Fun Sir Alfred Hitchcock

Elliot Thomas

Member: Rank 3
Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film is also one of his most terrifying. Anthony Perkins give a truly memorable performance in his portrayal of Norman Bates' nervous madness in this titillating, playful thriller that Hitchcock labelled a black comedy. Whatever your own interpretation is, there’s no denying its power and influence with that shower scene that still packs a punch to this day. Bernard Herrmann’s legendary score adds so much to the film’s impact.
 

Carol

Member: Rank 5
It's a film I'd really love to see on the big screen, like the Birds, I'm sure I saw it way too young to make full sense of it but think I got the overall point.My favourite piece of Psycho trivia is that it's the very first on screen appearance of a toilet bowl in American cinema, and it took an Essex boy to put it there!

I also liked the recent mostly-biographical film Hitchcock (2012). Amazing that they had to haul in a Welsh Knight and a half-Russian Dame to do the honours - it's not even as if the Hitchcocks were baddies!
 

Elliot Thomas

Member: Rank 3
It's a film I'd really love to see on the big screen, like the Birds, I'm sure I saw it way too young to make full sense of it but think I got the overall point.My favourite piece of Psycho trivia is that it's the very first on screen appearance of a toilet bowl in American cinema, and it took an Essex boy to put it there!

I also liked the recent mostly-biographical film Hitchcock (2012). Amazing that they had to haul in a Welsh Knight and a half-Russian Dame to do the honours - it's not even as if the Hitchcocks were baddies!
Hitchcock has to be the most un-Essex boy you'd ever see. First time I'd seem him described as that. It cracked me up. Thanks Carol!:emoji_laughing:
 

Carol

Member: Rank 5
It cracked me up.
You've made my day, I can hear you chuckling from here!
Have you seen any of his London-based early work though? I've only ever seen extracts of The Lodger but all of Blackmail - you can take the man out of the Smoke but you clearly couldn't take the Smoke out of Hitch/
 

Elliot Thomas

Member: Rank 3
You've made my day, I can hear you chuckling from here!
Have you seen any of his London-based early work though? I've only ever seen extracts of The Lodger but all of Blackmail - you can take the man out of the Smoke but you clearly couldn't take the Smoke out of Hitch/
Yep I have a DVD collection of his early stuff. Half of it is silent so it doesn't really give off too much of a flavourful London vibe (of the time).
 

Carol

Member: Rank 5
a flavourful London vibe
You've seem more than me by the sound (or silence) of it!
Couldn't you just imagine the East End version of Rear Window though? (anyone who needs to get a visual/ atmospheric update, find some Call the Midwife clips on You Tube). Same claustrophobia, paranoia and nosy neighbours - more fog, less jazz and maybe using Diana Dors and Peter Sellers as leads. Coming soon to a screen in a parallel universe near you...
 

Elliot Thomas

Member: Rank 3
You've seem more than me by the sound (or silence) of it!
Couldn't you just imagine the East End version of Rear Window though? (anyone who needs to get a visual/ atmospheric update, find some Call the Midwife clips on You Tube). Same claustrophobia, paranoia and nosy neighbours - more fog, less jazz and maybe using Diana Dors and Peter Sellers as leads. Coming soon to a screen in a parallel universe near you...
Haha. That would be, arguably, unwatchable. Those accents would be too much!!:emoji_no_mouth:
 

Doctor Omega

Administrator
Staff member
VIP
Tippi Hedren claims Alfred Hitchcock sexually assaulted her


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Actress Tippi Hedren has claimed Alfred Hitchcock sexually harassed her while they worked together in the 1960s.

Writing in her autobiography, she claimed the director "threw himself" on top of her in the back of his limousine and tried to kiss her.

The actress described the encounter as "an awful, awful moment".

Hedren added that she didn't tell anyone because "sexual harassment and stalking were terms that didn't exist" in the early 1960s.

She continued: "Besides, he was Alfred Hitchcock, one of Universal's superstars, and I was just a lucky little blonde model he'd rescued from relative obscurity. Which one of us was more valuable to the studio, him or me?"

