The Lesser Known Works of Alfred Hitchcock

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I just moved into a new apartment last week, I had lived in my old place for 11 years and in all that time my walls were adorned with Hitchcock movie posters - Rebecca, North by Northwest, Marnie, The Birds, Vertigo, Notorious and Dial M for Murder. I decided maybe it was time to retire them to storage and am in the process of deciding what should adorn the wall spaces of my new abode.

However, when I was sent this guest posting, it seemed to be a great fit to my feelings of Hitchcock withdrawal. Of the list, I have seen Lifeboat, Torn Curtain and Stage Fright, but I watched them as a teenager and other than Tallulah Bankhead's overly dramatic persona in Lifeboat, I really can't remember enough about these films to make comments.  Let me know if any of these are familiar to you.


This post is written by Guy D. and Patricia A., both are radiology technicians and enjoy blogging about the pros and cons of Christian counseling degree programs, popular culture and Hitchcock films.

Alfred Hitchcock made a huge number of films, and a lot of them went on to become successful trademarks of his innovative style. His most famous, like The Birds, Psycho, and Rear Window, are known for a masterful use of suspense and voyeuristic camera angles that draw the audience into the film. Hitchcock's lesser known films, however, offer a different thrill for movie buffs. In early British silent films you can see the master getting his technical footing and experimenting with styles. Other later films such as Foreign Correspondent gathered rave critical reviews but have faded in popularity behind some of his flashier thrillers.
Here are ten of Hitchcock's lesser known works that are worth giving a look.

The Pleasure Garden (1926)
  • Based on a novel by Oliver Sandys, this silent film was Hitchcock's first as full director. It tells the story of two chorus girls who work at The Garden Theater. Though the film is not in the same style as Hitchcock's later more famous pieces, the evidence of his directorial skill shines through.

The Mountain Eagle (1927)
  • The Mountain Eagle was Hitchcock's second film as a director, and the only lost film directed by Hitchcock, meaning that no original prints of the film are known to exist. Set in small town Kentucky, it revolves around a feud between J.P. Pettigrew and John Fulton. After Fulton marries Beatrice, the woman Pettigrew loves, Pettigrew attempts to have Fulton put in jail for murdering his estranged son.

Blackmail (1929)
  • After being assaulted by an artist friend in his apartment, Alice Webber stabs the man to death in a frightened rage. Alice's boyfriend Frank, a detective, is assigned to the case, but Alice denies the murder. A local thief, Tracey, is indicted. Tracey tries to escape by climbing to the top of the British Museum, but he falls and dies. Alice is compelled to confess, and she is sent to jail.

The Ring (1927)
  • Hitchcock both wrote and directed this black and white film. In the film, a love triangle forms between two boxers, Jack Saunders and Bob Corby, who both love Nellie. During the boxing sequences you can see some cinematography tricks Hitchcock would later perfect in The Man Who Knew Too Much.

The Farmer's Wife (1928)
  • This movie was based on a play by English writer Eden Phillpotts. Farmer Sweetland wants to remarry and enlists his maid Aramintha to help him. Only after Aramintha sabotages his efforts with three women does Sweetland realize he is in love with his maid.

Murder! (1930)
  • Diana, an actress in a travelling dance troupe, is convicted of murdering one of her fellow group members. The court finds her guilty of the murder, but one famous actor, John Menier, is convinced she is innocent. John sets out to prove it, before Diana receives the death sentence.

Foreign Correspondent (1941)
  • Foreign Correspondent was Hitchcock's second Hollywood film, and though the film was nominated for six Oscars, it is one of his lesser known. In the film, Johnny Jones, a New York reporter, is sent to Europe to investigate a secret treaty. Jones doesn't know what he's in for, however, and he ends up tracking down a group of spies.

Lifeboat (1944)
  • This film set in WWII is based on a novel by John Steinbeck. Survivors from a ship hit by a German U-boat gather on one lifeboat. Those stranded on the boat all come from different backgrounds, but they work together to survive.

Stage Fright (1950)
  • Jonathan Cooper is wrongfully accused of murdering his lover's husband, and his friend Eve offers to hide him from the police in her apartment. Jonathan insists that his lover killed her husband, and Eve goes undercover to find out the real story.

Torn Curtain (1966)
  • One of Hitchcock's last films, Torn Curtain is set in Cold War Europe. Michael Armstrong, A U.S. scientist, defects to East Germany, and his fiancée secretly follows him. Once in East Germany she discovers his defection wasn't what it appeared to be, after all.

2 comments:

Barbara March 29, 2011 at 1:23 PM  

I shy away from scary movies and didn't watch a lot of Hitchcock. I did, however, love Torn Curtain. It's one of Paul Newman and Julie Andrews best performances, I think.

tinseltine.com March 29, 2011 at 10:24 PM  

These are the perfect kind of movies to revisit on a rainy Sunday, I'm gonna try to do that soon.

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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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