Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (2000) edited by John Belton
Cambridge Film Handbooks, Cambridge University Press
trade paperback, 177 pages
(includes Alfred Hitchcock’s motion picture filmography, reviews of Rear Window, select bibliography, and an index)
Each volume of the Cambridge Film Handbooks series focuses on a single title*, including essays by film scholars and critics. Although I’d never previously read any of the other titles in this particular series, I’ve read similar books from various publishers. Such volumes are usually a mixed bag containing valuable information as well as an assortment of minutia, overflowing accolades for the director, and plenty of academic gasbaggery. Thankfully, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, edited by John Belton (Professor of English at Rutgers University) is an above-average collection of essays from people who know their stuff and can skillfully communicate it.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season One (1955-56)
It seems odd for someone like me who loves classic TV anthology shows (The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, etc.) to have seen so few episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1962) or The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962-65), but such is the case. Stranger still that I’ve been a Hitchcock fan since I saw my first Hitchcock feature film (Spellbound) when I was a kid. But there’s a reason I resisted this show until now.
August is off to a great start. In this month’s first week or so, I discovered two films by Jacques Tati, watched two new-to-me Robert Mitchum films, revisited a couple of old favorites, and just possibly found a new title for my All-Time Favorite 80s Movies category. Read on…
North by Northwest (1959)
Produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Written by Ernest Lehman
Cinematography by Robert Burks
Music by Bernard Herrmann
TCM/Fathom Events, Bowie Regal Cinemas, Bowie, MD (2:16)
The first time I saw North by Northwest was in my college dorm room on a 12-inch screen. I’ve probably seen it at least ten or twelve times since then, but yesterday I saw it in a theater on a big screen (thanks to TCM and Fathom Events) as it was meant to be seen, and boy, did it make a difference. I noticed things I’d never noticed before and was completely caught off-guard by aspects of the film that become apparent only by seeing it in its original format.
Although it wasn’t the first film of the day, the first film I saw at Noir City DC 2016 was Gilda (1946), the second time I’d seen the film, but the first time on the big screen. (You can read my previous thoughts here.) The film was introduced by noir author and historian Foster Hirsch, who wrote one of my favorite books on film noir, The Dark Side of the Screen.
Last night marked the six-month (oops – actually seven-month) anniversary of our Great Movies series at the Severna Park Library and it was our largest crowd yet: 45 people in attendance. For the first time, we had people arriving quite early, asking when we were going to open the doors. Ten minutes before the movie started, we had more than half the seats filled.
We’re halfway through March but this post just scratches the surface. Much more to come!