Fandom

Angry Video Game Nerd Wiki

Transcript - Top 10 Alfred Hitchcock Films (Cinemassacre)

598pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Comment1 Share

James Rolfe: Alfred Hitchcock was one of the first movie directors to become universally recognized. In the old days people didn't talk about directors as much as they did the actors. I guess maybe because the actors were in front of the camera – they're the ones people actually see. But Hitchcock himself became a well-known personality. He appeared in the trailers to his movies, speaking to the audience. He made cameos in all his films and he hosted his own long-running TV-show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".

His movies have a distinct style; they were usually crime thrillers, often with twist endings. He pioneered the 'suspense'-genre, used a lot of 'point-of-view'-shots, injected his own personal fears into his films. So when you see a Hitchcock movie it's very easy to identify that it's a Hitchcock movie. 

He's what they call an 'auteur', meaning that he's regarded as the author – the artist who made the films. Movies are a collaborate art – there are writers, there are storyboard artists, directors of photography, producers. But Hitchcock gave it such a strong signature that you get the sense that he had complete creative control and that it's his movie. He made over 50 films in his career and to this day he has influenced film-students all around the world and all of today's famous filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to Christopher Nolan. Now there are younger generations that are starting to learn about his films who might be the next famous filmmaker. 

I don't know why it took me so long to do a video about Alfred Hitchcock – it's long overdue. But it seems like a good time because there's been a lot going on with Hitchcock recently. There was a huge Blu-Ray set just released that has tons of his movies for the first time ever in one big package. There were two feature films based on him that just came out. One of them is called "Hitchcock" starring Anthony Hopkins that was in theatres… 'Select theaters', apparently, 'cause I didn't get to see it. And the other one was made for TV, called "The Girl", which focused on Tippi Hedren. And it was actually really shocking – it made him out to be a tyrant and a pervert. I don't know what the real-life facts are but, you know--- Not to get off topic, uhm… 

For those who are just getting into Hitchcock for the first time and wanna know where to start and don't have time watch 50+ films, this is it – this is where I think you should start. This is my "Top 10 Alfred Hitchcock Movies". 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#10 - The Birds

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: The synopsis is; a bunch of birds attack people – there's not much to it. This is the kind of plot that sounds like a B-movie but somehow got made into a big-budget A-movie by a critically acclaimed director. The same thing happened to "Jaws"; it sounded like a B-movie. It's a shark that attacks people. Although Spielberg wasn't a critically acclaimed director, yet, at the time. But it had the same concept; nature attacks. The bird attacks are sometimes unconvincing, it's a little cheesy with the blue screenshots and all that. But the suspense is strong and it works. Uhm, number 10 – not my favorite Hitchcock movie, but it has a legacy so it deserves a spot on my list. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#9 - Strangers on a Train

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: The less said about these movies the better. You really should just watch them for yourself rather than having me explaining them to you, but--- Basically there's a guy who wants to murder a family member. He figures that if he has a complete stranger do the job for him there would be nothing to connect, so he would get away with it. So he meets a stranger on a train and suggests they swap murders, assuming that they each have somebody they each want dead. Now the other guy wants nothing to do with it and gets wrapped up in this whole mess. Check it out. Good stuff. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#8 - Shadow of a Doubt

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: In a peaceful town an innocent girl finds out that her uncle who's visiting might just be a wanted man for murder. From 1943 I think this is Hitchcock's earliest masterpiece. He made many films before starting in the silent era, but this is the first one that's a definite Hitchcock classic and it happened to be his own personal favorite. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#7 - The Man Who Knew Too Much

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: This is a remake of his own 1934 film. It has a theme that's common in many of his films – that's where an innocent person gets into some serious trouble. This time it's Jimmy Stewart who's on vacation with his family and accidentally learns about an assassination plot. The terrorists, who are planning the assassination, kidnap his son to keep him silent so he doesn't tell the police. And then he has to go on a big adventure to get his son back. The movie works well because you're emotionally invested in what's going on. You wanna see these parents get their son back. So we are in his place and we're just along with the ride. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#6 - Dial M for Murder

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: One thing interesting to note is that it was shot in 3D, so it was one of the early 3D movies. Basically it's about a guy who wants to murder his wife, so he blackmail somebody to commit the crime for him. They have a whole plan set up but it goes terribly wrong. I can't say anything more than that because I'll end up spoiling the movie. The plot is so simple, yet somehow so intriguing. It makes you think if you were an attempting murderer what would you do in a situation? And are all of the footsteps and traces clean? The outcome is something so obvious but like the best of magicians Hitchcock strings you along and distracts you from the simple facts. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#5 - Rope

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: This is one of Hitchcock's first color films – maybe even his first actually. So two guys do a thrill-kill; they kill somebody just for fun, hide his body inside a wooden trunk and then invite guests over who are oblivious that there's a dead body in the room. They even have dinner on top of the trunk. It's a great example of Hitchcock's dark sense of humor and his expertise at suspense. The whole time you're biting your nails waiting for somebody to discover the body. The tension is unbearable. 

The entire movie takes places in real-time in what's supposed to be one continuos long shot, like a rope, which is also the murder weapon in the film. This is a fun-fact that seems to overshadow how great the movie is. Everybody talks about how it was done in one long take, then they watch it and are disappointed that it cuts every 10 minutes. The reason was that they couldn't fit any more film in the camera than 10 minutes at a time. So it would've been technically impossible to leave the camera running for its entire feature length. So whenever it cuts Hitchcock tries to disguise it by moving the camera behind somebody's back. And in some cases, like the closeup of Jimmy Stewart near the end, the cut is straightforward and obvious. 