'Shocked and repulsed'

Hedren appeared in The Birds in 1963 and the following year starred in Marnie - both of which were directed by Hitchcock.

The actress, now 86, made the claims in her autobiography Tippi: A Memoir, which was published in November, 2016.

She has spoken in the past about the director's alleged treatment of her, but has gone into more detail in the memoir.
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Hedren described a later encounter in Hitchcock's office where the director "suddenly grabbed" her and "put his hands" on her.

She wrote: "It was sexual, it was perverse, and it was ugly, and I couldn't have been more shocked and more repulsed.

"The harder I fought him, the more aggressive he became. Then he started adding threats, as if he could do anything to me that was worse than what he was trying to do at that moment."


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After refusing his demands, Hedren said Hitchcock "looked directly into my eyes, his face red with rage, and promised, 'I'll ruin your career.'"

The actress said Hitchcock then made her life difficult, refusing to submit her work for the Oscar nominations or let her take on other acting roles while he still had her under contract.

Hedren, whose daughter Melanie Griffith is also an actress, said: "I've made it my mission ever since to see to it that while Hitchcock may have ruined my career, I never gave him the power to ruin my life."

She went on to say that, despite his treatment of her, she felt "a wave of sadness" when he died in 1980.

"It surprised everyone that I went to Hitchcock's funeral," she wrote, adding: "As far as I was concerned, there was no unfinished business between us, nothing more that needed to be said.

"I'd already healed and moved on by the time Hitchcock died, far past anything I'd ever imagined for myself. So in the end, I was there to say, 'Goodbye, and thank you, Hitch.'"
 

Doctor Omega

Administrator
Staff member
VIP
'Hitchcock just wanted to be loved' says British leading lady


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In 1971 Alfred Hitchcock came home to London to make his penultimate film - the murder story Frenzy, about a serial killer in London.

Some critics thought Frenzy a return to form. But over the years, others have seen proof of the misogyny of which Hitchcock is sometimes accused.

Actress Barbara Leigh-Hunt played the victim in the film's murder scene. It still shocks, she says - but it was totally justified.

Recalling her early years as an actress, she says that 46 years ago she was busy on stage, radio and TV. She'd played major Shakespearean roles at the Old Vic and was, with her husband, the actor Richard Pasco, much in demand for poetry readings.

None of which, she admits, made her an obvious choice for a big role in an Alfred Hitchcock film.


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"I was invited out to Pinewood Studios to speak with Hitch for about half an hour," she explains. "To me he was a cinematic god, but I was convinced it was a complete waste of time as I'd never even made a film.

"On my way home I called my agent from the station. I was astonished to hear they'd already been on the phone to say I had the part."

Hitchcock, the son of a greengrocer, was born in Leytonstone in east London in 1899.

A film-maker from the mid-1920s, at the beginning of World War II he went to Hollywood and became perhaps the greatest director of thrillers ever. He could manipulate an audience's sense of dread with an intelligence no one has matched since.

American academic Raymond Foery has made a study of Frenzy. "Universal was Hitchcock's home in Hollywood but his recent films for them - Torn Curtain and Topaz - had been disappointments," he said.


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"So the studio was happy to see Hitchcock make a relatively cheap film in London. In fact Hitchcock had hoped to cast Richard Burton, but instead he settled on respected stage actors who wouldn't get huge Hollywood salaries.

"It's about a serial killer who works at Covent Garden vegetable market, which was soon to close. It's based on a novel which was neither a classic nor total trash, but Hitch's method was to buy a story which offered him a strong structure which he could then work up into something cinematic.

"There's less consensus on Frenzy than on any other Hitchcock film. I won't claim the movie rivals Psycho or Vertigo, but I do think it has a lot going for it. But after his death [in 1980], journalists and biographers started to dig into Hitch's attitudes to sex and women, with Frenzy often used as an example."


