel empathy for it's villain. After Norman disposes the body into a car and sinks it into the lake. There is a moment when it  just stops and you become scared that he might get caught. That is just brilliant no matter time period this was made. Also the whole marketing campaign was really quite brilliant by not allowing people to enter the movie after the feature had begun. I wish this was still used today.

Vertigo, 1958

Vertigo remains to be one of the most psychologically messed up movies in Hitchcock's career that I have seen so far. His main character played by James Stewart takes the idea of obsession a bit too far. He is so haunted by the death of this one woman that he makes another girl look just like her. Just so he can try to recreate that moment when he tried to save her but failed. This is a fascinating portrait of the insane things we do when we lose the people we love. This is a movie that continues to be analyzed and discussed to this very day.

Nick's Pick Six:
Rear Window
North by Northwest
Shadow of a Doubt

What are your favorite movies by Alfred Hitchcock. Leave some suggestions in the comments below.



At November 26, 2012 at 9:57 AM , Anonymous Eric said...

That's a tough call. There are still quite a few I need to see, but my top six right now would be:

Dial M for Murder
Rear Window

At November 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM , Blogger Mavi@filmscope said...

Vern VErn Vern Rear Window has to be here, IMO its his best, have you ever felt such tension before or again in a PG movie...

At November 26, 2012 at 10:01 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I agree. The tension is ridiculous. One of my fav Hitchcock movies and one of my favorite movies, in general.

At November 26, 2012 at 10:02 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Solid list. It's really hard to just come up with Six given his filmography.

At November 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM , Blogger TheVern said...

I agree Mavi that Rear Window is a very good movie, and it would have made the list, but I tend to like the ones where I'm concerned about the killers getting caught. Hitchcock puts me into their head spaces and although I don't like these people. I still get worried that their crime will be found out.

At November 26, 2012 at 10:17 AM , Blogger SDG said...

I have only seen 20 odd movies he did but surprisingly my top 6 have remained same for a long time. They are

Rear Window
The Birds

I haven't seen Frenzy from the above list though.

At November 26, 2012 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Ries said...

I will join the multitudes that cry out, "Oh, great Vern, why have you forsaken us..."

Rear Window. We will miss thee.

(Great article, otherwise!)

At November 26, 2012 at 9:49 PM , Anonymous Dan said...

Both lists are solid, and I like seeing Frenzy in there from Vern because it's a nasty film and often forgotten in Hitchcock's work. It wouldn't make my six, though. Here's what I would choose:

North by Northwest
Rear Window
Strangers on a Train
Shadow of a Doubt

At November 26, 2012 at 11:35 PM , Blogger TheVern said...

I'm sorry for forsaken thee for not including Rear Window. I liked it a lot. It just didn't have quite the impoact those other movies did. I still need to see Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt and Notorious

At November 27, 2012 at 12:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the problem with that is that in the case of rear window, we don't really know who the killer is immediately because Hitch did a "decent" job of throwing us off track. so we can't worry about the killer being caught until we know who he is and we have reason to sympathize with him. that never has a chance to happen.

At November 27, 2012 at 12:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would have to put rear window in at least the top 3 because it was such a tight story. i loved rope, no question that it belongs on the list as well.

where i disagree is with the birds because i'm one of those people who needs more of an explanation. i can't accept that these birds just started attacking for no apparent reason. then, they try to bring in the "love birds" as a cause, but the love birds were very present at the people were leaving the house, so that goes out the window.

the story is based on a very good short story in which there is no cause, no reason, and just eminent doom for the people in the house. they know they're going to die, and they eventually accept it. that angle wasn't brought into the film - understandably - and i think Hitch was riding on enough of the audience just going along for the ride.

my take on vertigo


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