But that's not to say it's still really impressive. The actors needed to perform flawlessly for long periods of time as if they were performing onstage. The movie begins in daylight and ends at nighttime, so you see the light in the windows go down gradually throughout the course of the film. And the camera almost becomes a character itself; the audience's character who knows that there's a dead body. There are times when the camera is looking at something that none of the characters in the film are paying any attention to and there's lots of offscreen dialogue. It really is a masterpiece and it's just well-made all-round. Obviously there's a lot to talk about with "Rope", so let's move on. 

Now don't expect any more surprises – the top 4 are so good they're indisputable. These are the same top 4 there are likely to appear on anyone's list, so I know I'm not being original here. But these really are his four best. But in what order though? Hmmm… Well, it hardly matters but this is how I place them. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#4 - Rear Window

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: Jimmy Stewart plays a photographer who's used to taking pictures in exotic and dangerous places. His girlfriend, played by Grace Kelly, is the complete opposite; she's into fashion and culinary arts. He's into adventure, she's more domestic, he's rugged, she's insanely beautiful and too perfect for him – so they're having their differences about it. And what does it take for them to bond back and reconnect? What else; solving a murder case together. Stewart, whose character is named Jefferies, is healing a broken leg and passes the time spying on his neighbors. He suspects one of them has committed murder. At first no one believes him but he works out all the clues and convinces everybody. 

The plot is very straightforward. Anyone who's expecting some kind of twist ending; it just doesn't happen. What makes the movie good is the dialogue and the acting. Jimmy Stewart is very natural and so is Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter as Jefferies' nurse. She's great and in how many movies can you say that? "Oh, that supporting character, the nurse, was so good she's worth mentioning". But it's true, she's amazing. The other thing is the camera never leaves the room. Even when something is happening all the way across the street you see it through Jefferies' window and through his binoculars. So it puts you in his place and through his eyes you get a sense of the whole neighborhood. And there's something really creepy about it too that there could be a murder going on right next to home. So who knows what goes on behind closed windows? 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#3 - Psycho

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: Before "Halloween", before "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", this is the first of its kind; a psychopathic killer with a body count. This is a movie that's all about the twists. It has a crazy, unpredictable plot. I can't even talk about this movie without giving you some spoilers. I think everyone knows it's about this guy named Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins, who runs a motel off the beaten track and lives with his mother who just may be out of her mind. 

Janet Leigh is said to be the star of the film – that's what audiences in 1960 expected. She steals some money and leaves town, so already we're thinking she's the star and it's all about if she's gonna get away with the money or not. Well, early in the film she checks into the motel and gets stabbed to death in the shower. It's one of the most famous movie scenes of all time and it's probably the biggest discussion point of the film, just the fact that she's dead!? Who has the balls to kill off the main character like that--- in the beginning of the movie?! 

So the whole movie takes a 90 degree turn; our star is dead, what now? Well, obviously the money, right? That's the only thing that it could do. So who's gonna get the money? Uhm well, next thing Norman is cleaning the room and obliviously throws the money away, as in 'it's gone, it's not coming back'. Nobody is ever gonna find that money again. So when the cop shows up at the hotel they have a pretty good reason to believe he killed the girl for the money, right? But Norman doesn't even know about it. And it's so frustrating to watch, you just wanna jump into the movie and explain that it's all just a misunderstanding and that's why it's great. It's unnerving and it keeps you at the edge of your seat. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#2 - North By Northwest

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: It's the ultimate reluctant hero story about an innocent man who's chased all across the country by both police who thinks he's a terrorists and by actual terrorists who thinks he's a government agent. Hellbent on finding the real agent he goes on a quest as the plot unravels and gets even more complicated. He finds out the agent never existed – a decoy planned by the FBI. But now that he's assumed the role, he's enlisted to actually become the fake agent he was originally trying to prove he was not. It'll make your head explode! 

Cary Grant is phenomenal in the role; speaking rapidly, making smart comebacks to everything. You believe that a guy with his personality could get himself into such a mess. This is like the precursor to the "James Bond" and "Indiana Jones" films. Both a hilarious comedy and a suspenseful thriller both rolled into one.  

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

#1 - Vertigo

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

James: And the number 1 Hitchcock film… "Vertigo". Of course all Jimmy Stewart movies had to make the list. This time he plays Scottie, a detective who suffers from acrophobia – fear of heights. One of his fellow police officers dies trying to save him from a rooftop and he has a guilt complex over it. He retires from the force but as a favor for an old friend he accepts one last job; to watch over his friend's suicidal wife. He desperately falls in love with her and tries to save her from the top of a steeple where he's once again conflicted by his acrophobia. 

Why is "Vertigo" so great? Well, it doesn't exactly start off with a bang. It takes time to lure you in. There are long scenes without dialogue but with that beautiful, hypnotic score by composer Bernard Herrman. After the midpoint, when he's on the steeple, that's when the film's true power unfolds and sucks you right in. The second half Scottie descents into madness and obsession and you really feel what he's feeling. The movie just takes you over. 

Recently it attracted a lot of attention by replacing "Citizen Kane" as 'The best movie of all time', according to some poll. Now, I think calling "Vertigo" the best film of all time is probably a stretch but I'm happy to see it knock "Citizen Kane" off its throne. Who cares about what some kind of poll says anyway? There's no 'best film' of all time. It's too impossible to choose. So don't let "Vertigo" disappoint you because the film critics hyped it up too much. It's just a great, great movie. Don't think of it as the best, but I will say it's the best Hitchcock movie. 

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.