Barbara Leigh-Hunt recalled Hitchcock's team flagging up the violence in the screenplay. Her character, who owns a marriage bureau, is assaulted and strangled to death in her own office.

"They wanted to know if I was going to be upset. But I'd just played Lady Macbeth on stage so I didn't see how I could honestly object," she said.

"With me Hitch was remarkably kind and considerate. He knew it was my first film and that I was terrified. He had my chair placed beside his on the studio floor and he let me sit through rehearsals so I could get a feel for film.

"He loved corny jokes and wordplay. Once when we'd sat through a terribly slow rehearsal he said: 'Too many dog's feet! What do I mean?'

"And I said 'Pawses'… and he was thrilled that I understood his sense of humour. He was a courteous man: he was very angry when he discovered I hadn't been given a studio car to get me to and from Pinewood."

The plot, as in several Hitchcock films, centres on a man wrongly accused of a crime. In the film, Leigh-Hunt's former husband, played by the late Jon Finch, is found guilty of her murder and it seems the real killer will get away.

Long scene of sexual violence
Leigh-Hunt recalled that Hitchcock grew discontented with Finch's performance.

"He told me he worked hard to keep up with new screen talent and that Jon had come to him with glowing recommendations. But he said he didn't find in Jon's performance the sympathetic qualities he had hoped for and which would make the audience care about the character's fate."

Discussion of Frenzy usually comes back to the long scene of sexual violence 40 minutes in.

Because of it Frenzy is the only Hitchcock film the British Board of Film Classification still gives an 18 certificate. Earlier Hitchcock classics such as The Birds and Psycho - both originally X-rated - have been reclassified over the years.

The actress recalls the murder scene took three days in the studio to shoot.

'Utterly necessary scene'
"It's pretty horrendous. About a week before Hitch said 'You've no objection to baring your breasts, have you?' I told him I certainly did, and in the end that scene and Anna Massey's nude scene were with body doubles.

"Barry Foster was playing the attacker and he and I discussed what we wanted to do. The assault as written was physically implausible, so Hitch told us what he wanted on screen and he was happy to leave to us some of the detail.

"But it was his idea that at the end I should be seen with my tongue lolling out - which in fact I couldn't do so it's a freeze frame.

"It's still a controversial scene even today, but I believe it was utterly necessary to show how hideous a man the murderer was and what he was prepared to do to women."

Professor Foery, who lectures at a university in Connecticut in the US, says Frenzy put Hitchcock back on the map as a film-maker.

Did Hitchcock dislike women?
"But it's true the murder is cruder than previous deaths in his films. The obvious comparison is with Janet Leigh being stabbed in the famous Psycho shower scene.

"Hitchcock pointed out that the knife, the blood and the nudity are largely what the audience pieces together in its mind. Psycho relies on suggestion in a way Frenzy does not.

"When I show my students certain films from the 1970s, I warn them they're about to see levels of violence and nudity they probably wouldn't encounter today.

"Possibly a major director now wouldn't allow a scene of sexual violence to go on so long as Hitchcock did in Frenzy - but I just don't accept that Hitchcock disliked women. There are strong female roles throughout his films and in his own career he relied on women."

'I found him charming'
Barbara Leigh-Hunt retains a huge affection for her time with Hitch.

After Frenzy the director told her he was planning to shoot a film in Scotland and that there would be a role in it for her. In fact his next film, Family Plot, proved to be Hitchcock's swansong and he retired immediately afterwards.

"So many people now try to psychoanalyse Hitch and people talk about his dark side," the actress says.

"I can only judge by what I saw and experienced but I found him a charming man. He was like everybody else - he wanted to be liked, he wanted to be loved."
 

divemaster13

Member: Rank 4
I thought Psycho II was underrated and actually very good. Well plotted and well acted. Kept you guessing and kept you jumping. You feel sortof bad for Norman, poor fellow, but enjoy his re-descent into madness. Some good humor as well. Plus, Meg Tilly was awfully cute in this. A shame she didn't have a more substantial movie career.
 
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