Up until about a week ago, I’d never seen an Alfred Hitchcock movie. I know that this is something that’s difficult to believe, but I assure you that it’s true. It certainly wasn’t on purpose. I hadn’t gone out of my way to avoid them, and, in fact, for the last few years at least, I’d nursed an active interest. I just… somehow never had.
I’d seen remakes, of course, from the fairly direct ones like Gus Van Sant’s Psycho, to the more indirect ones like Disturbia. I felt toward a great many of Hitchcock’s films much the same way I felt toward the Universal monster pictures before I’d actually seen them. They had a familiarity that made me feel like I’d already watched them, even though I knew that I hadn’t. They’d become a part of our cultural mythology.
I’d been planning to do a systematic catch-up of Hitchcock’s films for a while now. Start with one of the older ones and work chronologically, hitting as many of the “high notes” as I could manage. I’m still going to, probably in November, and I’ll be looking for recommendations, if anyone has any. Rear Window, Psycho, The Birds, North by Northwest, and Vertigo are all sure things on the list. Rope seems pretty likely. Past that, I’m up for suggestions.
The one I won’t be watching as part of my Hitchcock-a-thon is the one I just watched a few days ago, Dial M for Murder. Like I said, I’d planned to watch the films in order, so I’d been putting off seeing any of them until an appropriate moment presented itself to begin in earnest. But then it turned out that I already owned a copy of Dial M for Murder, and then Joe Dante mentioned it in his press for The Hole, so I had it on my mind, and Grace expressed an interest, and so we just sat down and watched it. It was phenomenal. People in the movie business who post-convert every other movie into 3D and dump it into theatres so you can tack a few bucks onto the ticket price, listen up? Re-release Dial M for Murder in 3D and then shut up and take my money.
The Hitchcock-a-thon won’t be happening until at least November, so I’ll say something more about it when I actually begin, and I’ll of course keep you posted as it goes. But I went ahead and mentioned all this now mostly because I was reminded of it today by the release of the trailer for Hitchcock (one of the dueling Hitchcock biopics on their way to theatres), which I think looks pretty spectacular.